Posts Tagged ‘Shane Cross’

The Peace Which Passeth All Understanding

October 25, 2009


Burpin’ and gurpin’

Those who are products of the 1980s will recall “Transformers the Movie” as an emotional tour de force that involved entire planets being consumed by the pesky Unicron, with tears shed at Optimus Prime’s death but somehow no bullshit teenage romance, and a Weird Al song also. The film taught many truths about this human life (imparted by giant warlike robots no less) but the one that really hit me was when Soundwave, Starscream and the Constructicons had gathered after some time apart and were trying to chop it up over a few energon cubes like it was the old days… but their stilted conversation and uncomfortable silences said it all: times had changed and the Decepticons, like all of us, were holding too tightly to something that had long since transformed. Or maybe it was the world that had transformed around them? Or maybe Unicron ate everything. My memory is not what it used to be but I believe the movie won a thousand Oscars.

Now, I don’t know enough about Flip or the various personalities involved to try and cast Ewan Bowman or Jeremy Fox or Geoff Rowley as the hometown-bound friend who can’t, won’t, let go of the past. Maybe it’s none of them, but more so than the labored claymation and boring little kids and brow-furrowing musical choices this is what sort of ends up sinking the “Extremely Sorry” vid for me, the fact that it walks and talks like “Sorry 3” when pivotal dudes have moved on and the planet has gotten a half-decade older. Respect is due the three musketeers and their one-for-allness after so many years, and both Glifberg and Penny do deliver to a far greater extent than they’re generally getting credit for out there in internetland, but we’re left with a bloated production that’s generally treading the same water as five years ago, except with more skippable parts, a heavier weight to bear and yeah, that music.*

(We would like to here make a semi-major detour and get into Luan de Oliveira’s section for a minute, which is actually kind of hot and offers one of the few reasons for optimism re: this next generation of multinational young Flippurs, alongside Nordberg. His switch frontside heelflip means business and if he can keep away from those humdrum switch boardslide to TKTKTK ledge combos he will do well – fast skating, decently built lines and an eye for tricks that are hard and look cool, for instance the very first ledge jam.)

Not sure if it was the best-best, but for sure the most interesting part in this Flip video is Shane Cross, he of the headbands and Hawaiian shirts, whose posthumous part gets some heavy stylizing and ghostly effects that harken back to Arto Saari’s Penny dream sequence in the first Flip video – another one of those Bones Brigade type of moments. It might be reaching to interpret the edit here as an indication of where they hoped Shane Cross might’ve taken things eventually, but the tricks are intense – the side view of the nosegrind makes all the difference and the execution generally is top notch. To me the effects didn’t detract from the skating so much as broaden the universe of the sort of things we might be able to see when putting in a new DVD, quite a bit different than a lot of what’s come before and heavy skating to boot. The biggest bummer is that Shane Cross has gone, and the Flip dudes did right by him with this part, but it’s too bad they didn’t save a few more of the genius pills for the rest of the video.

*The editors of Boil the ocean will ride for the Pink Panther song, however

Really sorry

April 25, 2008

Cue the “Free Ali” shirts: Ali Boulala was sentenced today for the drunk-driving motorcycle accident that killed Shane Cross a little over a year ago. Ali’s looking at two to four years for something called “culpable driving,” which is probably Australian for driving while under the influence of more than 10 beers, or whatever the limit is down under.

Does Boulala deserve to sit in some jail, despite its possibly tropical location, for two to four years? Who knows. From all accounts the Cross family wasn’t pressing charges, which is pretty admirable from a turn-the-other-cheek perspective. Skateboarding as a whole, meanwhile, seemed ready to absolve Boulala the moment it was clear that he came out of the coma. Should we?

It seems like whenever some high-profile, well-loved skater runs into trouble the skateboard world tends to rally around him.* Baker had those “Free TK” shirts printed up before Terry Kennedy ever saw the inside of a cell for having a gun in his car, if I remember right. Josh Swindell is still generally revered for being that pro locked up in Mexico, despite the fact that he may or may not have killed a guy. The murder/suicide mess that Ben Pappas was apparently involved in last year was more or less glossed over. Shit, people were about ready to canonize Christian Hosoi when he got out of jail in Hawaii, and he got busted with a load of meth. To paraphrase Aaron McGruder here, every famous skateboarder who gets arrested is not Nelson Mandela.

But it happens and it gets back to the dubious legal status act of skateboarding itself. “No Skateboarding” signs get ignored. Cops chase you out of spots, they write you tickets. But what are you going to do, not skate? Skateboarding is not a crime, etc.

So how far should that go? Should Ali Boulala really go free? You could make a good argument. He suffered plenty, three months in the hospital, brain damage, may not ever be able to skate like he used to. He’s gotta live with the fact that he killed a good friend of his, and someone who’s pretty well-loved throughout skateboarding. The Cross family didn’t hold it against him, by all accounts. But then there’s the law, which also says thou shalt not skate this curb, jump that gap. In for a penny, in for a pound, then? Is there even a point to drawing a line between the two?

I don’t know. It’s hard to argue against punishing drunk drivers, or, you know, murderers. But the disregard for law is part of what used to make one a skateboarder, versus a kid who rode a skateboard, and that same pack mentality that gets people hyped about Hosoi getting out of prison is the same thing behind benefit skate jams and eBay auctions for skaters, pro or not, that are facing crazy hospital bills or some other crisis. And it’s probably worth preserving.

Anyway, rambling. RIP Shane Cross. Hold your head, Ali. Don’t drink and drive and hug your loved ones this weekend.

*Note that getting arrested in Tampa does not really count, since it’s more a passage into manhood at this point.