26 December 2010


I am I stupid? This is probably really old but I only just saw it. Any Grant Taylor footage is good Grant Taylor footage so here you go - best dude out there.

23 December 2010

Cat Scratch Fever.

Rachel's Xmas present came a bit early this year.
She's named him Sonny and he's just about the cutest thing in the world.

Amputated at the Croft the other week. I went on my own as usual.

When was the last time you saw a pair of DC Spectres? Probably the ugliest mass-produced skate shoe of the last 10 years or so. Only a death metal band has taste this bad in skate shoes.

13 December 2010

The incredible rubber boys...

I still love skate videos. Even after all these years. From the first glimpse I got of Public Domain in the art room at school that left me shaking for hours afterwards I was obsessed. I'd had a skateboard for ages and skated every free moment I got but it took at least a year for me to get to see a video or anything other than Back To The Future. We didn't have a VCR in my house so I was really behind. Seeing Public Domain was like having been crazy about football for a whole year but never having seen footage of anyone else playing it and then being shown highlights of Brazil's greatest moments. It felt that amazing. Even now, I still love skate videos as much.

So, 2010 is almost done and it's been a cracking year for vids. There have been some big releases we've waited ages for and some surprises that we weren't expecting. Here's my top 10 or so... in reverse order..

10 - Etnies - Transworld: Skate and Create 2010.

Fuuuuck! How much did this piss on the competition?!? Fuck Lakai's multi-camera tracking-shot flaming-wank-fest and the other entries that tried that formula but looked positively amateur next to Ty's polished professionalism. The attention to detail in the Etnies part made the others look ill-thought out and off the cuff. The 90's clothes screened with tribute graphics, likewise the boards and the appearances from Kareem and J-Wray not to mention Kosick in full sitting Buddah photo pose all made the technical filmmaking and choreography of the others seem irrelevant. Remember most skateboarders are nerdy about skateboarding much more than they are about filmmaking. At least they should be.
Etnies pressed the reset button on Skate and Create this year so let's hope next year's contest sees the dollys left at home and the imaginations going wild. This was robbed of the win.

9. BA: KU - Stay Gold Secret Part

No surprises I'd include this I suppose. No justification for it's place in the top ten needed.

8. Andrew Allen - Prevent This Tragedy.

You either get this guy or you don't. And I really do. How nice is it to see a street skater these days who's not a skinny little oik with the right jeans and the right hair? Allen's a big old lump who slams hard and shakes the earth and makes all skateboarders over 13 stone feel better about themselves. Oh and did you notice the extent of his Switchery? And I mean sensible tricks too, not the techno flipouts that look pretty much the same no matter which way round you put your feet. I mean back tails on manly hubbas and simple lines that allow you to see how he holds himself when skating switch. That's how I measure a skater's switch skills - does he look good going backwards? Not whether he can replicate all the hardest moves. Andrew Allen does the classic shit and it's really fucking easy on the eyes.

7. Leo Romero - Stay Gold (Video unavailable as Emerica must have good lawyers which is totally fair enough)

Skater Of The Year then? Yeah why not? I'd rather watch Leo hurl himself with great speed at these monster obstacles than most other soulless rail jockeys that breed like rabbits in southern California. His going up the handrail is a milestone that everyone will remember - maybe for the fact that it looked way better in the photo than it did on video. But then how are you gonna roll away fast after you've just 5050'd up 10 stairs*? Besides, the speed he takes that gap to second-kink front feeble at more than makes up for any slow exit on his ender. Seriously - the front feeble is the trick of the section. Do you have the balls to deliberately hang up going backwards down a kinked rail? 'Cos that's essentially what a front feeble is.
Anyway, SOTY or not, he's a worthy pretender to Heath's throne and may yet prove himself to be worthy of the same legend status. More on that later.

* I didn't count them, 10 seems fair though.

6. Dylan Rieder - Gravis promo.

Notable as much for the format as the skating this section became legendary literally overnight. Releasing a full part on the web and not as part of a full video is clearly going to be not just an alternative to the DVD - it's going to be the norm. Even the rich shoe companies will be rethinking if it's financially viable to release a hard copy of future videos anymore. This 8 minute promo has done more for Gravis and for Dylan than they could have hoped for if they'd tried to sell it and everybody has taken note.
Anyway, that aside this kid clearly had something to prove. Even if it was only that he was more than a wacky hipster shoe (which he is) he goes above and beyond to show that he's more talented than half of his team mates at Alien, some of whom are making the Sect look uncool for the first time in it's history (which Dyrdek and Berra most certainly are). Words don't do the quality of the skating justice and I urge anyone not feeling his trousers to look past them and see what the fuss is all about.

5. Emmanuel Guzman - Prevent This Tragedy.

I'll just say it. You'll kick off but I'll say it anyway. This dude is (pretty much) the new Cardiel.
OK, OK calm down. You should be able to agree with me a bit if not completely. Watch the section again, or indeed any of his other parts out there - he fucking CHARGES. He RIDES a skateboard rather than just standing on it. Watch what this guys does to make a trick, if it's not Cards he's channelling it's Howard Cooke or Jason Jesse if he skated street. Check the 5050 at 1:44 - both feet completely off on the exit and swimming backwards just like Cardiel to keep his balance. Fucking amazing. Apparently very loyal to Santa Cruz he may not reach the wide audience he deserves but make sure you seek out anything he does in future. You can tell he's just getting started.

4.5 (I have to do this to fit more in) Heath Kirchart - Stay Gold Secret part. (Video unavailable again).

I won't get too emo about this but yeah - it's really sad he's bowed out. But then he knows what he's doing and we'd rather he didn't turn into Muska or something (unlikely I know). Anyway, in the second half of the section where he's wearing all white you probably spat your beer out like I did when he kickflipped the hydrant during that hill bomb. Trick of the fucking video and it's hidden in the chapters menu. Unbelievable. And flipping the car off afterwards? Classic Heath. He'll be missed.

4. Austyn Gillete - Habitat: Origin. (His part starts around 6 mins in)

Holy shit! Really? I can't say I even noticed him in Inhabitants over three years ago and now this?! Wowzer. Sometimes you can really see when somebody has stepped it up a gear and this is the classic example. This is surely how we all wish we skated right? Long flowing lines with all the right tricks, not making it look too easy but clearly being the best dude at the session. Although the skating-alone-vibe really shines through this part, whether or not that's actually the case I don't know but he seems like he's cruising around on his own time, not waiting for the van to be loaded up and the flashes to be broken down.
The line in Germany with the two alleyoop 5050s on the benches is one of the most unexpected rewinds in recent video history and stands out amongst the so-called creativity of most thinking-man's pros. None of this part seems too contrived though - he's not bringing back the front foot flip or flipping in and out of every trick, he's just skating. Fast, powerful and exactly how I skate in my not-often-enough skate dreams.

The Intelligence² Debate - Stephen Fry (Unedited)
Uploaded by Xrunner17. - Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

3. Stephen Fry - Intelligence Squared Debate.

Very nearly the best part of the year but missed out due to the fact that Stephen doesn't actually skate. Still, at 19 minutes it's longer than Marc Johnson's part and nowhere near as self-indulgent.
What he lacks in back tails and switch heels Stephen makes up for in speaking more sense than anyone in the public eye has had the balls to do in quite some time. The Catholic church deserves all it gets (not that it gets nearly enough in my opinion) and until the heroes of the common man stand up and say something accessible like this we'll never wake up from our collective trance and kick these evil cunts off our planet.
OK, on with the list.

2. In Search Of The Miraculous - Pontus Alv.

I'm not just singling out Pontus' own part from this vid, although it's very good - the whole video is phenomenally good. Quite amazing in fact. It may appear to take itself quite seriously at times but not to the point where it disappears up it's own arse. The editing is beautiful, the music likewise (although Pontus must have been gutted when Heath used that Joy Division tune too) and the skateboarding varied and captivating. What's really special here though is the spots and their creators struggle. The word inspiration doesn't quite cover what this video dishes out in spades - Pontus and his friends are really special skateboarders who have enriched their lives with huge amounts or determination and dedication to creativity.
I realise building spots is nothing new and that there are some much grander scale erections over the pond but the accessibility of the spots in this video speak to every viewer in a way that no footage of Burnside could do. One of Pontus' most well known spots in this video is essentially an alleyway, telling us that we don't necessarily need a perfect under-bridge area to make our own.
It's the feel of this video that works for me and the skateboarding just happens to be great too. Go buy one off Pontus' website - the independent skateboard DVD will soon be a thing of the past, enjoy them while they're around.

1. Krooked 3D (Video unavailable and rightly so, buy one cheapskate!)

Yes, again, the whole video. It's not really in sections anyway. So, Krooked figured out a way to sell DVDs in this time of download piracy and recession - make a video that needs an accompanying accessory, in this case 3D glasses. And yeah it's the crappy old school 3D that doesn't always work that well but that suits Gonz' lo-fi-aesthetic down to the ground.
This video couldn't be more up my alley if it tried. Taking skateboarding less seriously is a fucking good idea when you get to my age and to see pro skaters sessioning a curb is the kind of thing that keeps me interested when all the other vids are full of super human feats.
Nobody gets the essence of skateboarding like Gonz, or is able to communicate it so perfectly just by stepping on it and pushing down the street. He's as likely to slappy a curb as he is to attack a double-set (yo!) and the unpredictability factor keeps your attention whenever he's on screen. His new wunderkinds are pretty fucking good to. Mike Anderson is ridiculous and sits perfectly next to Bobby Worrest who's basically a god in my eyes. These two make this video stand apart from previous Krooked vids with some seriously gnarly street skating. Bobby's line downhill at speed with the switch crook and the switch tre is so sick - these guys might get paid to fuck about for 90% of the time but they're better than half the fuckwits with their names on boards out there.
OK, I'm done - this video rules. Best of 2010 and it's not like there was no competition. Krooked is fast becoming my favourite company and I don't even like the graphics.

Honourable mention must go to...
Beauty And The Beast 3 for being the biggest let-down of the year - what the fuck happened? Ed's three tricks in the Toy Machine vid almost ruined by that Christian penis Josh Harmony coming on straight afterwards. Braydon Szafranski's weak attempt at a pro standard part in Stay Gold - ditch the waistcoats and maybe practice a bit mate.

There you go, I'm done. Merry hijacked pagan solstice celebration.