Where do I start? Where do I begin? After watching what arguably is just images and sound placed together in a particular order by those with the know-how, Kevin Parrott and Ciaran O’ Connor, I find my savoir faire for breathing has completely abandoned me and left me in the bottom of a (very deep) well, enveloped in my own shock. The shock of just how exhilarated the contents of a shiny disc in a box could make me. More importantly, how I can remain this impressed after re-watching it a thousand times over already; my DVD player has more or less consumed ‘Savoir Faire‘, but the regurgitations are just as delicious as they were fresh. Now: how do you begin explaining that?
I must point out that I was by all means not expecting this video to be anything less than spectacular. Ambitious as this project was – would you enjoy the responsibility of gathering footage from every corner of the UK, from the absolute cream of our crop and then making a video that lives up to it all? – the very well maintained blog confirmed that all was going well and that this was definitely something worth getting our hopes up for.
The line up is staggeringly vast. The video has full sections from John Tanner, Chris Oliver, Div Adam, John Snaddon, Stephen Roe, Ollie Tyreman and various montages that (seriously) cover absolutely everyone, from absolutely everywhere. Could the UK finally have its answer to Josh Stewart’s Static? I’m sure those of you who have already bought a copy (give yourself a pat on the back and a handshake) were just as eager as I was, finger hovering excitedly over the play button. For those of you who have yet to buy it (give yourself a five pound note and place it in your local SOS owner’s hand), I shall do my best to explain what is one of the UK’s finest independent productions to date.
Ciaran O’ Connor is the kind of editing warlock who steps up to the buffet with a remarkably large plate. Opening the video is an extremely impressive array of motion graphic joy – beginning with such high standards would often set the audience up for an early disappointment but like I said, Ciaran isn’t the sort of dude to go at things by half – Savoir Faire kicks out the jams early with the voice of the gnard calling for a revolution. Wiping the blood and sweat from his face, Div Adam steps up with typical “fuck it, I’ll have a go” swagger and proves his readiness to testify. Tearing up every concrete park in sight, Div skates like a recently uncaged beast, and sets this video off to a relentless start. Amidst the zip zinging 360 flips and barrier kult tributes, this opener has lines as furious as the Exodus track playing, which is pretty raging. Not to mention a transfer that you best “reeeecognise!”
Now, I expect your throat should be a little bit sore from screaming “‘Ave it Div!” at your television for the last five minutes. Fear not, for the montage to follow has some lovely Northern, Western and Welsh skating as rich as a perfect and soothing brew. Jerome Campbell gets milky on some red banks and Danny Wainwright drops two sugars into the blend with his usual finesse. Too many names to mention here, but this montage is a joyful reminder that these ‘rural’ areas are full of persistent shredders who aren’t afraid to get gritty, and that hippity hop funk mixes are awesome (but that was obvious, right?).
John Tanner is next up on the approach, guns blazing, and tricks nailed before the reload. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing Tanner skate then you’ll know that it’s fine to have high expectations for this section. This dude is seriously consistent – worryingly so even – and is in the possession of a crazy bag of tricks that he seemingly plucks from at random. Expect lots of lines with every manoeuvre quite literally oozing style like grog dribbling from a drippy flow pen. Oh, and a nollie heelflip that will make you shit yourself. No kidding. Ste Roe and Ollie Tyreman follow up with some frightful behaviour; including a friendly game of ‘who can do the most outrageous thing into the biggest bank you can find‘, and a resulting stalemate that is far from stale.
Now, if the north/west montage was a nice cup of tea, then the following montage is a visual line of coke taken at 2AM with an MDMA chaser. It is of course, Hold Tight London, with Henry and Morph tugging on the editing reigns for a few minutes of in-your-face brutality. Rory Milanes, Shaun Witherup, Neil Smith, Lucien Clarke and all the usual HTL rippers lay down the oh-so styled out mind melters resulting in one of the best ‘watch-before-you-skate‘ sections I’ve ever seen (no, really). Take a deep breath before – and after! – this one.
Dave Snaddon must boast some sort of jedi mind control over his board, either that or he has hacked into the universe mainframe and hooked himself up with a real-life moon gravity cheat; catches that high are simply not natural. The only thing taller than Dave’s flippers is Nicky Howells, who brings some of his Welsh flair to this extremely high section. Those standards just keep rising.
Having skated Grays School since I was a wee grom, seeing Dave Watson nosebonk the fuck out of that tree stump at the start the final montage could have nearly made me run up and hug the television. Thankfully, I stayed seated and enjoyed the best of the south and east, which was strangely heart warming to say the very least. An immersive, soul-tickling tune sets the backdrop for nostalgic spots getting a slaying from Ross McGouran, Simon Skipp, Dan Cates, Kris Vile and, wait, what’s the plural for gnarly skaters? Whatever it is, this section left me tingling all over, even on what must be the 1000th watch now. It could have ended the video for me, but to take that responsibility away from Chris Oliver would be a crime punishable by death. I refuse to taint this gentlemen’s skateboarding with any lexical nonsense, so just do yourself the favour of buying this wonderful – no – absolutely incredible DVD and see for yourself.
Infinite props to Kev and Ciaran, and everyone else involved in this. Click here for an edit from the DVD exclusive to Crossfire.