Skate More in Brussels

Crossfire has come a long way since the days of little B&W fanzine pamphlets and blagging the odd handshake with a pro. Today it’s worldwide recognition and Champagne dinners. Well, almost… DVS were in town for the premiere of their first ever video, ‘Skate More’, and Crossfire had been invited to rub shoulders with the pros and sip on complimentary drinks. To tell you the truth, the usual roll call with a video premiere is that we end up scrambling for tickets until the last minute, get squashed with the rest of the sweaty fans as we queue up anxiously awaiting the curtain-rise, spot a pro in the distance and then head off to the off-license for a couple of cold ones and an over-the-top trick by trick analysis of what we just saw. Yeah! We are the media, promise!

This time it was different. I received the call a week prior to any screenings and had VIP invites for several of the premiere dates. I had to call around to make sure this wasn’t a joke… (‘I’m on the list, promise!’ ‘Sorry, no Crossfire here. Stand back!’). The rumours were running thick and fast- DVS had booked the largest cinema in town, there was the promise of a free booze pre-premiere party and after-party, plus the possibility of a proper meal and personal trainer lessons with Daewon Song. No, that last bit was made up, but when this kind of cash is flying around- Why not?

I spent a few sleepless nights beforehand getting my questions ready for D-day. I had to think of something original, but not too ‘out there’ otherwise it was like career suicide. When I arrived at the press conference (this wasn’t some ‘catch a couple of quick answers mid-run’ situation!), my hopes were dashed as half of the people I’d thought I’d meet weren’t there. Jason Dill was officially M.I.A and Jeron Wilson doing the rounds in South America. Great. I was greeted by the head honcho of DVS Europe and he pulled me, and another journalist aside…

We were led into an underground bunker stuffed with free goods. The lights were dim but I could spot several pairs of DVS shoes, at least 20 boards, a few big boxes of t-shirts and more stickers that a little skate rat could handle. It was the DVS Alladin’s Cave for any little rat that screams , ‘Give us your board! Can I have your shoes? Stickerssss….!’ The boss then began to distribute freebies, but I declined the Yellow ‘Skate More’ mesh cap. I was afraid he was taking the piss, plus yellow is a horrible colour! We were also given résumé packs as if to help us understand just what a skate video is, who DVS are etc… Thanks mate, but I think I spend more time on a board than you do at board meetings.

Luckily the business heads weren’t interested in what questions I had prepared, but there was a constant presence of hired filmers and photographers fidgeting around. Was my identity being held against my will..? The time had come to be professional, so the following is a direct transcript of what Steve Berra (apparently moody because he’d hurt his toe…?), Daewon Song, Keith Hufnagel, Torey Pudwill, Mikey Taylor and the American man responsible for all your DVS related viewing pleasure, Colin Kennedy had to say.

Now that the work had been done, Maxwell Woodger Esq. could take center stage among the high rollers and hot chicks that live the jet-skate lifestyle. Woo Hoo!

As the credits rolled, a steady downpour of free product rained down on the crowd from the cinema balcony. I slapped a 12 year old as I fought for a mesh cap, then made my way to the free bar… Goddammit!

I swear an hour ago a pretty young thing was serving free Champagne and beer here!?! Where had the coy vixen gone??? I mingled a bit with the headless chicken of a crowd that didn’t know what to do with itself after witnessing the truly SCANDALOUS prowess of Daewon Song and his cohorts. The situation was getting ugly as a crate of Red Bull was ripped open and the knowledge of fake VIP tickets having been distributed prior to the event. Apparently the dinner and after-party was a very exclusive date that night, so if you weren’t ‘a friend of the Family’, you’re date was at the local offie… Ha!

It is times like this when I realise Crossfire and Maxwell Woodger are on the up! Either that or dead lucky… The rendez-vous for the worthy (or those that neededa good greasing depending on how bitter you are) was at a very exclusive night club next to the Hilton Hotel. A setting of plush designer cushions, waiters with diner-jackets on and a few jet lagged DVS riders spotted around, greeted me with open arms. Needless to say the tab was a joke so Champagne, Beer, Rum Cokes, Double Whiskies etc were ‘de rigueur’ for the jet-skate wolves.

I sat at a table with the cream of foreign press and we talked shop. It was hard not to notice the 6 or 7 plasma screens playing ‘Skate More’ on loop, but my ‘filet d’agneau’ served with McCoys was a good diversion.

Posh food has come a long way…

Me and the rest of the hacks laughed at the suits who asked us how ‘radical’ the movie had been, but answered sincerely when Daewon came around to get our opinions on the DVS video. Timidly, the press around me muttered sweet nothings to the BA Barakas built manual god, but I said it straight:

“Do you want the honest truth, Daewon?” Daewon nodded and came closer.

“Honestly, this video is a real corker that makes you want to skate, and as I mentioned to anyone bothered to listen, your part in particular was SCANDALOUS! However, I have the strange feeling little kids are not going to appreciate the full fluidity of Mr. Cheeks- Chico Brenes.”

It was obvious to me that the ADD inflicted teens were not going to take long to skip various parts in preference of the ever-present banger boys. It was sad, but somehow the first FTC video was not mandatory viewing anymore… It needs to be!

Daewon paused for a minute, and the press grinned and prepared for the worst. How dare I not agree with the general consensus that ‘Skate More’ was the greatest ever skate video in history??? I was alone on this one…

“You know what?” Daewon started. “I am so happy you said that because an honest opinion is worth so much more than the tip-toed friendly reviews we have to read post release. You know that I knew my Almost part had too much manual craziness in it, and that’s why this part is different. Nothing beats Chico and Sade, and I am glad I’m not the only one to know this!”

We shared a strong hug and I knew, between those rock solid arms, that a true respect and friendship had been founded.

The party continued its due course and fun was of the essence. Things only came close to ugly when yours truly thought it would be polite to ask a mob boss and his plastic lady friend to a dance. As Pharrell serenaded the scene with ‘Beautiful’, I made my move… And knocked a full glass of Champagne into the bosses probable bonerfied crotch!

‘Goddammit!’ He said.

The bimbo wasn’t impressed either and felt it was time to go. But, this was his club and the only people leaving would be the 50 inebriated skate fanatics! As the bimbo demanded her bag be passed over, I spotted a full bottle of Moet sitting alone. I grabbed the sweet nectar and offered it as an apology to the boss. His screams turned to sympathy and a hand shake was had. He called me an honest man and wished me the best with my career before calling over ‘Brains’ the body guard.

Myself and the other few skaters left were allowed to keep drinking the night away so long as we didn’t interfere with the bosses private lap-dance again.

So we did. Till 5 in the morning.