Slam City Skates City of Rats DVD

A film by Henry Edwards-Wood

What is there to be said that hasn’t been said already about this milestone of British – or more importantly London skate heritage? City of Rats is the first full length video from Slam City Skates in 25 years of business and the man hired to carry the camera bag and shoot the team of heavy hitters was none other than Henry Edwards-Wood a.k.a. Hold Tight Henry.

The featured skaters picked from the Big Smoke list include Nick Jensen, Snowy, Lucien Clarke, Steph Morgan, Joey Pressey, Jin Shimizu, Casper Brooker, Rory Milanes, Karim Bakhtoui, Olly Todd, Neil Smith, John Tanner, Darius Trabalza, Rob Mathieson, Scott Howes and Danny Brady. If that wasn’t enough, there are all the affiliates and shop staff to include in the mix. There is something good to say about everyone I just mentioned, but it would take the equivalent of the running time (60 minutes) to cover everything, so I’ll stick to the few things that have stuck out in my mind following the numerous viewings I made.

First and foremost: the spots. London is one of the world’s biggest metro poles and it looks like Henry and the boys have searched far and wide to unearth new terrain and unique features of the city. Next is the quality of the filming and editing. Henry has really set the standard pretty high for himself and future productions that look to portray street skating in the city. Blending HD tricks with elements of every day life in such a bustling place really helps solidify the origins and roots of the Slam City squad. The generation game might serve as a clever phrase to describe the next thing I enjoyed about City of Rats. Whether it’s the older generation like Chris Pullman or the young upstarts like Darius Trabala on screen, everyone gets their shine. The wide variety of age and experience also provides the viewer with a wide spectrum of spot selection and styles. A clear example of maturity is the shared Lucien Clarke and Steph Morgan section where these best friends forever paint a picture of their city like a couple of mature artists, or you can also pick up on the good times shared that come from Neil Smith and Jerome Campbell’s joint shop section (Lost Art/Slam) who have both brought some amazing skateboarding to the table as a result of friendship from having shop sponsors there to bring people together.

Finally, the music: Paramount to a film’s effect as it sets the pace and mood for every scene, Henry has weighed the scales correctly to merge old skool London rap music with relaxed folk beats. As a whole, the soundtrack helps pace the video – calming at times whilst hyped at others. An example is Henry choosing not to use stereotypical grime artists as the chorus to Karim’s street assault.

As a skateshop video, City of Rats goes above and beyond anything else in this category. As a standard skate video, City of Rats sits firmly among the best of them too. It took 25 years for Slam to finally commission a testimony of their dedication and support of London skateboarders and the team has done the shop and their city an honour. Commit No Nuisance.

Enjoy an exclusive treat from Henry today and witness Neil Smith and Jerome Campbell’s joint section yourself, aired for the very first time on the web below. Grab your copy of this fine DVD from Slam City today to keep some heritage and raise a glass to another 25 years of service.

Ralph Lloyd-Davis

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Deck graphics get animated at etnies exhibition

It was only 5 years ago we were partying hard across the small pond, but this year Etnies are celebrating 25 years of business this week in France and have rolled out the Public Domaine Skateboard culture exhibition at La Gaîté Lyrique. 3 artists have been chosen by Pierre-André Senizergues to conceptualize what skateboarding will be like in the next 25 years.

As a tribute to the digital and music foundation of La Gaite, UK filmographer, Mike Manzoori will capture the etnies Pro Team of Kyle Leeper, Jose Rojo, Tyler Bledsoe and Willow skating in the house creating a unique digital footprint of what the future may be like.

The exhibition runs until August 7th. Plan a weekend skate trip to Paris today but before you do check out the animated board graphics on show in Paris, endless fun.