When he’s not networking with the metaphorical beasts and ogres of the interweb, Russell Cowling turns his creative eye to the viewfinder of a camera aimed directly at the gritty shores of the South-East. Though countless filmmakers have been influenced by the do-it-all-yourself approach to filming and editing that’s evident in the finer skate videos courtesy of French Fred, Greg Hunt et al, no one achieves it with such DIY honesty than the Essex lad himself. There’s no stock footage in sight. The Monster Network, seek to progress even further from the wonderful Never Forever and Into The Fall, combining creative skateboarding with artistic interpretations and observations from the eyes of those that walk the four-wheeled plank. In Between Days does just that…
After biting through a typically impressive visual introduction, the filling bursts through the crust in the form of ‘Gorgeous’ Dave Watson who’s been steadily on the up since silently killing it on the now-defunct Clown and having the raddest trick in Into The Fall half-way through the end credits. This section is effortless and his style speaks volumes that the dial on big-talkers doesn’t even turn to. While they’re blabbing away at 10, Dave is cruising away at 11. And that front-blunt on the unreal natural quarters in Basildon is completely off the scale. Essex Legend Simon Skipp – whose Romford ditch recently got some gnarly coverage in the new Blueprint flick – shares his section like he did in Never Forever and proves himself still worthy of being the undisputed king of Romford. There’s no bad-talking the way Skipp can attack Romford’s blue wall switch and still 360 flip like no other. Nigel Davies slips in a huge noseblunt before Dave sleeps through a killer ender to close this excellent opening section – that’s kindly been posted online to whet your appetite on the Monster Network site itself. Good stuff.
I’m gonna call out my own bias right now on the second section, because I grew up skating with Warren Greatrex, and I can only express my anger that he didn’t land such incredible shit when I was the one filming him. A lot has changed since secondary school and that huge gap he glides over wasn’t even in the shitty bike track we used to skate back then but Warren’s style has always been perfect. We could be seeing more from this kid if he keeps killing it like this. George Gough and Wil Thomson follow to the spectacular soundtrack going with some interesting ledge trickery and a couple quick-footed gems. That frontside shove…
In Between Days Trailer from Monster Network on Vimeo.
What I’ve always enjoyed about Monster Network productions is that they’ve never been afraid to have lots of shared sections. For someone with Firefox-Generation-ADD (or FIGADDS! as I’ll call it), keeping it consistently fresh makes the skating flow down even more nicely, like a well-made mix tape made for a friend. For the next track we have new Channon King footage, and it’s like hearing the opening chords to a song you haven’t heard in a while but always loved. His style is unmistakable and still suits his off-beat trick selection on ridiculous spots, including what’s either the world’s worst designed bench or one that’s been victim to the world’s largest arse sitting on it.
The next treat is a meaty friends section full of some more familiar South-East heavy-hitters, culminating in some really piss-taking malarkey from Raemers, Veran Tull and Neil Smith. Nick Remon jams to a song you’ve all heard before but not in such raw context. Nick rips through impossible terrain and reps Switch Skatestore hard. This admirable local loyalty is kept up with the notorious smooth stylings of Jay Tate. This is a section so fresh and clean that even the haters-gonna-hate brigade that often dismiss natural style for sketchiness can’t talk shit on. Real pop, excellent catch and fluid, bolt perfect skating that’s never robotic, Jay Tate kills it. With the assistance of Adam Howe and Jay Minta (specifically that Kalis-as-fuck catch on the nollie frontside flip off the indoor kicker) this montage is my personal favourite in a video full of bangers.
Carl Wilson takes the end section and deserves the honour. Park skating in videos is something often contested and I disagree with those doing so, particularly if you can kill it like Carl, if you skate what you want and film what you want and be creative in your own way then you get a great video. And this is just that. Top work to all involved, 3,5,0,1,2,5 go!
Order it now for £5 before it sells out at www.monsternetwork.co.uk
Enjoy these offcuts…
Unused footage In Between Days from Monster Network on Vimeo.