One year ago today…

Exactly 365 days ago we posted a review of the last DVD of the decade to grace the front cover of Sidewalk Magazine, Bristol’s Finest. One year later, it’s withstood the tests of time and digital amnesia to remain one of the raddest scene videos to come from these shores, spawning a bucket load of further edits, influencing filmmakers and skateboarders everywhere and firmly re-establishing Bristol as one of the tightest scenes in the UK.

Read the review here and treat yourself to half an hour of South West shredding from the finest crew in all of Bristol by watching the entire video below.

BRISTOL’S FINEST from Bristol’s Finest on Vimeo.

Win a Habitat package!

The good folk at Habitat and Habitat Footwear have put together this perfect little package to get you ready for a cruise. With this collection you can sit down with a cuppa* and watch the fantastic Origin before slipping on some fresh kicks (the simple but practical Lark in a classic chocolate and royal blue colourway) and go street surfing on the 7.75″ Earth Day cruiser deck that’s about as rad as they come.

*Cuppa not included.

Have a look at our review of Origin here and then answer the question below for a chance to win it all. It’s dead easy… so long as you’ve read the review!

The deadline for this competition is December 17th.

[competition_13]

Review: Toy Machine – Brainwash

One thing I’ve always admired about Toy Machine productions is their meticulous attention to detail and maintaining a fluent coherency. When you get past the iconographic desaturated colours of the packaging and press play, you can be guaranteed that no section will be out of place and that there will be enough editing/artistic touches perfectly slotted in to not once tempt you in the direction of the fast forward button. Though I cannot take anything away from Welcome To Hell (which will forever remain a classic by anyone’s standards) I do enjoy how the bloodsucking skateboard company have moved towards making short, fluid visual mixtapes to frequently remain amongst the collective consciousness of the generation of skateboarders most prone to ADHD and short term memory loss. Brainwash is perhaps the closest Toy Machine have come to perfecting this notion, coming in at a Goldilocks-approved jussssst right 20 minutes. Which is – according to a statistic I just made up – the average amount of time it takes for a skateboarder aged between 14-41 to get amped for a session.

Before we jump straight into the action that does not once stop for air we’re treated to an introduction that dares to do something interesting! I know, crazy behaviour in 2010 to steer away from time lapses, montages or similar crap, but this one actually works. The screen divides into a Goldeneye style multiplayer horizontal split (apparently player 2 sucks) with different footage from the same sessions working together to tell seperate stories as a worm crawls across the centre of the screen introducing the film. At first it’s a lot for your eyes to make sense of, but when Templeton is constantly throwing in written captions throughout every Toy Machine video to the point in which 75% of them go unnoticed it makes for a rewarding re-watch. Attention to detail is as spot-on as you’d expect.

Daniel Lutheran serves as the insta-banger to get this 20 minute mix started, and for good reason; he’s got balls-out 50-50s that are both long and gnarly enough to cause even the most jaded and desensitized viewer to shit their pants. Handrail-wise, he continues the concept that Toy Machine have pioneered since day one: simple but ridiculous. The Albuquerque ripper also boasts a monster nollie/switch heelflip and some bonkers 360 variations that when combined with torn jeans and hands-down style make him a perfect addition to the Machine. Oh and if you hadn’t already, the last 50-50 WILL cause your bowels to do deeply unpleasant things to your underwear… so go sit on a toilet or something the first time you watch this. Oh, and there’s already been at least four speech bubble jokes put in by Templeton. Did you catch them all? Go and watch it again as there will be a pop quiz at the end of this review to ensure you’ve been paying attention (protip: there won’t be, but watch again anyway – go on, get amongst it).

Johnny Layton is up next and it’s a real pleasure to see him extend his trick selection, no matter how awesome street grabs are for those that have been initiated. Expect off-key manouevres from the Long Beach advocate, notably a no-comply bigspin heel and probably more fliptricks than you might expect. Solid section from a true powerhouse. Johnny has mad pop and a frontside flip that’s up there with someone who puts the captial B in The Boss. Then we move from powerhouse to powerstache, as the video makes a smooth transition to the oddball power moves of one Billy Marks. Billy continues to baffle me how his ankles and shins have survived such bait flippery but whatever, I dig it. These two sections also contain the funniest captions so far… which reminds me, have you been paying attention to them? You goddamn better have.

Jordan Taylor has only been out of the flowtrash regiments from a year, but has earned his bloodsucking stripes with quirky quick-footed moves and an interesting approach (that 180 to switch slanted hubba ride is an absolute percy, and don’t get me started on that positively insane lipslide at 3rd and army). He’s someone to keep your eyes on for sure. Austin Stephens is another one I’m sure many of you have kept your eyes on, and the general consensus online is suggesting that his short, sweet, style-heavy parts are rich in marmite texture. Now, I’m the sort of person who actually drinks marmite on the regular, so unsurprisingly I enjoy watching Austin skate… but it’s understandable to see why people are disappointed with this. Since This Is Skateboarding he hasn’t shown any sign of progression but when so many of video watchers are blind and desensitized to progression then why should he strive to satisfy those that forget a section less than an hour after watching it? You cannot argue that Austin Stephens isn’t taking what he wants from skateboarding and giving back something that’s unmistakably his own… and I cannot hate on that one bit.

The extended team montage continues to be worthy of replay as The Butcher takes his feet-on tricks to the next level. Front smith 360 ollie out anyone? Right, so something marvellous has happened this year as more skateboarders than ever are landing stuff I frequently chose to perform in the escapist world video games permitted only five years ago. To see it happen without the addition of slomo and done like it’s nowt is quite the head scratcher. Ed Templeton straight up needs to skate more. He’s still killing it and all legacy aside, those three tricks stood out as some of the best in the montage so get that down yer. Josh Harmony takes his established style up a notch to carry on the montage. I’ve always been a fan of Harmony, particularly how he always skates the most awkward looking rails and ledges while landing stuff as though his arms are erratically paranoid of gravity. Finally we return our gaze to Nick Trapasso, who has come a long way since his breakout part in Suffer The Joy. He still sleepwalks through grinds and is one of the most nonchalant skaters out there right now. His conclusive 50-50 to ‘deal with it’ rollaway will silence even the most stubbornly contrary critics.

Although Collin Provost’s name signifies a return to the full section format, the flow is still that of an extended montage. All this means is that the excitement levels never once drop below AWESOME – a perfect response to the ‘tage era; editors take note. His part in Stay Gold is very much still hot and fresh out the kitchen but here he is serving up piping hot seconds that I’m sure you too are more than willing to get your lips around. Unsurprisingly, it’s another banger; filled to the brim with long lines, sketchy landings and walliebombs as plenty of rough street spots and man-made non-skatepark transitions alike get a thorough seeing to by another ATV to keep your eyes on. Something the filmer takes literally in the last shot, which lingers long enough for the viewer to see Provost overtake and cut-up a fucking bus during a hillbomb rollout. Amazing. A-ma-zing.

For reasons I’m not overly sure of, I’ve always considered Matt Bennett to be a comprehensive personification of all that is Toy Machine. Leftfield trick selection, an uneasy imperfect style, swampy hair and general overpowering radness. This section is a further testament to my uncertain argument and another solid 2-3 minutes of pure Toy Machine goodness. I’m stunned that he’s only just entered the world of professional skateboarding but better late than never I suppose. Have polejams up and down handrails become a trend yet? They will.

So who can play out this mixtape of sketchy, imperfect, balls out and positively pure skateboarding greatness? None other than one of the year’s absolute best of the best, the accomplished Leo Romero. If you hadn’t caught his section in Stay Gold yet then hand in your notice to the landlord of your rock and move the fuck out. Though many would be satisfied with a part as groundbreaking as that, here we see Leo shut down Brainwash with a manic push leading up to one jaw-dropper after the next. Leo has created a style of skating so impossible to imitate that all we can do is sit and watch, but when it’s this good, who cares? If P-Rod’s technical perfection depicted progress to the extreme in that direction then Leo isn’t so much the Anti-P-Rod but a very different reason to be stoked on where skateboarding is going, which, whatever direction you look in, is somewhere awesome.

Stanley

Out of the many Brainwash teasers that kept Toy Machines online omnipresence on godly levels it was Daniel Lutheran’s recent welcome clip that got us the most hyped. Enjoy… Now go buy Brainwash. This was a triumph.

Transworld – Hallelujah

Whatever stance you have towards the somewhat conservative nature of Transworld videos (the unchanging opening montage – some sections – friend montage – some more sections) you cannot knock them for their as yet unparalleled consistency. Every nine months you can expect your local SOS to stock a DVD featuring five or six skaters with what’s likely to be the best footage they put out all year. The selection is spot on too: the last section will almost always go to someone who is killing it harder than anyone at the time of print (Torey Pudwill in Hallelujah, Sean Malto in And Now, Dylan Rieder in A Time To Shine, Heath Kirchart in Sight Unseen), the first section will often go to someone young, fresh faced and hot off the back of an already banging year cementing their style (Tyler Bledsoe here, Baby Lamb in And Now, Kellen James in Right Foot Forward) and the rest will do much more than just fill in the gaps. New names will be broken and slept-on heads will wake people up.

Chris Ray and Jon Holland are simply incapable of filming anything below a high standard. Sure, the editing may not be god tier anymore,  but it’s the highest shelf below it. Hallelujah is the latest release and offers what is likely to be considered the best line-up in almost ten years. I’m sure that was said about the last one, but consider how sought after Tyler Bledsoe footage is after Mindfield, try to imagine how many Slap lurkers will be exceptionally hyperbolic at a new Pete Eldrige section (for good reason) and just think what another closing section from T-Puds could be filled with. A TWS production is guaranteed skateboarding excellence and that’s exactly what Hallelujah is.

This year’s unique-selling-point for the intro is a camera somehow attached onto the underside of the deck providing a dizzying perspective of what an insect would see if it were hanging out on your baseplate. It works, and doesn’t subtract anything from the finished product like intros often have the tendency to do. However, it will be swiftly forgotten upon watching Tyler Bledsoe’s section. Right, how to describe this section… OK! So some of you may be aware of genre of electronic music called IDM – for those who don’t know it’s the acronym for what idiots sometimes use to describe ‘Intelligent Dance Music’, a term that Aphex Twin, his own music regularly described as IDM, has dismissed as total pony. The way Bledsoe skates reminds me of the precision and technical production of an IDM record (having Modeselektor for his Mind Field music was perfect context) but with an inexplicably human feel. His tricks and ledge combos are unthinkable but at the same time they are neither robotic nor cringey. Tyler is one of my favourite skaters to watch, and this section only cemented that; prepare to be introduced to an entirely different but very natural perspective of skating.

Taylor Bingaman is the name that many of you might not have heard of. But if this is a section to wake people up then it does so more effectively than both the terrible brostep business that’s polluting student nights everywhere and that fucking awful alarm tone on my blackberry that goes off every morning because I cannot be bothered to change it. Bingaman has a surname so awesome that it deserves to be mentioned again  and kills it on any terrain you can imagine. The section starts a little handrail heavy (which is arguably a change in the 8” ledge, bankle-ridden climate) and then escalates into an ATV assault on concrete parks complete with a backside noseblunt screecher and a mammoth oververt 5-0 grab in. He deserves your attention for that last trick alone but this is a pretty spectacular section even in the ridiculous standard of 2010.

Pete Eldrige is the kind of guy who will be described as a ‘skater’s-skater’, a phrase as redundant as it is impossibly stupid. Pete Eldrige is rad to watch and is just a skater doing his own thing, he’s not out to please those that so often arrogantly describe themselves as a ‘proper’ skater, but is out there getting footage and making me stoked. He choice of trick and spot is easy to relate to, but the way in which it’s executed makes him a very special watch. Comparatively  ‘easy’ tricks are done on the gnarliest spots and ‘mess-around’ spots fall victim to absurd trickery. This section is just one big massive treat for fans of the east-coast machine who isn’t at all afraid to rock it to Rick Ross.

Next is the famous Friends montage that TWS not only made popular but continue to make the best in a trend that can only get bigger. Why shouldn’t it? Skating with friends is the whole point of skating, and if they rip then get them in. But above all that, keep this in mind, Ben Hatchell will make your head explode. That’s all.

We’re approaching the EPICLASTPART now so I’m sure you’re expecting something a little progressive. Leave it to Ryan Decenzo of the unstoppable Decenzo clan to flip open your head with stuff you wouldn’t have imagined doing in THSP8 and stuff that wasn’t even possible in THSP1. Give this one a few rewatches to fully comprehend what on earth is going on beneath this kid’s feet. There’s plenty of gnar to keep the heshers gonna hesh crew satisfied too, including and lipslide on a rollercoaster track shaped hubba ledge and a switch 180 down the gap Reynolds kickflips in Stay Gold. Oh, spoilers!

Torey Pudwill tends to polarize opinion because apparently wavey arms are enough to make people hate on a backlip kickflip backlip. Sure, sometimes it does look like he’s giving himself a Mexican wave after landing certain tricks, but I think it makes each mindfuck manoeuvre look even more rad. The way he stamps his deck down when flipping out of any goddamn slide he wants to do makes you wonder if his skateboard called his mother a fat bitch. This is about as epic as a TWSEPICLASTPART can get, that just typing about it is causing the memory of what can only be described as the greatest backside smith grind ever performed to take over this word document and make any further commentary impossible. Seek this one out.

Bellend Sebastian

The Gnargore Interview

Interview: James Brewer
Photography: Tim Borrow

Gnargore was started in 2002 by three skaters from the West Midlands. All three were doing as young skaters do and started a local crew. Yet somehow, in its eight years of existence, Gnargore has turned into something much more, and now appear as a representation of the West Midlands scene. Not just a group of skaters that make a video and flog them to ‘Timmy Turnstains’ down the local park, they have become a powerhouse for producing them, with their fifth in the last six years just being released! Not only that but working with local skate shops Ideal and Spine they have come together to organise great events over the years that has really benefited the scene. For all the jip Gnargore get, there’s no denying that there a good thing to have in a scene that finds itself struggling at times. So here’s a little insight to the warped mind of Gnargore ‘founder’ Tom Gillespie and life seen through the eyes of Gnargore.

So first up explain what is Gnargore?

Gnargore is a crew of nobodies that you shouldn’t really of heard of. And if you hadn’t, good. We’re just some mates with with camera, who can’t skateboard very well but don’t give a shit. But we have a lot of fun being shit.

The crews been productive for eight years now, what’s different now to when it first began?

Nothing! Other than producing videos that the shops actually want to stock. Sale or return, you know how we do. Spine actually sold out, so thanks to Chris for that!

In your eight years or skateboard domination, there’s been more internet controversy associated with Gnargore than there was with 2 girls 1 cup. How did that happen and how do you feel about it now?

I think I was a bit keen in trying to promote the first video and got on peoples nerves on the Sidewalk Forum. Now I know they’re all ‘cunts’ so I don’t care. Apart from Steve75. But especially Gawkrodger

Dan Jordan – Treeride

You’re well known for producing mini-edits regularly on the website. How easy is it making these, do feel any pressure from your audience, seeing as this is pretty much the only representation the West Midlands scene seems to get?

The mini-edits are pretty much the stuff that are too shit to be in a Gnargore video. The shittest of the shit. Like drunk dudes and parodies of other internet videos. Epicly Hater’d being a good example of this…

You’ve just released your fifth video in six years, which most will agree is more than impressive. Has this always been the plan, and how has it been filming them?

Five videos is more than enough for anyone. It’s just really a way of documenting a scene with me and my friends. We used to film it on a shit DV camera with a fisheye meant for an SLR camera gaffer taped on. Now I’ve got a proper camera so the production quality has gone up, but the skateboarding hasn’t, hahaha…

You premiered the video at The Mixing Bowl cinema at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. How did that go?

It went really well, better than I expected. The disc worked for a start which was great! I had a lot of trouble burning them all myself and trying to get them to work.. The menu screen kept crashing my computer, so in the end I sacked the lot of it off! I sold all the DVDs I’d made to people and shops and got rid of the twenty-five Wizard Council t-shirt’s too. Wig and I ended up on the radio talking about it!

Joel Taylor – Crook

And how was the response to the video?

Really good. Everyone liked it who saw it on the day! I’ve had people come up to me saying how hyped they were off it too. It was pretty rowdy in the cinema. Everyone had brought beers so there was lots of cheering and shouting!

A Third Foot, Fallen, Witchcraft, Krew and Supra all sponsored the event and we held a raffle to give away the prizes. They were all really generous with the product they sent through, so most people left with something! The ramp jam afterwards kicked off too! Everyone was going all out to win the A Third Foot board. Ryan ended up winning via a vote!

Something that stands out for myself is that the video came across a lot cleaner and with more of a direction than the other video’s you made. Is it true practice makes perfect or was it all an lucky accident?!

Before I edited Wizard Council I looked back on the other Gnargore videos and came to the conclusion there was no particular theme holding them together.

For Wizard Council I wanted to make sure all the parts fitted together coherently. That’s why there’s no titles or names in the video and the gaps between sections are really small. Also, there’s no bullshit in this video. No arty montages or shots. The only non-skate stuff really is some bro shots and some high 5’s as I wanted to keep the feel of how tight the Gnargore crew is.

With this DVD you’ve offered a free zine with artwork from people involved in the project. What pushed you to do this? It’s definately something I have never seen with a scene video before…

It just kind of happened! Me and the other lads have always talked of grand schemes and ideas when we’ve had a beer or two! But this time it really just kind of happened. Wig’s girlfriend Aimee works at the Birmingham University in the Print Department, so she has access to all the screen printing machines. Wig, Dan and some of the other Gnargore boys are talented artists and got together to do some drawings for a zine! It ended up being an 8-page booklet that when unfolded turns into an A3 poster. I was a bit worried the video was shit and wanted to give people value for their money, so the zine was a way of giving that to people! It was also really fun to get stuck in and print. A massive shout out to Aimee for all her help. Without her it wouldn’t have been possible.

Wig Smith – Indy Nosebone

You’ve got rather an eclectic group of skaters in the crew… How does the Gnargore program come to pick up new people? Is it a picky process or can anybody be in?

Nah, you’ve gotta be able to handle Dan Jordan and Tom Hinton torturing you. Hanging out and bro’ing down. It’s not a case of being good at skateboarding. It’s just about being a mate. Powerslides, going fast and a good bbq technique are a must to be on though. Double fisting beers is a requirement at all times as well. Early grabs needed, flips not necessary. Training provided. Apply within.

So who is Dan Jordan and where did the illustrious ‘Porno Denim’ nickname come from?

Dan is a human foghorn, and he is my friend. Porno Denim came from Ben Powell and Nicky Howells when they reviewed the last video for Sidewalk Mag. He’s a girl’s size 0 because he’s a vegan. He is the nicest prick you’d ever wish to meet.

You’re known for skating some rugged spots. Do you look for these on purpose to represent what your into?

There’s pretty much fuck all where we live since all the main meet up spots were shut down. This was right when most of us started skating. So we all pretty much started skating ‘non spots’ resulting in some people calling them ‘Gnargore’ spots. They would usually end up being a wallride or a curb to slappy. The dream being both at the same place. I guess it’s just a case of trying to make the most out of what you’ve got within your range on a Sunday afternoon.

So let’s give some of the Gnargorians their 15 minutes of fame. If I name them I’d like you to give a brief description of them…

Right: James Denning – Backside Flip

Tom Hinton – Tom emigrated to New Zealand with his family, but returned to the UK to go Uni. He’s done with his art degree in Worcester now, so I’m not sure exactly what he’s got planned for the future.. He’s a talented artist and had an exhibition at the Spine Gallery space recently. www.thomashinton.co.uk

Wig Smith – I’ve known Wig for years. He was in an older group of skaters from my hometown that I kind of looked up to when I first started. He’s the last one of that group still rollin’, and we’ve been skating together since back in the day. Wig’s got an enormous book and CD collection thanks to him working at HMV and getting hella discount!

Daniel Jordan – We’ve already touched on the porno denim persona about Dan. He’s also a talented artist, and is working hard on his graphic design work for bands, like logos and thirst and stuff. He won some award for the National Trust at Uni. Kid’s got skills!

Arran Burrows – Arran was the super annoying kid at school in my year, and he happened to be in my form! I’ve been skating with him the longest of everyone. I remember one day when he turned up for school in some Osiris D3s and we all freaked out that he had what we thought were the best skate shoes of all time on… how times change! A couple of years ago he put himself into a coma and nearly died after falling off his board onto his head whilst skitching on a car at the train station. I was really scared for a while that I would lose someone I’d been so close to for so long (no homo). Luckily he pulled through, and can move all his limbs and talk. For a while after he couldn’t! He’s super into his cars at the moment, and has a flash Mazda that he burns out and wheel spins at every opportunity!

James Jones – James is the man of mystery. He is super quiet until you get a few drinks downhim. He’s also got a million nicknames including Nudge, Nudgey, J-Rock, JJ, Jellington etc he used to roll with the Bromsgrove crew, but he moved to Halesowen with his family, and the bus route between the two towns sucks so he hopped crews and chills with us!

Ryan Price – Ryan a.k.a Clever is the raddest kid ever. When I first met him he was about 13 at Perdiswell bowl. he came up to me and was telling me all about his new setup. Most kids at 13 get Grind King trucks or some crap, but he had full-on 149 Indys and an 8.25 Creature pool shape board!

Below: Joel Taylor – Pop Shove

Harrison Thom – Harrison is another artistically talented member of the ‘Gore. He’s off to Uni in September to do Fashion. He’ll whip you up a dress no worries if you want! He’s Scottish so it’s easy to make fun of him. His boot doesn’t work on his car so you have to access the boards in the back via the back seat.

James Denning – AKA Creepy Den because he bought a young girl some crayons in an attempt to flex her! Den has the same camera as me and has been a real help filming double angles or filming stuff when I’m not around. He’s also working on a local scene video called “Shropside”, focusing on the skaters he knows from the Shropshire and Hereford areas.

Joel Taylor – Joel started wearing full on pajama bottoms out skating last year. I’m not really sure why! He want through a bit of a punk phase too. He’s off at University in Aberystwyth, and filmed his entire part about 6 months ago. He really went off on one in the last month before he left. That’s when he did his ender, which is pretty dreamtime.

Tom Carr – Race Carr is from up North and moved down to Worcester. He’s recently moved to Bristol. He’s one of the most stylish people I’ve ever seen on a skateboard. Even in videos!

And of course yourself – I’m Tom. I work at A Third Foot at the moment answering the phones, making the tea and fetching Ken’s lunch. Sometimes we work on some graphics too! It’s a dream come true to work for those guys. I’ve been buying their boards for years before I even knew where the factory was.

With there being a lot of skate companies starting off as ‘crews’ such as yourself do you ever find it tempting to branch this into something more than it is already and start it up as a board company?

I’ve always dreamed of starting a skateboard company and taking over the world, but I feel the market is over saturated at the moment. All these local/small skate companies that open up and do a short run and sell them out their cars at the skatepark are just depriving the more established companies and skate shops who support the scene of valuable board sales. I don’t have anything against people who stump up a grand to get a short run produced and flog ’em, after all everyone has to start somewhere, it’s just not for me.

How would you compare the West Midlands scene to other scene’s in the UK?

It’s hard to say about other scenes, because I don’t really “know” any other scene apart from my own. The West Mids scene is really friendly. I think it helps to not have any skate media industry around here.. There’s not really any sense of competition between different groups, or at least any I’ve experienced. Everyone gets on really well and helps each other at.

Obviously there’s been a lot of scene videos coming out across the UK in the last few years. What would say separates you from them?

I think the Gnargore videos have always been in their nature about raw quirky street skating. It’s pretty no nonsense too. I’m just gonna throw it out there. I can’t stand all this slow-mo, HD camera, dolly rig, city scape time lapse, soft music bullshit. It’s skateboarding, not a car advert! Give me a Thrasher video any day.

A few years back I remember you nearly got hustled by Stevie Williams over some footage you’d filmed of Lenny Rivas, do you care to go into that?

DGK and Reebok did a demo at Creation (Formerly Epic) Skatepark in Birmingham. I was there with my camera and filmed a couple things. When the session was over they wanted to go see some street spots, so we took them up in to town. We ended up at the Smiths rails. I filmed a couple tricks of Lenny on the rail. Stevie came up to me afterwards and offered to buy the footage off me when they got back to the States. I just said he could have the tape out my camera and so he offered to give me some boards in exchange for it. When we got back to their tour vans, the one with the boards and the rest of the team had already left the city. All they had in the van that was there was these massive RBK shoes! I didn’t want to be a dick to him and refuse the shoes so I just took ’em. Suffice to say I didn’t skate in them and just gave them away!

Harrison Thom –  Crailslide

And when is the Gnargore/DGK collabo coming out?

Didn’t you see?! They’ve already “dropped” on Hypebeast last week!

Not only yourself but a couple of the members through the crew have organised events at local parks etc. What motivates you guys to do this?

I guess it’s because there’s no one else out there doing it for us. There aren’t really many tours/events that come through the West Mids for whatever reason, so we just put them on ourselves. I can’t really speak for other people, but I assume they do it for similar reasons. More people should put events on. It’s not hard. A couple of emails to the right people will blag you the prizes. Then you just need a Facebook Group and a thread on the forum and you’re sorted for promotion. D.I.Y!

Is there any inspirations that you think are used when making Gnargore videos?

At first I used to watch videos and study how the tricks were being filmed. Like how many steps down from the top the filmer was on a set of stairs for instance. Sometimes if there was a double angle you could see how the filmer with the fisheye moved to capture the trick. I’m not down for the whole over the top fisheye movement some people are doing! I really liked the way the new Blueprint video was put together. Enough non-skate bits so you got the vibe of the company, but overall it was raw street skating with a great soundtrack. In the past videos, I pretty much let the guys pick their own section music within reason. Arran was trying to convince me to let him have the Hulk Hogan intro music for a while but I couldn’t handle it! For this video I set out with an overall feel I wanted to get across. Grimey, gritty and raw. These values were reflected in the soundtrack too. Dan Jordan helped out a lot with this area.

So what’s in store for Gnargore now ‘Wizard Council’ is done and dusted?

I’m going to take a vacation from filming for a little bit I think and just take it easy. It’s really hard work editing the video and very stressful putting everything together. Maybe around the end of Summer I’ll have a word with the lads and see what they want to do. A few of the guys are off to Uni so it’d be a smaller and/or slightly different crew if there will be another Gnargore production..

And finally is there anybody you’d like to thank?!

Kris, Zippy and Bob at Ideal for giving all an awesome ramp to go to when it rains and for helping us out with the cinema space for the premiere; Fallen, Witchcraft and A Third Foot for sponsoring the premiere; Ken, Joel and Steve at ATF; Ben Powell for being kind enough to review our videos; The Sidewalk Forum geeks, all the locals, anyone who’s taken us to a spot or shown us around their hometown, Wetherspoons, Zac at Crossfire, and to you for reading this crap for so long!

Gnargore’s latest video ‘Wizard Council‘ is out now and available from Ideal Skateshop and from their website. For more inflammation check www.gnargore.co.uk and to have a further glimpse into the Gnargore world check out the video below. Metal.

Element – Get Busy Living

In the past year Element have gone from strength to strength; the online release of Trio gave skateboarders an unexpected tour de rad from three of their most ‘proper’ skateboarders. That is to say that none of them have ever had to politic-tac their way out of a bad reputation for their activities outside of skateboarding. Why this was unexpected didn’t surprise me too much, even if Element have consistently provided skateboarders with excellent hard goods and above average videos it’s always cool to turn your nose up on the big guys. But for people to still be surprised when the Europe-based Get Busy Living exploded on the web (for free, again) that Element were capable of something so worthy of reaching for that rewind button (or for our generation, awkwardly finding the exact spot on the timeline of the stream and failing but not complaining because the whole section was bonkers), is beyond me.

Let’s just look at the roster for the Euro team: Michael Mackrodt, Janne Saario, Ross McGouran, Marcus Apes, Pirkka Pollari – all are names associated with very good things, maybe one or two funny looking hats but nothing more. The hype machine for this video should have, theoretically, exploded into a cataclysmic fireball throwing shards of excitement into everyone. Hopefully, with this and Trio combined, everyone can expect more gems like this in the future – these were both free, don’t forget.

Talking about what’s in the video itself is essentially redundant given the obviously amazing content, whatever I say is guaranteed to be filled with hive mind commentary. The skating is otherworldly. Marcus doesn’t hesitate to make heads explode with one particular 5-0 grind that’s probably better than any other. His ender is a bed-shitter too so watch out. Phil Zwijsen does some late shoves and fullpipe airwalks to a heft cover of Prodigy’s Fuel My Fire. Ross McGouran has more board control than more or less everyone in the continent. Pirkka has a disgustingly good section, Janne Saario’s first trick (or line on two wheels) is impossible even in video games and Mackrodt dances on ledges and skates mammoth spots. And to close, Guillaume Mocquin get’s hesh and if that isn’t proper then I don’t know what is. The gap to backlip aint nothing to fuck with.

Basically, it’s one of the sickest videos (not online video, not DVD but all encompassing video) to drop in a very long time and that’s exactly what everyone else who’s seen it is saying. The filming is perfectly framed, and HD looks so encouragingly awesome when it’s not subject to an editor who’s a little too liberal with the slow-motion. The colours, man, everything looks sublime.

You can watch the video online, in HD for free below. Let’s shut the door on politics and welcome radness with open arms.

Stanley

Element Skateboads Europe – Get Busy Living from ELEMENT SKATEBOARDS on Vimeo.

10,000 Kilometers

Skate documentaries are – sadly – regularly overshadowed by the films that treat skateboarders as though they couldn’t begin to comprehend something as bold as a narrative. I’ve always been encouraging of skate flicks to have a little more talking and some more creative substance; despite the medium being able to stay afloat without them (I know when I was younger I was the sort to pick up magazines and just look at the pictures, I’m sure I wasn’t alone). Because when this is pulled off right (see Hot Chocolate or Under Wraps) they can reign among the best videos you’ve ever seen. Patrik Wallner’s visual journal of his trans-Siberian trip into some of the world’s most unique spots skated by some of the world’s most unique skaters not only achieves this, but its one of the best.

Running at 46 minutes, the film positions us first in Moscow, then proceeds to follow the troupe all the way to Hong Kong and not once does it tempt your attention to waver from it. The balance between commentary and pure skateboarding is perfect, and it’s not as if the stories are something every skater can’t relate to; it’s a film about getting out there and trying some new things after all. And it doesn’t exaggerate of romanticise anything like some sort of Wes Anderson film, even though the soundtrack isn’t far off one (no complaints, it’s perfect). This is fully gritty-gritty, you can feel every bump, the visuals themselves carry a sort of humidty, it’s rad.

The skateboarding alone is on a mesmerising tip, in which John Tanner really shines (his LINE on the Great Wall Of China is unfuckwithable), Michael Mackrodt kills it and Dan Cates does his thing on sketchy spots that no one else would dare touch. There are some slept-on skaters in there too; Stas Provotorov, Laurence Keefe, Lesha Naimushin, Danny Hochman and Dan Zvereff should cause a lot of you to start following them on their proverbial real-life Twitter account. Oh and Kenny Reed is in there, did you really doubt that a video that drifts through the barren landscapes of Mongolia and other washing-line riddled spots wouldn’t have his name written all over it? He steps in late and despite being plagued by illness and tropical injury he does the stuff he can do and no one else can. Big, stylish fakie tricks to introduce gliding lines; Kenny is one of my all-time favourite skaters to watch.

At certain moments, the documentary does what all documentaries try and rarely succeed in doing, prescribe the viewer with the feelings and emotions of those being documented. During the standing-class and sleeping-bus segments I felt crippled by claustrophobia. There is a strong sense of involvement in the group we’re following and the filmmaker should be applauded for this triumph, so don’t hesistate to pick this one up. It’s interesting, it’s full of spots you’ve never seen before, it’s great fun and it’s super sick.

Stanley

www.visualtraveling.com

Monster Network – In Between Days

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

Stanley

Enjoy these offcuts…

Unused footage In Between Days from Monster Network on Vimeo.

Blueprint – Make Friends With The Colour Blue

If there was one thing that was unanimous in people’s expectations of the new Blueprint video was that this was not going to be simply Lost and Found 2. For some, this was the skate video equivalent of being dumped for a shitty reason, ‘you haven’t changed, but I have, sorry’ and of course would react in a similarly immature fashion. Yes, Lost and Found has proven itself to be a timeless watch and a quantum leap forward for the standards of both production and skating. Almost instantly, the high standards became disseminated throughout British productions and naturally, we turn our attention to Shier, Mr. Magee and their merry gang for that next jump. And you won’t be disappointed, unless you were hoping for LAF2, but then that wouldn’t be progression at all, would it?

Perpetual rain aside, things are immediately different; Magee as usual ignores the usual conventions of skate videos and throws the only, but not lonely ‘our mate’ section before the intro. Dave Mackey delivers a blink-and-miss-it minute of high-speed excellence, wallriding through your town like your neighbourhood spiderman. Before you can catch your breath again, the feature presentation begins with a tremendous cinematic introduction of the idiosyncratic Blueprint team. Eat up all the lovely esoteric references to the Birdhouse In Your Soul video and let the new generation Blueprint warm your life up. With some more global newcomers, t’print’s branding of the ‘cup of tea video’ is now replaced by a cup of whatever-the-fuck-you-like video. Rule Britannia is out of bounds, mate.

With no more interludes ahead (a winning decision too. How often do you get a 50 minute skate flick with uninterrupted skating?) Colin Kennedy gets the ball rolling with a stomping section of power, style and the best feeble grind you will have ever seen, no hyperbole. The music choices again are simply too perfect. It’s one thing finding a song that fits with a skater’s style and hoping that will carry it along, but here we have songs that infiltrate your mind, successfully re-contextualising each track as if it were written for that part. Paul Shier‘s trick selection and quick-footed style is a radical departure from Kennedy’s slow burning power moves but sharing that Procul Harum track simply works. And furthermore, this could be the best part from the trans-atlantic gent yet. Enders!

Back in Europe, Sylvain Tognelli proves himself to be a worthy addition to the team with a mixed bag of tricks and some very interesting lines. Danny Brady has sharpened his unique approach and crazy knees and serves up some amazing shit on some of the worst spots you can imagine. Not worst meaning worst but worst meaning best; Wave Of Mutilation has never sounded so great. This is followed swiftly by Marty Murawski who cements his reputation as an instant classic. No one skates like this guy, and no one could get away with trying to either. The same could be said with Tuukka Korhonen, who shares Marty’s section. His trick selection immediately makes him someone who is destined to be underrated, and this is a shame because Tuukka consistently kills it with finesse. Make friends with both of them.

Chewy Cannon maintains the pace from his incredible Diagonal section and doesn’t disappoint one bit – I challenge your jaw not to drop on that 5-0 grind. Once it does, don’t expect it to shut any time during the next section. Kevin Coakley, what the fuck? This is a serious competitor for my favourite section of the year, and let us not forget that this is 2010, where everyone skates with jokeshop skills and I would shell out three bucks for all of them. Coakley skates like he should have been in Lost and Found even though what he’s skating certainly wouldn’t have. If MFWTCB is Blueprint’s friend request to America then Coakley is the mutual friend that will make them choose not to ignore it. There’s no way you can hate on this. Proper spots, proper skating. Get some.

Jerome Campbell impressed me a lot. Not that I wasn’t expecting super style and quirky pop-outs, but this is a BIG section. He has the best arms in skateboarding, I’ll leave it at that. Neil Smith attacks everything and anything relentlessly; from the traditional Essex boy backflip off the swing to shutting down the hubba atop Southbank that was really open exclusively for him anyway, this section is a monster. The endgame is in sight and try not to jam to this track. Nick Jensen pokes his head in before the closer and chills his way through one of my favourite Portishead tracks. The section is typical of someone who’s well and truly blown minds recently and is now taking a well-earned smoke break, but it’s a real pleasure and one of the highlights for sure.

To conclude this mammoth piece of five years work well done, who else? Mark Baines earned this having pushed the envelope of British skateboarding for his entire career. Oddball moves, crazy style: Baines is that off-coloured U in the word colour that makes it that little more special. Sure, Blueprint have confirmed themselves as a global force, but this video achieves something more than being just a really, really good skate flick: It argues that it’s not where you’re from, nor where you’re at, but where you’re going, where you’ve been and all that bonkers shit you take with you. Ten out of ten. God Save/Bless T’Print.

Stanley