A visit to Banksy’s Dismaland with Sleaford Mods

Words: Steve Cotton from Art of the State and Zac
Photos: Nice ones by Steve, shit phone snaps by Zac

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The hype on Banksy’s latest art project Dismaland became justified before we even managed to get through security. The woman’s smile in front of us was deemed to be too wide so she was sent to face the wall until the happiness drained enough for entry. “Who are you here with?!”, the security woman demanded, looking at my wristband. “Sleaford Mods”, I replied, trying not to smile as my pockets were frisked with a make shift cardboard bomb detector. “They’re shit”, she barked from her taut face and I was finally let through to the next check point – leaving the poor womans’ happiness, still draining against the wall.

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There was not a smile in sight on entry from the staff apart from the one on Steve Cotton’s face, owner of Art of the State, promoter of many infamous hardcore punk shows who has managed to get close to Banksy’s work for over a decade now. Luckily we were about to get an inside tour of Dismaland with someone in the know.

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Featuring work by more than 50 artists from 17 different nations Bristol’s finest street artist has assembled a mass of thought provoking, topical and challenging art at Dismaland. The exhibition occupies the site of the disused and derelict Tropicana Lido on the sea front in Weston Super Mare. Through a clever piece of deception, its existence was kept quiet right up to just a few days before the show by claiming that a film entitled ‘Grey Fox’ was going to be shot there. A perfect excuse to explain all the construction work and to have security stop prying eyes.

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One of the pieces that gave the game away was when Mike Ross’s Big Rig Jig piece loomed above the walls of the Tropicana. It’s an eye catching sculpture, born out of “reckless optimism”, that required a fairly hard to conceal crane to put it in place.

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Another colossal vehicle is this security forces truck from Northern Ireland repurposed as a fountain and with a a children’s slide sticking out the other side. It appears beached in the Lido pool which is full of weeds and worse. Definitely not a place for a dip.

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Dismaland installations often relate to animal themes. On the fairground carousel one of the horses has been hoisted by its hind legs while a slaughterhouse worker takes a break underneath from preparing lasagne – a clear reference to the horse meat scandal of recent years. Round the other side a marauding bunch of anarchists who seem to be part of the show jump on the ride waving banners whilst standing on the backs of their steeds.

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Near the back of the venue where the arched diving boards structure used to stand an orca whale jumps from the confines of a toilet through a hoop into an unfeasibly small paddling pool full of dark liquid. A personal view on these beautiful creatures being trapped performing tricks in pools that are microscopic in comparison to their natural habitats.

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Again from Banksy, is this over the top illustration of seagulls attacking humans. Seemingly referencing recent media stories about the “menace of seagulls” but taking it to extremes it also provides a photo opportunity for anyone who cares to sit on the bench. A miserable member of staff obviously reminds you not to get close to this savage pecking of human flesh.

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Animals aside, tonight is Friday, which means there’s more than just art to admire. With Portishead’s production master Geoff Barrow taking care of the artist invitations to play live, his inclusion of Sleaford Mods proved triumphant who played alongside The Pop Group and Savages on the back of a truck.

The Nottingham duo have moved from strength to strength over the last two years with their unique brutal attack on the greed that has seen this country fall apart at the seams and they were in no mood for apathy once again tonight. Stage right hung a huge billboard poster of David Cameron’s smug face holding a glass of wine, parading like a red rag for frontman Jason Williamson’s bullish outbursts. He ripped into Piglet (as he’s always named him) with a butchers knife throughout the set whilst the crowd bayed for more. Monday morning’s pig fucking scandal only made this part of their set more legit, as if the band knew that the Mail was about to drop a bomb on his reputation well in advance.

As red flare smoke filled the skies and the smell of skunk wafted around the crowd in Bisto-like trails, the Mods steamed through an hour-long assault. Williamson’s anger raged into the mic as Andrew Fearn stood smiling, nodding, double fisting two bottles of lager, admiring the carnage from his laptop. Dad dancing was encouraged throughout that aided at least five new tracks from their Key Markets album, barked out so aggressively that Williamson’s throat clearing job almost became part of the show.

You could not have picked a more fitting band to play this exhibition, they speak for so many people with belly laugh humour and shocking truths that none of today’s culture would dare to get involved in. In your face, savage punk rock, rapped, poetic and proud. Fucking exemplary too, get on it.

Of course this show is not all about Banksy (more from him later) – there are around 50 odd international artists who have either contributed work or are actively engaged on site during the show. Time for a whistle stop tour around some of the other works.

Nettie Wakefield was working on site producing portraits in pencil of the back of guests heads. This really gives her the opportunity to show off her stunning technique in capturing every last detail including the way the light falls on each strand.

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Wasted Rita from Portugal has a wall of her dark advice at the rear of the castle. The power of the simple written word.

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Dotted around the site are a series of yellow signs to make you think about the your stay in Dismaland.

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More direct thought provocation is provided in the form of these bus billboard take overs. A nearby stall provides instruction leaflets on how you can open these ubitiquous advert stands and place in your own posters. We were even given a demonstration of how to break in. A selection of special spanners were on offer, all made to fit the various corperate companies’ bolts that bring you the dogshit you don’t need in advertising form.

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Ben Long’s scaffolding pole horse dominated early pictures of the exhibition and it’s easy to see why. Now dwarfed by the nearby big wheel it has plenty of competitors for the most iconic image of the show.

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Vying for ‘best in show’ in its scale and detail is Jimmy Cauty’s (ex KLF member) simply breathtaking ‘Aftermath Displacement Principle’. 23 crates worth of riot torn city featuring around 3000 1/87th scale police officers all uniquely made from modified model railway workers. It’s an exhibit you can stare at for a very long time and still find something new. Can you find one of the royals making an official visit?

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Moving inside for a bit you enter what is essentially a gallery space but first you walk past illuminated display boards from Jenny Holzer and Banksy’s reaper bumper car installation. Every so often disco music pumps out, the lights come on and Death attempts to escape the confines of his electric prison by slamming into the edge of the arena all to no avail.

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Entering the main hall there’s a plethora of different style on show. Damien Hirst’s standout piece ‘The History Of Pain’ has a beach ball held constantly aloft over a bed of blades by the push from air being blown upwards. If it ever stops, the balloon will surely drop and burst.

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Some of the painting technique on show is exquisite. From a distance Lee Madgwick’s paintings of urban buildings in idyllic countryside settings look like photoshop creations. A closer inspection reveals their intricate detail.

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Paco Pomet’s Cookie Monster painting should win an award.

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The message within this bleeding trees painting also hits home with a jagged nail.

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Nearby is the embroidery of Severija Inciraauskaite-Kriauneviciene. Instead of being encased in wooden samplers, her cross stitched work has been punched into the bonnet for the threads to go through. Incredible detail.

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Banksy has an almost unnoticed piece near ground level, and to the left of it is his tribute to Russian graffiti artist P183.

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Outside again there are yet many more highlights to see. The Cruel bus has an exhibition showing how design is used to maintain power and control over us all whilst a large tent contains a mass of both beautifully painted and hurriedly scrawled protest banners and signs. Of particular note are the ones by Ed Hall who has a long history of providing trade union groups and others with memorable protest art and the much publicised anti Arms Fair posters that were found on the London Underground last week.

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There’s a wide variety of untypical fairground attractions with loaded outcomes – I tried my hand at both the duck pool (hook the duck from the muck) and Insect and Bast’s bling stand both to no avail, but it was still a lot of fun. Elsewhere there are rotating caravans, rickety big wheels and a children’s sand pit with a sandcastle so large that Dad’s on the nearby Weston beach will struggle to impress their kids in comparison.

Australian Dietrich’s Wegner’s mushroom cloud tree house dominates the central room capturing a moment of beauty borne out of destruction. In that cloud are the debris of peoples lives, the structures they lived in and everything they held dear to them.

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Then you have the finely detailed tattooed ladies by Jessica Harrison. So tiny you need to get up close to take in every single one.

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For me the most haunting exhibit from the exhibition was the boating lake. Looking like it’s set in front of the white cliffs of Dover, you put your pound in the slot and take control of either a boat full of “migrants”, as the Daily Mail like to call them, or a patrol boat. In the water, bodies float by conveying the deadly serious plight of those still breathing on board the boats.

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On the wall of the lido buildings down the left hand side is this ingenious painting of a woman taking a shower while a boy peeps in. Is the other boy on look out duty or is he still more interested in his childhood toys? Either way he is not joining in on the other’s curiosity.

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Of course everyone wants to go into the Castle and here Banksy has a surprise in store. If you are asked to have your photo taken do as instructed and look to the right. Maybe even crouch a little and pretend to take a photo while doing so – you’ll understand why when you exit this scene of a princess in a coach crash being photographed by paparazzi, an obvious reference to the death of Princess Diana.

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Despite the length of this post there is still much more to see in this place, including Banksy’s take on the Little Mermaid.

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Oh and of course, knowing this is hosted in Weston Super Mare, the nightly burning of Jeffrey Archer’s novels is a popular team sport.

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Fireworks, thought-provoking imagery and very talented artists aside, Banksy’s bemusement concept for Dismaland is a truly unique experience, there to remind us of the trappings of a capitalistic and brutal world that unfortunately most people voted for. You have one week left to make it down there and get some for yourself, plan nothing else.

Note that This Friday’s final show with Leftfield, Pussy Riot, Kate Tempest, De La Soul
and DJ Premier (not Massive Attack as they have had to cancel unfortunately) has a dress code. Due to the amount of paparazzi staking out the park in recent weeks Banksy has requested people come masked-up so he can attend the event without being photographed.

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Vans Propeller London premiere

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Let’s kick this off by saying that the hype surrounding this film before it aired at the Prince Charles cinema in London was completely justified. It’s an incredible production that has zero filler and parts that will leave your jaw on the floor. Greg Hunt obviously worked his socks off to get this completed at the highest level and left no stones unturned. It’s so damn good that it feels like everyone has the ender.

At the world premiere, Geoff Rowley mentioned that Propeller “is a raw video, like one you grew up with” and he’s spot on. Doused in fast moving rock n’roll, each section is peppered with incredible skateboarding, packing gnar and tech from a crew who broke bones to make it special. Let’s hope that those skaters who grow up with Propeller see full length production as the norm, and bring back the full length as a priority over web clips in the future. It’s night’s like these where you wished the internet never existed.

The premiere itself was packed to the gills and over subscribed with people who had travelled from all over the UK. There were no seats for us, so we were asked to watch it upstairs where we joined Sidewalk’s Horse, Henry from Grey Mag and about 10 others and watched it with a Rob Smith introduction instead of the full cast. I’m sure the atmosphere downstairs was electric though, as each part just takes the piss. No spoilers of course as you will have to downnload it and watch it on iTunes on May 5th when it drops worldwide, but it’s a ridiculously impressive skateboard video and one to keep.

Plenty of booze was consumed at the House of Vans afterwards, where Steve Van Doren made burgers for everyone and was joined by Lutheran, Zorilla, Hunt, Rowley, Trujillo and more of the pro team. At 1am, Steve Caballero and Christian Hosoi decided it was time for a bowl sesh. Enjoy this drunk cam footage and snaps from the phone. Go get Propeller as soon as you can.

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Haroshi: Pain exhibition, StolenSpace, London

Photos: © Zac Crossfire. Contact us for permission to use them elsewhere.

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As skateboarders we all know that we have to pay to play. From an early age of pushing down the street, hopping off curbs and learning how to ollie, Pain is something that we universally understand as an end result of wrong doing. Japanese artist Haroshi has shipped his own pain to London this week, showcasing his personal affliction and questioning what pain is within a stunning selection of new exhibition pieces featured exclusively at the StolenSpace gallery in East London.

Haroshi’s trademark art recycles skateboard decks in intricate form. Each sculpture is made from tiny mosaic pieces of deck ply that are cut with a Japanese carving knife, glued together and heavily polished to form exquisite end products. Some take a few weeks to complete, others take up to 4 months depending on the various concaves needed to perfect each structure, but once they are prepped, the artist inserts a piece of metal inside each object to give them a distinct sense of life acting as a soul, only visible via x-rays.

His self-taught ways of cutting old decks into incredible art pieces have handed him worldwide recognition over the last decade. His incredible workmanship has attracted collectors worldwide who exchange thousands of dollars to own his work and by the time we had arrived to this show on Saturday, only one remaining sculpture awaited a lucky new owner.

From the smaller broken finger pieces to the monstrous A Vulture Waits For The Dead montage at the head of the gallery, seeing ‘Pain’ in the flesh is simply mind blowing and highly recommended. This gallery feature is for the many skaters around the UK that are unable to travel to London to see this exhibition for themselves. If you are nearby, witness it for yourself before the show ends on the 3rd November at StolenSpace gallery on 17 Osborn Street, London, E1 6TD.

Get down there and take this in, you will not regret it.

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Save Southbank Weekend

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The bank holiday weekend of May 2013 will always be remembered as Save Southbank’s due to the phenomenal effort involved to keep the flame alive. This came from locals who worked tirelessly to organise the event, the many skaters that have spent hours sessioning the banks there over the last 40 years and passers-by showing their support for our scene at the Undercroft throughout this three day session.

If for some unique reason you have missed what is going on, catch up with the relocation plans that skateboarders have been proposed here and then catch up on a Q&A session with the answers here. In a nut shell, skateboarders feel short changed by the the fact that the skatepark will be knocked down to make way for more retail units due to a huge investment into rebuilding the area in 2014. It is clear that the Southbank Centre look to cash in on what is definitely a prime location which means relocating skateboarders to a new spot under the Hungerford Bridge.

This event to highlight this news was graced by the sun’s rays beaming across the Thames whilst the stereo pumped out tunes to a game of S.K.A.T.E. All heads were held high and most importantly, everyone was there for each other from all sides of the scene. Chewy Cannon was one of many who dedicated a lot of time into the organisation of the weekend. His arms are probably no longer functioning after 72 hours of holding that huge megaphone, but he also found time to douse the new blocks that Chris Oliver and friends had spent time building with his switch skills whilst hitting every wall in sight. These blocks were sessioned hard all weekend by many as you will see in the gallery shots below, and are now added to the many other creatively built objects that have changed the landscape down there allowing new tricks to enter the history books.

This feature is short and for those who live too far away to be present in such an important movement for British skateboarding. If you managed to make time in your busy schedule to put a face in the door this weekend, then our hats are off to you. If you didn’t, take in what you missed and thank the people involved for getting to the heart of the matter and doing something positive, rather than watching it all from Facebook or writing negative blog posts on why people should give up the fight and just take it on the chin.

This is phase one. Do your bit and let everyone know that skateboarders would like their home to stay exactly where it is. We do not need another burger or coffee joint at the Southbank, we don’t need another concrete skatepark built in a new location either, we would just like to take SB back to its roots, clean it up and protect its incredible history. Hopefully, someone, somewhere will one day realise that this shared space means so much to so many people and that the magic created here will never be replicated anywhere else.

Have your say by completing this short survey that conveniently doesn’t mention skateboarders. Over 27,000 signatures had been logged by Saturday afternoon, share/like this feature and ask friends to get involved.

Big thanks to all involved in running this event all weekend, Dan Joyce who filmed these clips below, Session Noisses on the beats, and Gorm (B&W) and Maksim Kalanep for the use of their photos here alongside some of our own.

Visit www.longlivesouthbank.com for all info.

Zac

Enjoy some skating and an overview from Saturday’s event:

Henry Edwards-Wood discusses how this all came together in this short interview shot on Saturday:

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Never Mind The Art Dump launches at the Hoxton Hotel

If you were at the Pretty Sweet UK premiere last night you may have ended up back at the Hoxton Hotel where you will find some treats hanging on the walls. For the next three weeks, the hotel will host Never Mind The Art Dump, an exclusive art show brought to you by Crossfire and Form Distribution.

Never Mind The Art Dump is showcasing iconic posters of the Girl & Chocolate Film Archives, re-interpreted versions of those posters, as well as exclusive skateboard decks and 8 brand new prints from their new feature, ‘Pretty Sweet’. This work will run from Tuesday November 20th through to December 7th at The Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern St, London, EC2A 3HU and is free entry. Prints from the show will be available to purchase soon. Look out for details.

From Mouse to Goldfish, Yeah Right, Fully Flared and now Pretty Sweet, Spike Jonze’s work has graced skateboarders screens since 1992 with some of the most iconic skateboard videos ever made. This exhibition, allows visitors to revisit some of skateboarding’s classical moments made up of The Art Dump‘s most creative work force.

The Art Dump is the name tagged to a team of like-minded creative misfits who work under the same flat roof in Torrance, California. They are, essentially, The Girl Skateboard Company’s full-time art department. The veteran, Andy Jenkins (Bend Press) uses his title as art director loosely. He considers the crew a co-op and lets it operate that way, with each artist bringing their own unique, individual vision to the Girl brands.

The current team roster includes: Eric Anthony (The High Desert), Hershel Baltrotsky (Art Raffle), Jeremy Carnahan, Michael Coleman (Michael Coleman Studio), Christian Morin (M District), Andy Mueller (The Quiet Life & Ohio Girl), and Chris Waycott.

That is the simplest way you can break down the Art Dump, though it’s not really that simple, for each of these people has a myriad of interests, talents and mediums. As a group, and individually, they work in both commercial and non-commercial worlds. Sometimes these worlds collide and that is where the Art Dump’s collaborative projects exist — amidst the rubble and question marks of a crash site of graphics and fine art.

There are others who flow in and out of the Dump, offering their own abilities from time to time and working in the collaborative environment with the core group. Those include: Spike Jonze, Evan Hecox, Lori Damiano, Thomas Campbell, Rick McCrank, Brian Anderson, Marc Johnson, Brad Staba, Andrew Pommier, and Edith Abeyta. Alumni of the Art Dump include: Rob Abeyta Jr., Bucky Fukumoto, Johannes Gamble, Bob Kronbauer, Tony Larson, Michael Leon, Kevin Lyons, Geoff McFettridge, Jordan Mitchell, and Misato Suzuki.

Visit the Hoxton, grab one of their incredible burgers and a beer and enjoy what’s on show.

Impericon Never Say Die Tour

Impericon Never Say Die Tour London Gallery FeatureThe Impericon Never Say Die Tour (INSD) has been tearing its way across Europe since 2007. The mini-touring festival -comparable to Vans Warped Tour- showcases exciting upcoming and established acts in the world of Metalcore, Metal, Hardcore, Punk and Deathcore with previous bands on the bill including Emmure, Architects, Suicide Silence, Bleeding Through and Parkway Drive.

2012 sees the tour feature an all-American line up with headliners We Came As Romans joined by blessthefall, Stick To Your Guns, For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, At The Skylines, The Browning and At Dawn We Rage. The tour stops off at 20 dates across Europe including 3 in the UK.

On 18th October the 8 band bill tore apart Camden’s Electric Ballroom with headliners We Came As Romans showing how dynamic the genre of metalcore can be. However it was reported that Obey The Brave (who took our ‘Album of the Week’ spot with ‘Young Blood‘ back in early August) stole the show. As ever Stick To Your Guns impressed with their uplifting brand of hardcore whilst blessthefall and For The Fallen Dreams were widely appreciated due to impressive performances from their charismatic front men. We sent talented photographer Jake Owens to capture the annual jaunt through his lens, here are his results…

The Browning
Obey The Brave
For The Fallen Dreams
Stick To Your Guns
Stick To Your Guns
Blessthefall
Blessthefall
We Came As Romans
We Came As Romans
We Came As Romans
We Came As Romans
Impericon Never Say Die Tour Crowd
Impericon Never Say Die Tour

Words: Emma Wallace
Photos: Jake Owens

Jonny Craig Live in Photos

Jonny Craig is a musician who divides opinions. On one hand he is known for his eccentric performances with Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance and pursuits with Isles & Glaciers as well as his successful solo career. Yet for many his work has been tainted by a controversial personal life that includes accounts of drug abuse, twitter scandals, multiple arrests and fraud to name but a few issues…

Yet no matter where you opinion lies on the man himself, you can’t help but appreciate his genuine talent and beautifully unique voice. On the 8th October, Jonny headlined the intimate Borderline in London. We sent down photographer Tim Easton to capture the event in pictures.

Words: Emma Wallace
Photos: Tim Easton

In Photos: Death Skateboards ‘Ordinary Madness’ Premiere

It was 5 years ago that most of the people present tonight last stepped through the doors of the Trinity Pub. I’m pretty sure a police car was stolen, broken bottles were awash on the floors, punk rock throttled the speakers and the Death family unleashed the killer DVD,’Better Than Life’. Since then, a lot has changed. As Zorlac said in his opening speech tonight: “…some good shit and bad shit has gone down in between”. Tonight though, is all about one great feat: The unveiling of ‘Ordinary Madness’.

Mark Nicolson and Jake Shunt amongst others have worked hard to get this new Death Skateboards film out. The new wave of ams are getting better and better, making the pro’s up their game to keep their names on the wood.

Tonight in Harrow, most of the team are present and many of them annihilated by the end of the night. Even Richie Jackson, Matt Pennington and Patrick Melcher were in attendance straight off of flights from across the pond. This crew make a lot of effort and as a result, make a lot of others happy with very little politics or skateboard industry bullshit. You get what you see and you are either in our you’re out with Death, and that is to be commended.

Big shouts to all involved including Monster who provided the liquour, Wonk Unit and Meansteed, the two bands that played on the night and all who turned up to see the good ship Death sail once again. Other premiere dates and demos can be found here.

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Zorlac opens proceedings…

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Even Richie Jackson jetted in from across the pond!

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It’s all down to these lads…

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The party started….

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Yep, Stalker was on fire…

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Adam Moss practised his porno moves…

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Rob Smith turned up as the Green Cross Code bloke from the 70’s…

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The Welsh were there in force as usual.

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Benson and Bain. Legends together.

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Styley and Moggins ponder whose section was best.

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Is that Steve Crawford peeping through the gap?

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Matt Pritchard loves Pickle Porter’s.

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Dinosaur Pile Up?

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Brighton were in the house.

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Wonk Unit punked it.

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And some…

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Zorlac unleashed his new Death extra-hand, shoulder jewellery.

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This was the third shot I had to take from this lot!

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Richie Jackson after 6 pints of Stella.

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The OG’s.

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Blog that you little biatch!

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The smell of Sheffield was in the air.

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Melcher was ready to box Denver’s Matt Pennington – btw, he’s a fucking ripper!

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Snuff photo…

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Nowik was in the house!

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Meansteed rocked the bar.

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“Hey You!”

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“Clap like you are at Wembley!”

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Steak’s face says it all. Meansteed ripped.

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It was so emotional that these punks swapped tongues.

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Zorlac was in fine form!

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Essex represented!

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The tattooists were out too!

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The Trinity owner should receive medals for allowing this to happen.

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Good to hear that Mike’s injury is on the mend.

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Tamar!

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ORDER IT FROM YOUR LOCAL SKATE SHOP TODAY AND LOOK OUT FOR A FULL FEATURE WITH THE ENTIRE TEAM DISCUSSING THE MAKING OF ‘ORDINARY MADNESS’ ON HERE VERY SOON.

Death unleash ‘Ordinary Madness’ at London Premiere

The hangovers will be on an 8+ this morning across Harrow following the filth and the fury that is tradition amongst the Death Skateboards fam on premiere night. Due to demand, their brand new ‘Ordinary Madness‘ film outed itself across 5 screens at the Trinity, screening to a packed house that was full of faces, new and old, including most of the am and pro teams, liggers, locals, punks and beautiful degenerates.

The night was messy, the film was ace, look out for a gallery feature at some point today but lastly – well done to Zorlac, Mark Nicolson and Jake Shunt for working their arses off for the last 5 years to unleash this one.

Look out for various team riders and the film on tour at the following dates:

12th Oct – BRISTOL http://campus-skatepark.co.uk
13th Oct – STEVENAGE http://www.tnt-skate.com
14th Oct – NORWICH http://drugstoreskateboarding.blogspot.co.uk
15th Oct – DERBY http://www.facebook.com/rollersnakesltd/timeline
16th Oct – DARLINGTON www.facebook.com/legacyskatestore
17th Oct – SHEFFIELD http://www.thehouseskatepark.co.uk
20th Oct – GLASGOW http://sidewalk.mpora.com/news/death…iere-info.html
24th Oct – BIRMINGHAM http://www.idealbirmingham.co.uk
27th Oct – LONDON BaySixty6 Skatepark – Crossfire Halloween Massacre
3rd Nov – SKEGNESS http://www.xsiteskatepark.co.uk/XSITE/Home.html
10th Nov – LEICESTER http://www.theboardroomskatepark.co.uk
13th Nov – LEEDS http://www.theworksskatepark.co.uk

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