Science Skateboards – ‘The Important Nothing’ video

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To get to the point, ‘The Important Nothing’ is really darn good and you should watch it. If unavailable in your bricks n’ mortar skate shop (R.I.P. SS20, support your local), you can get a copy from the Palomino.

Within a relatively small scene such as the UK, reviewing home grown videos is a delicate task, because they’re invariably a labour of love, by someone with admirable intentions who is likely to at least know someone you know. This small degree of separation means that each such review in our now extinct domestic print media has tended to be super positive. Who would say they didn’t love a work that someone has slaved over, with little commercial return, especially if you could conceivably session a spot with individuals involved in the near future? But you also want to be credible. A review can be a recommendation.

With internet clips vying for attention, why should you, the reader, part with both money and time to watch a full length vid, if you’ve been told that each and every UK video is brilliant? I wrote that the Isle video was excellent, because it was, I’m now going to tell you the Science video is more than worthy of your 25 minutes and £10, because it assuredly is. Unfortunately there are a number of videos that came out between these two offerings that are less than great. Because we’re all friends here, those sub-par offerings are left unmentioned rather than subjected to some narcissistic display of mean-spirited wit.

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Science are an interesting outfit, and are part of the movement of small firms that are increasingly important to our culture and lifestyle. To distill an argument advanced in some detail here, the act of ‘just doing’ something, like setting up a small skate firm, stamping your tastes onto a corner of the market, keeping yourself motivated in the face of the pressures of adult life, connecting to other scenes and firms, and hooking up a community of like-minded skateboarders not only keeps skateboarding diverse and unique in the face of increasing commercialisation, but it helps us pursue our essential reason for being – the urge to create (our “species essence” in Marx’s view) – that is so often lost in the alienating experience of the 9 to 5. And when motivations are this pure, the outcome is more often than not cool as fuck.

Starting in 2006, owner Chris Morgan has been responsible for the lion’s share of the brand’s look and feel, and is behind the editing, design and large part of the filming of ‘The Important Nothing’. His interview with Crossfire is a good read, and provides detailed insight into one man’s personal vision of skateboarding balanced with a keenness to frequently collaborate (including with big names like Sergej Vutuc and Jon Burgerman and team rider Sam Taylor). Aesthetically, Science could be placed within the tradition of post-Blueprint 1.0 UK companies that combine unashamed artiness with an appreciation of gritty UK street scenes, 90s callbacks and golden era hip hop, soul and lo-fi indie, alongside Landscape, the National Co and Isle to name the most obvious. Where the National have looked to the hot shit that comes out of Sweden in their team line up and video aesthetic, Science make connections with the equally hot Japanese and SF scenes – and ‘The Important Nothing’ has strong similarities with recent Japanese independents like the Lenz videos.

Ph: Dan Tomlinson ollie noseblunt transfer by Chris Morgan

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The filming style is unobtrusive, and avoids the closer-than-close fisheye steez currently en vogue and beloved of the Magenta bros and some of the aforementioned Japanese films. There’s a nice nostalgia, with a lot of black and white and deliberate graininess (and the jazz intro keeps things far more classic Stereo Super 8 than Palace VHS), with callbacks to a 90s hip hop appreciation of kung fu movies and frequent flashes of primary colours complementing the lovely DVD packaging and Science’s graphic output and logo. The soundtrack fizzes with a nigh on optimum balance of hip hop, soul, stoner rock and indie that made me think of some of the classic UK and East Coast vids – with Dan Magee, Josh Stewart or Chris Mulhern likely to be pretty stoked on the choices. Rounding off the ‘just right’ mix of characteristics is the 25 minute running time – if my knee wasn’t jacked, I’d have picked my board up and raced into the grotty streets of Long Eaton as soon as the credits rolled (in stark contrast to the soporific effect of the 1 hour plus running time of certain very big budget hammer fests).

Highlights from the skating includes London-resident, Leicester ex-pat and prolific scribbler Sam Taylor and his quick feet, loose style and mastery of wallrides and no-complies. Pete Buckley, whose time in Sapporo, cements the Japanese connection, rocks a classic Girl/Choc (circa Mouse/Paco) steez and boss man Chris Morgan can do stylish new-old (no-complies) as well as old-new tricks (refuting the assumption that 30+ skaters can’t do good flips). I dig any Luka Pinto stuff since his Eleventh Hour section, and really like how he and Glenn Fox have established this unique style that Channel Islands (get it?) Quim Cardona looseness with Magenta quick-feet.Ben Cruickshank reps the lanky-tech (more golden era Girl/Choc – gangly natural street styles of Shamil Randle) and the dope Saafir track.

Dan Beall has been another favourite since his standout Baghead Flats section. Dan reps a different fine vintage of street skateboarding, strongly British in style – the nimble precision honed on rough terrain that other slight-of-frame bros like Welsh Tommy and Jin Shizmizu also rep.

The premiere went off.

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There’s a rad SF friends section that includes relatively well known locals like Tony Manfre and John Lindsay and the combination of spots doesn’t overkill the hill bombs (and includes Fort Miley, some DIY spots and street that isn’t sloping at 45 degrees). Dan Tomlinson is sick, with powerful pop and clean trick selection, that contrasts with Josh Cox’s unusual trick bag and manny mastery. Holdtight London alumnus Joe Sivell holds down the last section, with Roots Manuva setting the scene for tech and fashion that throws a contemporary British-take on early 2000s Puzzle glory days. Remember Stephane Giret? I’ve been betting a pirate’s hoard of gold doubloons on a come-back for both the tricks and the wardrobe of that brother, and Joe’s leading the charge to make sure I’m soon a wealthy man (and laughing at the rest of you as the pound sterling continues to fall through the floor).

I don’t want to do this video a disservice by listing too many historic references (that many of you won’t have been around for… but I’d bet more doubloons, and maybe a bronze cudgel and a horned helm, that Chris Morgan knows exactly what I’m talking about). Suffice to say, a bit like Pontus’ amazing Polar video, you can enjoy it equally as a fresh feeling contemporary offering, if you have the gift of youth, or as a life affirming, knee cartilage re-growing re-up of a certain era that burns very brightly in our sub-cultural memory.

Chris Lawton

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Albion

albion_uk_skate_dvd_reviewTwo weeks ago, I found myself packed into a room full of skateboarders like a sweaty sardine, clutching a can of lager and shouting props at a screen I could only just get a glimpse of due to the barrage heads of various rippers filling the room. The reason for ending up there was the premiere of a new video from the collective lenses of Ry Gray, Kevin Parrott and Morph. The full production took a while to reach fruition but was well worth the wait.

Clocking in at just under 40 minutes and with cameos from a massive cast of UK heads, Albion is a scene video on steroids and a must see if you have any interest in what is happening with regards to shredding in this damp corner of the world.

With no time for such pleasantries as an opening section, some brief super 8 footage highlighting the restless urge to explore which drives skateboarding gives way to some murkage from the ever-rampaging Daryl Dominguez. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you should know what to expect here. Steezed-out street savagery let loose on benches, over road gaps and down hefty stair sets. Only then are we given a brief list of those skaters with a fair amount of footage in the video before we are launched straight back into the shredding with a full section from Denis Lynn. The Belfast skate nomad comes through with a unique trick bag matched with an eye for spots that not many would touch ranging the length of the country, including some OG Bradford and Leeds spots and an always-welcome Needleside cameo. Alley ‘oop FS grind over the Tottenham meat taco is no joke, the heavy business here sets the tone for the rest of the video.

Albion features more than one banging montage. The first of which is kicked off by some flowing street lines from Harry Lintell and includes some Ben Grove hammers, a hefty road gap no comply from Martyn Hill and Chris Oliver at the best bank spot in East London. That spot is now blocked by a bike rack that I never knew I could hate so much. This section is closed by some gnarly business from Gav Coughlan; I suppose straight nollie’s over road gaps work at a purely scientific level but seeing them done still feels like glimpsing a unicorn – mythical shit!

Sometimes skating on the streets will lead to run ins with passers-by, but Albion is the first video I’ve seen to feature a fat man in a pink shirt with a sword – this is about as heavy as it gets when it comes to interaction with the lurkers who cohabit the spaces we put four wheels to. Rugged street shit indeed which leads us nicely into serious street business from Kris Vile, handling anything the great concrete outdoors can throw at him, whether that be a lengthy bench line or a double set. Charlie Birch brings the Lost Art hype next, killing the streets with style alongside some Liverpool/Wirral cameos thrown in for good measure. If you’re handling a variety of handrail tricks at that age, things are looking bright for the future.

Only a few weeks after Nick Remon’s ‘Excursions’ section was released and dropped more than a few jaws, his section in Albion will undoubtedly cause a few more fly-catching facial expressions. With a seemingly endless selection of tricks to choose from it’s no wonder he can bang out a full section during a particularly sogged-out UK winter, with no obstacle seemingly too crusty for throwing down something insane on. Highlights are the kickflip with a BS body varial chucked in, a FS flipped double set as an ender, and a hefty FS 360 over the Sheffield kicker to road gap.

Hey kid, ever seen a nollie hardflip popped over a stair to flatbar set up? After a cameo from a pink balaclava clad witch, Karim Bakhtaoui comes out swinging with some heftily popped techness. With clips from a host of heavy hitters, this section has a ‘crew’ feel to it that won’t fail to make you want to head out the door immediately and drag your homies out for a skate. The theme of the next section is ‘Legends’, with a Gonz miniramp sighting paving the way for the most Tom Penny footage anyone has managed to collect in some time. Mad heads are gonna be hyped on this!

Rune Glifberg’s BS shrubbery ollie in Romford’s halfpipe is probably the high point, as the Essex treasure pit is not known for its forgiving nature. Tom Knox starts the next montage, living up to his US namesake with a fast and raw style of street skating which can’t fail to bring the hype. Archway bank gets a seeing-too throughout this video which is started by Denis and continued here by Sylvain Tognelli and Paul Shier. We will leave you to find out what went down by watching the video, but if you’ve been there you’ll know it’s a nightmare to do anything on.

I’ll try and cover the rest of the montage as briefly as possible because otherwise it could too easily become a trick-by-trick account: Quick footed steez from Nick Jensen, a tech-assault from Mike Arnold and the meat taco at Tottenham getting further attacked by Fernando Bramsmark, Josh Young and Jake Collins are all high points. This section is rounded off nicely by Div and Colin Adam sailing the concrete seas. Actually, ‘nicely’ is a crap way to put it, as in classic Scottish ripper fashion they both look like they’re picking a fight with a bowl and winning. Div chooses Victoria Park as his victim and Colin destroys Saffron Walden. Then, just when you were reeling from the bouts previously witnessed, Manny Lopez takes out the tech ten with a knockout. BS noseblunt the handrail and yer seeing stars pal.

Horsey gets some switch DIY for Rob Shaw’s lens.

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Ben Raemers and Horsey have gone from up and coming rippers to living the US dream in recent years, here they return to these shores to show you how and the answer is simple; pure fucking shredding. Horsey’s FS halfcab flip into the rancid cobbled bank in Kennington is savage enough, Raemers adds to the Archway bank games with a wall bash on the fence which I’m pretty sure is impossible, and his last trick is worth getting the video for alone. In between, ATV bombs are getting dropped left, right and centre, and all to a John Cooper Clarke soundtrack too – if that wasn’t enough to get you interested.

After this bout of insanity the last section was always going to take some doing, but Jak Pietryga stepped up to the challenge ably with high speed skating and quick feet taken to every kind of architectural anomaly that ends up becoming a ‘spot’, plus some that clearly haven’t before.

Two songs worth of raw street finishes things off a treat, while a standard credits section is replaced by a far superior idea – the video’s creators taking to the streets and getting some.

Albion is exactly what this kind of video should be, giving me the same hype as I got when I first started skating and saw footage of skaters hitting my local spots. That same urge to go out and explore my surroundings for new things to skate…and you can’t really say better than that.

Out now on DVD in your local skate shop or order it online for about £8. Or, enjoy the full film online right here.

Jono Coote

The new Girl Chocolate video is Pretty Sweet

The upcoming Girl/Chocolate DVD title has been announced today and it’s called Pretty Sweet. Get hyped on what will be dropping in November this year!

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Elephant Direct DVD offcuts online

This year one of the highlights to hit the web video wise was Elephant Direct, a visual project put together by Jeremy Elkin and Jason Auger. It ran on Color magazine’s website for a limited period but some offcuts have landed on the web this week so we thought we would share them.

Read the full review here and scout this one out if you missed it and as a bonus to this news piece there’s an 18 minute tour video from the Color guys on this page for you to watch afterwards.

One Way or Another (Road Trip) – FULL MOVIE from Color Magazine on Vimeo.