British skaters would know that the Chain to Bank spot is owned by Tom Penny, especially with his switch backside flip. Others have smashed it with tricks too though so enjoy this latest Krak comp with Dyrdek, Smolik, Duffy, Bastien, MJ, Richie Jackson, Dobstaff and many more.
Mourn the apparent last of the French Fred tapes with none other than the British wizard of all things skateboarding, Tom Penny. I don’t know whether to first discuss the sadness that Fred Mortagne’s incredible archive of tapes from such an important period of skateboarding has come to an end, or the fact that unseen Penny footage is beyond gold.
The only way of leading out of this is to doff your hat to French Fred as his dedication to filming and photographing skateboarding his entire life is commendable. Thanks for everything.
Find more of Fred’s incredible work explained in our feature with him.
Yesterday it was announced that Sidewalk Magazine will cease as a print entity. In exactly twenty years, several generations of British skaters have contributed to global Blu-tack shortages re-decorating walls with adolescent stoke.
90s hip hop gave way to 2000s gnar, then to 2010s indie brands and mega-corps, whilst Sidewalk remained the go-to title for information, paper cuts and borderline libellous in-jokes hidden in plain sight, outlasting several titles at home and abroad. The market forces at work are so much bigger than skateboarding, with a global shift in the preferences of young people away from print to the instant gratification of social media-linked online platforms – forces that finished titles beloved to our little world, Slap and Sidewalk’s neighbour Document to name a few, as well as enormous titles that mostly deserve our derision, including the almost total death of the 90s crop of ‘lad mags’ Nuts, Zoo, Loaded, Front.
The Sidewalk brand, and the skateboarders behind it, will hopefully live long and well online – as is the strategy (whilst Kingpin, also hosted by the suits at Factory Media, became a free print title over Christmas). But it’s hard not to feel that something has been lost – that skateboarding is at once suddenly less personal and less iconoclastic. Fans of early-to-mid 90s Rocco hijinks, mixed with a particularly British sense of fun and love of shit-talking, Horse and Powell imbued Sidewalk with a unique voice that took the piss out of puff-chested American big names and made the home town heroes feel appreciated. It would be hard to imagine dudes that ‘made it’ whilst staying in the UK most of their careers – Shier, Kennedy, Baines, Vaughn, Chewy to name just a few – getting quite that degree of shine without the reliable patronage of a title with Sidewalk’s level of clout, built up from hard graft and present in every skateshop and on every British skater’s floor (or chronologically ordered on the designated shelf, if you suffer from my obsessive personality traits).
The Berrics obviously believe print still has a role to play, that there is a particular power in a skater having a photo in a physical format, as they only recently chose to buy out and continue the respected-but-struggling Skateboarder magazine.
But predicting the future for print.…especially if you’ve got fidgety shareholders to keep happy….is anyone’s guess. Somehow chasing the same customer base of ‘thinking-man’s skate geek.’ We have the free titles, many of them heavily supported in exchange for advertising by Adidas, Nike and Converse, such as Grey and Fluff. We have the one-man-labour-of-love titles like North, Varial and Florecast, and the more expensive, high-concept or limited run titles like Dank and 43. If you were to claim it’s the cover price alone that puts print in such a tricky place, how do you explain Dank? A quality Scandinavian coffee-table mag, heavily influenced by fashion, art and design magazines, that retails for the equivalent of £10 a pop and is sufficiently successful to make the jump to English-language from its original Norwegian.
As the teen market has jumped to phone-app based media, Sidewalk’s challenge has been to keep hold of enough of the 25+ expendable income market for print, whilst maintaining enough reach across the younger demographic with their online content. As long as the online content plays second fiddle to print deadlines, that’s tough to do. And when you look at the Factory Media website, under ‘who we are’, you see exactly the market Sidewalk’s holding company expects its skate titles to aim for: aged 10 to 28 – the youngest and (one of) the smallest demographic targeted.
Illustration by Jon Horner
So although we’re not now, and hopefully will never be, mourning the loss of Sidewalk as an entity and group of humans, it’s probably much more than generational angst affecting me and many others with a sense of sadness (as older skaters bitterly note the change in cultural weather towards something chillier and less permanent than those comforting spare-room archives of ink and paper). Two things are lost to be precise: skateboarding is inherently tactile – the feel of grip tape, the smooth graphic of a new board, the physical act of turning a page and pouring over a photograph – an experience lessened through a screen; and that iconoclasm again. If your online content needs to hoover up likes, tweets, follows and shares from Factory’s target 10 to 28 age group – what about the swearing and piss taking?
Skateboarding becomes somehow more ‘public’, less of a cluster of secret, sometimes warring societies – if you say something cheeky about a snotty top-tier pro, they can immediately see, share, sue or lobby sponsors to remove those all important ads. Everything gets safer – and only the indie websites, with little to lose by way of advertising (or at least advertisers who know what they’re getting themselves in for – take Quartersnacks: Supreme may be many things, but afraid of a little controversy it ain’t).
So that’s where I’d like to leave – on what Sidewalk in my early days of skating meant. I desperately wanted to feel part of skateboarding – that unknowable, mysterious thing owned by the cooler, older dudes in my hometown, that I could never be part of (at least before moving to somewhere more tolerant of over-earnest, socially awkward groms). Reading Sidewalk – particularly the tour articles penned by Horse or Powell, made me feel part of that secret society. And introduced me to some excellent wonky, booze-fuelled writing. The photographers of Sidewalk have been rightly praised as some of the best in the game: Wig, Bartok, Leo, CJ, Horse himself, etc. – but the writing, especially early on (Uncle Someone’s Wold of Something; Vincent Carducci’s record reviews), was/is fucking excellent – up there with the lauded Big Brother alumni Carnie and Nieratko.
At 17/18, with the exception of stuff, a cool English teacher got us to read (Orwell, Aldous Huxley) the written world was dull – something you had to study, on pain of a Monday morning bollocking, not something that brought on the stoke. Before Kerouac, HST, Burroughs and Bukowski opened my eyes to how weird, wrong and punk the written word could be, I read, and re-read the Sidewalk tour articles. Two clearly remembered anecdotes stick, both from Dope clothing tours: Frank Stephens and Colin Pope standing high on a hill, drunk out of their minds, throwing small stones at a village below – transformed by elevation and perspective to mean-spirited giants throwing boulders at tiny peasants; and the trip to Japan, where jet-lagged travellers were jolted awake by Harry Bastard with his head out of the window, squawking back at the early morning crows – fully inhabiting his title of ‘the Bastard’. It may lose something in the leaden re-telling, but, alone in my room, I laughed my ass off several times over both mental pictures. And that was British skating, underdogs fucking around – not athletes giving lifestyle advice.
Now go find Buck Rogers after, or whilst perusing this site of course…you’re a child of modernity, you can do both.
Words: Chris Lawton
Thanks to all of the skateboarders that have grafted daily for two decades to bring us humour and the best skating out there in print under intense deadlines for Sidewalk Surfer and Sidewalk Mag. There are no words to describe the dedication involved and the joy that your team brought to so many skateboarders over those 20 years, and long may it live online. Sidewalk Mag RIP. – Zac
Reminisce Andrew Horsley and Ben Powell’s finest moments in our 200th Issue feature. Facebook is indeed wank.
All hail Tom Penny from his Menikmati section for éS back in 2000. French Fred left some words about it:
“When I was editing Menikmati, it was pretty cool to go thru old tapes containing Penny footage, that other people filmed. At the time of Menikmati, Tom was in a very dark period, getting new footage with him was pretty much mission impossible. So we decided to use old archives for this part, whatever cool stuff we would find, then saving whatever new stuff for his Flip “Sorry” part. For this Menikmati part, I only filmed the switch front foot impossible on the hip!”
Flip Skateboards rolled out a sick new deck series this morning featuring the artwork of New York graphic artist/illustrator Jon Contino. Watch this video and have a closer look at how his sterling work has graced the decks of their pro team with art direction from Jeremy Fox.
Photos courtesy of Brad Rosado, Matt Daughters and Seu Trinh
The back end of 2012 brought some great skateboard video treats across the globe and as you may well remember, we finished our year by screening the UK premiere of DGK’s first full video production after the 10th Anniversary Xmas Jam.
Pushing skateboard films forward is no easy task, but the DGK crew had their own plans of how their first major flick was to be rolled out. Actors, film crews, special guests, closed-off roads, crazy skits and of course, some absolutely banging skating was meticulously planned over a long period of time. With all of this in the mix and a great reaction worldwide, we spoke to Brad Rosado who filmed about 90% of the video to explain a few facts about how this came to fruition alongside a selection of DGK’s ever-impressive team riders discussing their most memorable days from filming ‘Parental Advisory‘.
Who directed the original plan for the overall production?
“The original plan for the production was a group collaboration between the DGK Team, Troy Morgan, Matt Daughters, and myself. We knew we wanted to make a video that no one would forget. When the skate portion of the film was near completion we started to brainstorm how the intro’s were going to be. There were talks about making it into a documentary but that turned into having skits. I think Daughters had this idea for a few years that the video should be focused around the team as if they were mini versions of people on DGK. One day I remember Baker (our graphic designer) showing a bunch of us a dope music video he found online. Troy saw it and I could tell he saw the vision he wanted for ‘Parental Advisory’ from that video. After that, he contacted Randal Kirk (the director) and we started to plan out the rest of the video.
When did the shooting originally start?
All together it took us about 3 years to gather all the footage for the skate sections. Everybody was filming for their parts up until a week before the finished DVD was due. The whole team busted their asses to the very end and it shows in their parts. We started to shoot the narrative part of the film in early Spring of 2012.
How were the actors picked to play the roles between sections?
The actors were found a few different ways. We had a few casting calls and that’s where we found the actual actors for the film. We found the skate kids through Susan Williams”Save A Heart’ program. We did a casting call with her one weekend and were able to find the majority of the younger actors there. They all skated and already had the background that represented the film correctly. A lot of people in the film had no acting experience at all. All they had to do was act natural pretty much. Randal directed everybody well and got the performance he wanted out of them to make this film what it is.
Which celebrities are involved in the cameos?
Some cameos we had in the film were DMX, Beanie Sigel, Kareem Campbell, Fabian Alomar, Vanessa Veasley, Peedi Crakk, and Cappadonna.
With weapons involved in the skits, did you need licenses to shoot in the public domain?
For most locations of the film we had permits and it was closed sets so we could do whatever we wanted. Most of that stuff was shot between 1am-6am so there was barely anybody out on the streets to see what was going on.
How difficult was it to cut HD footage together with VX footage?
That was one of the hardest things to figure out while editing the video. At first we had all the HD footage cropped and the VX stuff kept 4:3. This was probably considered the correct ways to do it. We ran into a problem when we started to add the narrative part of the film. It wasn’t transitioning right between the two sections so we had to make a rough call and stretch the VX footage to 16:9 and kept the HD footage normal. I know a lot of people don’t agree with this decision but we made the best judgement call to make sure the aspect ratios weren’t jumping around. Overall I feel it worked out and most people didn’t even notice. We went through over 25 different aspect ratios to find the right look to make it seamless.
What are your most memorable days from filming this flick?
There were so many good times with these dudes it’s hard to remember them all. The ones that stick out to me are some of the battles we overcame with the cameras we were using. During the last few months we would hit up Jkwon downtown LA every Sunday. During one of the sessions Marquise was in the zone and started to try halfcab fs nosegrind nollie flip out on the long ledge. We tried for a while and he landed a pretty good one. Quise knew he could do it better so we kept trying. After trying for a while longer he did the best one he could of possibly done. The camera I was using at that time never gave me any problems until we watched back the footage. For some reason on that one try it had an insane glitch from right before he popped until right after he landed. I tried everything I could do to make it playback properly but it wasn’t happening. That try was completely destroyed.
Quise was pretty bummed but he knew he had to do it again. We tried for a while longer and got another one. It wasn’t as good as the glitched version but it was still amazing! I remember people asking why we were doing it again since the last one was so perfect. I didn’t even know what to say. It sucks that no one will ever see how good he really did it but that’s the gamble you take sometimes when using a camera that’s 10+ years old. I don’t even think anybody thinks that the version in the video is less than perfect anyways. To do that trick 3 times is impressive! Thankfully we have upgraded to HD and glitches are a thing of the past.”
“ATL has always been a home away from home when we were working on this project. For the majority of the video we had team apartments and the squad would fly in and out filming nonstop. Staying together and going on missions is what helped make this team a real family. The first clip I filmed for the video was in a school yard in East Atlanta. It was first time filming with Brad so I knew we had to break the ice and get it poppin. I was really just cruising around, but ended up getting a dope line on film for my part. I started off the line with a few flat ground tricks and then there was a quick flat gap I was trying to fs flip. On one of the tries I ended up landing in a manual by accident and held it to the end. That day symbolized beginning of the video and after that we just kept stacking clips and made it a reality.”
“We were on a DGK NY trip for like two weeks we had are own apartments right downtown Manhattan. It was dope being in the city waking up hoping out of bed and just hitting the streets. We had a big crew mobbin’ up and down the city blocks, hopping on and off trains going to and from skate spots all day and night. I remember skating down Time Square with Dane, Brad and Seu and we see this random guy that had these dope-ass parrots. Seu shot some dope pics with them on head and on my board. That night we ended up chillin’ in Time Square till 4am and then skated 50+ blocks back to the crib. It was just dope being with the crew in New York having good times skating, chillin’, and livin’ man. Those are some good times I’ll never forget.”
“So Stevie and I tagged along on an Expedition filming trip to China a few years ago. Every morning we would all get breakfast at the cafe downstairs from the hotel. Spencer Hamilton and I would get this super strong ice coffee every morning because it would get us so sparked. So one morning Stevie was at breakfast saying how he felt super tired and jet-lagged or something so I told him to have one of the ice coffee’s cuz it would get him hyped. He never drinks coffee so he was hesitant at first but eventually he got one cuz he wanted to get hyped to go skate.
So like an hour later we’re at the skate spot and Stevie is really hyped on it. He was trying these crazy manual tricks and he had already filmed one banger, but while he was filming the second one, he started freaking out cuz he needed to take a shit super bad. The coffee had messed his stomach up. The skate spot was in the middle of nowhere so there really wasn’t anywhere close to go, plus in China they rarely have toilets or toilet paper at the public bathrooms. Somehow he managed to land his 2nd manual trick while holding everything in, and as soon as he landed the trick, he took off in search of dumping grounds. He was gone for like 45 mins to an hr but I guess he found one because he came back with a look of relief on his face. He blamed me for everything and he swore to me that he would never drink coffee again.”
“One time we were heading to las Vegas from Phoenix am. It was Brad, Keelan, Marquise, Dane and myself. When we made it to the hotel, I went to the bathroom. After using the bathroom, I failed to realize that some toilet paper was stuck in my boxers. To my knowledge, Keelan and Dane were the first to know, they broke down in the lobby laughing! We went on day and night sessions, getting as much footage for the video as we could. Afterwards we chilled, gambled some. Minus the drinks and gambling, it was a fun productive trip. We made the best out of what we had!”
“There were a bunch of situations we got into while filming for this video. One that I will probably never be able to forget was a trip we took to Philly and New York. Being from the east coast I always jump at the chance to skate Philly whenever possible, so when Brad told me about this trip we were going on that had Philly on one of it’s stops I was so hyped. Although if I could of seen what was going to happen I don’t think I would of been so enthusiastic. First day, I don’t even remember how but the VX broke, had to send it off for repairs so we didn’t have a camera anymore. We got lucky and Rasul knew someone who had just got a brand new VX and somehow we managed to borrow it for the last couple days we were in the city.
The first night we got it, we went straight to Love and started skating around and warming up. I had a line I wanted to try so we start going at it, things were feeling good and then one try the board just got away from me and nailed the cam real good. The person who lent us the camera happened to be skating with us at Love so once we knew the camera was jacked I had to try a few more tries and then act like I was over it so she wouldn’t suspect anything was wrong with the camera. Sent that one to the repair shop the next morning and we were once again without a camera. Definitely not the best time I’ve ever had in Philly but I still love it.”
“Barcelona was one of my favourite places to travel during this video. When we were there, everyday was a good day skating with my boys. We would skate all day, get tricks, and then go party all night. After my first trip out there I was already thinking about what tricks I would get the next time I went. On my second trip back to Spain I fell asleep on the plane and had a dream that I switch fs 360’d the Macba 4. During the middle of the trip we skated by the set and said fuck it, let’s do it. I warmed up for a bit and just went for it. It was a battle but one of the tries felt right so I put it down. My whole squad was there and that gave me the motivation to stack clips for the rest of the trip. When we put together my part for the video the clip looked a little old and didn’t make the cut. All I know is that I dreamt it and I made it come true. That’s what it’s all about.”
Find DGK on Facebook and Twitter and make sure this video is in your collection today. It’s out on DVD in your local skate shop and on i-Tunes for download. Support it.
The Supra European Tour video is documented in this edit featuring footage in Germany, France and Spain. Click play for footage of UK’s Lucien Clarke, Erik Ellington, Terry Kennedy, Tom Penny, Lizard King, Stevie Williams, Kevin Romar, Keelan Dadd, Spencer Hamilton, Furby, and Boo Johnson.
Flip’s legendary ‘Sorry’ full length video was released in 2003 and went down in skateboarding history as one of the very best ever made. Tom Penny‘s part featured mini ramp skating in a French barn whilst Edith Piaf sang ‘La Vie En Rose’. Eleven years later, ‘French Fred’ Mortagne has unleashed the extra Penny footage. Press play.
In related Flip news, new recruit Oscar Meza will unleash a full section online on October 8th. Put it in your dairy.
The hallowed spine ramp at Meadow Lane, Oxford gets torn to pieces by a 20 tonne digger to make way for the new skate park. Somtimes you have to take the pain to move your local spot forward. Wheelscape will make hearts and minds feel much better very soon. Scroll down the page for the new plans.