Those not familiar with the magical mystery tour that Jesse James and Chris ‘Avi’ Atherton have been on since they both met are in for a serious treat. Their personal tales of the unexpected captured on tape have brought smiles to many over the years, but their latest inspirational video project pushes their thirst for fun to another dream-like level.
This quintisentially British duo have certainly returned with something really special; whether they wore clown shoes, loaves of tiger bread or horse legs to push them, the skateboards made for this new production have been beautifully hand crafted and skated to breaking point across sand, snow and rain, on street in parks and playgrounds. The majestic part of this surreal production is that it’s all skateboarding, and we are priveleged, yet again, to see another side of how these wonderful four-wheeled planks are pushed to the limit. Welcome to ‘A Golden Egg‘:
When and how did this madness start?
Chris: A few years ago now, after flitting about with a few ideas initially with Jesse and Will Sayer, it was a natural step to tackle a project of sorts.
Jesse: I think we just decided to do a project together after the Magpie DVD. That was the initial fart, the very first big bang. A long time before anything started though! That’s how I remember it. Then it just evolved from fun and time travelling up to the cobbles and chimneys to skate.
You are both skating for Wight Trash Skateboards, how much of an influence does owner John Cattle have in your joint video ventures?
Jesse: He is a big influence, YOU BET he is, John has just been good about letting me do my own thing and pushing me in my own erection.
Chris: John Cattle is a big influence behind my skating in general for sure, but as we live so far apart my film projects are usually surprises to him. I don’t know how this one went down yet? I could well be dropped, hahahaha!
There’s no doubt that some skaters watching your videos would think you were a bit weird. How does that side of things sit with you both?
Jesse: I just enjoy what is fun and that is normal here. As in, this type of skating is what we enjoy doing. It’s all I know and it just ends up as you see it. If it’s seen as ‘weird’ or art, that is subjective. I hate both terms! To me it’s just having fun with dreams, films, and childhood. Too many people are all too often fooled into taking life (as well as skateboarding) far too seriously. I don’t understand their strategies whatsoever. It’s hard to explain things that just naturally evolve. Like I said before it’s just normal, it all stems from things that make me laugh. Just like pressure flips.
Chris: I don’t think it’s ‘weird’ myself as I can see its structure and reasoning. I appreciate other people will see it that way due to the avenues explored here, but being mentally blinded by repeat viewing it’s difficult to see it as ‘weird’ myself.
How long did ‘A Golden Egg’ take to put together considering you live in different areas of the UK?
Chris: 2-3 years on and off tinkering really. Having a full time job and living so far apart has been a blessing and a curse. It has given us a lot of space for mental development which in turn has crafted what it has become.
Jesse: I live in Lichfield, just outside Birmingham, and Avi is in Manchester, so we only see each other about once a month at the most. In between we just send each other disks, flying saucers and various loveable junk in the post. It certainly took longer than it should have, but not long enough. For me, it’s a never-ending story.
There are so many different decks featured, which ones took the longest to make and who makes what?
Jesse: All of ‘em took a while! From the spark to making etc. Probably one of the one’s that didn’t work took the longest to make! I will leave that to the imagination.
Chris: I made my decks, Jesse made his. The front-end-only-flip and telescopic board were both proper clever feats of ingenuity I must say. Those took actual thought! I could have splashed out on working components to make them from, but I’m big on recycling and I felt the hillbilly approach would lend itself better to film, so they took about two weeks to perfect.
Where did you find the various wheels that were used?
Chris: Most of the wheels (or casters as they are called) were taken from grotty old cabinets that I’ve restored. They are taken from anything I can find and they fell off constantly. A lot of stuff broke which is most challenging, I must say when you’ve just got set up in a blizzard, and deep down you know you shouldn’t be there anyway.
You filmed your own sections then?
Chris: Jesse filmed about 3 or 4 of my tricks for this, the rest were all solo endeavours.
What about yours Jesse?
Jesse: Will ‘Slayer’ Sayer the ‘ZipZing King of the Gingers’ and Darryn Williams (of One direction fame) help film my stuff and assisted with laughs; both have a similar passion, which is infectious…in numerous ways. Phil Hanks of East 17 fame also filmed bits. Pretty much anyone who was playing. Failing that, set the camera up on a stone and your good to go. Thanks to Sayer and his hemorrhoids, he is a big part on my outlook, just laughing and skating together most days. We tend to just laugh and it evolves. Will is rad…and does it all on a ZipZinger, no real board lurking, just his zinger. Stunt double trouble! A defo third party in the affair! But it’s not an affair, if it was Facebook. I would call it an open relationship or maybe it’s just complicated. It all stems from the Titanic really, and has got worse ever since.
The workhorse looked like the hardest to actually pull a trick on…
Chris: Yeah, that workhorse was a rubbish idea. I think it needed feeding. Failure is vital part of experimenting. I reckon she’s got something lurking though, a front board or something!
I particularly liked the space hopper tricks…
Jesse: It is an idea that I still haven’t played with as much as I have wanted. I enjoy footplants, toys and bums, from there it’s like baking a cake. I work with kids so I steal a lot of their creativity.
What trick took the longest to get down and which one are you most proud of from this?
Chris: The animated body and background took longest, the frontside willy grind over the dry stone wall across the road gap in the rain took the longest by far. I’m embarrassed more than proud of it, I’ll be honest!
Did you make the blue suit Jesse?
Jesse: Hah, no, I bought that one! Is that cheating? My sewing is too bad, just look at the ‘horse’! This blue suit started as a Chroma key idea to put spinning penis’s in the place of my body. But it just looked funnier natural, and became another synchronicity to the wonka theme.
Could you imagine the local Police turning up at the car park to find a skateboarding clown wearing 3ft shoes flashing his bell end in public?! Do you ever wonder what kind of shit you would be in if that was seen?
Jesse: Just last week I was nearly evicted after a flat inspection for having too many penis’s on my walls. I have never had major risky moments though except just for skating town etc. I’m actually quite careful, I have to lead a double life from work. For someone that enjoys nudity, face paint, and clown shoes, I hate being watched or being the center of attention. I’m a walking contradiction! That’s partly why I hate skateparks – eyes watching, judging, and not smiling. I’m a bit too self-conscious to skate a magic carpet while people are trying to nollie flip in my peripheries. Some days I can deal with it though. I guess it’s from skating a lot on my own ‘growing up’.
Sorry mate, rewind, too many dicks on your walls?!
Haha! I don’t know why. I just have loads of photos developed of my mates in the bathroom. Figured if I’m going to spend my time there naked, I may as well have my friends with me! Ask Freud. Legal Contributions welcome. Sexual organs will always be funny.
Lastly, will you both be contributing any new footage to the upcoming Palace video?
Jesse: I got a load of VHS videos they can borrow, not Braindead though, the one with Bill Pullman in. That stays close to me. The last time I was in London I felt out of place. I don’t think Southbank was ready for clown shoes. Far too many eyes watching. I did see Chewy Cannon at some bowl though. He smiled a lot. Fun. I like that. I have nothing against Palace, or any other skateboarder who is doing what they are genuinely passionate about. It is all about Fun.
Visit www.slugworth.co.uk for exclusive tees and more from the magical Slugworth Pirate Productions. Thank you to Gemma McMullan for the photos.