Category: Reviews

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards | Pretty Sweet

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

When a new production rolls out of the house of Crailtap, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and see what’s going on. Ever since the original cluster of skaters broke out from Rocco and the World Industries empire, I was a devotee for life. As a huge World fan, I was sad to see my favourite riders move away from the skate company that had influenced my buying habits for many years, but at the same time I was excited to see what they’d come up with. The first series of Girl boards confused me slightly (I still recall being asked “Why have you got the international symbol for a female toilet on your skateboard?”), but I went with it. Fuck it, I was enough of a social outcast at school anyway: endorsing girls’ bathrooms wasn’t going to damage it any further. When Chocolate launched shortly after, it just solidified my new-found loyalty. Ever since those early days, Girl, Chocolate and the all people behind the Crailtap collection of skate companies have remained at the top of the pile for me.

Family is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but it’s a genuine feeling you get when you see these guys on video or in the magazines. Most of them skate together, the older guys look out for the younger ones and it comes across as an overall-supportive environment. Most importantly, especially when watching their video productions, the skaters are amazing.

So when the first rumblings of a new full-length film from these guys reached me, I had to control my excitement. I knew it’d be good – I’d have preordered it right there and then – but I also knew there’d be a wait first. Anyone who remembers the torturous process in waiting for Lakai’s ‘Fully Flared‘ would know of the mental anguish. After working out why the new film was called ‘Pretty Sweet’ (Girls are pretty and Chocolate is sweet, unless you’re looking at my ex-wife and you’re on the diabetic candy), I spotted a countdown timer appeared on the specially-allocated website, and watched the trailers as they began popping up. By the time the official full-length trailer was floating around on YouTube, I was feverish. A slightly-unusual time for the UK premiere meant I’d have to sit that one out due to work issues, but with an iTunes release only 10 days away, I figured I could wait. I’ll be ordering the DVD from one of the true skate shops here in the UK (due around the 3rd December), but I stayed up until 00:00 on the 27th to purchase the iTunes download anyway. I ain’t waiting any longer.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Or perhaps I am, because at the time of writing, there are still 27 minutes left on my download. All that HD goodness takes a while to pipe through. Dammit. I should add quickly that I hate iTunes downloads and will be buying the full DVD as soon as it’s available in the UK. Not only has the DVD got a bonus disc and a booklet, but iTunes makes it impossible to do frame-by-frame analysis (since they removed the option to view your purchase in Quicktime) and screengrabbing is really hard because of that fucking iTunes video controller. Grrr.

– 12 hours + 3 back-to-back viewings later –

Wow. I walked away with a different feeling than when I’d first watched ‘Fully Flared’, but ‘Pretty Sweet’ is just as epic. And that’s the word I’m going to use: epic. You can put this video up against any of the free-to-view online parts from the past few years, but nothing comes close to the feeling of epicness that this video brings. You already know that the production values are off the scale (it is Spike Jonze and freinds here, after all), but the skating is so good and overwhelming that it’s hard to put it into words. The word ‘epic’ distils my thoughts into four characters for you.

So, what’s in these 78 minutes? A lot.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

After an Orson Welles-inspired intro sequence (one fluid, real-time shot that eventually ties everyone together), there’s an opening montage with lots of great stuff in it… and then we’re straight into Vincent Alvarez’s section. A relatively recent addition to the Chocolate roster, he is more than worthy of owning the first slot in the video. With a soundtrack of three different songs behind him, everything in his path gets annihilated. High speed antics never looked so good, especially when there’s a hefty dose of technicality involved. Switch 180° fakie 5-0 down a rail is no joke. Fakie bigger-flip down four? Yes. Plenty of crazy twisty-turny boardslide stuff as well and some nice lines. Oh – and he almost gets hit by several cars (including one moment of trickery that made me dribble hot tea into my lap). Enough spoilers: he’s more than worthy of his place here.

I was definitely excited about Cory Kennedy’s part – and it surpassed my expectations. Loads and loads of great tricks – a killer frontside half cab to frontside feeble down a rail rounds his part off, but there’s WAY more good stuff beforehand (including a backside tailslide-to-kickflip-to-backside tailslide that made blood froth out of my nose) – and he always appears to be enjoying himself. I also liked the choice of Bob Seger’s ‘Night Moves’ for his music. I reckon my father would approve as well.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Raven Tershy’s up next and call me an idiot, because I was surprised how much real street footage he had here. All good stuff and fits in nicely with his destruction of the parks that I was expecting. Dude takes some proper slams and then just gets up and finishes the job as planned. Mike Mo Capaldi might have been plagued with a few injuries over the past years, but his section is an impressive continuation of his Lakai video part: a lot of flippery, some featherfooted manual work and lots of lines where he’ll casually throw in some Battle at the Berrics type tomfoolery. I can’t quite work out how he does the half-impossible underflip stuff, but that’s because it’s done at speed and in lines as though it’s a normal trick that anyone can do. Loads of great stuff in this section (and he’s still the king of the switch 360° flip).

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Jeron Wilson and Brandon Biebel share a killer part: both put some work into this and it shows. Jeron might be one of the older OG guys on the team, but he makes it clear that he’s still on the money. When Biebel isn’t making cameramen fall over, he’s doing tech lines, advanced manual combos, long grinds and backside 180° –> fakie nosegrind –> fakie bigspins out on ledges. Still killing it. And skating to Meek Mill and Rick Ross didn’t do any harm either. Tupac Back!

Kenny Anderson is one hell of a smooth skater. Every single trick is done with perfect style and made to look easy. Backside noseblunt slide with a 270° out is the definition of the term ‘buttery’ and even powerslides look like he’s carving up a wave. One of my favourites, without a doubt. Chris Roberts and Gino Iannucci then join in the same section – relatively brief appearances and the Gino fans will be crying that he’s only got four tricks here, but it’s still quality – and then Daniel Castillo shows us a couple of tricks just before Justin Eldridge’s efforts (which I really enjoyed). Back to Kenny for a few more bangers and we’re done. I really enjoyed this section and the initial disappointment of seeing only brief appearances from a couple of my favourite skaters was alleviated by the standard of the skating. I liked the use of the Justice track as well.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

If you were tiring of the positive outlook on this review, then you might want to close the page, because Stevie Perez has a fucking GREAT section. I hadn’t seen that much of him before this part, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but… wow. Stevie’s real good. Kicking things off with ‘Holy Ghost’ by The Bar-Kays was a great decision, and Stevie’s onslaught is relentless. Rails, gaps, manuals… All are handled properly, with speed and style and a smile. He does the best kickflip frontside crooked nollie flip out and not content with boardsliding over a gap in a handrail, he steps it up to feeble at the end. The yelling at the end of his part is more than justified after his last trick. Super good, Stevie.

Alex Olson’s up next and although it’s a shared part, it’s no less impressive as a result. Loads of great tricks get bumped up a notch as he takes them higher and further than most. His schoolyard picnic table rampage is particularly memorable and he throws in some really good-looking tech into his section too. Mike Carroll is the feeble combination master and still skates with the same flawless style we’ve always loved. Brian Anderson is amazing and boneless smith grinds a big rail, with an amusing background t-shirt appearance that will stoke online nonsense for years to come. Add a quick appearance from Rick McCrank (who was apparently injured for a while) and you’ve got a great four-skater section. A Beastie Boys musical accompaniment is, in my opinion, a fitting tribute to MCA and mentally took me back to the days of ‘Questionable’.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Jesus Fernandez skates to the sounds of the Gypsy Kings and gets technical in a big way: some of the stuff he does is absolutely ridiculous (backside smith to inward heel was particularly nice as was the backside 270° ollie to tailslide to backside 270° ollie flip out). Was that a Paulo Diaz sighting I caught there for a second? Chico Brenes joins in for some slick nollie/switch heel action (and a dope backside 360° out of that big red metal thing we’ve seen everywhere the past few months).

Elijah Berle skates big and drives it home that the new additions to the team were totally valid: he does a perfect impossible 50-50 down a hubba, polejam 50-50s over a box thing into the street, smiths a huge red rail… and loads more. His ended is massive and looks scary from the second angle.

Everyone looks like they hate Baby B (AKA Jack Black) when he’s disrupting a session, although he eventually gets the goods. You’ll understand what I’m babbling on about when you see this bit. I thought Marc Johnson was going to snap and punch him at one point. Speaking on Marc Johnson, his part’s up next. And mother of hell it’s good. Starting off with the best backside noseblunt slide you will EVER see, it’s the beginning of one of my favourite sections of the whole video. When he’s not burying his board in dirt, he’s doing nollie lasers out of nose manuals or impossibles out of 5-0s. An incredibly good section and a strong reason for buying the video alone. Special mention to the amazing fakie 5-0 he does on a yellow metal gate. It’s the best you’ll ever see.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Who’s next? Sean Malto, that’s who. You might have got used to seeing him destroy ready-made street courses but don’t think for a second that he left the streets behind in the process. His infamous grinding skills get taken to new levels (and his opening inside-the-house 50-50 is amazing) and his last trick is incredibly good. If you feel like I’ve shortchanged you on my review of Malto’s section, then that’s because you need to see it for yourself to truly appreciate it.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

And then we have Guy Mariano’s part. Unless you’ve been hiding in a forest for the past few weeks, you’ll have heard murmurings along the lines of ‘Skater of the Year’ and other such terms being thrown around. All I can really say is that they’re all well-deserved. After throwing down one of the best video parts ever in ‘Fully Flared’, Guy Mariano delivers yet again. Plenty of shove-it flippery out of tailslide, noseslides and other such things, but you’re going to need to rewatch it a few times to grasp the bulk of it. Eric Koston shows up for a few tricks here and there too, but I’m gonna assume that we’ll see the fruits of his recent labours in the forthcoming Nike video. I loved seeing the video footage of Guy returning to the same handrail spot he ended his ‘Video Days’ part with as well. I’m not gonna name specific tricks and spoil any of it for you… but his ender… Goddamn. You haven’t seen that before.

The ending credits are always good fun in Spike’s videos, and this is no exception. The first part is great – Cory Kennedy does a 360° flip on a snakeboard for Chrissakes – but the little song with all the legendary skaters in is fucking amazing! I’ve got no idea why but it actually made me get a lump in my throat (resisted the full onion eyes though). So many great people. A great little tribute to have at the end and it was good to see Kareem is still around!

So, that’s probably the briefest summary I could put together that I feel does some kind of justice to ‘Pretty Sweet’. It’s incredibly good. I loved the editing, camera angles, multiple views, music – and the skating. It was a slight shame not to see Devine Calloway and Anthony Pappalardo on here, but maybe they’ll turn up in the extras DVD. The social media and messageboards will no doubt be full of comments, but you can be assured that you won’t be able to pass judgement without buying this and watching it for yourself. Downloading a torrented copy won’t do it any justice at all.

Girl & Chocolate Skateboards Pretty Sweet review

Hats off to everyone involved – even those who didn’t have full sections, because it’s clearly that ‘family vibe’ DNA that has made for such a great team. Spike, Ty, Cory, Rick, Mike, Megan, Meza, everyone: we’re not worthy.

– I’ll post an update on the DVD content once I’ve picked it up –

Go to your local skate store and pick up the DVD… but if you can’t wait, then you’ll find it here on iTunes.

Converse | Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

It’s all very well having a wardrobe stuffed with fluorescent runners and logo-tastic skate shoes, but as I get older there are more and more occasions when something more subdued… more grown-up… more stylish is called for. A lot of mediocre sneaker silhouettes and shapes are hidden by use of materials and colour blocking. Reminds me of graffiti, in some ways.

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

The Converse Elm model leaves peripheral embellishments to the side and concentrates on simplicity: one-piece uppers, clean herringbone tread patterns and vulcanized midsoles. This would be a simple review of the basic shoe, but the nice people at Converse sent over the new Stüssy collaboration model for me to have a look at and it deserves a little more than a one paragraph write-up.

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

Everything looks a little more bulletproof on this serving: a luxurious leather construction replaces the suede on the regular model, D-ring eyelets replace the standard lace holes and you get two sets of hiking-quality laces thrown in as well. Gone is the Converse flash on the side and in its place is a very tasteful Stüssy debossed logo. I’ve seen a nice beige/tan colour edition, a distressed green/brown version and the black ones that I’m featuring here.

One top-shelf shoe indeed – and you’d best get on the trail right now, as they dropped back at the start of April. Thanks C-Law and all in Boston for sending these over.

Converse Stüssy x Converse Elm shoe

Vans | Rowley SPV skate shoe

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

“It has no fucking gimmicks. It’s the lightest, lowest, grippiest shoe you could possibly make. That’s basically it really.”

I could just leave this review at Geoff Rowley’s quote above and be done with it, as what he’s saying is pretty much the truth. However, considering my homeboy Charlie at Vans was kind enough to send me a pair, that’s a bit lazy… and, to be honest, these are definitely worth a bit of investigation. This isn’t your basic plimsoll.

The SPV (Super Pro Vulc) is pretty much everything I thought it wouldn’t be. Firstly, it’s really comfortable for such a lightweight shoe: I’ve had issues with such thin shoes being flimsy and non-supportive, but the SPV has a really firm heel back. The uppers seem like they could take a pounding, as the one-piece suede front section has no real joins or seams to fall apart at all.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

The sole is, as you’d expect, flexible and allows a lot of feel for the board. Whether your feet can take the abuse of throwing yourself down sets of stairs in these like Mr. Rowley is another thing altogether, but for flip tricks and tight control, these are going to be perfect. There appears to be a high-abrasion section right where you need it and the nice waxed laces are able to take a lot more abuse than standard laces for sure.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

Vans are really good at breaking down a skate shoe into the most basic components and then ensuring that what’s left is up to the job. And the Rowley SPV is the perfect testament to this.

R.I.P. Jim Van Doren.

Vans Rowley SPV - Geoff Rowley skate shoe

Epiphany Skateboards | Decipher Tomorrow DVD

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Robert Prado dropped me a line to see if I’d be interested in checking out Epiphany’s new DVD. I didn’t know too much about Epiphany, but a quick look at their website – – told me to sit up and pay attention. A skate company run by skaters might not be anything new conceptually, but the guys have set up a nice little brand supplying nice decks and hardware (the coloured bolts are very nice) and, as this DVD shows, they’ve got a good team of skaters to represent them.

I grew up filming my friends skating on a big-ass video camera that took full-size VHS cassettes – the only motivation was to gather everyone together and watch the months of poorly-edited film together once the video was done. ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ brought back some of those motivations and feelings to me but with a lot more talent behind it than anything I ever made.

And on that tip, ‘Decipher Tomorrow’ is a bit of a low-fi masterpiece. There are no HD sections, no frustrating skits, no 3D graphics – it’s just a perfect showcase of good skating, filming and editing. Unlike some skate films that leave you feeling obliterated at the end, this is one of the few recent DVDs that actually makes you want to pick your board up and go for a skate. One other thing that is particularly nice is that most of it seems to have been filmed in the actual streets as opposed to purpose-built spots.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Nice style aside, the skating is as good as anything put out by ‘the big companies’. The core team consists of Josh Valadao (who skates to a dope Del/Hiero track), Christian Holt, John Davis, Robert Prado and Andrew Green, but there’s a pretty incredible friends section in there with a lot of great stuff. I don’t know the dude’s name, but someone does the best nollie heel shove-it down a set of stairs as well as a nice nollie bigspin late flip. I need to give this a few more viewing sessions to totally absorb everything, but some of the things that really stood out were:

Josh Valadao: a very smooth hardflip to manual over a gap – and a lot of nice flip/manual variations.

Christian Holt: a perfect hardflip down a 12-set and a very slick b/s double flip down a big set of stairs, done somewhere in Long Beach perhaps…

John Davis: super-nice handrail action – and a well-caught f/s heel shove-it down a set of steps.

Friends section: super good throughout. Some guy does a perfect feeble flip-out over a railing. All these guys are amazing. One skater has the most incredible orange hair I’ve ever seen.

Robert Prado: hands-down, Robert does the best half-cab heel down stairs done in 2011. Possibly even longer. Rob’s section is way too short!

Andrew Green: I’m unsure how he managed to get up and run away after the opening slam, but he goes on to destroy everything in sight. The switch 180° impossible thing down the steps at the end is pretty amazing.

There’s a nice ‘Bonus’ section at the end, after the credits as well.

Epiphany Skateboards Decipher Tomorrow DVD review

Epiphany have put out one of the best skate videos I’ve seen this year – I’m unsure if all the guys live near each other or not, but the vibe I got was of a group of friends who enjoy their own slice of the west coast. The editing and filming is very nicely done and I thought the music choices were spot-on.

Support the guys and buy your copy of the DVD here for $7.99. It’s a good investment!

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll ‘Wildcats’

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

It feels like ASICS spent a long time as observers when the collaborative craze kicked off. The PROPER crew did an incredible job on their 2007 GT-II shoe – definitely one of the best running shoe co-labs to come out – but since then the spotlight has remained on the Gel Lyte III. A lightweight runner that initially confused non-athletes by having an unusual split tongue, it wasn’t until Patta and Ronnie Fieg began playing with the multitude of panels that the masses began to take notice. And take notice they did. Look back at any of the recent ASICS releases and you’ll see roadblocks, crashed servers and campouts were the order of the day.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

For Scotland’s Hanon Shop, up in the glorious city of Aberdeen, things got switched up a little more than usual for their latest ASICS collaboration. Instead of simply colouring-in existing panels, there’s a reworking of fabrics and construction that makes the Wildcats totally unique. I first saw preview images of these back in the summer and made a mental note to keep an eye out for them. Sitting in front of the computer, refreshing relentlessly isn’t an easy task when you’re stuck at work, but if one shoe this year was going to be worth the effort, then this was probably it.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

The name Wildcats is a nod to Hanon’s local running club of the same name and the mustard and burgundy fits perfectly with the ‘Keeps On Burning’ Hanon branding. As a sidenote, this toasty colourway works wonders as the temperature drops here in the UK. There’s also a little something in these that reminds me of my Raleigh Burner BMX bike – count that as another plus point.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

Dropping the usual toebox and upgrading it for a punched suede adds a little extra protection against the elements and upgrades things to a deluxe level. 3M stripes, dual branding on the tongue and the collar lining are all contributing elements that make this perhaps the best ASICS co-lab we’ve seen to date. And, reading the frantic tweets and forum posts since they dropped at Hanon on the 28th October, it seems that there are lots of people out there who’d agree.

Big thanks to Ed at Hanon for the hook-up.

ASICS x Hanon Gel Lyte lll Wildcats

Emerica | Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

Anyone who knows me has probably heard me harp on about my repeatedly-broken left ankle. After the third time (back foot slipping off a weak five-stair pop shove-it, in case you suspected the cause to be something non-skate related), it’s just never been the same: it sounds like a toddler smashing Lego bricks with a hammer. And it hurts. After two hours of walking anywhere, it says ‘Fuck this’ and tweaks itself to the side. So without any decent skate footwear to roll around in, I’d be destined to stay inside, get fat and write blog posts repeatedly. Oh… Hang on…

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

So, low-tops are out. High tops are fine, but I always found them a little too restrictive in the past. So I started trawling through the recent releases to find something that ticked the boxes. A quick open Twitter conversation threw back some interesting suggestions, but the kind offer to pick something from the Sole Tech range was way too good to pass up. Have a quick re-cap of the past year’s output from Emerica, Etnies or éS (who are taking a hiatus for 2012) and it’s a hard call. The (Jerry) Hsu 2 model, the Cessnor Mid, Bledsoe Mids – all were good choices. But, with his ‘Stay Gold‘ part still ringing in my head, I settled for the Westgate model.

Before I go into a standard product write-up, it’s worth commenting on the whole worthiness of Brandon Westgate getting his own pro shoe. A fairly recent addition to professional skateboarding, you’d almost be forgiven if you thought he was just put in the mix to add another shoe to the product catalogue. In which case, I insist that you watch this following video before reading any further:

I can’t think of too many of the younger generation of pro skaters who’ve made such an indelible mark so quickly. Westgate’s part in the Zoo York video was when I first really took notice, but his ‘Stay Gold’ section was incredible. And if you haven’t seen the ‘B-Sides’ offcuts to that, you should cut yourself a 15-minute break and watch that over here immediately. Shoe-worthy indeed, especially when you line him up next to a good 90% of his fellow shelf-sharers.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

I haven’t gone with a vulcanized sole to skate in for a while, so I was looking forwards to getting some proper board feeling under my feet again. The Westgate is double wrapped on the midsoles, which means the sidewalls aren’t going to blow out anytime soon. The STI PU Foam Lite footbed might look like I’ve just typed a load of random letters together, but it’s actually a decent piece of technology: really comfortable and fitted around the heel cup without being tight. I’d like to tell you that it can handle 12-stair ollies perfectly, but let’s be realistic about my abilities these days. I can assure you that it does handle three-stair fakie ollies and switch heelflips on flat though, so I was happy enough. The whole OrthoLite element in the footbed means that any moisture is wicked away, air flow is optimal and your shoes don’t end up stinking.

Now, where lots of models have let me down is on the standard ollie area: find me a shoe that doesn’t look screwed after a week of being scraped up and down the griptape and I’ll show you a flip-flop and bleeding toes. However, these have three layers of quality suede to tear your way through and are triple-stitched on all important areas. I’m going to go all out and say that I reckon these will still look fine after a few pretty vigorous sessions.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

So, in short, the Emerica Westgate model has pretty much got it all. Firstly, no-one is ever going to question the ‘athletic endorsement’ side of things, so that’s one thing less to worry about. Lookswise, even if you don’t play it safe and go with the black or the dark grey options, there’s a nice green version available too. I’ve seen a photo of a great-looking black and cranberry version as well – nicely appropriate, considering Westgate’s family background – which the good chaps over at the Ripped Laces site posted a few weeks back.

Big thanks to Tom and the nice people at Emerica and Sole Tech for sending these across.

Emerica Brandon Westgate skate shoe

The Real Video | Since Day One

The Real Video Since Day One video review

When Jim Thiebaud and Tommy Guerrero decided to join forces and start their own skate company, the name Real couldn’t have been more appropriate. From their humble San Francisco roots, Real has continually lived up to its name: the day I picked up the 49ers Tommy board and the anti-KKK Thiebaud tee, I knew this was something good. And in their twentieth year, it seems only right that a sharp smack to the head is delivered in the form of a new film.

Real’s video history is as good as it gets. The first video from ’93 (sadly yet to be reissued on DVD), ‘The Real Video’, still remains one of the best of its era. Kelly Bird skating to Steppenwolf, Jim T’s last formal video section, Moses letting the security guys know what’s up (“Not here…” “Yes here!” CLANG!) and Kelch’s EMB annihilation, it’s still one of my favourite skate videos of all-time. ’97’s ‘Non-Fiction’, ’99’s ‘Kicked Out Of Everywhere’, 2001’s ‘Real To Reel’, 02’s ‘Seeing Double’ and ‘Recipe For Disaster’ shorties, ’05’s ‘Roll Forever’, 2007’s ‘Life and Times’… the back catalogue carries some serious weight. And with that, the Real team rider history is just as strong. A broad mix of styles from the progressive and fun-loving styles of Gonz through to the sorely-missed smoothness of people like Ben Liversedge or Drake Jones, and then contrasted with the dynamite power and speed of Dennis Busenitz and Keith Hufnagel. Solid team selection, quality product, an incredible video history, well-respected company owners… That’s Real.

And ‘Since Day One’ continues the tradition of excellence. Since we saw the first trailers filtering through the forums, blogs, Twitter streams and video playlists, everyone knew that this was going to be something rather special. Set yourself firmly into the proceedings by heading over to our friends at Chrome Ball for their excellent Real Week of postings.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Firstly, the days of when you could proclaim ‘My local shop doesn’t have this: can someone upload it for me?’ are gone. You can buy this on iTunes, in either a straight standard definition download or a mixture of standard and HD footage. And it’s £4.99, in the UK. No excuses – here’s the link:

Real ‘Since Day One’ on iTunes:

(I’m currently based in the UK and managed to purchase it fine from that link, so it should work)

For those of you fortunate to have a local store, the deluxe DVD package comes with a great-looking 100 page book. If I manage to get myself a copy, I’ll update this review accordingly to include a write-up on that too.

The opening titles and intro section use the same intro music that the first video used, the highly-appropriate ‘Streets of San Francisco’. A nice little nod to the past there, but the skating is firmly set in the future. R.I.P. Johnny Romano.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Kicking things off is new Real pro James Hardy. And what an opener it is. Total destruction of rails, steps and benches is counterbalanced with speed, some tech (the best frontside half-cab flip ever and the nollie 360° flip over the rail and into the bank was amazing) and some special guest appearances. Loved the music, loved the skating, the ender was amazing – the perfect start to the rest of the film. Jake Donnelly blows the frickin whistle with a section full of fast stylish skating, giving the cameraman some practice for the Busenitz section. Massive switch bigspin, amazing nollie over a gap and into a bank, perfectly tweaked/caught flips (switch and regular) = impressive.

Alex Perelson fucking KILLS it. One of the best vert sections I’ve seen. Amazing proper 720°s, gay twist flips, huge backside ollies, sliding noseblunts all on ramp and on concrete. This is not a token vert section: it’s one of the best things here.

Davis Torgerson has a strong section (that maybe deserved something little more powerful in the music choice?) with a lot of good stuff worthy of repeat watching. Ernie Torres and Nick Dompierre share a part and it’s incredible. Every trick, no matter who’s behind it, is really good. I’m not normally a fan of shared sections that much, but this worked really well. Ernie’s 360° nollie heelflip into the bank and total handrail crushing is incredible to sit back and watch and Nick’s got featherlight foot control over the biggest tricks (there are a couple of seriously BIG gaps here). I knew this part would be good, but not this good. Get in that hedge, Ernie!

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Huf has been with Real for a l-o-n-g time and hasn’t let his personal business endeavours and successes get in the way of his skating. One of the best styles ever, backed up with lots of speed and pop: business as usual.

I first heard about Chima Ferguson when I was on my first trip to Australia, back in 2006. He was all over the national magazines and from what I could tell, he was going to make some noise on a global scale. There’s no need to recap over his past few years in detail, but he’s risen up the ranks, turned pro for Real and with this video put out his ‘coming of age’ part. Another contender for the biggest tricks/smoothest landings award, Chima lives up to the expectations. Loads of great stuff in this part: the ollie up the ramp at the Aquatic Centre (huge and smooth), frontside heelflip down the doubles (ski gloves!), backside 360 over the rail (massive), switch backside tail down the hubba (speechless). It’s a great section.

Kyle Walker skates to Flavor Flav – always a good choice – and does his tricks big at 100mph (the smith grind down the curved rail was amazing), whilst Antoine Asselin does the same, but with complicated lines instead. Both are good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Hell yeah: Justin Brock! This guy is (in the opening words of Stefan Janoski) ‘so fucking good’. His opening skatepark line should clear any doubts up: no need for mindblowing tricks when your natural style is like that. But mindblowing tricks he’s got, so that’s all angles covered. The 360° flip-to-ledge-to-frontside-bigspin sequence is sick. Nollie shove-it 5-0 at Hubba? Oof. His handrail antics (fakie ollie to switch feeble or fakie ollie to bluntslide to handcuffing, being two prime examples) are flawless as well.

JT Aultz skates BIG rails and 360° flips roof gaps, again at mach 5, while Massimo Cavedoni and Robbie Brockel share a section packed with difficult tricks, fast lines and too much good shit to individually name here.

Ishod Wair’s opening slow-mo/HD montage shows just how good he is. Precision isn’t the word. The nollie flip down the brick double set is on-the-bolts perfection. Great music is the icing on the top of one of my favourite sections in the whole film. Feeble to backside lipslide on a rail, the switch flip down the fountain at Love Park, sliding round the corners of kinked rails and the best frontside 270° to lip on a rail since Shiloh in ‘Love Child’. Amazing section. One of the best.

Max Schaaf has put in time as one of the stalwarts of vert skating, and his short and laid-back section is nicely put together. Whether he’s doing big lien airs or riding his motorcycle up banks, I don’t really need to see him do much more than that to know he’s one of the best to have ever dropped in.

And then there were two.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Peter Ramondetta and Dennis Busenitz probably have two of the most highly-anticipated parts of the video – and I can confirm that you won’t be disappointed. You know what to expect from both skaters and they deliver in bucketloads.

Peter skates like he’s fleeing a pack of Aids-infested zombies. Some of my favourite tricks in his section include the 50-50-to-ollie over the post, the l-o-n-g nose grind to nollie heel out on the steps, the kickflip crooked grind on the green rail and the steep 50-50 right at the end.

Ahhh… Mr. Busenitz. We’ve been expecting you. Style, power, speed, pop, trick selection: he’s got it all. If he didn’t do any flip tricks (or thread the needle on wallrides occasionally), you’d think his feet were glued to the griptape. He’ll do a 10-foot tailslide on a waist-high ledge and bomb a hill just as easily as do a bigspin fakie manual on a block. The quick combination lines he does just show off his natural ability (I’ll use this statement to link up his Battle at the Berrics match, just in case anyone missed it). Super super good.

The Real Video Since Day One video review

Living up to the hype has got to be one of the toughest things when you embark on a project like this. But Jim, Tommy, Mic-E Reyes, Dan Wolfe, Gabe Morford and the Real team have delivered one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. This film made me want to go skating: what more could I ask than that?

Dig out your $10, set aside an hour and enjoy some of the best skateboarding ever to be seen on screen. Real have upheld their tradition perfectly.

– data –

Length: 71 minutes
Format: DVD ($19.99) and iTunes download

Featured skaters: Johnny Romano, Dennis Busenitz, Ernie Torres, Max Schaaf, JT Aultz, Ishod Wair, Keith Hufnagel, Chima Ferguson, Nick Dompierre, Peter Ramondetta, Davis Torgerson, Alex Perelson, James Hardy, Jake Donnelly, Massimo Cavedoni, Justin Brock, and Jim T’s sneaky footage at the end!

Bonus DVD additions (this is taken from press release: NOT authenticated yet, so I can’t help anyone trying to find the ‘missing’ Ishod part… yet anyway):

– 100 page photo book from Gabe Morford
– Extra footage includes: Philly filming trip, ATL filming trip, Austin filming trip, NC filming trip, LA filming trip, 5 days with Ramondetta, Justin’s little brother’s part, Woodward skate camp edit, ‘a year of Ishod’ in HD (as yet undiscovered?), Gabe’s slide show (with music by Tommy Guerrero) and ‘tons more extras and outtakes!’.

Real ‘Since Day One’ soundtrack:

Intro section/opening titles KnightsBridge ‘Streets of San Francisco’/Minor Threat ‘Salad Days’
James Hardy Molly Hatchet ‘Flirting With Disaster’
Jake Donnelly Too $hort ‘Blow The Whistle’
Alex Perelson Joy Division ‘The Drawback’
Davis Torgerson Brian Eno & John Cale ‘Lay My Love’
Ernie Torres & Nick Dompierre Green Eyed God ‘Treadmill’
Keith Hufnagel Tommy Guerrero ‘Yerba Buena Bump’/The Nerves ‘Hanging on the Telephone’
Chima Ferguson Cass McCombs ‘She’s Still Suffering’
Kyle Walker & Antoine Asselin Public Enemy ‘Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya, Man!’
Justin Brock George Thorogood ‘Move It On Over’/Boyz N Da Hood ‘Gangstas’
JT Aultz Egg Hunt ‘We All Fall Down’
Massimo Cavedoni & Robbie Brockel The Stooges ‘Down On The Street’
Ishod Wair Tommy Guerrero & Monte Vallier ‘The Drain’/James Brown ‘Get On The Good Foot’
Max Schaaf The Dutchess and the Duke ‘Reservoir Park’
Peter Ramondetta Exodus ‘Only Death Decides’
Dennis Busenitz Brian Eno ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’/The Modern Lovers ‘Roadrunner’
End credits Tommy Guerrero ‘The Paramour and the Pugilist’

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise VHS T-shirt

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Finding myself ‘reviewing’ a t-shirt for Trashfilter wasn’t something I originally planned to do when I started the site. It seemed there were enough others doing that kind of thing already and the web didn’t really need another unknown idiot wasting bandwidth with more of the same. To summarise, it’s gotta be something particularly good for me to take the time to photograph it and spend an hour or so typing, all the time unsure whether anyone will read it.

And, much to my girlfriend’s annoyance, my house has more than enough t-shirts in it already: I certainly didn’t need to spend $26 (plus international shipping) on another one. Hell, at the time of writing, I can’t even afford next month’s rent.

But then I saw this.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

Hopefully, you’ll have already seen the Chrome Ball Incident site and our interview with Chops here on Trashfilter back when his Nike Dunk SB dropped in 2010. If not, play catch-up quickly and we’ll meet you in the next paragraph.

Instead of plastering a nondescript logo or forcing some stylised typography onto this shirt, Chops took 12 screengrabs from a variety of classic (ie. important) skate videos. Some are more obscure than others (I consider myself reasonably proficient in stuff like this, but the G&S Footage and Sick Boyz grabs took me a while to work out), but that’s all part of the fun. What I didn’t realise until later on was that all the grabs have in fact already been decoded on the Heel Bruise site, with a nice little paragraph about each video: see the end of this review for the link.

So, whilst it’s a nice enough tee anyway, all the contextual stuff made it a winner for me. Watching that kid exhaling in a bin full of trash at skate camp in ‘Hokus Pokus’ or being told to ‘kiss my ass and go home’ by a hobo in 1281 was all part of my childhood. Thanks to Chrome Ball and Heel Bruise for taking me back there again.

Chrome Ball Incident x Heel Bruise T-shirt

You can buy the tee here, and I suggest you do so before they disappear. There’d be nothing worse than seeing someone less deserving rocking one. Oh, and if you were stuck wondering what the chimney grab was from or who it was complaining about ‘breaking some wood’, then head over here to Heel Bruise and get the full rundown.

Thanks to Richard at Heel Bruise: watch this space for a chat with him about the Heel Bruise project shortly.

Warning: The Art of Marc McKee | a book by Winston Tseng

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

My affinity with everything World Industries-related might’ve died with the birth of Flameboy, but there’s no denying the back catalogue. A third of my infatuation came from Rocco’s business model and his marketing schemes, another third from the ridiculous skate talent all World teams contained – but another hefty portion came from Sean Cliver and Marc McKee’s incredibly good artwork.

Winston Tseng put together this nice little monologue of McKee’s artwork for Mark Batty Publishing: Winston’s own artwork is worthy of review, as he’s the Art Director at Enjoi skateboards and has created loads of amazing work himself.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

This book isn’t the massive portfolio that it could have been, but it’s a nice portable size: whether you’d risk reading it on the bus is another matter, as there’s plenty of McKee’s confrontational graphic work in here to offend the most stoic of commuters. Fucked Up Blind Kids? Yes. Natas ‘Devil Worship’ board? Henry’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ deck? Yes, yes, yes – they’re all in here and they still look as good as they ever did. I liked the nod to the Randy Colvin ‘Censorship Is Weak As Fuck’ graphic on the cover as well.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

Alongside the board graphics, there are some original sketches (I was amazed how much work went in the Jovontae Turner ‘Napping Negro’ board) and some editorial work for Hustler magazine, which was interesting to see although I can’t say I’d want it framed on the wall.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

The portfolio has been compiled in chronological order, so when you get towards the end of the book, you start encroaching on Devil Man, Flameboy and Wet Willy territory. And to be fair, it’s given a fresh piece of contextual reference: you can see the brand strategy document that details the later years of World’s product licensing. After years of getting under everyone’s feet as the annoying underdog, Steve Rocco, Rodney Mullen, McKee, Cliver and the rest of the crew got the well-deserved last laugh.

The Art of Marc McKee - a book by Winston Tseng

Whilst I still think there needs to be the definitive book about the whole World Industries story published, that’s another topic altogether: in the meantime, this book gives a glimpse into the archives of one of the most important artists in skateboarding’s history.

Data: 96 pages/21.6 x 16.2cm/ISBN: 9781935613237

The Doomsday Papers | Mysterious Al at StolenSpace

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

When I was working in the centre of town, I’d usually check out most exhibition launches, regardless of the artist. Free drinks, the same crowd of familiar faces and occasionally some interesting artwork to see as well. These days I’m far more selective with my free time. Traveling for an hour into London to see an exhibition is less appealing unless I’m a true fan of the artist’s work. So when I got an email from Mysterious Al asking if I’d like a sneak preview of his solo show, ‘The Doomsday Papers’ at the Stolen Space gallery, it was an easy decision.

When Trashfilter last caught up with Mysterious Al, he was preparing to collate his work in order to get a show together – and it’s obvious that he’s been very busy. Put any preconceptions aside: whilst there’s enough of Al’s older established (and much-loved) style here, the work in ‘The Doomsday Papers’ is a totally new level. Beautiful screened pieces with spraypaint and collage details are well positioned alongside some new wooden maquette pieces, with a subtle theme of masks and monsters running throughout everything.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

The first thing you’ll notice is the painted shed in the middle of the gallery – more on that in our interview with Al below – but as you walk around the space, you’ll see a sacrificial altar overlooked by Bela Lugosi-eque renditions of Amy Winehouse and Kate Moss, a huge photography-based main piece and a collection of Mayan mask prints that would make a modern-day headhunter proud.

Eager to interrupt Al while he was putting the finishing touches on the exhibition, I grabbed him for a few words about his exhibition.

At the end of the feature we did back in 2010, you mentioned that you were planning your first solo show… and now here it is!

I know! When we spoke about it, it was really just a plan: nothing had been set in stone. So I’m just really lucky that the gallery let me do it and that I had enough ideas to produce all of this work. And I’ve actually got too much work! I’ve never been in that position before.

So, which pieces did you work on first for the show? Are all of these new pieces?

Yeah – all of them are new. I was looking at masks and collage work, which really gave me a new lease of life. For so long I’d been going down the commercial route – and I loved it – but for ages I’d draw something and just couldn’t turn it into a finished thing. I didn’t want to just copy what I’d been doing on the computer: that didn’t work. But by doing this, I’ve stripped it back and got into doing things a little more abstract. Collage is just good fun. It’s immediate, you don’t get bored doing it and I’m really into it at the moment.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

What inspired you to look at masks as a visual theme?

Actually, I should say, there’s none of this bullshit about ‘Oh, it’s something to hide behind’: I just really like the aesthetic of a mask. That’s all it is. I went to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill: they’ve got a collection of witch doctor masks and it’s the coolest thing in the world. If someone came to see a witch doctor to get treated for toothache, the doctor would make a mask for toothache and do a ritual with it. And then that mask would go into a box until another person came in with toothache. And over time they’d make all these different masks and trade them with each other. And I just really like the idea of this. Some of these masks are so stylistically current, they look like they could have been made this year. These got me interested in Mayan art – tongues sticking out and that kind of thing – which I really like the symmetry of.

Over the years, we’ve all seen people doing things with wrestling masks and that kind of thing, but these are very different.

I want to take things even further, which is why I’ve started doing things out of wood as well. I don’t want to start making actual masks, but this seemed like a good next step to try out.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

These pieces are all really bright and bold, which works really well as a contrast to some of the darker pieces we’ve seen from you over the past few years: layered paint onto top of black and white photography etc.

Yeah, over the years, a lot of my work has ended up being really muted – I really like desaturated colours and things like that. I think that works fine for digital work, where you can really make the dark areas bold, but for painting I find it makes them look really muddy and boring. Going into this Mayan theme, it’s given me the perfect excuse to try using some colours that I’ve never really used before. I was finding myself going to Chrome & Black and buying lime green paint and sky blue stuff: things I’d never really used that much before. It feels quite liberating.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

Did you plan the pieces beforehand or did it naturally evolve into what’s on the walls now?

When it had to be a show, it had to be more concise: it had to be a bit of a story. This is my first solo show, so I did really have to think about what I was doing. I did a few things that are a bit more commercial or accessible, like the Amy Winehouse pieces, but the overall theme or theory behind everything here is different kinds of monsters. Different monsters in history all brought together. Influenced by Mayans, influenced by mythical monsters – werewolf, forest men, yetis – and monsters from the past and present like Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse…

It’s really nice to see a loose evolution in your pieces here. I can see where you’ve continued what you were working on when we last spoke. So, let’s talk about the scary-looking altar…

You know when you think of bad religion and Satanism and things like that? People always think of pentagrams and stuff like that. What I think is more interesting is English occult and Wicca and witchcraft. Weird shit made out of bits of stick and stuff. When I lived in Cornwall, we’d always find these sacred stones. We’d go out for walks on a Sunday and we’d always find these weird creepy things when we were out: piles of stones with burn marks on them – proper ‘Blair Witch’ type things, but before that was even around. Just evidence that something had happened there the night before. I didn’t find it necessarily sinister, but it always interested me.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

I started thinking about sacrificial things and offerings and that kind of thing. Not so much in a morbid or evil way: when I was in Thailand, people would leave things out. Little deities and stuff. There’d be a crumpled postcard of a God or something… and then a can of Coke and a bag of crisps next to it.

And the paint-covered shed in the middle of the exhibition?

This… this is my studio. This is where I make my work.

So, hang on, this is where you made some of the work for the show?

No, no, no. This IS my studio: we moved it into the gallery!

Wow! How long is the show on for?

The show is open from the 4th March through to the 27th March.

It’s a big thing for me, it’s my first show, I’m really pleased with how everything looks and I just want to get back on people’s radars a bit. I’d been going down the commercial route for so long that I really missed doing the pure art stuff. I’m going to carry on with this momentum of work and I’ve got some more ideas with the wooden pieces. StolenSpace are looking after me now and I’m hoping to get involved with some of their other group shows and exhibit through some of their sister galleries and just see where it takes me really.

The Doomsday Papers - Mysterious Al at Stolen Space

Too often you go to a show and there’s some lovely work, but it all looks a bit random or disjointed. This show is really cohesive, without being boring. You can get as deep and wanky as you like when you write about gallery shows, but at the end of the day you can narrow it down to this: all of the work here looks fucking amazing. I’d put any of these pieces up on my wall at home. And that’s probably the highest praise I can give.

Go and see the show, pray at his altar and try to pick up one of Al’s pieces before they’re gone.

– Exhibition and gallery details

Mysterious Al presents ‘The Doomsday Papers’
4th March – 27th March 2011

StolenSpace Gallery
Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
United Kingdom

Tuesday – Sunday
11:00am – 7:00pm

P: +44 (0) 207 247 2684

Nike Sportswear | Nike Lunar Macleay+

Nike Lunar Macleay

The Nike Lunar Macleay mid-top, which aside from the Lunarlon sole unit looks like it could have fallen from the ACG catalogues a decade ago, has quite rightly racked up more than a few words online. Everyone loves it. And when you see it for yourself, you’ll understand why.

I’ve been a fan of the ACG range for a long time. Back when my friends and I had transcended the whole Chipie jeans and Chevignon sweatshirts period, we moved from Air Flights and Travel Fox to more rugged footwear. Nike unleashed one of my favourite models of all-time around this point (the underrated Son of Lava Dome) and I became a fan of the often quirkily-named footwear that came with hiking trails, mountains and woodlands in mind. The Lunar Macleay, named after a walking trail in Portland, is right up there with the very best of the range, perhaps sitting alongside another old favourite of mine, the Air Approach 150 from 1996.

Nike Lunar Macleay

Using the Lunar Elite last, the first thing I really noticed when wearing these out and about was just how light and comfortable the sole unit it. Going into a diatribe about various cushioning systems is all very easy when you’re presented with strange and experimental technologies, but the Lunar sole is without a doubt one of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. Almost makes me wish I hadn’t slept on the Lunar Elites (which use the exact same last) from a few months back.

Nike Lunar Macleay

There have been a few colourways of this model in the shops so far: the ink and taupe models here were accompanied with a bright cactus version and a stealthy black version around the same time, but it looks like there are other colourways to come.

Nike Lunar Macleay

The ink version has a leather upper, with some embossed molded panels along the sides, whilst the faded taupe edition has a completely different and slightly ore lightweight synthetic upper. Other differences are the Swoosh on the side (embroidered on the leathers, plastic on the taupes) and the use of 3M on the lighter pair is reappropriated in stitching on the darker ones. D-ring lacing systems and proper hiking laces round things off on the outside, whilst the comfortable lining and pull-on tongue continues the style and comfort inside. For those of you more in-tune with your fitness levels, these will work with the Nike+ system as well.

Nike Lunar Macleay

Just when I thought I’d got enough pairs of shoes this month, Nike go and do it again. Watch for the other colourways in your local Tier Zero spots, although it seems that some colourways haven’t yet covered a global radius. More please!

Thank you to Phoebe Lovatt for the generous hook-up on these.

Addict footwear | Addict Scout shoe

Addict footwear Scout model

There’s rarely a situation where you can’t find an appropriate pair of sneaks to wear, but I’m starting to realise that broadening the wardrobe selection a little bit probably isn’t a bad idea. But, seriously, finding a decent style of shoe to wear isn’t very easy. I’ve got a pair of Clarks Wallabees for weddings/funerals/court hearings and some very similar-looking Paul Smith shoes for the same thing, but they’re a bit too… smart.

So when C-Law got loose with the new range of casual footwear at Addict, it was inevitable he’d be conjuring up something I’d actually like to own. Let me introduce you to the Addict Scout model.

Addict footwear Scout model

Those of you familiar with Japan’s well-respected Visvim brand will definitely draw similarities to their FBT model: there’s a trainer-style sole, a similar silhouette and suede uppers. But unless you’re happy to drop several hundred dollars on those, you’re not going to be getting a pair.

Rather than a straight facsimile, C-Law and Addict spiced things up and gave it their own twist. You’ve still got the comfortable shape, but things are simplified by leaving the ‘skirt’ off and focusing on other eras. I wouldn’t normally be down for any desert boot styles – a foot like a dirty Cornish pasty has never looked good – but these are about as far away from that as you could get. These have a refined shape but still show enough chunk to know they won’t fall apart in the first ten minutes.

Addict footwear Scout model

The D-ring lacing system is perfect for speedy fastening (with nice waxed laces) and the tongue takes aspects of sneaker comfort but looks a little more fresh with a really nice suede label. one thing that I think is really nice (albeit slightly unimportant), is that the packaging really looks quality. It’s clear that you’re getting something nice as soon as you see the box.

The midsole is EVA with a nice gum outsole for extra style points and it’ll give you enough grip when clambering home from the pub.

Addict footwear Scout model

Addict footwear Scout model

I’ve just started wearing them and although some people have said they feel quite snug, I’m glad I went a half size down. The best thing to do is try ’em on before you buy ’em. There’s a nice thick insole that actually does its job well and holds your heel well.

In three decent colours and at less than a third of the price of anything similar, you really won’t go wrong with these.

Addict footwear Scout model

You’ll find the Addict Scout in all the usual spots – Crooked Tongues, Size? etc. – but you can read a little more about them on Addict’s own site: Based on these, I’m really looking forwards to seeing next year’s selection from the guys.

Cliché Résumé | A Decade Plus of Skateboarding in Europe book

cliche resume skate book

Cliché are one of the few skate brands to originate in Europe and successfully crack the global skate market. Others, like Flip (who many of us here in the UK remember as Death Box originally), Blueprint (who, again, started out under another name: Panic) or even Etnies (Etnics), did it beforehand, but you can’t help but think that the odds were stacked against any foreign companies trying to conquer the US. Without hardcore investment or backing from a larger brand, it’s no surprise that many companies outside of the US have only really succeeded in their own countries. Cliché, from France, are an exception to the rule.

I’ll be honest: I had no idea that it had actually been (over) ten years since they started the company. We didn’t really see much in the way of their boards until after the millennium, and even then in London we were more likely to support our own indigenous woodshops than look at a French brand. But things changed and perseverance clearly paid off. Today, you’ll see Cliché sitting alongside the best that the skate scene has to offer.

cliche resume skate book

The good skate-related books are few and far between – you’ll find a few of these others reviewed here on Trashfilter – but this 320page compendium of Cliché’s journey from their humble start is fully worthy of being printed and bound. Mackenzie Eisenhour from Transworld Skateboarding provides the narrative as we’re taken from inception to current-day and it makes for interesting reading. But, whilst the words are good, the photography and layout was outstanding. Photos from the cream of the crop are interspersed with clean and interesting page layouts, archive graphic images and lots more visual confectionery.

Jérémie Daclin’s personal story is briefly covered and he modestly steers away from the fact that he was one of the most well-known European skaters in the the early ’90s. His part in New Deal’s classic ‘1281’ was short but memorable (anyone that did double-flip caspers out of long manual rolls was clearly at the peak of technical ability) and it’s inspiring to read how he translated his skating skills into developing a business from scratch. Cliché’s ‘Gypsy Tours’ – covered many times in Skateboarder and other mags – sound crazy to those who are used to the ideas of pro skaters wearing ‘ice’ and driving Bentleys, but the reality is that they’re guided by nothing more than friendship and a raw love for skating. I’ve done my time on tours like that in the past, but even I haven’t had to use the sea as my daily bath/toilet before.

cliche resume skate book

May of the past and present riders are covered in depth: Pontus Alv, Lucas Puig, JJ Rousseau, JB Gillet, Javier Mendizabal, Vincent Bressol, Al Boglio, Andrew Brophy, Charles Collet, the ever-popular Joey Brezinski… even the turning down of Arto Saari is covered, accompanied by a statement of regret and a photo fo his sponsor-me tape. There’s some Gonz-related factoids thrown into the mix as well. All good stuff.

Résumé balances the fine line between being an arty book for the coffee table and something that you’d actually want to sit and read. Bear in mind, if you do plan on reading it, you’ll need strong arms: this thing weighs a ton and the corners on the hardback cover were designed to stop blood flow. You’ll be able to find this in most of the online book stores, but before heading over to one of them, check to see if your local skate shop’s got it in stock. At around the £25-30 mark, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s much better value than the six magazines you could’ve bought with the money instead.

Emerica ‘Stay Gold’ | DVD review

emerica stay gold

It’s been a long time coming and the ads over the past 18 months have certainly fueled our expectant minds, but Emerica’s ‘Stay Gold’ certainly lives up to the promise. I don’t usually venture out to skate film premieres these days (the last one I went to was probably ‘Public Domain’ at the National Film Theatre in 1989), but I actually wanted to see this one in the cinema. Well, unlucky me: a prearranged client meeting put paid to any leisure activities on the evening of 26th August. Messageboards blew up with news and early reports and I did my best to ignore leaked footage and spoilers so that I could approach viewing with a clear mind. You have no idea how difficult this was.

I wouldn’t normally pay for a download – call me ‘old school’, but having the physical DVD is far more appealing when it comes to parting with money – but I dropped the £5.99 via iTunes and purchased an official copy of ‘Stay Gold’. A physical copy is on the way, and I’ll update this review when it arrives, but in the meantime let’s run through the feature presentation.
(Big thanks to Tom at Sole Tech for dropping me the DVD in the mail: see the bottom of this review for a DVD-specific additional section)

Firstly, it may or may not surprise you to find out that this is unofficially Heath Kirchart’s retirement video. The guy’s smashed it for years (I first saw him in Birdhouse’s ‘Ravers’ back in ’93) and when you look at what he’s accomplished since then, he’s been at the top of his game for the best part of a decade. Read the full run-through of Heath’s part towards the end of this page.

emerica stay gold

The opening sequence is slick. I really like the combination of Jon Miner and Mike Manzoori behind the cameras and the edit desk: the result is far more cinematic than a lot of other skate films and easier to stomach on repeated viewings. Handdrawn typography, the green tint to the footage and other devices such as vignetting and careful use of slow motion gives a relaxed and immersive feel. One thing I had heard was that the video was tough going in places because of the repeated hammers being thrown left, right and centre. Whilst that’s true to certain extent, there’s enough variety from section to section to keep things interesting.

emerica stay gold

Brandon Westgate. Jesus Christ. What an opening section. I’d seen a fair bit of him (the Zoo York DVD springs to mind), but this section elevates him to a new level. On the topic of elevation, he’s a contender for having the biggest pop out of anyone at the moment. Comparing him to Busenitz or Cardiel is being lazy, but there are definite similarities: confidence, speed and style being three common characteristics they all share. My favourite trick of his section? Probably the massive driveway/rail clearance when he’s bombing the hills of San Francisco. Seriously impressive.

Bryan Herman follows with an entire block’s worth of kickflip nose manual and some schoolyard picnic-table/bench destruction before his section truly starts. Big rails and big tricks all popped and landed solidly. The hardflip at Bercy in Paris was particularly insane. Marquis Preston doesn’t seem to be restricted by his choice in drainpipe trousers: lots of large steps and rails get annihilated in his part. Spanky’s section – Kevin Long, to his parents – is short but good fun (the backside tailslide bigspin out on the brick banks was smooth and being able to cry on command is fairly unique) and Collin Provost shows that he can cruise a skatepark properly and drop some ridiculous tricks into the mix as well (the 270° ollie flip into the painted red bank was amazing). Little Jamie Tancowny starts with a harsh slam before proving that he’s pro material with a part that’s packed with man-sized tricks. I’ve seen enough crooked grinds on handrails to last me a lifetime, but the one down the kinker he does is as good as they get. Aaron Suski… what can you say? A killer part with a mix of power that’s best summed up by the reaction of the schoolchildren when he clears the ramp/rail. This man deserves a pro shoe, in my opinion. Braydon Szafranski might wear some illegal clothes by my standards but damn he can skate: great smooth lines and plenty of big tricks to keep the hammer count high.

Justin ‘Figgy’ Figueroa skates fast and can do every trick you can do on a flatbar but on a full sized handrail. You could sit and pick out individual tricks (his kickflip smith grind, for example), but it’s best watched as a whole part. Jerry Hsu has been plagued with injuries – his opening montage will convince you of that, in case you thought he was being lazy – but what he does show in his short part is amazing. Switch tailslide over the ‘rainbow’ rail was frickin’ incredible.

emerica stay gold

Leo Romero goes up handrails as you might have seen in photos before, but he does a hell of a lot more as well. One of my favourite sections in the whole film, he does some seriously impressive stuff going at mach one: frontside half-cab boardslide to fakie, a sick nosegrind nollie big heel out on a picnic table, a l-o-n-g double kinker 5-0 grind and an amazing 50-50 up a proper handrail at the end. Surpassed my expectations, which were already high enough.

Who else but The Boss could end this one? Andrew Reynolds in ‘Stay Gold’ has one of the best ending parts of any skate video yet. If you’re a fan (and, c’mon, who isn’t?), you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy this one. Speed and energy go without saying, but it’s the style of his skating that makes it so pleasurable to watch. In a video that is crammed full of pneumatic-level hammering, Reynolds follows the formula but makes it look like no-one else’s section. Watch his line with the backside 360 down the stairs and then the kickflip down the next set: if you couldn’t see the stairs, you’d think he was doing them down curbs. A frontside flip down another massive set of stairs is celebrated by having a puff on the lit cigarette he’s holding in his hand. The nonchalance is in override.

The outro and credits show little clips of Chris Senn and Ed Templeton – yeah, I’d hoped for full sections from both, but a little is better than none – before Marisa Dal Santo and Ben Krahn give us a glimpse of their skills.

emerica stay gold

Time for some data:

1) The main feature clocks in at 56 minutes and 47 seconds long.
2) There are numerous Easter Eggs hidden in the DVD: Heath Kerchart’s section is one, a Barrier Kult section is another. There’s also a flow team section, an Andrew Reynolds bonus part, a Euro team section… and probably some other bits hiding in there as well.
3) The deluxe edition of ‘Stay Gold’ comes with a dope book of Ed Templeton’s photography of the Emerica team from the past ten years. I’ll update this review with a breakdown on that when it arrives.

The ‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack is pretty cool. Some mellow guitar stuff and a few heavier bits and pieces, which suits the style of the film perfectly. Data collectors, here’s a full tracklist for you:

‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack: main feature:

Intro Dead Meadow ‘Through The Gates Of The Sleepy Silver Door’
Brandon Westgate Earthless ‘Jull’
Bryan Herman #1 Tom Waits ‘Top Of The Hill’
Bryan Herman #2 Black Sabbath ‘Fairies Wear Boots’
Marquis Preston John Cale ‘Big White Cloud’
Kevin Long Captain Beefheart ‘Electicity’
Collin Provost Dead Meadow ‘Green Sky Green Lake’
Jamie Tancowny Comets on Fire ‘The Swallow’s Eye’
Aaron Suski Flower Travlin’ Band ‘Satori Pt. 2’
Braydon Szafranski Hawkwind ‘We Took The Wrong Steps Years Ago’
Justin Figueroa Dead Meadow ‘That Old Temple’
Jerry Hsu Ultimate Spinach III ‘Somedays You Just Can’t Win’
Leo Romero Mott the Hoople ‘Thunderbuck Ram’
Andrew Reynolds Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros ‘Om Nashi Me’
Credits Earthless ‘No Road To Follow’

‘Stay Gold’ soundtrack: bonus sections and Easter egg soundtrack:

Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #1 Chali 2na ‘4 Be Be’ (Instrumental)
Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #2 Chali 2na ‘Controlled Conscience’ (instrumental)
Andrew Reynolds & The Madness #3 Years ‘Don’t Let The Blind Go Deaf’
Ed Templeton Stay Gold Deluxe Tristeza ‘Golden Hill’
Emerica Europe #1 Graveyard ‘Lost in Confusion’
Emerica Europe #2 Earthless ‘Devil-Eyed Woman’
International Montage Sleep ‘Aquarian’
Heath Kirchart Joy Division ‘Atmosphere’

emerica stay gold

— DVD-specific update!

So the iTunes download is a cheaper alternative for those who want something convenient for the laptop or iPod, but the physical DVD is the way forwards for those who want to wring every last morsel from ‘Stay Gold’. The DVD contents and timings are as follows:

Stay Gold Main Feature: 56:41

Bonus features
Andrew Reynolds And The Madness (DVD bonus): 13:19
Ed Templeton – Stay Gold Deluxe (DVD bonus): 6:18
Emerica Europe (DVD bonus): 8:23
International Montage (DVD bonus): 5:34
Flow Bros (DVD bonus): 7:47

Easter eggs
Heath Kirchart (DVD easter egg): 3:34
Barrier Kult (DVD easter egg): 3:46

You can find Heath Kirchart’s section by doing the following maneuvers with your DVD remote control:

Go to ‘Chapters’ – and then press up.
The highlighted menu link will go away: then press ‘Enter’.
Allow jaw to lower to ground level.

emerica stay gold

The main feature will play as normal, but it’s prefaced with what’s rumoured to be Heath’s last video part of his skating career. And what a part it is. Of the 3 and a half minutes of footage, a good chunk is older footage you’ve already seen in previous videos. That doesn’t matter. All it does is remind us just how amazing Heath was and is.

emerica stay gold

The few new tricks in this section are just as good as you’d expect – the downhill street line only has two ‘basic’ tricks in it, but no-one else could do them like that – and his last trick is… well… just watch it for yourself. He might have a permanent facial expression that looks like someone’s just set fire to his pet dog, but that only adds to the legend. Skating’s gonna miss you.

emerica stay gold

My personal favourite DVD-only part is ‘Andrew Reynolds and the Madness’. I’m a big fan of The Boss (again, someone who I first saw when I picked up Birdhouse’s ‘Ravers’ VHS tape), both as a skater and his personality. The episodes of ‘Epicly Later’d’ with Andrew were some of the best filmed, so to watch another little insight into the man’s character is really interesting stuff. Rather than come across as being weird or eccentric, he shows that no matter how good you are at something, you’re just the same as everyone else in many ways: we’ve all got out own ticks and habits. Watching him land a perfect noseslide 270° out on a handrail repeatedly or the tricks at Bercy again and again and again is amazing. A true perfectionist – and a true professional in the real sense of the word.

emerica stay gold

The Barrier Kult Easter egg part is viewed by following this sequence:

Click into the Bonus menu.
Select ‘Andrew Reynolds and the Madness’ – and then hit ‘left arrow’ and ‘Enter’.

emerica stay gold

It’s almost 4 minutes of concrete destruction, with bare chests, masks and noisy metal guitars. If this doesn’t induce bedwetting, nothing will. The other bonus sections are just as worthwhile, but picking the entire contents of every section apart is boring to read when you could be watching it for yourself on the TV.

If you care about the future of skate films, then bonus parts and Easter eggs on the DVDs are the way forwards. The iTunes download is great for convenience, but with so many extras on the physical DVD disc, you’d be crazy to turn it down. Not to mention the excellent design and packaging: simple, but premium. ‘Stay Gold’ isn’t one to sit and watch on YouTube or via crappy-quality downloads: you’re shortchanging your experience if that’s how you choose to view it.

This is a proper cinematic skateboarding experience. Thank you Emerica.

Will I Go To Hell For This | graffiti book

The past couple of years have seen a rise in graf publications and instead of things being awash with mediocrity, they’re getting better and better. In fact, I stopped buying graf books a few years back when I got tired of the same old photos turning up in everything. But while there’s still enough stencil-based horseshit and clueless idiots publishing nonsense (I’m looking at certain people in particular here, but we’ll address that subject another time), there is a steady stream of good quality print coming from the right people. This book, fresh from Denmark, is specifically about the Copenhagen S-train scene from 1984 up to 2009. And with 264 pages and over 600 photos, it’s pretty comprehensive.

The red S-trains hold the same amount of appeal to the Danish writers as the Tubes do to the UK writers and the Subway does to the NYC writers. The trains just look good with paint on them: cherry red flat panels do wonders as a background. And it helps that the Danish writers have bucketloads of style to cover it with.

The title of the book, ‘Will I Go To Hell For This’, comes from an end-to-end painted by Rens back in 1993 who also contributes the cover logo and page-long foreword that starts with:

Graffiti is like a hard drug: it bypasses your common sense.

I went cold turkey a while back (and I was shit anyway), but reading through the quotes that accompany the photos in here brought back some of those passionate feelings. The use of the quotes alongside many of the photos is a particularly nice touch, as you get to read about some of the background stories behind the pieces.

Enough talk: what are the photos like inside? Pretty damn impressive. If you ever picked up ‘Magic Moments’ mag (perhaps via Cept 148 who used to distribute them in the UK), then you’ll be well-prepared for the onslaught of good runner shots, yard activity flicks and general excellence. There’s a lot of good stuff to look at and you won’t be finished with this book for a while. Pictures of iconic events (such as the infamous ‘Eyes’ wholecar from ’85) sit next to modern-day destruction (insides, bombing and paint throwing), while the common theme of great train panels runs right through. I’m a sucker for Kegr’s pieces, so seeing pages of MOAS panels made my day.

I also liked the Mode2 panel in there from ’86 – it’s always good to vintage-era TCA letters on steel – and the inclusion of foreign visitors is a nice touch without detracting from the Danish writers.

It’s a big heavy book and it’s been done really well. There are rumours of a second volume being published, in which case you can put me down for a copy. It’s not cheap (around €40), but when you see the book in the flesh, you’ll probably want a copy for yourself.

Check out the official site here: