Skate DVD reviews are probably one of the most time-consuming things to prepare. You need to watch the film repeatedly, make notes, occasionally do a little research, take screengrabs (which is trickier off an actual DVD than from downloaded content) – and then write it all down. As a result, I try to stick to the cream of the crop. Blueprint’s latest film, Make Friends With The Colour Blue (or MFWTCB, as I’m going to refer to it from now), fully deserved my time.
Blueprint is one of the UK’s finest exports and something that all skaters over here feel an affiliation to. When we heard on the grapevine that the company was going through a difficult patch a while back, we kept our fingers crossed things would sort themselves out – and with Paul Shier and Dan Magee steering the ship, it’s clear that things are on the up again. Look through the Blueprint video archives and you’ll find one of the strongest back catalogues of skate film history from any company. The exposure might’ve been limited to Europe mostly, but with ‘MFWTCB’ things have gone global.
And with a global reach, you need to adjust things accordingly. The Blueprint team is now international with a few new additions from the US, some continental Europeans and the backbone of UK riders, making for a well-rounded feeling to the proceedings. There are still plenty of the expected homegrown references (rain puddles, grey rooftops, Greggs bakery shops), but this has less of a ‘yes mate, we’re from the UK’ vibe and more of a ‘it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at’ feel. I’m a big fan of the traditional style, but this time you really feel that Blueprint’s arrived on an international level. And, to be honest, things like the Marty Murawski promo and the week at The Berrics have all reinforced this new feeling of growth. ‘MFWTCB’ feels like springtime after a long dark winter.
Enough babble: on with the review. Kicking things off with a ‘this is our mate’ intro, Dave Mackey has a short but amusing pre-title sequence section. He skates fast, spends a fair amount of time on the floor and does a dope bluntslide up and over an angled ledge. The title sequence follows, nicely edited to ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’ from They Might Be Giants (with a couple of little references to the band’s original music video in for good measure). Colin Kennedy is first up, with a super-fast, super-powerful section from one of the original members of the team. Great music too. Next is my old mate Paul Shier, who shares the same music with Colin (as they did back in 2001’s ‘First Broadcast’). I grew up skating – and filming – with Paul at Fairfield’s in Croydon and every time I see him these days, I jokingly remind him he’s ‘not getting any younger’ and he might ‘need to think about a future career’. Well, he can put the job applications on hold indefinitely: this section is probably his best yet. It’s so good. Lots of speed (a quality that seems to run throughout almost all of the Blueprint team), plenty of amazing combination tricks and lashings of style. Without peaking too soon, this is definitely one of my favourite sections. Congrats Paul. My Fairfield’s pride is at optimum levels.
Sylvain Tognelli from Lyon, France is up next with a great section packed with flippery and shove-it lines: he does a perfect fakie 360 flip/switch manual/pop-up on this disgusting-looking icy road gap. Bench-king Danny Brady follows with an as-expected gem of a section – loads of nice lines and a few rather unique tricks to make you hit rewind. His half cab bluntslide to flip out was particularly memorable. Thoroughly good.
Tuuka Korhonen from Helsinki shares his section with Arizona’s own Marty Murawski, whose ‘Make Friends With Marty’ promo video apparently utilised a lot of his recent footage due to camera compatibility issues. It’s not an issue though, as he still rips it here. Tuuka’s lines of tech balance nicely with his bigger stuff and I liked all the little ‘rewind’ tricks he does. It doesn’t need saying that Murawski is a fine addition to the team.
Fuck YES: Chewy Cannon. If you’ve seen his part in the adidas ‘Diagonal’ video, you’ll be well accustomed to how good this dude is: his blend of power and style is perfect. Lots of solid and confident tricks, executed with finesse. Adding to the Blueprint US roster, Boston’s Kevin Coakley has an amazing collection of footage. Fakie flip/switch crooks on the Pyramid ledges in NYC, lots of nimble-footed quick hop action over and down steps and blocks and a sick frontside tailslide to drop off on a big block/red brick bank combination. I really liked his music as well: Cheap Trick’s ‘Oh Claire’ was a great choice.
I’d sympathise with anyone having the duty of following Coakley’s section, but Sheffield’s Jerome Campbell has got what it takes. Loads of great tricks and lines (the catch on his flippery is always spot-on). Neil Smith’s section is next and although his part in 2005’s ‘Lost and Found’ was good, this is a real progression. Big BIG ollies (the one over the rail to bank is massive) and some smooth tech makes for another stand out part of the film. The huge nollie heelflip down the steps blew me away. I liked him wobbling the road sign as well. The guest clips of teammate Tom Knox (no, not the Santa Cruz guy) are also really impressive: I look forwards to seeing more from him in the future.
Nick Jensen is the second half of the Royal Family to feature – and, as you’d expect, his section is a testament to how natural he looks on a board. Powered by the sounds of Portishead’s ‘Sour Times’, he shows a vast array of tricks with plenty of style. He switch ollies the Liverpool Street station steps (where I broke my ankle back in 2002) and makes every difficult nose blunt transfer and grind-flip combination look incredibly easy.
And so we get the final part: curtains duty deservedly goes to Mark Baines, who’s been at the forefront of UK skating for over a decade and is showing no signs of slowing down. Super good. Plenty of tricks that no-one else does, all executed at vast speeds: half-cab nose grind, nollie big spin out, switch backside heel noseslides and lots of manual trickery. To be fair, the closing honours could’ve gone to a number of the team riders here, but I’m stoked that Baines took the podium. Check out his ‘leftovers’ in the little DVS promo film that is doing the rounds online.
This is definitely a DVD to come back to. I liked it upon first viewing, but it’s the subsequent viewings that have really made it a firm winner. At only £10, you’re doing yourself a serious injustice if you’re just watching downloaded clips on your computer: this is one to experience in front of your TV set. Well done to all who made this film possible: Blueprint are truly on the up and up.
Filed Under: Reviews