September 24, 2014
In the summer of 2014, my Ibiza narratives from the previous installments of this post came to life—after a fashion. Ibiza was almost as #ontrend as Berlin, with Bieber, Kanye and whoever else fits into that milieu killing it on the infamous island all summer.
I wonder if he skated the prefab park there. He rides Hopps boards, you know! #bychoice
I once again failed to make the trip up to NY and/or the tf, but during my week at the Outer Banks, I found a Nat Geo poster documenting the scores of ships that have shipwrecked along that particular isthmus.
This kind of blew my mind.
I wonder of any pirates ever sailed from Ibiza (I think it was inhabited, by, like, sun-worshippers back in the 1600’s though) straight through to North Carolina. That got me thinking that it would be tight as fuck if a Dan Bilzerian type sailed a yacht straight from Ibiza, across the Atlantic, and up the Hudson River to La Marina. I doubt Bilzerian would, though. Judging by the demographics of the young ladies in his insta feed, it’s not his scene. The best hope for such a historic sea voyage is French Montana; he’s in the extended Kardashian family now, so anything is possible (via Kevin Garnett, natch).
Back to Ibiza summer 2014, though–the only thing missing from the intense celeb. fraternizing was the creative element; alas, Kanye failed to set up shop in a studio with Bieber, the Kardashians, Selena Gomez, whoever else and a mountain of drugs to craft the definitive song of the summer. There were, fortunately, a handful of worthy candidates, and a slew of tight video parts. Truth be told, I think there were more vid parts than songs in the Evernote for this post. Does that bode well for the skate industry or bode ill for the music industry? ANYWAY, here’s Song of the Summer x Video Part of the Summer 2014 (produced by DJ Mustard).
Chris Brown “loyal” / Bronze 56K “Enron”
Everyone in the region of VA in which I live has a Chris Brown story [nullus].
“Yo I saw Chris Brown riding his four-wheeler the other day.”
“Chris Brown and Rhianna were at the Friday’s by the mall the other day.”
“Chris Brown was at the hookah spot last nite.”
When I sat down to write this post, I tried to brainstorm all the bangers that Chris Brown had either featured on or put out over the past eight years or so. We got “Loyal” this year, “Fine China” last year, right on down the line back to 2006 ‘n shit. Kinda challenging off the top of the dome, but dude has been remarkably prolific for a long-ass time. Similarly, it’s hard to list off the top of one’s head all the clips that Peter Sidluaskas et al. have been pumping out dating back to the Flipmode video series.
Don’t even get me started on that one clip he edited to “P*rple Rain.” Anyone got the URL? The chances that Prince’s lawyers are reading this are minimal.
ANYWAY, “Loyal” is effective because it retells literally the oldest story ever told (via Genesis 3:6). Although, truth be told, I think one of Jane Austen’s novels tells the story of a wealthy gentleman who absconds with an indigent gentleman’s lady friend.
Furthermore, Brown and Sidlaukas both have entertained a firestorm of controversy in their respective careers. Is Bronze fake seapunk, whatever that means? Do they really have an editorial point of view? In any event, his consistent ability to mine the deepest, darkest nostalgic corners of one’s unconscious, like that Prevue Guide music that lulled you to sleep when you were too young and/or to much of a loser to go out on Friday nite, combine with sick-ass skating has proven as consistent a winning formula as any of Brown’s performances. In addition, the use of HD in Enron marks the tipping point where VX footage no longer looks cooler than HD. Indeed, VX footage looks mad blurry now. Maybe that’s just my Windows Vista home computer, though.
Tinashe “2 On” / Primitive Skateboards internet promo
If a modern-day Brian Wilson—with access to the internet, or at least Instagram—sat down to pen a modern-day “Caifornia Girls,” the verse about California girls would depict them as wearing Jordans, streetwear, and smoking extremely potent weed. This is the vibe one gets from “2 On”–one of like 50 or 60 DJ Mustard jams that fuckin’ powered the summer. Whether or not Mustard intended this composition as an homage to Cassie “Me & U,* it captures that vibe, in addition to that of day drinking in the summertime just for the fuck of it.
The Primitive internet promo, just one facet if the company’s impeccably timed launch, showcased to upper echelon of modern-day Californian ledge/schoolyard skating. It’s inspiring to see someone flying the battle flag for progression for progression’s sake via Ternasky et al. And even though it surfaced as a separate internet clip, can we talk about this Carlos Ribeiro trick for a second. Dude could have a) made and b) ate a bodega-style sandwich sittin’ on that ledge.
Wiz Khalifa “We Dem Boyz” remix / DGK Blood Money team montage
“Hey! I’m here with my boys! This song is fuckin’ about us, bro!”
Few Song of the Summer concepts have stood the test of time longer than making every girl in the club think the song is about them. “We Dem Boyz” utilizes a similar strategy, but for dudes. It also exhibits the classic SOTS characteristic of, after repeated exposure, forcing the listener to walk around repeating the chorus.
Like a mental patient.
The remix adds a verse from French Montana, who has become a staple of these yearly posts. Most effective dude to have on a remix, for sure. Unfortunately, what would have been a cool, subtle shoutout to Max B (“Ima keep it wavy ‘til they free my man”) turns super obvious and ham-fisted when the dude (Puffy, maybe) comes in and asks “Who that, Max B?” In any event, is Puffy’s verse the first time a rapper has mentioned Serato? That seems impossible, but I refuse to consult Rap Geni*s.
ANYWAY, Just like the aforementioned remix, the Blood Money montage displays some dudes ripping over the same beat. However, it takes the concept to the next level by switching skaters when the ASAP Rocky song switches rappers. I might be wrong here, but I think this hasn’t been done since the Let The Horns Blow am montage. In terms of the skating, I thought J Kwon was deaded for a while, but based on this montage, I assume that sessions still go off. That place and Eggs are the upper echelon of North American skating right now; the layout of the Koreatown landmark seems kind of claustrophobic, yet it facilitates all sorts of quick-footed Lotti-isms like Kalis’s section. Furthermore, the small free-standing blocks make possible conceptual “farside” ledge machinations like Dane Vaughan’s switch b/s heelflip to Sanchez grind (on record as being the preferred trick of this website). Trick of the summer for sure. But wait, don’t forget about this dude…
Bobby Shmurda “Hot !@#$%” x Tiago Lemos “Welcome to Silver Trucks” part
You know a song has strong SOTS potential when it becomes a cultural meme like the Bobby Shmurda composition and its accompanying dance, which is even less of an according-to-Hoyle “dance” than the “lean back.” It’s pretty much that that thing you do when you’re #feelinthevibe but, like, not totally white. But I digress. Hopefully Mr. Schmurda takes the money from his deal and literally runs, as suggested by Byron Crawford. Can you think of an artist whose first hit went along with a dance craze that went on to have a successful career? Hopefully he won’t be remembered as the shmoney dance guy. In any event, dude has already made his mark on the summer of 2014 and #SOTS history with one song. And like Chief Keef’s visual oevre, the video uses a “no girls allowed!” aesthetic that makes it almost like the rap version of a skate vid, or some shit.
Tiago Lemos made a similar impact this summer with one trick—switch backside tailslide the entire Korean Orthodontist ledge in that Silver Trucks welcome vid. Truth be told, I have only seen Silver tricks IRL once—at the Skatepark of Tampa. I don’t get out much anymore, though. They’re probably not that bad if you throw some Bones bushings in there. It’s got to be borderline impossible to make a dent in market share when the leading competitor boasts the slogans “Fucking Hot” and “Fuck the Rest.”
All-time, hall of fame, pantheon #marketingandbranding. **
A while ago, I suggested that all the Brazillian tech rippers pull a Plan B and start their own #superteam. As it happens, Boulevard is that team save Oliveira and Rodrigo Tx “da gawd.” Hopefully they compensate Mr. Lemos for the hurting he put on Southern California ledges and other street terrain; there is no more apt description of his futuristic approach to the Trilogy era than, as those PWBC News dudes put it, “Enrique Lorenzo on high-grade steroids.”
DJ Snake “Turn Down for What” / Pat “Sinner” Pasquale Theatrix part
Any second-generation ravers out there? Gotta be, right? One would assume that this would be more of a “thing” in the UK, where, based on that stellar house music documentary Pump Up The Volume, raving was more of a thing that “regular” people did on the weekends ‘n shit.
Along those lines, my oldest son listens to dubstep sometimes and listed the genre as his favorite kind of music on one of those interest surveys teachers ask you to do on the first day of school. Suffice it to say, if he ever decides to attend a rave, party, or whatever they call them now, I’m going too.
To supervise, natch. Just like when your mom drove you to the Girls Girls Girls tour and sat there the whole time reading a Danielle Steele novel.
ANYWAY, just as “Turn Down for What” exposed a mass audience to dubstep/trap/whatever, the music supervision in Sinner’s part in Theatrix exposed the genre to the skate culture writ large—with many decrying it as the worst music supervision #ofalltime.
However, in the new Attention Economy, a “sick” video part doesn’t cut it anymore. In order to stand out on the first page of hellaclips and attain at last a ten-page thread on the SLAP messageboard, you gotta do something. “Crazy” video parts like this one (and the next one in this post) are like the SEO/clickbait of the skate vid medium.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The part itself is sick—a modern-day take on Bootleg-era J. Strickland. Postmodern, post-genre skating. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer when the Trilogy manual pads reappear. Note: he performs the ender in the Axion 2.0 (RIP) version of the Aries.
There’s gotta be some more of those in existence somewhere, like in the Circa (RIP?) warehouse or some shit. #liquidation
Furthermore, the slow motion stair-drop right before the caballerial reminds me of that one time, when I was skating a miniramp with dubstep playing, when some dude timed his drop-in to coincide with that moment the beat droooopppppppped. Hopefully this part will open the door for chill house #musicsupervision; I think that was a “thing” for a while in over 30’s bro-cam internet clips. Palace has also been on that wave for a minute. Doesn’t that dude Four Color Zack*** skate or some shit? He would probably music supervise a vid for product.
Grimes “Go” feat . Blood Diamonds / Dylan Reider huf shoe part
First we take Manhattan
Then we take Berlin
– skaters in 2014
Hey, remember in the World Cup when Rihanna backed a)literally every single team and b)literally whichever team had most recently scored? Most confusing fandom ever. Of course she ended up backing the eventual champs Germany, whose super fast offensive attack was like…hm…some natural phenomenon, maybe? I can’t quite put my finger on it…
Grimes, who has been pumping out catchy-as-fuck tunes for a minute now, allegedly intended this composition for Rhianna; who knows why she declined. In any event, Grimes’ **** rendition, the video for which just came out at the end of August, captured that melancholy summer vibe of skating a spot at sunset by yourself, wondering why no one else is skating and what the fuck is going on tonite, ’cause it’s summertime.
Germany, and Berlin specifically, #trended hard this summer. Do the spots in Berlin look more #urban that those in the rest of the country? The marble ledge plazas that Lem Villemin skates always blow my mind, via #spotporn. For some reason I think those spots are all at the Mercedes-Benz corporate headquarters in Dusseldorf or some shit.
ANYWAY, Dylan’s part which dropped in the depths of Fourth of July weekend and caused the internet to go nuts in a manner not seen since Paul Wall’s verse on “Still Tippin.’” ***** Where to start here–the use of a #snowbunny in the editing process continued the #trend seen in Kids In A Candy City, the slow-motion, the black-and-white, the smoking, the blindside switch kickflip in LA. Truth be told, I almost included his Cherry part in this post but it came out just a few weeks too early. That part’s picnic table NBD’s display the kind of trick selection that populates Pupecki’s part in the Menace video in an alternate universe. Dude is one subtly-branded Thrasher t-shirt and interview away from #SOTY.
Rita Ora “Never Let You Down” x Nick Jensen “Eleventh Hour” part
This summer, researchers determined that Scotland has the highest rate of cocaine use in the world. This kind of makes sense; gotta do something to pump out those chemicals in your brian that normally get supplied via sunlight.
I think that’s a scientific thing.
Interestingly enough, Scotland also has a shockingly high per-capita rate of songwriters who write catchy-as-fuck tunes—Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Churches, The Pastels, The J&MC, Gerry Rafferty DA GAWD, and this dude Calvin Harris.
Someone should do a longitudinal data analysis study.
Harris wrote this song for Ms. Ora, an ethnically nebulous vixen who collaborates with Drake from time to time–like a lower-tax-bracket version of Rihanna, or some shit. Shoutout to that dude for figuring out a way to make millions of dollars in the modern-day music industry. This song got tons of burn on Sirius Hits One; I must have heard it upwards of 200 times driving back and forth to the pool. The chorus specifically captures the vibe of that all-time run Katy Perry was on about five years ago, before she stopped working with Bonnie McKee.
Speaking of Scotland, Is that “Bristo Square” spot in Edinburgh still around? That place looked fucking amazing. Along those lines, that Urbis spot in Manchester piqued my interest about a week ago, but upon further research, the ground looked kinda shitty and the ledges appeared to be a)skatestopped and b) not really set up well for lines. The idea alone of a MACBA-esque marble plaza in the centre of Manchester is interesting as fuck though; a little bit of Spain in the North. Just like the Hacienda, bro!
D’you know what I mean?
Fortunately for Nick Jensen and UK skaters as a collective, skateboarding performs a similar neurochemical function and is way healther and more economical. Gino once said that the song is 50% of the part, and this is an example of song and part working in perfect concert, like Jesus in Pretty Sweet. The best possible song for the footage and skater.
Jensen rips some of the bleakest, most British-looking spots in the Kingdom-including some holdovers from the Waiting for the World era. And if you haven’t done so already, follow http://scienceversuslife.tumblr.com for more bleak UK skating nostalgia.
Drake 0 to 100/The Catch-Up / Jahmal Williams Static 5
“the rookie and the vet…”
When one reaches a certain age in skating, simply a)carving out time to skate and b)maintaining the physical ability to do so is a victory in and of itself. One may be considered an “OG” or whatever, but the struggle to maintain the simplest tricks in one’s repertoire makes one feel like a little kid. Drake eludes to a similar struggle in this summer’s two-part song.
Jahmal Williams’ two-song part reflects a similar existential dilemma. First of all, truth be told, I have yet to fully digest Static 4/5; it’s like the skate vid version of a prog-rock epic like Physical Graffiti or some shit, to paraphrase that dude who wrote for Grand Royal magazine. One’s favorite part rotates from month to month and year to year. For now, though, 5 has been in heavy rotation, specifically Brandi’s and Williams’ parts. The Hopps team, a.k.a. The Dudes Who Skate Midtown A Lot, has an advanced understanding of the value of footage filmed under cover of darkness in that particular region of Manhattan. Case in point: that one marble ledge spot with the recessed lighting; I assume it’s approximately a 6-second bust.
Furthermore, William’s career arc—if you count his part in Stone Soup, dude produced two to three parts this year—serves as a template for street skating while knocking on the door of one’s forties. Additionally, this part facilitated the great Rick flip comeback of 2014. The only thing missing from this tour-de-force? A Bieber guest trick.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go start a Slap mssgbrd petition to put him on rep flow.
HONORABLE MENTION: “Fight Night,” that Wes Kremer part, and Dana Ericson’s part in the RAW vid, the latter two of which probably deserve their own posts.
*which someone should skate to by the way
**FULL DISCLOSURE: I ride regular Indy’s, not even low/forged/hollow or anything like that.
***yes, I know he’s not a house dj but still…
**** “Claire Boucher” is a name one would give a generic French Canadian female in a Mel Brooks film
*****to paraphrase @ByronCrawford
June 18, 2014
Truth be told, I never skated the white/black sole Etnies/e’S Sal 23. I had the navy w/white sole through fall/winter ’94/95 and the elusive red w/black sole late summer ’95 into fall of the same year.To this day, it remains my favorite skate shoe of all time.* So when e’S announced their comeback, I hoped somewhere in the back of my mind that they would, in some form or fashion, reissue some of the most beloved models like the Sal 23 and Accel. Well, they did reissue the Accel in Japan, or some shit.
However, several factors in the modern world stand in the way. First, who knows what happened to that Korean factory that fabricated all those e’S back in the ’90s. It might be a laser tag arena now. Secondly, it would probably involve paying Sal; according to the quote on this web page, he played an integral part in its design. And if there’s one thing companies (even skater-owned ones) sidestep more than anything, it’s paying people if they don’t ostensibly have to. Thirdly, it might not be fiscally wise at this juncture for e’S to manufacture faithful reissues, like Nike does with every Jordan–over and over again until the end of time, amen–and lesser-known but equally beloved shoes like the Air Tech Challenge 2–a.k.a. Agassi’s.
So when the all-white dunks came out, I saw a blank canvas* on which to embark on a nostalgic vision quest. I would take matters into my own hands–literally. Indeed, it felt to good to sit down and work on a #physical project for hours and hours. Before that, though, I researched. Like most important decisions in my life, I first consulted the Slap messageboard. One dude recommended an Australian brand of spray paint, which I obtained, along with an assortment of caps, from a Canadian web site.
I guess Australia and Canada are still all about the five elements of #madrealhiphop.
Subsequently, I masked off the sides in order to preserve the “so icy” translucent blue sole, as seen above. After experimenting with the assortment of caps, I selected the skinniest one and carefully painted the sidewall (is that a term?). Like most attempts in life, it came out way better the second time. The dude on Slap was right–this paint is sticky as fuck and pretty much impossible to scrape off even with an x-acto knife. I might clean up the soles with some acetone and a q-tip at some point.
Applying the “23″ proved even more challenging. I can’t claim “embroidery” as part of my skill set, so I had to find another tactic. First I tried to locate “varsity’ font stencils at my local craft stores–to no avail. Then I said “fuck it” and downloaded the font to create my own stencil. Someone on instagram–I forget who, @nailzsf maybe?–told me that the digits are one inch high on the shoe, so I laser-printed a 72-point Varsity stencil. Spray-painting the numerals proved too messy, as did going over it with a paint pen, so I eventually created another one with plain ol’ computer paper, traced the outline on the shoe with a number two pencil, then carefully went over that with the finest paint pen I could find and filled in. Finally, I cannibalized some black laces from the chromeball dunk highs.
I’m not sure if I’m going to skate them or just stunt around for the summer. In any event, as you can imagine, they pair well with Light-Ass Denim.™
twitter – @carbonite1994
insta – @frozenincarbonite
*until a skateable SB Jordan 5 comes out
**just like when I skate street, bro
May 25, 2014
If, as Roctakon once wrote, NYC commodifies cool, and LA sells you the same thing reconstituted as fame, then DC’s most valuable commodity is power. Perhaps that’s what gives DC footage that extra juice, in addition to Pulaski’s status as the coolest-looking skate spot in the country.
The power resides in the marble.
I first sensed this power when my dad used to drive me up there from time to time to go the Natural History and Air and Space Museums. As we headed up Interstate 95, the first indicator that we were entering a qualitatively different power zone were the orange spheres that appeared on the power lines at the Marine Base Quantico exit. Because, like, there were helicopters flying around. The next sign was the Pentagon, which sprawled out on our left after we took the exit onto 395. Later, when I started going there to skate, the office buildings of Crystal City (what kind of a name for a neighborhood is that anyway) loomed on your right. A mythical name for the location (or so we presumed) of those mythical parking garages that Pep and them skated in Skypager.
Astute real estate observers will note that DMV was one of the few areas to escape the 2008-2009 crash. And this year, The Washington Professional Basketball Team sustained #relevance until mid-May. Furthermore, The region has also been extremely productive in terms of physical and web-based media production. Concurrently, DC’s myriad organizations have functioned as the setting for all kinds of television programming—prestige and otherwise–due to this power locus and the accompanying Machiavellian accoutrements. So, in the following article I will attempt to merge, compare, and contrast– thematically and stylistically–recent DC skate videos with recent DC television.
March 17, 2014
UPDATE 4/8 - FINAL RESULTS. Shoutout to everyone that voted and linked.
This experiment in interactive content was inspired by a few different elements. First, the growing semi-serious discussion on #skatetwitter about power-ranking stuff in skating–like kickflips, etc. Until now, the closest thing had been the coverage meter on Transworld Business. Secondly, you know on Grantland how they love to power-rank stuff, and also to place seemingly incongruous things into brackets that you can vote on? Except the latter usually manifests itself in weird matchups like Snapchat vs. Macklemore, or some shit like that. Thirdly, I have been filling out these brackets every March since like 1990; it’s a rite of spring or some shit. I think I pick too many upsets, though. But you don’t want to be that dude who picks his whole bracket according to seeds, ’cause that’s boring as fuck. However, you also don’t want to be that dude who never watches basketball, knows nothing about sports period, yet conducts a shit-ton of research and tries to use some Sabermetric-type algorithms to “beat the system.” I think I just pick the team that I think is cooler, which led to too many Arkansas Razorbacks and Miami “THE U” picks.
ANYWAY, the real catalyst arrived (like most inspiration in #modernlife) via twitter–@eclectik posted a link to a “Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of the 90′s” bracket he made on this site Challonge. After fucking around with the site for a while, and after a 13-hour selection committee meeting in a smoke-filled room, we have the Ultimate #90s Skater Power Ranking Bracket. Note: in order to establish a level playing field, the selection committee chose to omit, for the most part, currently active pro’s, dudes in the “everyone’s favorite skater” category like Gino, Carroll, etc., and those legends who are no longer with us. Here is the tentative schedule, which the selection committee drew up to align with the NCAA’s:
ROUND ONE: 3/17-3/20
ROUND TWO: 3/21-3/24
REGIONALS: (ROUND 3) 3/25-3/27
ELITE 8: 3/28-3/31
FINAL FOUR: 4/1-4/4
So check back as per the above schedule to see results. [cue Highlander theme]
March 2, 2014
The genesis of this interview took place about five years ago, when Chris emailed me after reading this post.
In the years between then and now, a certain subdivision of skate nerdery concerning who has done what over a Cali picnic table flourished. A legend grew of someone switch 360 kickflipping over one.
A few months ago, Chris posted a sequence on his instagram account of him switch 360 flipping over a picnic table. It was as if a new dead sea scroll was unearthed. It seemed like a good opportunity for an interview, both about the trick and about LA County. The video has earned status as one of the most celebrated #lowimpact vids ever, yet its creators are still shrouded in mystery.
In the following interview, Chris tells his story, provides a perspective into the inner workings of the industry around the turn of the century, and elucidates a window back in time to a definitive era in Los Angeles.
Where are you from and how did you get into skating?
I am from Breckenridge, Colorado and I started skating in 1985. I remember being infatuated with skating after seeing the movie Back to the Future.
Describe a typical day skating in LA in the late 90′s when the pit, USC ledges, etc. were all active spots.
Skateboarding’s funny; no matter where you go, it’s super territorial. My prospective was heavily clouded with drugs, but I remember it always having a heavy overtone of competition at all the popular spots. If you were able to ignore the competitive aspects and just enjoy the actual moments skating, it was amazing.
February 1, 2014
Originally posted on Memory Screened:
To Gabriel Rodriguez, the board graphic world opened its door upon a biblical revelation. Not for him, but for his then-boss Natas Kaupas.
“My mom is Catholic”, he explains on the porch of the house he grew up in, in Mid City LA, “she had a huge mantle with Jesus on it. My room used to be on the back, so once Natas came over and had to walk through the house. When he saw that picture, he was like, ‘That is gonna be your first graphic.’ I was like, ‘Really? Fuck yeah, no doubt!’ I thought it was cool. I was a little more religious back then than I am now, so I was a little scared cause we were gonna be skating on, you know, desecrating the face or whatever.”
Using His almighty compassion, Mr Christ didn’t…
View original 910 more words
January 12, 2014
“Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become.” -Mary McGrory
You don’t have to be an MIT physicist to deduce that New England has been killing it lately. Exhibit A: The World Series win. Exhibit B: the Patriots’ continued status at the top of the AFC East, fueled by a series of improbably last-minute comebacks, Brady’s superhuman confidence and Belichick’s analytic genius (more on this later). Exhibit C: The rise of Eggs as the most chill street spot on the East Coast and possibly in the United States (more on this later as well). Even the Celtics and Bruins have won championships in the past few years.
The only victory left for New Englanders is an honest-to-G*d Patrick John Ladd video part. For a board company video. #Physical or iTunes.
December 25, 2013
In 2009, a Crailtap employee told me that Smyth was working on an EMB book, or some shit. The status of said tome remains uncertain, but, until its completion, the recently released FTC Book is as close as we’re gonna get.
If one sat down to write a book about #local skate shops as “thing,” odds are that certain narrative motifs would emerge: owners mentoring local rippers, older dudes vibing, rivalries with other local shops. Some dudes achieved success via the #industry, some dudes flamed out and cultivated drug problems, some dudes faded out of skating and got a job working construction (via Springsteen, natch). And of course, some dudes quit at their peak to “get really into cars.”*
Indeed, these types of stories are as old as the hills to anyone who came up in a community with a local shop. However, in retail and most other ventures, timing is everything. FTC differs because its ascendance coincided with that of A) a series of new, cool-as-fuck companies B) innovators who, seemingly as an afterthought, were inventing a new genre of skating every afternoon and C) SF’s status as skate Mecca, with hometown heroes nationwide buying beaters and making the pilgrimage–Welsh most notably, but I’m sure you know one or two who made it or didn’t quite get there. From this anthropological standpoint, it’s import resonates to this day, as variants of the plaza skating culture continue to thrive and replicate. Case in point: Stalin.
And the videos. I can’t remember when/where I first saw the first one; probably out in front of Supreme. If you haven’t watched Finally in a while, it’s probably the most low-impact vid ever; the biggest drop is probably Carroll’s ollies that gap at the Wallenberg upper playground. Penal Code, canonical at this point, continues the oldies/beats/breaks/some regional hip-hop school of music supervision from Goldfish; pretty sure it was the first time I had heard “That Lady” since Paul’s Boutique. It was definitely in heavy rotation out in front of Supreme for a couple years. To paraphrase Meza, these videos maintain #relevance because of their organic, skating-the-same-spots-every-day-with-our-friends vibe–a vibe that is hard to fake via orchestrated high-five lifestyle footage.
For obsessives such as myself, The FTC Book takes the reader into a wormhole that was previously only accessible through apocryphal tales and early SLAP, which seemed more plugged-in to the EMB scene than Thrasher–a rivalry of sorts detailed in the book itself. It also answers quantum-level skate nerd questions like “who first started skating suede Pumas?” and “Did Jovontae Jeans actually exist?” Along those lines. the street-level economic details of the scene, via the infamous tab book, are also interesting as fuck. Does any other shop still maintain such a system? More importantly, do any currently-active skate spots keep the tradition of the open-air product market alive?
ANYWAY, the core of the book is its interviews; every notable EMB affiliate contributes a narrative, save Henry Sanchez. As the best dude out from 1991-1994, it would be fascinating to hear his take, but you know how that goes…
One question remains, though: if Carroll had skated to “Limelight,”would Serge have skated to “La Villa Strangiato”?
You can obtain The FTC Book here or at any FTC store in the US, Japan, or Spain
*is this a “thing” all over the country? worldwide?
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