A Little Something Re: The FTC Book

December 25, 2013

FTCbook.emb

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.

FTCbook.book

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?

ps. twitter, instatumblr, and Vine – @frozenincarbonite

PREVIOUSLY: Lonny Peoples Interview 

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