3.03.2009

No Geographic Solution to a Spiritual Problem


My friend refuses to watch any British videos, such as the much-lauded Blueprint video Lost and Found. "Too dreary," he laments, and indeed, especially in Paul Shier's part, the Bob James music, cobblestone sidewalks, and bleak skies only exacerbate one's seasonal depression. And, like my therapist said, "depression is not attractive."
The flipside to that coin is that videos can function as an escape from Old Man Winter, who smacked me and the collective East Coast in the mouth this week . I believe it was in that sketchy early Nineties magazine Warp that Miki Vuckovich or some dude wrote that videos are like those cartoons with the coyote and the roadrunner --someone somewhere you wish you could be, doing something you wish you could do.

Skating is the one of the few vocation that provides its professionals with the impunity to do just that--to move anywhere in the world to do their thing. Think about it--not even NBA dudes have that capability. As long as you keep pumping out footage, shit's cool. Curiously, only a select few have taken advantage of this--Kalis comes to mind first, having set up shop just about everywhere except LA, and Dill perhaps, and Appleyard, who has transformed into more of an all-terrain destroying world traveller. That's cool and all, but I'm referring to setting up shop in an entirely new city; you know, renting/purchasing a residence, buying furniture, that kind of shit. Where would you go? Barca is an obvious choice. In a career-defining move, Lee Smith plugged into the rejuvenation machine by moving over there. It's like when Kobe's dad went to play in Italy. These dudes probably look at a Henry Sanches like Mick, Kieth, and Brian Jones perceived Muddy Waters or one of those fucks--a master that got fucked by the system. Also, why more people haven't moved to Prague mystifies me. Granted, the weather may blow, but Stalin, situated on the top of a hill overlooking the city, with smooth ground, ledges, that manual thing, looks like Love's crazy European cousin (see any footage of Petr "Euro Wenning" Horvat). Come to think of it, I haven't seen any footage of it for a minute, so it might be blown out. In any event, Prague itself, based on secondhand accounts, Harsh Euro Barge, Beware the Flare, and most of all, the INXS "Never Tear Us Apart" video, seems imbued with a magical vibe of sorts...
Enter Euro. While Euro videos ,particularly those from England, and Germany, display some of the bleakest, easter-bloc terrains around, some contain mindblowingly beautiful scenery. You know how some videos use "crusty spots" as a selling point? I am of the opposite persuasion -- the more pristine and affluent the spot, the more I am into it. I came to this conclusion while, on a late-night quest for OnDemand entertainment, I discovered the Alis video Who Cares. Remember that Monte Carlo tour feature in that one On Video (the Love Park "issue"? Kevin Long, Pete Eldrige and them skate all these ridiculously ornate hotel ledges and stairs and shit? That is my favorite "tour" article of all time. I mean, hardflipping down a set of stairs at some nondescript Southern California school is one thing, but hardflipping down a pristine alabaster double set that leads onto a pier that extends seemingly infinitely into the cerulean Aegean Sea (as in Willow's part in the aforementioned Alis video) is quite another, in terms of, yes, theater of the mind.
Enter Spain.
For a time, I considered seeking employment at this place. A different, more laid-back way of life, including siestas, people who value art, and all those seemingly mindblowing spots. Then I concluded that I would still have to get car insurance, fuck with the cable company and gas company, finagle with real estate fucks, and handle all the mundane shit one deals with on a daily basis that doesn't really pass over one's mind when fakie ollie switch crooked grinding a ledge alongside a beach filled with topless women.
There is no escape from the everyday dealing-with-people shit. However, regardless of locale or employment status, skating has a strange power. Like Guy said in the FF doc, in the moment when one is actually doing a trick, all that shit fades away, whether one is fakie ollie switch crooked grinding a ledge alongside a beach filled with topless women or "Pupecki" grinding the local high-arrest-potential marble bench.
The former, of course, is the lifestyle potrayed in your average Euro video, like the newer offerings from Alai and Nomad. In stark contrast to the minions of Burton that pounce six minutes after someone uploads Dyrdeks park onto youtube, these fine companies seem to just want you to see their fucking video-- any way, anyhow. TAKE OUR VIDEO, PLEASE!
The Nomad video is mostly notable for b/s 180 fakie 5/0 specialist Raul Navarro and Jose "poor man's Jesus Fernandez" De La Rosa. Enter Alai, another Spanish board manufacturer. Again, in stark contrast to the directives of executive producer Jake Burton, they offer the video for anyone who wants to watch it on the very front page of their site. Go there--or simply click below--to watch the most effective example of the different, better way of life to which I previously alluded: Daniel Lebron's opening part in Alaikit, my favorite video part of 2008.



Once one gets past the somewhat annoying intro, one navigates into a world where skating isn't a stunt or recreational activity. It is art. As opposed to the U.S., where skating is relegated to municipally converted, caged-in tennis courts, middle-of-nowhere abandoned foundations, or deserted, undercover-of-the-night corporate edifices, Lebron's four-minute part paints a picture of a highly advanced society where skating coexists with other art forms, such as cooking, sculpture, the visual arts, and seducing a woman.

Furthermore, the sheer Nineties-ness of Lebron's attack appeals to my narcissism because, like, that's how I would skate if I could. Who the fuck else locks into and pops out of switch heelflip frontside crooked grinds like that, or could, even? Capaldi, perhaps Rodriguez. It's as if there was a fork in the road around 2000-2001 and he kept going one way and everyone else went the other. While doing so, he elevated fakie ollie switch crooked grinds to an art form--maybe even a new religion. I know that the industry is far from a meritocracy, but dammit, I guestimate that there are twelve NBD's in this part. Not Aaron Kyro NBD, but legit fakie ollie switch crooked grind variations never before done by a human being. I believe that also takes into account Sarmiento's guest appearance. Both of these dudes' baffling underratedness is perhaps a topic for another post. In any event, SPRING FUCKING BREAK is right around the corner. Cozumel? Maybe not this year...




2 comments:

Frank said...

Yes Daniel Lebron, one of my favorite skaters since LaLa land ande even bette LA county. Would have liked it if his alai part had another paco/cameron song.

Anonymous said...

I like his calculating style. Definitely a good watch.

Javier Sarmiento reminds me of a modern day Aladin in that clip. The hairstyle/pants hes rocking got me super hyped.