A certain Chesterfield table-topper was recently heard commenting that’s it’s been a while since we did one of these articles… so here it is. Decent stuff on the net has been very thin on the ground lately, but there has been a few slabs of gold hidden amongst the digital dust and debris.
For starters, thesetwo videos from Jake Frost are more definitely worth a watch—featuring clips from the 90East contingent, as well as plenty of larking about, tomfoolery and shenanigans. I wouldn’t want to be an old TV in New England…
Talking about Instagram and its effect on riding is a tired subject by now, but the ability to serve up a full video straight in front of people’s eyes as they ride the bus back from work is a startling development.
Whilst we’re on the subject of everyone’s favourite time-sapping app, Bob Scerbo has been uploading loads of amazing old footage into the matrix—painstakingly piecing together disparate clips of people like Gonz (the bike one™) and elusive street pioneer Wilbur Barrick, as well as sections from FBM’s The Bar is Closed.
The third part of Jim Newrick’s Hit the North saga is here. Just over 12 minutes of North East street riding from Cookie, Count, Clarky, Wozzy, Jim, Jambul and more, put together with a level of attention to detail seldom-seen in the often formulaic world of bike videos. The riding is fast, the music is hypnotic, and no ridable surface is left unscathed—from the world’s smallest pole jam to some colossal concrete sea-walls. Describing a riding video as ‘a masterpiece’ might sound a bit gratuitous, but the term is certainly warranted here. The Street Shark has returned.
Bob Scerbo has uploaded his latest masterpiece onto the world wide web. Most people who lurk on this site will probably already have a copy of this sat on their shelf, but for those who don’t… drag yourself out of the Instagram worm-hole for a while, pour yourself a refreshing beverage and press the play button post haste.
Bogus awards like ‘Video of the Year’ are obviously pretty naff and mean next-to-nothing in the real world, but this mixed-media meander around the lesser-spotted corners of the United States was perhaps one of the most enjoyable videos to come out last year… and whilst it’s maybe too early to say, it’ll probably stand up to the test of time more than most.
At a time when complex algorithms feed us clip-after-clip of zappy kids in zany attire zipping around damp prefab skateparks, it’s important to remember that out there in the real world, people dressed in regular clothing are making full-length videos that you wouldn’t be embarrassed about being caught watching.
The City Wide Awake, a recent release from Louisville’s Phil Bossmeyer, is one such video. Documenting a few years of zig-zagging across the USA, it’s a most relaxing watch—and the perfect visual sorbet to cleanse the palate after a few minutes of shameful Instagram lurking.
Here’s some video parts that mean something to Phil. Wall carve photo by Chris Zidek.
By now it’s pretty obvious that these articles aren’t exactly ‘monthly’, but luckily everything here stands up to the test of time fairly well. Here’s a few decent bits which have cropped up over the last three months…
Cast Iron Shore is the new video from mild-mannered peg maniac Addy Snowdon. Think plans are afoot for some sort of premiere (hopefully within the next ten years), but until then, here’s a short trailer featuring a particularly potent icepick from Roper and a rare sighting of Daddy Cool himself, Matt Glover.
On the subject of phone videos… this ‘Calles Pesadas’ video from reptile-expert Zac Costa is a real treat, and features everything from dodgy looking snakes to high-speed bike collisions. Those concrete parks in South America look unreal.
Must have missed the first one, but Words of Encouragement Vol. 2 is 15 minutes of Midlands street riding from people like Sam Marsden, Gaz Docker and Mitch Atkin.
If anyone wants a raw slice of 1990s Manchester on four wheels, this Promotional 97 is most definitely worth a watch. Plenty of long town hall lines in the golden age of trousers. If you enjoy this and partake in the Instagram world, you might want to follow Manchestalgia for more old gems.
Sad way to end this, but thoughts go out to friends and family of French street pioneer Thomas Caillard. This video from 1999 is one of the all-time greats. There’s a pretty good interview with Thomas in this issue of The Albion too. RIP.
Although the freecoaster has firmly fakied it’s way into the mainstream (or the closest thing to a ‘mainstream’ that exists in a niche activity like riding), few modern riders make the act of rolling backwards with an expensive hub look quite as smooth as Durham’s Dan Cox did back in the late 2000s.
Combining liquid fakie prowess with the occasional curve-ball move (like the seldom-seen 360 bomb-drop), it might be said that Dan created some of the most memorable video parts of the so-called ‘New Era era’.
But what video parts inspired him? Wonder no more…
“Lockdown has definitely brought up some nostalgic video viewing. We actually had a recent online viewing/shit talking session based around RF4 a couple of weeks ago, so this is by no means a top five, more of a wander down memory lane. Anyway, hopefully a couple of under-appreciated gems in here, and some that were always amazing and everyone knew it.”
Maybe a bit of a random one to start with, but this feels like an archetypal Props BMX section here and I love it. Props rock soundtrack, laughing at Koji Kraft doing a tailwhip to fully extended bowl-legged x-up, a genuine crowd of rider reactions to people hucking tricks, Dave Friemuth signature roll outs, it’s got it all.
I think this also represents a time where we would fully over-analyse videos, and have lengthy discussion about tiny details. Why did Jay Miron land that 360 superman seat grab underhanded? Why did Joe Tiseo think he couldn’t do a feeble hardway? Just re-watching it again there I think the icing on the cake has got to be the perfectly time-matched description George D gives as Brian Vowell busts out the ‘tailwhip air, to tailtap, to nosepick, to toothpick, to fakie’—he’s genuinely so happy that Brian Vowell did it!
John Mini – Imprudence(18:08 minutes in)
Imprudence was a Paris based all street video from 2001, I have no idea how it came into the house but it was on very heavy rotation for a long time. The whole video is amazing but I’ve chosen John Mini’s section for special praise here.
The riding is amazing: simple, fast, solid, and again we would fetishise every tiny detail of bike set up (look how far forward he runs his seat on the rails etc.) but picking it for this it’s the insane editing that sticks out. I’m not quite enough of an aficionado to know whether this type of text overlays and split screen stuff has a president in skate videos or whatever, but watching it now it really makes this an almost singular video part. “He must do it.”
Ian Schwartz – Gone Fishing
I’ve always loved Ian Schwartz’s riding, he came fully formed, to my eyes at least, straight out of his Props bio, but I’ve chosen his Sunday bikes Gone Fishing web edit from 2009. I just think he’d eased even more into his signature simple style in this—monster trucking over park benches, crank arm to over, only throwing the bars in the choicest of locations.
He was one of the originators to me of that basically skateboarding on a bike style, and I definitely bit his riding hard for years and years. I maybe could do without a couple of the deep, deep v-neck t-shirt era clips, but nobodies perfect.
Ratboy – Shine 3
50 tricks, 24 hours, 6 spots. It’s, it’s, inhuman. To define him kids make up words like ‘illsick’.
Ratkid – Animal House
Could have chosen literally any section he’s put out, as he’s not changing his style or his tricks or even his bike set-up, just insanely perfect spot usage 100% of the time. Seeing him drop off a curb so solidly can be enough to make me want to go out riding. Hearing some shady stories from people with first hand experience of him as well always helps, but I genuinely think he’s my favourite rider of the past 10 years.
Here’s another quick dredge through the muck and mire of the world-wide information super-highway. Spike Jonze Parisian tranny-tuck hoiked from Chris Hamer’s Instagram.
First things first, most podcasts are pretty painful to listen to… but that said, this one that Bob Scerbo did with Vinnie Sammon a few years ago is pure gold and mentions some very important subjects. For a quick summary, Vinnie describes Texas as “the most swagless State,” crates of Red Bull are an effective form of currency and the Sunday griddle-frame was designed for a problem which never existed.
Talking of Texas, Bob also just finished this new video for Empire. Luckily Hamilton ups the swag levels courtesy of some textbook Columbus cruising in a striped polo shirt.
Meanwhile, in Yorkshire… RUDESTAR 2.25 is another potent blend of riding, skating and pretty much everything else from Jambul, whilst Merge is a quick promo for a new one Fathead is putting together.
From a similar era, Smart People in a Car Crash is a pretty intense slice of audio/visual headachery that’s recently been uploaded to the net. Made by David Slade (who later went on to direct episodes of Breaking Bad… and a Twilight film), it’s sort of like the two-wheeled, UK version of Alien Workshop’s Memory Screen. Actually, that might be a bit of a bold statement as Memory Screen is perhaps one of the greatest videos ever made, and this is pretty much unwatchable. Still, it’s got some similar analogue editing flourishes, and there’s some good footage of old spots in there if you can hack the migraine-inducing effects.
Pretty Shady was a trails blog back in the mid 2000s that put out a few DIY DVDs (often with hand-made covers) which you could buy via a handy Paypal link. If you want to overthink stuff, you could say the way they were distributed was fairly similar to how most crews put out their videos today.
Anyway, I think the man behind it moved to some picturesque rural area of France and got into collecting old racer bikes (which sounds like a very nice way to spend your time), but he’s recently found time to upload the first video (albeit in a slightly confusing manner). If you enjoy jumping large wedges of dirt in a woodland environment, then you might enjoy this.
Here’s another belated run-down of odds and ends from around the internet that some people might find relatively interesting. Jambul NCP cruise photo by Sam.
Rude ‘En Side B is now up for all to see on Youtube. There’s far too much wild stuff in here to waste time listing everything off, but for those in a rush, Jambul’s section starts at approximately 59:00. If anyone from outside of Britain ever wondered what life was like on the damp streets of Yorkshire, this video is a pretty good representation.
There’s a fair bit of London and Bristol action in this new video from Dan Moon. That ledge that Loz tooth-picks looks like an absolute dream. Just be ready to mute Audio Bullys…
Crumbling spots… 90s hip hop… a healthy obsession with the glory days of Animal Bikes… I know that in the year 2020 stereotypes aren’t really seen as a good thing, but sometimes they’re bang-on—this video from Russia is exactly how I’d imagined street riding over there to be.