31 Jan 2012

Kingpin's Set In Stone - Berlin

Now that there is a lull in the S.E.D.J. activity, until the final post, I thought I'd better post this little beauty.

You may have already seen it as it was released by Kingpin Magazine yesterday but I'm determined to do my bit to get it seen by as many skateboarders and non-skaters as humanly possible. Why?  Because it's a forward thinking project that showcases what can be done with a little time, effort and , I won't lie to you, money. 

More Skateboarding Videos

I was lucky enough to be involved in some of the building at last years Fox Spot that featured on this blog quite a bit (and again below).  I got to work with Daryl and pick-up as much from him as I could, which was easy as Daryl has no problem at all in sharing his knowledge.  As a result I could now go away and build something of my own, Johners did immediately, adding elements to the Fox Spot as a one man building team.

DIY is not a dark art.  It's the same as most things in life; some basic rules and some key techniques that once you know them a whole world of possibilities is opened up to you.  That's why I'm so pleased to see Set In Stone come to fruition.  Imagine if everyone in your crew knew how to build like these guys, you would never run out of new things to skate.

Keep your eyes out for the next 3 of the series of four, don't worry, I'll point them out if you miss them.


30 Jan 2012

S.E.D.J. Day 30 - Solo Lunch-Time Skate at Meanwhile Gardens

Another cold day in London and another lunch-time skate mission for Skate Every Day in January.  It was either going to be Meanwhile Gardens or Meanwhile II and only the weather would decide.  I was happy that it had stayed dry over the weekend into today meaning Meanwhile Gardens was on.

Arriving at work today on the motorbike I was all set to park round at the back of our building and then I remembered what happened last week, with the Vans blocking me in, and decided Soho Square was the "Better safe than sorry" choice.  Fucking good thing too, seeing as when I was walking to my bike at about 1.00pm I saw a van jammed into the entrance of the Mews that would have blocked me in again.  I felt quite smug as I walked past and jumped on my bike and off without any delays, and with no urges to kill anyone.

Nice try.
Although I've generally found these lunch-time skates quite stressful, today I really enjoyed the ride up to Westbourne Park, leaving Soho heading down to Piccadilly, round Hyde Park Corner, Park Lane and off down to Notting Hill.  The sun was out and maybe I was a bit more relaxed knowing this was the last one of S.E.D.J. For whatever reason it struck me how lucky I am to live and work in as amazing a city as London and how this city has really helped me in getting this far with my challenge.

Another Meanwhile Gardens Panorama

When I got to the bowls they were empty; not a huge surprise. The lack of company was not a problem today, I knew what I was there for and it was just to have a relaxing roll around and do a load of backside disasters in the two top sections off the bowls, in an attempt to get a bit more consistent with them.  While skating I became very aware of the aging that's taken place here.  Last summer was all about the fox spot so I didn't skate here too often and maybe that's why the change seems more drastic but there are a lot more dodgy bits to keep an eye out for. God knows what the chances of repair are?

Add caption

Towards the end of my skate Awadh was walking past and came into the park for a chat, he was heading off to check out Clapham, it's a shame he hadn't set out half an hour earlier and we could have had a skate, there aren't many people who are more fun to watch skating Meanwhile Gardens than Awadh.  Back to skating, a few more Back-Ds and I was done.

Day 30 was never going to set the world on fire but I did put it to good use and avoided a potential Van-blockade disaster.  Having ticked this one off the calendar I only have one more day to go, that's right only one left.

The final skate, Day 31 is going to be back in the same kind of surroundings that my skateboarding life began, a Car Park. Part of me feels a little disappointed that it'll be ending in a whimper rather than a huge fanfare and another part of me thinks that it's fitting because is representative of real skateboarding and how it's been done on this country for decades. Tomorrow night from about 9:45pm I'm heading to the Sainsbury's Car Park in Kingston to finish what I started and to have fun riding my skateboard.  If you fancy a slice of the good-times you know where to be.

Maybe see you out there.


S.E.D.J. Day 29 - Day of Falling Over at Stockwell

What a perfect day for falling over.  If you ride a skateboard through the winter there is a temperature barrier that once colder than this arbitrary threshold, slams hurt at least 25% more than at warmer temperatures and concrete is 10% harder. FACT!

Johners on a One Foot Manual Beer-Run

Zombie after a nice impersonation of a sack of spuds.

Weirdly it seems you are also more likely to fall over, at least that was the evidence gathered from Day 29 of Skate Every Day in January at the hallowed Stockwell Skatepark.  It seemed like everyone was hitting the deck, and some were awesome. So much so that I missed one of Alex's because I was picking myself up off the floor at the time.  It wasn't quite carnage but more a skateboarding comedy of errors and I'm pretty sure nobody got hurt, badly I mean.

Jack tweaking over the Sausage

Zombie popping EARLY!!

The thing that struck me on my ride home was just how much worse it could have been.  I had at least two close calls with Alex, 2 with Martyn, 1 with Johners, Josh almost got me twice and Zombie only the once, it was like someone had sent the Red Arrows up pissed and blindfolded. The rest of the tumbles were self inflicted mishaps that happen when your having fun on your skateboard.

Johners Sound System, no D'n'B, alright?
 Between all the collisions and rolling around on the floor everyone seemed to be having a good laugh.  The crew at the park was a quality collection with appearances from types such as Johners, Zombie Stu, Will, Alex, Martyn, Ewen B. , Josh, Jack, Pete H., Jamie "Horse Zine" Hall and others.. and we even had food laid on buy Johners and Dave and helpers; BBQ's in January are awesome, if only for the ambient heat that's available if you hang out chatting with the chef.

Will just making sure everyone is behaving.

Martyn at High-Speed and Zombie going Low-Brow.

I had a great day down at Stockwell for Day 29, the last weekend day of SEDJ.  Great people to skate with thanks to Zombie for making the trip specially; and to everyone else who came down to help make Day 29 a really fun skate.

Day 30 is going to be the last of the Lunch-time Smash'n'Grabs: it's another Meanwhile Gardens if dry and Meanwhile II if wet.  I'll be at one of those places at 1.15pm. 


29 Jan 2012

S.E.D.J. Day 28 - Damp Concrete and Other Old Friends

 It's often counter productive to be too picky about things especially in the world of skateboarding. Spots that aren't perfect can be written off by some, missing out on all the fun that conquering unskateable terrain.  The skatepark that is notoriously busy at weekends can be sometimes be surprisingly quiet or made to be so if enough of you turn up en-masse. And in this country the damp skatepark or bowl can be shunned when a bit of ingenuity and effort can get you something skateable.

Damp Patch.

Arriving at Tolworth for the skate for Day 28 of Skate Every Day in January brought back all those memories of old soggy news papers, sacrificed t-shirts, DIY cardboard squeegees and wet feet trying to get places dry enough to skate.  On this occasion it was just a case of a bit of damp at the bottom of the bowl and a couple of puddles. Nothing the broom couldn't sort out.

Rock'n'Roll from Howie.

The choices for this skate had been narrowed down to either Sunbury or Tolworth based on location, the deciding factor was purely how busy they'd be. Tolworth won out purely because it seems to be the forgotten treasure of South London Skate Spots; I've only ever arrived there to see other skaters there on 1 occasion and the scooterists and BMXicans are few and well behaved. If you've only got a window of an hour and a half this is the shit you have to take into consideration. A month long of daily skate logistics takes it's toll just as much as the actual skating believe me.

Day 28 was the second one where i was lucky enough to be skating with Howie who was down from Liverpool.  Me, Sam and Howie had made it to the e bowl and after a quick sweep we decided it was just about dry enough to skate although one of my lines into the capsule section was wet enough to make me skid out a couple of times, Howie had a few twitches too but we got away with it.  Howie was another first time visitor to Tolworth who left with a good feeling about the place,  I'll have to get him back in the summer to skate it properly.

Day 29, the Last Sunday of S.E.D.J. is Stockwell (Today - you may have noticed having a house guest has affected the blog timings a bit).. was Stockwell, you'll be reading about it soon.


28 Jan 2012

S.E.D.J. Day 27 - A Return to The South Bank

I'm putting Day 26 behind me and moving on.  Parking my bike on SOHO square was the first step in avoiding any repeat performance of getting blocked in. Knowing that I had to pop over the rive to the South Bank was another source confidence that Day 27 of SEDJ would go off without a hitch. Today was going to be a bit of a re-union with one of my oldest mates Howie.  We used to skate together back when we were about 14 onwards and the South Bank was always the first spot one on our regular trips to London with the rest of the Wokingham crew.  So skating there with Howie again, even for half an hour, was going to be good lunch break.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is the bit were I start telling you how it all went wrong and how I'm on the verge of murdering the bastards responsible.. but not this time.

Howie sampling the new-ish offerings
 Ten minutes over Westminster Bridge and I'm underneath the Royal Festival Hall, Howie is already there and Martyn turns up seconds after I've said hello to H.  Bikes locked, helmets and jackets stashed and off we go.  I was all about the banks, they're are definitely my favourite thing about what is left of the original undercroft.  Martyn was hitting the blocks and Howie was sharing it out all over the place.  We were all loving having the undercroft almost to ourselves with only another four guys skating and was starting to bring back memories of the first time we ollied the seven, not that I was bout to throw myself down them on this visit.

Martyn shows how nose-manuals should be done.
As with all these lunch time skates it was all over too quickly but after this there is only one left on Monday so I could handle going back to work: plus the fact I was going to be skating with Howie again on Day 28 at Tolworth.  Thanks to Howie and Martyn for coming out and keeping me company.


27 Jan 2012

S.E.D.J. Day 26 - Done Over By White Van Man.

Another lesson learned today.  If I have a lunch-time smash'n'grab session planned, do not park in the mews at the back of our building.  Because twats like the guys driving these two vans will work together to block the entrance as comprehensively as possible making it impossible to get my motorbike out and head to the spot of the day. not only that but arguing the toss with them lost me too much time so I couldn't even go for a street skate around Soho and the West end... oh and my frame of mind was more one for slashing tyres than shredding streets.


When I'd finally calmed down I realised that I could get to the Kingston Car Park later that night.  I sent the e-mail with the change to the plan, sent texts to car park stalwarts but everyone had other commitments or plans; meaning this was going to be the first official solo skate of S.E.D.J.  I didn't really have a problem with that. It was Day 26 after all so I was due a bit of a disaster and at least I had an alternative to the planned skate.

Car Park

One thing that did pop into my mind about half an hour in was, how am I going to show this on the blog.  Shots of car parks are not really that interesting.  As you can see above.  Last time I got away with filming a nose manual, I suppose I'll have to film something again.  This is starting to drift into "vanity-blog" territory.  I know people don't want to see photo's or footage of me skating so I've gone to great lengths to minimize any self exposure and I definitely keep my face well hidden.  This was made all the easier by the lights getting turned out about 5 minutes after I'd remembered I needed some content for the blog.

Day 26 was a day of contrasts, an emotional roller-coaster of anticipation, annoyance, anger, frustration, acceptance, hope, determination, fun and mild embarrassment.  Despite the set-backs I got the skateboarding bit of the day sorted and another day in January is ticked off as a success.

Day 27 is a lunchtime visit to the Undercroft, The South Bank.   I can't even remember the last time I skated there but I'm looking forward to going back... I'll be there from 1.15pm.


26 Jan 2012

S.E.D.J. Day 25 - Snakes on a Ramp, Must be Wednesday Night at Playstation.

Come on brain, don't let me down now.  I can handle the physical knocks and and aches but if the brain goes then I'm sunk.  All it will take is for me to get my days mixed up, think that I'm skating that night, miss my lunch-time window and that Rach is out past 11 meaning I can't get out to skate before the clocks strike twelve and I turn to a pillar of salt and the S.E.D.J. dream comes to a rather pathetic end.

That is one possible outcome and there are thousands of versions similar.  Tonight was just one such version.  Unfortunately you, dear reader, are the unsuspecting victim of this cerebral meltdown.

Earlier today i needed to grab some images off the Lumix for the last blog entry, I managed to leave the camera on after downloading the shots.  So when I reach into my bag while a t Playstaion/Bay66 tonight I spot the battery is already dangerously low. So low in fact that i get two useless frames before it dies.  See, nothing groundbreaking, just forgetting to unplug the bloody camera.  As a result YOU have to put up with these shockingly bad photos to the guys at the session, who were: Johners, Irish Steve, Jamie, Alan, Jack, Awadh, Jotham and Kev.

Alan, Steve, Jamie (hidden) and Awadh ready for snakeing.
An out of focus Jotham.

A badly lit and red-eyed Jamie, and Alan were both on fine form

Adam was being all shy again.

 We spent the first half of the session having a Wembly Gap session over on the street course and then the obligatory snake session on the mini.  I couldn't shoot any actual skating as the HTC Phone I've got is worse than useless in that regard.  Despite the camera fuck-up I'm happy with Day 25, I had a good skate, got backside 180's up the gap again and it looks like I'm going to get to bed before one o'clock.

Day 26 is another quick lunch-time visit to Meanwhile II/Royal Oak, aiming to be there for 1.15pm for a half hour skate and then it's back to work.  You know the drill, if you are about....


25 Jan 2012

S.E.D.J. Day 24 - Robotic Monotonous Car Park Training

SEDJ banner Logo Lizard in a labcoat [LIALC]

S.E.D.J. is obviously a skateboarding based challenge.  But to be honest a ot of the real challenges lie in the not skateboarding side of things.  Timetableing being the major one and physical maintenance and recovery and, believe it or not, the blogging bit all make demands.

Day 24 was a perfect example of that.  Tuesday's are the day I pick up baby Harper from childcare, so once I'd collected her and got her home, play with her for a little while, which actually means desperately trying to distract her from grabbing all the stuff she's not allowed to, which is basically all the expensive/interesting/dangerous stuff.  Next up is bath time, one word.. awesome.  Then it's feed, brush her two teeth and bed.  So now that she's in bed it was time to feed myself and cook-up some purées for Harper's lunch, so it was all chopping, steaming, blending for a while, then I had my food just as Rach get's back home.  Then I get my shit together and head to Kingston to meet up with Sam at the covered car park.

The whole place had that covering of dampness again, I don't mind it really because I kind of have to skate, Sam on the other hand is under no such obligation.  Sam's been out for almost all of these Kingston Training sessions and was still out skating with me in a damp car park putting his board as risk of sogginess despite having only snapped his last board at the weekend.  Hats off to Sam.

SEDJ Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]snapped skateboard
Sam's dead board.

After the weekend my ankle, the bad one, has been in a fairly bad way, put that together with a damp car park what do you get? Nose manual and no-comply session that's what.  Yep, it was literally that, Nose-manual attempt, No-comply, Nose-manual attempt, No-comply, Nose-manual and repeat.  I did weaken and put some street slides in there just to take advantage of the slidey surface and the odd curb grind but mostly Nose-manual, No-comply, Nose-manual, No-comply, Nose-manual, No-comply.....

SEDJ no-comply Lizard in a labcoat [LIALC]
It doesn't quite capture the grace of the No-comply does it?

After my breakthrough with the Nose-manual last week there was no way I could stop skating before I made at least one over the prescribed distance.  Nose-manual, No-comply, Nose-manual, No-comply.... and repeat, again.  Perseverance paid off and I started holding them long enough to cover the distance I'd set myself.  Then another problem.  What to put on the blog to illustrate this little training session.  I tried a couple off my-space style shot's of a No-comply with the camera held at arms length while attempting to get pre-focus sorted and shutter firing perfectly in time with my attempt.  Then I had the idea of filming my success on the Nose-manual front.  Of the four attempts I filmed, I made two. I suspect I could get obsessed with nose-manual you know.

By this now time was starting to run-out and I heard a text arrive on my phone.  It was Rach letting me know that Harper had woken up crying and had been doing so for the last hour.  Off home I went.  Rach had been looking after Harper all through the night before so tonight was my turn.  She was consoled and finally snuffling herself to sleep by 1.00am.  Then it was time to wash-up, edit video, do my physio and stretches and get the hell to bed.  The skating was the easy bit.

Day 24 has been done.  I favored the robotic monotonous training (RMT) style for this one and it feels like it's paying off. Thanks to Sam for keeping me company on such an uninspiring night.

Day 25 is Playstation/Bay66 evening session.  I'll be taking this one fairly easy and my even apply the RMT style to learning/cementing a couple of tricks on the mini, if I remember.  If you are about, come and have a skate.

But for now you can check out Adam's (Johners) edit of the day's mucking about on Sunday, Day 22 of S.E.D.J.


23 Jan 2012

S.E.D.J. Day 23 - Stockwell Skate By Street-Lamp Light.

SEDJ banner Logo Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]

I'm going to be quick again tonight.  I need to get to bed before midnight for once.  I was knackered anyway but after only 2 hours sleep last night, thanks to a sick and yet strangely mischievous baby, I'm on my knees.

Today was a nice change from the last couple of Mondays' lunch time skates.  This time I met up with Adam (Johners) at Sockwell for an hour. We were the only two skaters there.  Adam and I share a strange enjoyment of skating Stockwell in the dark in winter; The Park is lit much better than you would think and it's always quiet.  The cold is normally the big problem but I think we all understand that you are rarely cold while actually skating.

SEDJ Johners at stockwell Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Adam: Red-Eye Reduction ON
SEDJ Stockwell tight pocket skatepark Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
I love this section of the park. Plenty of opportunities to come a cropper.
SEDJ Johner frontside carve stockwell skatepark Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
If you look closely you can see the memory of a Johners shaped carve in the super tight pocket.
You may have noticed that I'd left my digital compact camera at the office by accident so was reduced to my phone. What a pile of crap; oh well.  I got the photo's I needed.  Day 23 was a good laugh. Hacking it around the park with Johners, having a chat and generally having a nice relaxed skate.  Thanks Adam.

Tomorrow is Day 24. Tomorrow is a Tuesday...... so that means a Kingston Car Park Training session.  Hopefully see you tomorrow from 10:00pm.

Now, I sleep.


S.E.D.J. Day 22 - South London Street Skating Eutopia.

SEDJ banner Logo Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]

I don't see myself as a worrier.  I'm generally pretty good at figuring out the stuff that is out of my control and letting fate or the universe or whatever, sort things out.  Planning where to skate over the last three weeks has affected my sleep, being able to squeeze in the lunch-time skates has definitely affected my heart rate and blood pressure.  Now that I'm only 9 nine days away from the end of Skate Every Day in January I was starting to get a bit obsessive. As with many things in life, sometimes things just happen for a reason. Like today.

We had no real plan other than meet up at Elephant and Castle and go find some street spots. On my ride to E&C the sky looked a little dark and for a split second I thought rain was going to stop play but that feeling passed.  As soon as I hooked up with Adam, Ivan, Jamie, Alex and Martyn, any stress-head tendencies disappeared and all I had to worry about was staying on my board, shooting some crappy photos, missing Alex's make on his blunt-slide transfer to grind while on filming duty and laughing a lot.

SEDJ Martyn Thomas Wallride Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Martyn going high at E&C wall.

SEDJ Daih Wallride Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Ivan got the grind, but preferred this shot.

SEDJ Alex Irvine bluntslide Transfer Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
This was the second time Alex made this bluntslide-transfer to 5-0 down the corner.

SEDJ Chilling at the green bank spot Logo Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Refreshment break.

SEDJ Johners goofing at the green bank spot Logo Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
I don't really know what to say about this shot.

SEDJ johners frontsside bluntslide transfer Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Johners' frontside bluntslide transfer close-up.

SEDJ Alex Irvine wallie Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Alex Wallies over.

SEDJ martyn thomas planker Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Work continues on Jamie's Planking Documentary.

SEDJ Johners Front-Rock pop-out Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
Johners styling out his Front-Rock pop-out.

SEDJ Martyn Thomas Front boardslide Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]
A blurry compact digital shot of Martyn's Front board.

SEDJ green bank spot Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]

SEDJ green bank spot Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]

SEDJ green bank spot Lizard in a lab coat [LIALC]

You don't need a blow by blow account of what happened.  It's getting late, I'm completely done-in and writing this is sapping the very last remnants of energy from my brain.  Let's just say that Day 22 raised the bar.  Skating a real street spot that was so much more fun than it originally suggested and doing it with some of the best people out there.

Day 23 is going back to Stockwell.  It's an after work visit this time, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. If you are around I'll hopefully see you there.