Gil Scott-Heron: How to Stand Out

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I was listening to some Gil Scott-Heron the other day, and started doing what I always do when I'm listening to any musician I love - looking up interviews with them. You might know Gil for his career as a singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, activist, perhaps for his title as "the Godfather of rap" or maybe a little closer to home, as the guy whose song was used for Nate Jones' part in Real to Reel ("Gun"). Anyhow, I was browsing youtube and stumbled on this interview: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6y-yEMLEBk]

I love listening to Gil talk, because even the speech in his regular conversation has a certain rhythm to it. There is a reason aside from personal interest, however, that I'm posting this interview to this particular site, and that's because I think that the point he makes is quite relevant to skateboarding today.

"I can't tell who's singing. That's what really bothers me, is that I don't know who it is. What I like about music and the kind of music that I like is the kind that like, hey, 20 seconds into the tune you know who this artist is because there's something unique about him or her..."

And then...

"It don't have no substance, so you can produce a lot of them very quickly, but they just as quickly lose their flavor. Ya know, just as quickly as something is number 1 this week you never heard of the people next week 'cause there was no substance."

I just think it's funny how no matter what medium you work with or craft you're expertise is in, there are overwhelming similarities and overarching truths that exist simply because of the human condition.

I certainly can't tell you what makes a musician distinguishable from the rest, but I am pretty sure I can tell you what makes a skateboarder stand out. When it comes to skateboarding, all we want is to watch a part that makes us want to go skate. Think about the guys who have been capable of putting out multiple parts like this. Louie, Cardiel, Gonz, Carroll, GT, MJ, etc. etc. you know the guys. So what makes them stand out? Yes of course they are insanely good at skating, but so are all of the "best insta skaters" (I fucking hate even typing that, and I am certainly not going to link some dumb fucking article).

What makes these guys stand out is that we know them. We've watched them grow up, seen the credits sections of the videos, watched them on tour. We've camped with them, partied with them, and been to all of their birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. We know their parents, girlfriends, favorite colors, what pajamas they wear to bed, and that secret spot where they're ticklish.

In a nutshell, maybe the reason why nobody cares about you even though you're insanely good, is because your b-roll consists of you either gripping your board, on your phone, or smoking weed. All things that I am guilty of, but come on, there must be something else that you do to spend your time off the board. I'd rather see a clip of you eating a nice turkey sandwich. I love turkey sandwiches. Get some fresh lettuce on there, a juicy tom, bulky roll, maybe even some avocado. But instead all you do is bore us with your unrelatable skating, and worse yet, your even less relateable supplementary footage.

Anyway, If you're butt-hurt or need consolation, I'll be at the deli.

Dave

RIP Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

Boston Spot Directory Part Deux: Winter Spots

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Not to re-hash 97% of what has been said on all local and national news channels regarding the weather in Boston lately, but this winter has been an unprecedented nightmare. Week after week we're continually pummeled by more and more snow, dashing hopes for weekend skatepark commutes and keeping morale among the skateboarding community very low. Many new-comers to Boston and its skate scene often ask the same question this time of year: "If there's no indoor park in the city, where do you guys skate in the winter?"

Well, my dear reader, we're here to blow the lid off all the secret winter spots our fair city has to offer. No longer will you have to wait weeks to fulfill your flat ground urges, below is a tell-all guide to surviving this long and brutal winter. I'd like to issue our readership a "you're welcome" in advance for this, not many websites would be willing to do that for you guys. ;)

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The Window - There is a rarely a spot more visited during these winter months than the window. Skateboarders often gather here to have a gander at the weather outside, to tell you exactly where they’re going to move so they “never have to deal with this shit again”.

“Yeah dude, I gotta get out of here. Can’t fuckin’ take winter anymore like, I just can’t do it. Like, why am I even here? Do I really need the friends I’ve had my whole life? I need a change in my life dude, maybe I'll join the army, ship out to Afghanistan, I mean it can't be that bad, I'm on a beach year round dude, think about it...”

These are of course, for the most part, empty promises, emotional reactions to the 4 feet of snow seen outside. Rarely do we have the money, foresight, and balls to leave our cozy world filled with Dunkin Donuts', endless pizza places, and of course 3,000 different ledge spots. Maybe next year...but probably not.

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The Bar - Not that the bar wasn’t a frequent destination when it was warm out, it’s just that the bar is definitely more inviting when it’s cold. You don’t even have to worry about being hungover during the next day’s session, you are DEFINITELY not skating. The excuse you were looking for during Spring, Summer, and Fall is finally here; and it just stays there for months at a time. That won’t stop you from making insane claims about all the gnarly skating you’re going to do when the snow’s gone, you’ll claim now more than ever. The best part? You won’t ever have to prove it. By the time skateboarding outside ever happens again no one will remember you saying how you were gonna even try that handrail, let alone kickflip front board it. It’s ok though, your secret’s safe with me. ;)

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 The Couch - Not all couches were created equal, and there’s definitely something special about that moment when you find the right one. Whether it’s at your parents house, your very own apartment, or in miracle scenarios, your girlfriend’s apartment, you know one when you see one. And many factors contribute to this anomaly in comfort - girth of said couch, firmness of the cushions, neck support, positioning in relation to the TV, smell (in many cases there are years of farts stored in there - think about it), and material (ever woken up on a sunny afternoon drooling into a leather couch drenched in sweat? yeah, fuck that). Once found, this spot is where you’ll log all of your non-drinking/pornhub hours this winter, likely resulting in the marathoning of subpar television programs you never could have imagined settling for in the midst of summer’s scorch. Oh, Frasier? You’re watching all of that. Multiple times over before the snow even begins to think about melting. Grab a blanket, get some cheez-its, and make damn sure the remote is within arm’s reach, cuz you ain’t going nowhere.

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 The Garage - Everybody has one. For decades now, the town square parking garage has become an institution serving skateboarders everywhere during the winter months . In many cases, for whatever reasons, discarded pieces of wood can be found here. Jackpot? Yes. Stack these bad boys on a parking block and you’ve got yourself a 4-inch kicker ramp. And since we’re on the topic… Parking blocks: do you really need anything else? If you are especially lucky however, your town’s garage may have multiple levels. This can only lead to one thing - the spiral. Sure, you might get hit by a car on your way down, but can you really put a price on a good old adrenaline rush, something you probably haven’t experienced in months at this point. Get some, because you probably won’t be skating for weeks after this sesh anyways.

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 YouTube - Yeah, of course utilization of the wireless/data plans goes through the roof for everybody over the icy months of winter, but skateboarders take it in a strange and sad direction. I’m not talking about porn (we already addressed that). The internet can be a dangerous place if you’ve decided to “stay in for the night”, and “just don’t really feel like getting blackout drunk” or any of the thousand excuses you use to cover up your seasonal depression/fear of the cold. All of a sudden you find yourself sitting in front of your laptop with a bottle of bourbon, browsing YouTube for old clips, reminiscing on the good old days. Waking up after a night of nostalgia is more embarrassing than when you look at your phone in the morning and notice a full on conversation with your ex-girlfriend.

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 That Girl You Were Kinda Leading On When It Was Warm, But You Have Nothing To Do Now’s House - Times are really tough when you can’t skate all day with your bro’s and you’ve exhausted the internet’s vast variety of pornography…what else do you even do with your life? That’s when you give “her” a call. You know the one. The one you call when you don’t pull a chick from the bar (you never do).Your 3 a.m. booty call. Your “buzzer beater”. The poor girl who’s so aware of you using her for only sex despite you drunkenly telling her you’re just not ready for a relationship, but when you are, it’ll be with her. Yeah, you chill with her now. During the months of December to late March you hang out with her sober, but insist that you don’t want to put a “label” on what you guys have (which is nothing). You check the weather to find that in the coming week it’s going to be 65 degrees out...it is with a heavy heart you tell her you want to see other people. “But I thought we didn’t have a label?! I thought we weren’t a thing?!” Little does she know “other people” just means guys who ride wooden toys. But what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her...

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 Google Maps - Summer never ends on the internet. I fucking love Google maps. You can do anything you want. You can walk down the street, go grab a burrito, scope out some babes, go hunting for spots. Anything your little heart desires. In any city! It’s always sunny out, because those little Google cars aren’t to be fucked with in the rain. Not only that, you can plan out trips! Got a buddy in Texas? Maybe you should do a little road trip. SF? Well, maybe hit up Kayak and see how much a flight costs, then survey the landscape on your favorite site, Google Maps. Hm, hopefully the construction at the Union Square rail is done, finna smith dat.

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 Work - Same as the bar, this is obviously a place we frequent during the warmer months as well as the cold, the difference being your willingness to actually be there. Your bosses are so impressed by your newfound commitment to your job...working late, coming in early, even forgoing your precious lunch break, you’re the new office stud. Former office stud, Chad, is now super salty about being demoted, his fake niceness around the office has now been replaced with passive aggressive jabs about how “gay” skating is and how much pussy he’s been getting lately (he hasn’t). Calm down, Chad, once the weather gets better you’ll have your precious title back, you fucking suck up. I still don’t care how many beers you drank last night and how hot the chick you took home was, you definitely drank half of what you claimed and you definitely ended up cry-bating on your couch while you watched a Friends marathon.

 

We're sorry if you thought this would actually help you get through winter...not to worry, we only have three weeks left. :)

 

-SMLTalk Staff

 

What Does it Mean?

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The SOTY Race of 2014 brought rise to a seemingly endless slew of speculation. After many ups, downs, tasteless campaigning tactics, wildcards, underdogs, and shoe-ins, the prize was ultimately and deservedly given to Wes Kremer. He wallie 180 to fakie 5-0'd clipper. You can't argue with that. Among the leading sources of said speculation leading up to Thrasher's unveiling ceremony was The Birdman's own Ride Channel. I know what you're all thinking. Or at least I think I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Oh god. He's going to shit on Ride Channel for basically serving as skateboarding's special version of Buzzfeed, dispassionately secreting click bait to anyone lacking the self-control/self-respect required to simply say 'no'. Blah blah blah."

Well, you were wrong. I actually have no issues with Ride Channel, or anything they do for skateboarding. I think it's great, and they've got some great people doing some great stuff for them. It's all great.

I do however, have one issue with one statement in one article I read following the SOTY race of 2014. The piece, entitled "10 Skate World Predictions for 2015", ...does just that, making prediction after prediction as to what will happen this year in skateboarding. We all know how lists work. So after falling for the click bait, I got to reading it though, and one statement stopped me dead in my tracks.

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6. Wes Kremer Will Rip All Year, Again

Why We Think So: He's got Jan. 1 on lock, any year.

Excuse me? I'm not sure if you really grasped what is written above, so might I suggest a few re-reads for good measure just to ensure that we're on the same page here. All set?

Ok. Either I've been living under a rock my whole life and missed out on a now out of style catch-phrase, or Mike Munzenrider, much like Gretchen Wieners trying to make 'fetch' happen, is trying to get the ball rolling on this one. The last option, of course, is that I'm an idiot (highly likely), and all he is trying to say is that Wes Kremer will have a continually successful year, starting right on January 1st.

But lets just say I'm not an idiot.

Seriously, what on Earth does that mean? Wes Kremer has January 1st, aka New Year's Day, on lock, ANY year. Is this factual information? Does Wes Kremer have his own holiday that unfortunately also falls on New Year's Day that no one knows about because they're too hungover to notice that he has wasted no time to start absolutely crushing it for the year? And lets not forget: 'any year'. He's BEEN crushing it. No contest. Indisputable. This is common knowledge! Everyone knows it! ...Duhhhh!!!

Supposing this were true, does that mean that we should revoke all previous SOTY's of their title, because in our hungover New Year's Day daze we failed to take notice that Wes, like an absolute savage, had been killing it all along? Think about all of the complete and total carnage we must have missed out on without even realizing it. God dammit! Mike Munzenrider, why did you wait til NOW to bring this up!

Things we likely missed Wes Doing over the past 5-10 Jan. 1's:

1.) All of his enders. He actually waits til Jan. 1 to do his ender. Well, to practice, while no one is around. Then once he really nails it he has someone film it at some point later on in the year.

2.) The birth of his first child. Yup, Wes has a kid. And NONE OF Y'ALL have noticed because shit, the thing was born on, you guessed it: Jan. 1. Does this mean that they both have been killing it, father and son, every year??? This is all getting very hard to stomach.

3.) His induction to the baseball hall of fame. Never tired of ballin so he's on to the next sport. Pretty sure he helped the patriots win the Super Bowl as well? Wes Kremer SOTY, MVP, and Coach of the Year. Give it to the kid.

4.) Wes develops ebola vaccine. Ok. He didn't do this, but I think you get what I'm trying to say at this point.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIY-qD8rUmw&w=560&h=315]

Another thing too, which is perhaps the most disturbing detail of all, is that this Jan. 1 thing is originally referenced/hinted at in the opening paragraph... "we all knew Wes Kremer ripped on Jan. 1, 2014", it reads. I mean, yeah, I'd like to think 'we' could all generally agree that Wes Kremer is an excellent skateboarder, but to put a date on it (judgment day, if you will), straight up gives me the fear. I don't know how else to explain it, so I'll leave it at that. Have I gone insane?

Anyways, I'll leave off with this final plea. Someone, anyone, please try to explain this statement to me. That's really what the point of this article is. How can one man have Jan. 1 on lock, any year? If anything, that's an oddly specific, and terribly unfortunate day to expect someone to be on point, year after year. Did he lose a bet or something? So for Wes's sake (because I hope he hasn't been crushing it all this time right under our noses), and the rest of the skate world's sake, please fill me in. I genuinely would like to know.

PS - The rest of that article was great.

PPS - I'm not mad. Just scared. And confused.

Thank You,

-Evan

Revisiting Rosa: A Tribute to Skateboarding's Long Lost Icon

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I normally try to avoid making sweeping generalizations about skateboarders, ("we're like individuals who all do the same thing, man") but when we're not gabbing about what AVE's upcoming part will be like or quizzing each other on what Gang Starr song Koston skated to in "Falling Down", we're usually telling stories about chicks and sex, some of which are true, most of which are totally embellished and or completely made up. Maybe it's our lack of skill on a skateboard that forces us to overcompensate with our tall tales: "Nah I didn't end up trying that handrail, but I TOTALLY had a foursome last night...nah I mean I watched a threesome on a porn site but like, you know, I was there..."

So much of this ridiculous banter goes on throughout a day of skateboarding, I began to do some soul searching about where my love for skateboarding, and my animalistic curiosity for the opposite sex, first crossed. This search brought me all the way back to nine year old me, a me that had several imaginary friends and wrote the damn book on how to rock a chill bowl cut. Yes before the Hubba girls, the Duffs girls, before Erica Yary or Leanne Tweeden, and long before any hot chick would be caught dead in a Thrasher shirt, there was Rosa. Shorty’s Rosa.

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Skate magazines felt less filtered back then, every page was a titillating surprise, introducing me to subject matter that Mom would normally disapprove of. How was she to know? It’s a skateboard magazine: just skateboarding in there. Boom, waddya know, fuck you Mom, there’s people smoking weed, somebody using words starting with "C" and ending in "T",(that's "CAT" for our younger readers) and sweet chicks like Rosa baring it all. Now I was a relatively mature 9 year old, I had been lucky enough to see Titanic in theaters (boom again, fuck you Mom!) so I had some understanding of what a woman with no clothes on was like, though it took me some time to figure out why Leo Dicaprio was so sweaty and if he was indeed the winner of the wrestling match they had inside that car below deck.

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But something was different about Rosa’s nakedness...it was something much more profound; her nudity was criss-crossing with something that was already very close to my heart. Dude, do I wanna fuck my skateboard? I knew I loved skateboarding and post-Titanic viewing, I knew I loved a nice set of tits...how did they know to combine the two? Here’s an ad with no skateboarding in it, just a beautiful woman covered in hardware, and all I know is that I NEED Shorty’s hardware. It made me feel like a chick like Rosa only fucked with dudes who rocked Shorty's...I never saw hot chicks in Monkey hardware ads.

"What does this all mean?!?" cried my nine year old self, the matter being well beyond the expertise of even the smartest of my imaginary friends.

“Ya, duh bro. Sex sells, bro. The advertising industry uses sex as a means of tapping into the biological and emotional aspects of our sexuality to convince us that buying their product will fulfill any messages they may be trying to convey, bro. Like we’re all just slaves, bro..”

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Yeah cool, you were a freshman in college once (or graduated college and checked out the wiki page on sex/advertising ;) ). It’s a tired cliche, sex is an obviously effective advertising technique. However, Rosa and Kate Winslett were my first introductions to sex and they stirred something in me I had never felt before. They’re less like objectified sex pawns of the film/advertising industries and more like an old neighbor who I caught changing in the window. Nostalgic memories of a very pervy and curious time in my life.

So what's the point you ask? Why have we revisited skateboarding's long lost vixen? You're probably a little bummed you know so much about my sexual development. The point is this: we must celebrate this beautiful icon the same way we would have if she had been a professional skateboarder. Her impact on the psyche on this once 9 year old boy will never cease to be significant, she will always remain my first and only love.

Rosa, if you're reading this, thank you for your time in skateboarding. Had it not been for you or The Muska I don't know who I'd be today. You may have saved me from myself.

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Special thanks to Kate Winslett's titty and Rosa if you do read this, that number still good to call? Any chance for an interview? Get lunch? Pen pals? Anything?

What to Expect from The Plan B Video

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It's crunch time boys. The moment we've all been waiting for. The Plan B video, the answer to all of our problems, will supposedly be released some time next month. A major void is about to be filled. This is sort of like the Catalina Wine Mixer of skateboarding: if it fails, then we get the last laugh - but if it doesn't and is somehow a cohesive, well-assembled video, we've got something for the old DVD (who am I kidding?) library. Everybody wins, unless your name starts with T and ends in orey Pudwill.

Anyhow, this impending release prompted a heated discussion between myself and the rest of SMLtalk crew. We decided to throw together a consolidated list including all you'll need to know or understand in preparation for the release of The Plan B Video.

DL:  Danny Way's part will meet expectations, and be better than Dreamland. Ha.

CK: Darrel Stanton's part...oh wait.

RJ: Ryan Sheckler post Plan B video will still be unable to find chill girl.

EO: PJ will quit 2 weeks before, but still be contractually obligated to have a 49 second part edited to iMovie preloaded rap beat, like DAMN SON YALL JUST GOT ÉSPECIALLED!!!

RJ: Skating Flip boards with Plan B spray painted across them.

DL: The only way the video will be good is if Mike Ternasky comes back to life.

RJ: Prediction - Mike Ternasky never died, Carroll never quit, Girl never happened.

EO: The Plan B video is a collective figment of skateboarding's imagination.

RJ: Torey Pudwill has built a career off not having a part in this video.

DL: Primus will appear in Pat Duffy's part like J Mascis in Mindfield.

RJ: Pat Duffy will skate with Primus in his pockets.

EO: Scott Decenzo will have a part, but Ryan Decenzo will have more guest footage than him.

RJ: Which Decenzo is on Plan B? They're both on Darkstar to me.

DL: You think there's still time for me to get a clip for the friends section?

EO: Yes

RJ: Yeah, I need to get one, if not I can have Tin send over something.