My Seven Favorite Skateboarders Today, in No Particular Order:
Favorite Skateboarders, Today Check Out
The next Transworld Questionable article asks "What is more important to you than skateboarding?" I think that just a few short years ago I might have naively answered "Nothing" to that question and left it alone, but now, due to health issues, I realize that my health is more important. And of course, I realize that family and friendship are more important--people are more important to me now than the act of skateboarding. Nothing brings me more joy than making someone happy, or just spending time with a good friend, connecting. Beyond these things, music and skateboarding, and maybe photography, are the only other things that really matter to me. And I think I've realized the last year or two that the only real material things I truly value are my photographs. I like my guitars, my cameras, and my CDs. I really like my collection of art and photos that my friends Chris, Ed, Thomas, Damon, Rob, Ron, O., Yogi, Satoru, and Garry have given me. But without these things I'm OK. Without friends and family, I'm nothing. Wow, I've come a long way. Maybe there is hope! And Jen, too little too late, I know.
Dumb Question Check Out
Added about 220 more songs to the iPod today. Devo, Dinosaur, Violent Femmes, Verbal Assault, Stiff Little Fingers, TSOL, the Jam, X, and more. This thing is so amazing. I'm planning on having the best juke box ever, in the palm of my hand. The "Various Artists" section will be so good--best-of songs from one-hit punk wonders and that rare good song from even the creepiest rock bands. I'm psyched, can you tell?
More iPod Check Out
Jason Dill is amazing. I've known him forever-- at least 15 years, which means I remember the days when he'd do your trick right after you did, in any session, just to one-up you. But he was young, so it's easy to look past that. These days, he's living the life of a professional skateboarder, and he's staying true to himself and all his wackiness. But the thing that really strikes me is his zeal and his openness about his lust for life. He's so into new adventures, meeting new people, not because of what they can do for him, but simply for the sake of good conversation, enjoying new people, and sharing life's experiences. After spending a few hours a few times with him in Barcelona, I'm really happy to have had the experience myself, and glad to have the history with him as well. Sometime I'll have to try to dig up some photos of Jason as a twelve year old Blockhead ripper.
Jason Dill OD Check Out
Nobody ever got the Clash trivia question (below) right, so here's the answer. It was obscure, I know. The Clash, on their first record, pay tribute to the Ramones by singing/speaking "Going through a tight wind" in the introduction to "Police and Thieves." This line, of course, is from the first Ramones song "Blitzkrieg Bop." The Ramones record came out about a year before the first Clash record.
Clash Trivia - Never Said It Was Easy Check Out
Got an iPod today. Here's what I put in it right away: AC/DC High Voltage; At The Drive-In El Gran Orgo; best of the Avengers; Black Flag the First Four Years; BoySetsFire In Chrysalis; four songs by Bush (an embarrassing guilty pleasure); Clash s/t; Crimson Curse Discography; Devo Are We Not Men; Drive Like Jehu s/t; Fugazi Furniture; assorted Iggy Pop songs; Everything by Inch; Jawbreaker 24 Hour Revenge Therapy; Jesus Lizard best of Bang; Los Olvidados Discography; Minor Threat Discography; Misfits Box Set disc 1; Ramones Mania; Radio Birdman Under The Ashes disc 1; Refused Shape of Punk to Come; Sham 69 assorted songs; Swing Kids Discography; White Stripes White Blood Cells; Wire On Returning; Punk The Jubilee disc 1. I'm really psyched on this thing. I can't afford it but I sold a computer and used less than half the money on this thing--the prices just dropped. Anyway, 2500 songs--when they're short punk rock songs--and bye-bye walkman!
Got an iPod! Check Out
July 30: Feeling much better now, although I got two doses of reality once again this morning in the form of bad things happening to my friends...
Erich Browne is a Pennsylvania/North Carolina skateboarder and a friend who has recently developed bad kidney problems, and now I know why I haven't been able to get a hold of him. Friends are holding a fundraiser in Mid-August. Hang in there Erich! We're all thinking good thoughts.
Lance Hahn, (in)famous former Hawaiian punk rocker and the mastermind behind Cringer, JChurch, and Honey Bear Records, had to climb down from his third story apartment in Austin, Texas, and suffer through watching his life go up in flames. I can't tell you how hard this is to even imagine. Imagine watching this happen to your photos, your records, your ___________whatever, fill in your own blank, with something that means everything to you. Thankfully Lance is fine, and so is his girlfriend Liberty. I'm feeling for you Lance, and some stuff is on the way.
Email me if you'd like to donate something to either of these guys lives.
Sick Friends Check Out
Feeling a little better today, maybe I'm getting over this post-traveling depression. Every time I come home from an amazing trip I get into this depressed state, get all screwed up, can't sleep, can't face reality, don't want to go to work, don't want to do anything really. It comes from being out there, traveling, having the time of my life, every time, and not having to face any of the pressures of everyday, so-called normal, responsible life. It's hard to take that plunge, though, and just live that life, traveling all the time. I'm not sure that it would mean as much to me if I did it all the time, and so I savor the times when I can travel and live nomadically, even if it's for short stretches at a time. I'll face the depressions and, like everything else, learn how to deal. Of course, this time, there was some other factors adding to the maelstrom in my head, having to do with a beautiful girl... an especially wonderful girl who just lives too damn far away.
Now playing: Hot Snakes "Suicide Invoice"
I've decided/realized that stories about L'Espuina de Pollo are useless, because the spot itself isn't what makes it interesting or fun, but it's the people who gravitate consistently to the spot that kept me and plenty of others interested while we were there. L'Espuina de Pollo, also known as L'Espuina de Pollo Loco, or the Chicken Corner, is this little 4-way intersection in Barcelona, about 2 blocks off La Rambla (La Rambla is a very wide sidewalk, sort of like a boardwalk, that runs from near the center of Barcelona down to the harbor, about 1.5 miles or so, and is infested with street urchins, performers, artists, scammers, hookers, and everyone else you could imagine). Somehow, at the Chicken Corner, there can be 100 skaters and girls standing around drinking beer and playing guitar and shooting the breeze until 5 in the morning. It's a little intersection of alleys, nothing special about them that attracts the skaters or anyone else, but named such because there is a large broiler in a restuarant on one of the corners where they cook chickens during the daytime. Kitty-corner to that there is a graffitti of a chicken that actually looks more like a bat or a mouse with wings. Keep in mind this is an alley, and the distance between the two corners is maybe 20 feet or so. Real small. Barely wide enough for a large car to fit through, but more than enough room for a bunch of skaters to lodge for the night, buying icy cans of beers from street vendors for 1 Euro. Plenty of girls going by, plenty of good times had by all. But maybe it's one of those places you have to visit to appreciate.
Last summer Justin Strubing was in Barcelona to skate and he met a girl named Ingrid. He decided to stay in Barcelona for two months, which prompted various phone calls from his Dad, brother, etc. Well, after numerous visits by both Justin and Ingrid to meet family and all that stuff, Justin and Ingrid have decided to get married! We'll let you know when the happy occasion goes down, but for now, congratulations, guys!
Back From Europe II Check Out
Where to begin? First, thanks for the kind emails from those of you who asked when the next updates to this silly little journal will be posted. I knew a few people read it but had no idea I'd get that much response after being gone. Makes me wonder if I should keep the personal stuff out of here, but when poeple write that that's the stuff they like, it makes it a little easier.
Stories for the next few days will hopefully include L'Esquina de Pollo, more details about Justin Strubing getting engaged(!), a rant about Jason Dill, Herman and Spanky stories, how I got arrested in an Italian train station for skateboarding, more stories about how much people hate Americans just for being Americans, Tales of La Rambla, and more... thanks for your emails, and keep 'em coming. For now, here's a taste.
I usually don't say blatant hellos to people, but am very glad to have met a kindred spirit of mine from Germany named Florian, whom my friends in the Faction introduced me to on this last trip. It was great to get to meet you, Flo, I'm psyched! Also psyched on seeing the Faction in Dortmund, on a big stage with great sound and a great response from the kids. Got to spend a little time with the band, too, which always means a lot to me with them. Plus, it was good to see them get so psyched about a show.
I think I have a new favorite skater. Dustin Dollin is so amazing. I wrote about him after my trip to Australia in November, but every time I see this kid he's so much fun to hang out with, he raises more hell than everyone, and he's always laying down the skateboarding. And while he may be a hammers kid, he also skates his ass off with no cameras, whether it's manuals, ledges, stairs, or whatever. And it's always amazing.
The list of "pro" skaters in Barcelona right now comes down to people who enjoy skating and aren't just collecting a paycheck. There is so much stuff to skate in that city it is unbelieveable, and there are so many untapped spots that the locals protect, like any smart skaters would, that just get randomly discovered every time someone gets lost. Among the skateboarders reaping the benefits right now are Ed Templeton, Diego Buchierri, Jamie Thomas, Caswell Berry, Austin Stephens, Spanky, Bryan Herman, Enrique Lorenzo, Nilton Neves, Justin Strubing, Kenny Hughes, Terry Kennedy, Jason Dill, Wes Lott, Jessie Van Rockout, Adrian Lopez, Chris Cole, Tim O'Connor, Eric Koston, Rick McCrank, Rob Dyrdek, Anthony Van Engelen, John Rattray, Ali Boulala, Frank Gerwerstein, Arto Saari, Dustin Dollin, Lee Smith, Paul Shier, Satva Leung, and more that I can't even think of right now. Plus there's all the London guys like Lev, James, Richard, Alex, and more who are there on their own time living the life. And of course there are the nameless faces of people from Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and other places unknown who were there at the spots, skating, having fun, enjoying the act... Hats off to all of these guys for chillin' and having fun, while still putting the time in on their skateboards and keeping it real.
Back From Europe Randumbs Check Out
July 7: I have a flight today at 3pm. LAX to Paris, then onto Lausanne, via Geneva. Hopefully no bombs, or mysterious packages at the airport.
July 6: Went to the airport today to try to fly to Europe, and basically got sent home (OK, it was my decision, but man, was it sketchy there!) because there was a bomb scare in the international terminal at LAX. My flight was at 840pm, and at 6 o'clock they weren't allowing anyone in the terminal. I'll try again tomorrow.