January 27, 2014

Set The 411 Free

Independent research by the Platinumseagulls Institute.

What songs from The Infamous weren't used in a 411? My best attempt* at figuring that out is above. While the musical supervision in many a 411 can fairly be described as "terrible at times," the video magazine did a lot of good things on the music front as well, such as banging Mobb Deep's second album into the heads and minds of 14 and 15-year-old kids in the Upper Midwest. 411 banged that album so hard into my memory that I'm a bit surprised only about half of the album ended up being used. Take the preludes out of the mix and you end up seven** out of a possible 13 songs being used.


"Troubling" jokiness aside, here's where the best effort comes in. Skatevideosite has been the go-to nerd trivia/bet ending place on the Internet for a bit, but having spent a little bit of time looking at 411 soundtrack listings on there, it isn't 100% accurate. The other longtime skate video database, Skim The Fat, is still lumbering along in zombie-mode nearly five years since it's last update. While it seems to my memory to be accurate, when there's information listed, it's still incomplete as well; updates and new listings are not to be expected.

Not that long ago, Skately had a pretty good library and listing of 411s; that went away when Grind Media snatched up the rights to 411 and began posting them under the umbrella of the recently defunct Skateboarder Magazine (there was a pretty thorough scrubbing of 411 from Youtube at that point, in general). The Skateboarder reposting effort lasted less than a year (ending before Skateboarder ended), and resulted in the first seven issues of 411 being out there for pretty convenient consumption. It's likely that Grind Media (also parent of Transworld) still owns the rights to 411. It would be a service to us sad skateboard blogging class if they resurrected the resurrection of 411 and kept it going through TWS. The web content/traffic bump alone would probably be worth it. Then, maybe, I'd be able to put the question above to bed, since I'm pretty sure "The Start Of Your Ending" was used, too.

Update II: Evidently I haven't gone down the 411 rabbit-hole very recently: SkateTube is a Youtube channel that seems pretty complete on 411s through 30-ish issues and a bunch of other VHS skate vids.


On other things, it was a fairly heavy January weekend in terms of local skateboard goings on. Early returns say things went quite well and the kids were stoked. Ben Raemers is good and did moves that could easily leave one out in the cold--I had to.
**Can't say decisively that "Up North Trips" was used in a Kools ad but I know it was used IN an ad. There is a vivid memory of this.

Update: This TLDR podcast is worth listening to regarding the post above. It's titled "Hunting For Youtube's Saddest Comments" but it's ostensibly about songs and memory, which seems relevant here.

January 23, 2014


Dave LeRoux and Nate Compher are both still really good.

January 20, 2014


As I'm months away from entering my 19th year doing this stuff, I will say with certainty that there has never been a professional skateboard demo with out-of-staters in Minnesota in January. I'm probably not wrong, either (let me know if I am).

January 16, 2014

Great Men

That's Josh Folley with the assist. Found Dan and Joe Blum's one-day skate film festival entry and had to repost it. Seeing that clip for the first time was a top three most mind-blowing experience of life type event.

January 15, 2014

Cruelest Sport

Jamie Baker photo via The Independent and Nate Jones by Jonathan Mehring via Skateboarder.

Skateboarding continues to prove to be a difficult pursuit in which to make it. Everybody is good now, right? The best thing Jack Olson, a red-headed kid from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, could do to advance his fledgeling career is win Tampa Am (a contest in which he'd already already finished 27th, 4th, 11th and 19th). Tampa Am isn't fun; it's masochistic and hellish, though necessary. Even for dudes like Jack, it can't be that fun, at least until that winning shit is done and your remaining runs are just victory laps. It's also a guarantee of absolutely nothing. Send Nathan Smith our regards.

Yes it's hard if you want to do it. I, for one, never really did want it [ed. note: after the age of 17 or 18 or 19, or so], but I watched a lot of dudes suck the fun out of skating in the pursuit of something, and I know guys that have not much to show for attaining that something, as well.

I don't know of any real good pieces about the also-rans and never-beens of skateboarding, but this story "Jamie Baker's break point: A tennis nomad exits the planet’s cruellest sport" seemed to touch on a lot that parallels skateboard world. Like:

"At 27, the average age of a male top 100 player, Baker should be in his prime. But in the end, he just got sick of the life that he had worked so hard to make possible. At his peak, in a sport with total annual revenues estimated in 2009 at £1.6bn, he was ranked 185 in the world. Last year, the 185th best male golfer on the planet, Greg Chalmers, got about £387,000 in prize money – more than £100,000 more than Baker managed in his whole career before you even factor in his expenses."


"'For such a global game, there aren’t nearly enough people making a living out of it. Think about how many people play, how many people go to these events, how many watch on TV. And it can only support 100 or 150 players in the world? It’s crazy.'"

Hometown heroes take note:

Although Baker was a prodigy at Center Parcs, he didn’t seem to be anything special at Loughborough at first. Even at that age, you could see the game beginning to stratify. Andy Murray won the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl tournament in Florida at the age of 12; the year before, Baker had played an overseas tournament himself and found himself 'absolutely smoked' by Raphael Nadal. 'I thought, that’s a bit different,' he says. 'I knew I wasn’t in the top little bunch. I was one below that.'"


"Baker thinks back to the extraordinary belief that had sustained him through those early years. 'I remember being 19, winning my first title. And thinking, yeah, I can do this. But say I started again, knowing what it’s like? I wouldn’t be so confident. It’s fucking tough.'"

Finally, after the decision to retire:

"It was a fine June day, and the match went this way and that. Laura felt the sun on her, and watched [Baker] take the second set, playing with the joy that he’d always been seeking. 'And the beautiful blue sky, and the grass, and all these people who’ve helped him over the years,' she remembers. 'And you just think, how can you ever give it up?'"

Stats-driven tennis and subjective-as-all-hell skateboarding really don't operate on the same terms, yet the story is familiar. I've heard the pro-skate ranks summed up along the lines of, "10 rich dudes and everybody else trying to get by;" hometown heroism is universal; it IS fucking hard; you don't really give it up, though, after a certain point.

Related reading: DFW's "String Theory."

Update: The tennis::skateboarding SAT question breaks down when you have to account for (former) pros like Austin Stephens. I think we've cycled past a time when dudes like him get a 10+ year career. This revelation was brought to you by watching tennis.

January 13, 2014

Then Was Later

2014 is proving problematic, thus far. Skate memories that seemingly took place not that long ago have actually receded quite far into the past. Example: The clip above is dated 11/19/02 at the Wiskate post from which I scooped it, making it 11-or-so-years. That means the "recent" remodel at The Marbles is not recent, the lower Metrodome ledges have been gone much longer than I'd have thought and Lutzka has been that good and that dude for a real long time. I've got a feeling this will keep happening every year.

Apropos of above, London Luke put together clips from a trip to skate Wisconsin crete last summer. RFC.

More recently, Kevin Horn and co., along with on-screen talent Kirian Stone and Pete Spooner, made a multi-camera man steady shot clip at Familia HQ. Pose as a film buff speculating about shots like that; good work.

The future is now and it's all Vimeo posts.

January 1, 2014


ZED X Weird Al is a pretty Significant Instagram Moment way to begin the year. We're off to a good start. Happy New Year.