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What’s so strange about me? – Eight Dayz

I have been watching a lot of skate videos recently. Ones before my time; classic, revolutionary ones, from Bones Brigade videos to Video Days and Questionable, spanning so few years but so much in progression and what can be done with a skateboard. And in how a skateboard video can be shot. Lance Mountain, Ray Barbee, Mark Rogowski, Natas Kaupas, Pat Duffy, Mark Gonzales, Sal Barbier, Salman Agah, Christian Hosoi, Matt Hensley, etc. Skateboarding represented so impeccably – everything about it, from how these incredible skaters use their boards, the sense of freedom, mastery, purity, creativity, to the sensation of the… sport: sweat, heat, empty lungs, concrete, the sound of the wheels – by something so simple as putting a camera in front of a skater. And maybe shooting in slow-motion once in a while. The skateboard video is one of the most stimulating things in the world – always short, but enough within to inspire/oblige you outdoors and on to concrete. It’s always sunny out in these videos. These are no ordinary advertisements.

This song soundtracks the Christian Hosoi, Rob Roskopp and Claus Grabke ramp part in Santa Cruz’s Wheels of Fire. Claus Grabke’s band Eight Dayz offers four songs to the Wheels of Fire soundtrack, none of which sound like they come from the same band. One minute they sound like the Smiths or the Bodines, then Age of Chance or maybe New Order, then southern bar rock, then to this fantastic, (i want to say) Cure, Joy Division or Sisters of Mercy-sounding song. But they all fill their respective parts so well. Skateboard videos would not be the same without the songs to service them.

Watching these videos is made all the better through their soundtracks, what i can recognise and what i am picking up. Dinosaur Jr., Bl’ast and the Minutemen, and other great bands, are all over these videos and it’s nice to know that so many over time have heard their music, possibly fallen in love with it, simply by popping a tape into their VCR. The first time i heard Fugazi was through a 411 video. I’ve never been sure how the music becomes associated with a certain skater’s parts, if it’s the skater’s, the company’s or the filmmaker’s choice of song for the soundtrack. I like the idea that it’s the skater, the song an extra gift. That they soundtrack something so pure, that the song choice is always so idiosyncratic, and that you are invariably so stirred by watching the video, the impact of the song is heightened to something beyond simply an auditory transience.

I really want to skate again. I haven’t stepped on a board in maybe three years, since i broke my last board. That’s always the pattern with me. I’ll somehow acquire a new board, skate enough, become ok, one day break my board, and not ever have enough money to buy a new one. I’m too scared, honestly. I don’t know these streets. And i am too old to be as bad as i will have to revert to. I was never very good, but i liked it. Going to Wilberforce Public School or the shops at the latest of hours when i couldn’t drive, or to Windsor, Richmond, and to Clarendon and North Richmond skateparks at the same covert hour when i could – these stir some powerful and moving memories. I had Henry and Adrian and others when i first started, but mostly, through my inexorable self-imposed hermitry, i skated alone. Skating with friends is better, less stifling, and a more powerful feeling, but there is something about you, a board, and the night. I miss it. I want to relive it.

I also want to learn karate.

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