Full-frontal cortex | Simply Ranked
Plus: Cruel benches, Kien Caples, time of the superstunt and more.
The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other online things that I cannot stop consuming and how they make me feel, personally.
Time of the superstunt
IT BEGAN WITH A SIMPLE
WOODEN BOARD MOUNTED
A NEW SPORT WAS BORN…
AND PRIMITIVE BOARDS
WERE REPLACED BY
MODERN LAMINATED DECKS
AND EFFICIENT ALLUMINUM
TRUCKS MOUNTED WITH
MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE
AND FUELED BY THE
IMAGINATION AND COURAGE
OF THE SKATERS
A NEW ERA HAD BEGUN:
THE TIME OF THE SUPERSTUNT
A WIDE VARIETY OF USEFUL,
GRACEFUL, ENJOYABLE AND
OFTEN DANGEROUS STUNTS
THEN IMPROVED UPON AND
REDESIGNED TO WORK IN
EVER MORE COMPLEX
THE RESULTS YOU WILL SEE:
A STUNNING ARRAY
OFTEN PERFORMED BY
THE INNOVATIVE AMATEURS
AND PERFECTED THEM.
It’s true; the opening crawl for Skateboard Super Stunts (1987) kicks ass. Not only does it lay the historical groundwork for the video to come à la Star Wars, but it also weaves a certain mystique and aura around the cast. We’re told these are skateboarders from a time beyond our own, imbued with tremendous yet unknown power thanks to “new technology.” You, the viewer, will be stunned by what you’re about to see, so hold on.
Perhaps this can be the next skate video trend, something we’re in desperate need of. The dizzying Strobeckian camera zooms and tilts have made many of us weary. But a long narrative string as a precursor to the tricks would be a fresh twist that could be easily charged with the character of a respective brand or filmmaker.
Imagine a crawl from Beagle written in the parlance of Shake Junt, the cold militaristic recitations that prepare you for the carnage ahead in the latest Zero video, or three to five stanzas of Pontus Alv’s droll cryptic ramblings before the next Polar flick—that shit would rule.
So let’s have a think on it Embrace A Future Of Our Ideal Design move towards a NEW ERA with OLD TECHNOLOGY IT'S JUST A FEW WORDS, ANYHOW AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT BUSY MAKING WITH ALL OF THIS TEXTUAL INNOVATING CAN WE PLEASE PUT SKATERS' NAMES BACK ON THE GODDAMN SCREEN.
dark side darkslide of benches
It is impressive; you have to admit, the commitment to a patronizing idea of normalcy. The public space, a gathering point, where a bench is placed explicitly so you—yes, you—can take a load off. But, actually, not you, if you’re houseless or need to sit for more than 65 seconds before the sharp steel edges of this bench begin to dig into your hide. Because while there’s value in the appearance of public space, whoever commissioned this bench believes that the community who might use it will ultimately devalue their property by existing in its orbit for more than minutes at a time.
You can see right through it (the bench, the bench owner’s intention) into the cold heart of cities that refuse to be hospitable to the people who dwell within them. Pathways and plazas are merely scenery to glance at as you hurtle towards your destination, a gumball swirling down the machine’s plastic tube. However, they managed to overlook one thing when installing the unusable bench: Trung Nguyen.
There’s a specific category of strange, small moments that stay with us for years, decades, lifetimes. Often inconsequential and unexpected, they occasionally resurface to disturb our thoughts, an eyelash prodding at the eye. In the early days of YouTube, I stumbled across Marc Johnson’s video part in Maple Skateboards’ Seven Steps To Heaven (1996). It’s an effort that still holds up to today’s standards, from 360 flip lipslides down handrails to manual combinations that had no business being executed in the mid-’90s.
The video part ends with an infamous shot of Johnson standing nude in a kitchen, his person covered in shaving cream, gyrating until a glob of foam falls off the end of his penis. The image has stuck with me ever since. Every so often flashing before my eyes when someone does a kickflip backtail or Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses” plays. A legacy of cream he or I cannot escape.
Top tier fits, wild freestyle and Fancy Lad leaning tricks that require a rewind or two to comprehend, along with bursts of tech to keep one on their toes—Kien Caples’ video part in There’s “Ruining Skateboarding” is as fun and expansive as it is hairball. A true treat from one of the company’s newest professionals.
A place on earth
Those in Barcelona will see heaven on April 30, 2022. We’ll all have to wait a little longer.
Something to reconsider: Patricia Lockwood’s The Communal Mind (2019) for the London Review of Books.
Good things: I had a dream last night. You and me, we were skating the Brooklyn Banks.
Until next week… go outside, close your eyes, tilt your head back and let the sun warm your face.