New York broverload vacation.
I moved into the house with Sean Kelling and Andy Henri. One of the first things they told me was that guests were always welcome--but, I'm not sure if they really meant the number of piles I was going to let sleep on the couch over the course of time. This particular week I invited Spanky to stay. We were on break from a Baker tour and he thought it would be fun to hang out in one of his favorite cities. I called Jerry Hsu and asked if he wanted to come as well. He was into it, and he surprised me by showing up with Caswell Berry and Clark Hassler.
It was piles for miles, and if the roommates minded they didn't show it. So I have to thank Andy and Sean for making this New York vacation possible. And I'd like to apologize to them for my consistent lack of rent money.
Caswell is the best dude ever--and he was being such a pile on this trip. Every night he'd get wasted and talk shit. One night I came home to find him sitting on the stoop with a box of pizza and a pile of puke laid out before him. He was mumbling something about how he was the worst skater and didn't deserve anything. I had to get him up the stairs and on the couch and then clean up his barf. It's nice that Caswell is so modest and humble--but dude--he's obviously so gnarly and stylish that to hear him be insecure about his skating like that made me want to kick his ass myself. But you know how it gets when you get drunk. I'm so glad he came to New York. He even gave me a 'zine he made and a Zippo lighter as gifts.
On a not-very-interesting side note, Caswell has this collection of strange objects he keeps in his pockets at all times; a whole handful of good luck charms. It's really bizarre, and each piece has a really good story about why he has it. The good luck they bring must outweigh the pain of slamming on a pocket-full of crap.
I called Thrasher one day, worried I'd been sending in too many photos of Jerry. Jake Phelps' response was short and decisive: "You can never have too much Jerry in the mag." He's right; Jerry is one of those skaters you can never get sick of watching. His amazing style and trick selection is unparalleled. I watch Jerry frontside slash grind a quarter pipe and am always just awestruck by how great it looks.
Dill came skating with us on one or two days, but we partied with him every night. Since my house was full, Alex stayed at his house. Jason moonlights as a bartender at a bar called The Hole. He doesn't take any money for his work. I think he just does it to give himself something to do. But he always pulled tactics and got Alex and Kevin in. One night his roommate PJ's band, called Early Man, played there. They're so great; they sound like early Metallica. That night was shredded epicly.
Spanky went MIA right off the bat. He left the house to go to Max Fish, and we hardly ever saw him again. He was an instant celebrity with the city's high-fashion socialites and party girls. We couldn't keep up. Every night he was invited to some lavish dinner party by groups of beautiful and famous women. But he didn't have a phone with him so they'd call me. I'd be excited they were calling, then they'd say, "Hi, is Spanky there? Can we talk to him?!" Since they were clearly uninterested in speaking with me I'd dejectedly hand over my phone.
We'd wingman with him over to these parties filled with models and A-listers. The girls would crowd in around Kevin, laughing at his wit, all the while leaving the rest of the crew and me isolated in the corner smoking cigarettes.
Spanky always attracts older women. The dude is 19 but looks about 16--yet he is always hooking up with girls over 30. I think he's never been with a girl anywhere close to his age. Kevin was just running the show in New York. I seriously am so jealous of him. I almost hate him.
ALEX, UNLIKE CLARK, never knows when to shut up. He just talks and talks and talks. I really like the kid--but the desire to strangle him was, at times, so strong it took all my will-power not to. And he knows when he's getting on people's nerves, and it only makes him push it. Alex is epic, though. He's really fun to hang out with and he's very talented at whatever he puts his mind to.
ON THIS TRIP we called Clark "Towelly," after the stoned towel in South Park. Clark is so out of it. He can go days without saying anything, but when he does talk it's gold. Out of nowhere he'll say something so funny and awesome the crew will be quoting him until the next time he decides to speak.
Clark is also one of my favorite skaters. I haven't seen too much coverage of him, but watching him do a switch manual or a nosegrind on a block is about the most graceful thing I've ever seen. I can't wait to watch him in the Enjoi video.
I'M SO LUCKY to be able to work with such an amazing crew of individuals and skateboarders. Everyday I'd crawl out of my bunk and start kicking the piles of dudes, "Hey, you guys want to skate today?" I was insecure about being some kind of a commando jock photographer, but once everyone was awake we'd hit the streets and the bros were psyched. It felt like I could take them anywhere, no matter how jacked the spot or how far the skate, and we'd always find cool things to skate in-between. This posse of skaters is the best group in the world; it was always laughs and dork ticks.
It's skating with people like this that really allows me to enjoy my job. Sometimes in this line of work the bloated egos of certain skaters and industry sycophants can be horribly suffocating--but these guys are just a modest crew who love skateboarding and are just out to have fun. For them, the value of a trick can only be measured in how fun it was to accomplish.
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|Date:||Aug 1, 2004|
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