Tuesday, 9 September 2014








Saturday, 30 August 2014


Mark Hollis 'Live' 1986
Like somebody else's digital dream..

Recently Kate Bush made a request that concert-goers refrain from taking photos or recording video of her performance. My first reaction was 'That's kinda harsh, bit dictatorial..' but on reflection I totally agree with her. Here's why:

The best concert I've ever been to was Talk Talk at Hammersmith, London 1986. I've seen loads of really good gigs; The Clash supported by Spear of Destiny, Dinosaur Jr at The Mean Fiddler, Pavement supporting Sonic Youth and blowing them off the stage, Firehose in a tiny club in Brighton, and a whole host of others, too many to list here... But it was the total experience of Talk Talk's final UK appearance that was the standout show for me.

The audio was as good as it gets that night, and Mark Hollis's vocals were astonishing, every nuance in his delivery as clear as a bell. The band's musical arrangements and performance were incredible too - a group at the very top of their game with not a note out of place. The venue offered uninterrupted views of the stage and along with a few thousand others I was witness to a gig that felt intimate yet epic at the same time.

And nobody was holding up a mobile phone or digital camera because there weren't any in 1986. The crowd were fully engaged with a band that were equally in the moment, no distractions, no other agenda - a live performance was taking place and that was all that mattered.

It was awesome and I remember thinking even as it was happening that this was special.

I was still buzzing for weeks afterwards, yet there was no instant replay available - there was no internet or social media. I'm sure there was a write-up in one of the music papers at some point but I didn't search it out. Why would I? I'd been at the gig, no need for somebody else's opinion, I was stuffed to the gills with vibrant memories of my own. A while afterwards the BBC did broadcast a recording of the concert which I taped and would listen to now and then. Talk Talk went on to produce two more albums, both increasingly atmospheric and deeply nuanced and not particularly suited to live performance. Which was all fine with me, as simply listening to their music was a profound and satisfying pleasure.

Then they stopped, it seemed Mark Hollis's work with Talk Talk was done and he virtually disappeared.

Like many, I wanted more - the latter Talk Talk output was some of the most sublime music I'd ever heard and I couldn't believe that the sonic journey had come to an end. For a while I hunted down any new or obscure material. A live bootleg of the London gig was eventually released along with a DVD of the same tour 'Live in Montreaux'. I have them both. Ironically the DVD leaves me cold - watching little figures (cringingly 80s style too) on a screen is a pale imitation and can never equal the vivid memories in my head. I thought the internet would add to my connection with Talk Talk. It hasn't. I've come to understand that my love of the music is personal and no amount of pixellation will alter that.

- - - - - - - - - -

So I believe that a gig clip on YouTube is not only unnecessary, but actually a disservice to the performance, the band and the viewer.

I like taking photos and I like looking at them too (often post a few up here), but music performed live adds myriad layers, elevating the visual and blending it with the aural, emotional and physical senses - you can't record that. Because of this I agree with the advice - Be in the moment truly and there is no need to pixellate it. It exists forever, because you are there with the band, listening, watching, feeling. That is enough.

Sunday, 3 August 2014


... as Spex used to say.

Vans TNT4 - comfy
Vans TNT 4

Sunday, 27 July 2014


... and other pixels.

busted hula girl

longboard ale

godrevy sunset

palm tree halo

truro train station bridge

a30 tail lights

boyhood movie ticket

Monday, 7 July 2014


In the morning, took off on a leash-snapper.

In the evening, got nicely chillaxed.

Saturday, 21 June 2014


custard point
Like an old battered sea creature.

My 9'4 Custard Point is about 14 years old now and quite frankly showing its age (we make a good pair). But what a warrior it is - still got the glide despite putting on a few pounds over the years (I refer to it endearingly as 'The Fatty' - & funnily enough I too have gained some extra timber over that period). It is still the board I use most of the time. I know Custard Point aren't viewed as a cool label, but when I bought it I was looking for a heavy traditional wave rider and this board fitted the bill. It is solid, and for a single-fin, trad noserider, it does pretty well in most conditions too.

This long, dry, sunny flat spell is the perfect time to apply a few ding repairs and smooth a bit of resin over the cracks in readiness for when the next swell rolls in.

custard point
Every scar could tell a tale.

custard point
We'll live to ride another day.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


<<< >>>

... and ready for Summer.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Hawaiians ruling
Still from 'Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau' - Eddie always taking off deepest.

So good to watch loads of great footage of Eddie Aikau absolutely ruling it.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Could this be the greatest surf photo ever... ?

eddie aikau - photo: Merkel
Eddie Aikau. Photo: Dan Merkel.

The colour, the smooth sea, flat sky.

Pure; no legrope, no wetsuit, no stickers.

Taut skin, taut surface, rail slicing the blue.

Orange shorts, Hawaiian stance.

Solid. Intent. Timeless.

Look at it, go on. Just look.

Saturday, 18 January 2014


The best for your stick - believe.

Mr Zogs Sex Wax is the original and still one of the best - plenty of others out there nowadays but not all of them deliver. Next time you tune up your board, strip off all that old gunk and start afresh with a block of the good stuff and you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Sometimes you just gotta have the good stuff..

mark hollis
Mark Hollis.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Friday, 23 August 2013

ECHOES '78 - '80

Some sounds echo forever in my head.

I've waffled on at length before about Talk Talk, Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Meat Puppets, Bentley Rhythym Ace, Tortoise, WOO, Gregory Isaacs & Rory Gallagher amongst others.

So here are just three of the albums that I heard between 1978 and 1980 that have remained as part of the soundtrack to my life ever since.

Q: Are we not men? A: We are DEVO! 1978.

Steel Pulse
Steel Pulse - Tribute to the Martyrs. 1979.

Talking Heads - Remain in light. 1980.

There may be more...

Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Phil & Pochi with the hand-made fin in the Ogasawara Islands (1000kms south of Tokyo) before it began its long journey to Cornwall.

Out of the blue a parcel arrived from my old friend Phil in Tokyo.

Inside was a letter, some photos and another well-wrapped package. Proper old-school, typed letter and prints on photographic paper. I was intrigued and already lovin it!

This is what the letter said:

Hey Sqz and Roisin

Hope this letter finds you and the kids well. While we were in the Ogasawara Islands, I met up with a local surfer called Pochi. He's 60 years old and has lived there for 30 years. He ALWAYS rides a single-fin and for 20 years he's been making his own fins.

He makes them using wood from a native tree that grows in abundance on the islands called the Tamana tree. He'll spend a week or so getting the fin right, then gives it three coats of resin. He also sells/displays them in a gallery space attached to a bar in 'town'. The owner of the bar could trace his family line all the way back to one of the original settler families in 1830.

I used to see Pochi most mornings there was surf and sometimes later at the bar which is called 'Yankeetown', built coincidentally around a massive Tamana tree. The reason for the name of the bar is that the area (Okumura) used to be known as Yankeetown when the islands were run by the Americans after the war - they only reverted back to Japanese control in 1968.

One night after Pochi showed me his latest fin, an addition to what could be called quite an experimental quiver of fins, I decided to make both him and hopefully you guys happy by linking up The Bonin Islands and deepest Cornwall. This fin may be mostly for you Sqz, but I'm sure Roisin will have a go and both of you will get a buzz from the look and feel of it anyway. (Actually, Sqz may well end up having to ask for his turn with it...)

Either way I hope you enjoy it. Pure and simple, I saw something in a place you'll probably never get to visit, that I really thought you'd love. Hope you do.

Phil & Miki

"Pochi said he'd tried the fin out & if you add a bit of insulating tape around the base it should stay solid in any fin box."

"Ishiura on the East coast where Pochi reckons there is always a bit of swell if it's offshore. No direct access. 45 minute walk down a steep jungle track to the main beach of Hatsuneura in the foreground, then a 20 minute paddle around the headland into Ishiura."

"In this photo you can just about make out small swell lines tickling Ishiura, which means Rock Inlet, Pochi's local break."

Apologies for picture quality. Photos snapped on crappy old mobile - no camera currently.

Monday, 17 June 2013


A quick evening mission to the beach for a splash...




Pics by Tyde.

Monday, 27 May 2013


Skateboarding in Afghanistan - pic courtesy of Skateistan.

Freedom is a skateboard.

Freedom to roll, freedom to defy gravity, freedom to both create and destroy.

A few years ago I made the decision to ease off skating and replace it with surfing - I could foresee that slower reflexes and older bones would limit my ability to be free on a skateboard. During my last year of serious skateboarding I felt the balance between freedom and fear slipping too heavily towards the latter. So I now spend any spare time I get surfing. It's just not the same...

Surfing is reliant on way too many factors to be truly free in the way that skateboarding is. There has to be the right conditions; tide, swell, wind and even daylight must be considered.

Suddenly get the overwhelming urge to bomb some hills at midnight - no problem. Fancy going for a surf after dark - good luck with that.

Surfing doesn't even feel particularly free either - not where I live anyway. Carparks and kooks are just two elements that clutter up the experience. The only way to avoid them is by living right on the beach or getting up really damn early.

Skating is both singular and plural. If you wanna just cruise on your own, then grab your stick, walk out your door and go skate - simple. If you want to be social, that's fine too, skaters are incredibly friendly and inclusive. Surfing doesn't really give you the choice. Catching a solitary wave is wishful thinking mainly. Surfing by its nature is exclusive. Making friends in the line-up, sharing waves, taking turns, spreading the stoke - all fine in theory but in reality it's every man, woman and child for themselves.

I'm the same in all honesty, even though I try and be as mellow as possible in the line-up I can all too easily become a rabid wave-hunter seeing my fellow humans as obstacles rather than compadres. To me that doesn't feel like freedom, it feels too much like all the other shite that I tried to leave back in the carpark.

Freedom is a choice, freedom is a state of mind - I need to remember that.

Saturday, 25 May 2013


yelo 8'6
The Slide Projector 8'6 x 23".

I've loved this board since even before the day I got it.

Partly because it was conceived at least a year before the day I collected it from Jolly Roger. I spent hours sketching shapes and researching outlines and rockers and tail shapes before I finally bit the bullet and handed it over to Roger to bring to life. He did a great job and from the very first surf it felt good under my feet.

But I've realised it is very hard to have one board that can ever be an all-rounder. The broad, slightly hully lines are great in certain conditions yet not so much in others. So I mix it up with a very traditional 9'4 single-fin noserider (which I also then try and ride in anything, often when it really isn't suitable)...

I've had this board (which I call 'Yelo' although officially labelled 'The Slide Projector') for a few years now and it's served me really well, I've had some great waves on it. I wanted a wide, high-volume board with low rocker, which has worked a treat in getting me into waves early. And the sharp-railed diamond tail fitted with a 7" 4a Greenough flex tip fin gives surprisingly good manoeuvrability too.

Having said all that I'm considering heading back up to Bude to ask Roger to make v2.0. Get everything tweaked a bit. Take it down from 8'6 to 8'4 or maybe even 8'0, slim it down a bit too and increase nose rocker by an inch or so. Definitely won't make it an all-rounder (they don't exist) but it will make it a little slicker in the drop, a little quicker off the bottom and maybe push my surfing a little harder too.

It'll still be yellow though!

Friday, 10 May 2013


A true story.

Admittedly my phone pic is poor quality, but the colours in this garden are genuine HD!