Sunday, 29 July 2012


The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell.

Very shortly after I met Roisin she gave me a copy of this book to read. First published almost 100 years ago, it remains as relevant today as it was then...

Robert Tressell was the nom de plume of Robert Noonan, a painter and decorator born in Dublin. This was his only novel published in 1914 four years after the author died of TB.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Vans ad - circa late 70s.

Jerry Valdez - the clothing, the 'safety' gear, the board, the colours, the body positioning and of course the Vans… Just beautiful.

B&G [fridaypoem]

Friday, 20 July 2012


G&S fibreflex
G&S Fibreflex - Steve Cathey Model

I can remember every single skateboard I've ever had.

My first was a cut-off plank nailed to some rollerskate wheels - didn't really turn. Then I saved up and bought a Pacer deck with ACS 500 trucks and Gecko Wheels, that set-up evolved slightly via a home-made wooden deck which was really heavy - it didn't last long. Then I got a G&S Fibreflex exactly like the one above, rigged up with some second-hand Bennett trucks and Road Rider wheels.

I really loved that board...

G&S Fibreflex logo
G&S Fibreflex logo

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Come Hell or High Water DVD
~ ~ ~

I find the majority of modern surf films very boring. The music, the footage, the direction and even the personalities tend to follow the same old formulas. So it was a real breath of fresh air when a friend lent me Come Hell Or High Water recently. Along with some beautiful water photography and fantastic bodysurfing this film portrays a really interesting cast of characters and it is this as much as anything that sets the film apart. All sorts of different people having pure fun in the water without any fuss or fanfare and with very little equipment. As one particular segment highlights - it is so far under the radar (along with bellyboards, paipos, handplanes etc) that even surfers and boogers don’t pay it much attention. Keith Malloy has done a good job of focusing on the essence of what makes body surfing so simple and yet so special.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


The Party's Over - 1982

It's My Life - 1984

The Colour of Spring - 1986

Spirit of Eden - 1988

Laughing Stock - 1991

What a journey, from early synth pop to works of genre defying genius, Mark Hollis steered Talk Talk along a path of purist musical abstraction.

There's a great article from The Quietus about the making of Laughing Stock.

You can hear Mark Hollis himself talking about Laughing Stock here:

Mark Hollis talks about Laughing Stock (1991).

Friday, 6 July 2012


Paul Schutzer captures the view from a bus window during a Freedom Ride from Montgomery, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1961.

Monday, 2 July 2012


airstream reflected

OK I'll admit it - I was dancing the other night, well when I say 'dancing' I really mean shuffling about on the spot in a vaguely rhythmic manner. Still, it's very rare that you'll see me busting my moves in public. Admittedly when I say 'in public' I really mean ‘at a festival’ which isn’t at all like being in public.

We were at Hop Farm Festival in Kent - kindly given free passes by my friend Blue who earns his living at such events. He and I first went a-festival-ing a long time ago, and when I say ‘a long time ago’ I really do mean decades ago. We watched Roy Harper & Ginger Baker having a punch-up on stage at Glastonbury in 1981. (You may never have heard of Roy Harper or Ginger Baker - ironically they were a couple of old hippies who should have known better than to start brawling at a CND concert.) I can still remember the intensely vibrant sense of excitement and discovery as we stumbled into a variety of marquees where all manner of musicians, actors and comedians were sharing their talents, often in intimate surroundings. Since then I’ve whiled away many pleasant days at all sorts of festivals over the years, and always relish the rekindling of those first magical experiences.

Anyway, where was I? That’s right - doing some ‘dad dancing’ in the early hours under a Moroccan style awning along with a few hundred equally ‘relaxed’ revellers. If you really want to experience a tiny glimpse of our long lost personal freedom, then I suggest that there aren’t many better places to do so than at a festy in the middle of the night.

Of course I’m under no illusion that today’s festivals are incredibly mainstream and more devoted to the spirit of making money than the spirit of the counter-culture revolution. They tend to be much tamer affairs these days too - it would be unlikely to see a naked guy, tripping on acid sitting cross-legged IN the speaker cabinet whilst Gong thrash out some sonic psychedelia. But I believe there are still a few strands of the original DNA remaining in even the most commercial modern festival that allows people to tune out for a couple of days and disregard normality. Hey, if you fancy cracking open a couple of beers before breakfast - go for it, why not? What’s the worst that can happen? You may feel the need to have a lie down later on - well that’s fine, in fact that’s probably a good idea anyway. Preparation for the inevitably long night ahead! Likewise, if you want to spend the whole weekend wandering around in nothing but a loincloth, I guarantee nobody will be bothered by that either.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make here is that personally I enjoy individual pursuits. I’ve never been into team sports or clubs. I get my kicks from surfing, which in essence is a solitary activity. But I was reminded again last weekend that sometimes freedom can still be found amongst a crowd of thousands.