Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well Turn It Up!

The Democratization of the Media. The Democritization of Information. The Democratization of Freedom, man!

(Freedom, as a philosophical concept, is best defined by the premier existentialist Jean Paul Sartre: “Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”)



(Of course, Sartre was French, smoked a pipe, and was apparently fond of ascots. So if you prefer a more active, less cerebral definition, perhaps the essence of freedom is demonstrated by Peter Fonda as the aptly named Heavenly Blues in the biker exploitation flick Wild Angels:)



(If you go to the YouTube page that the above video is on, you'll see that whatever douchebag uploaded it cites it as the sample source for Primal Scream's "Loaded." Um, fella, anyone who didn't sleep through Rock and Roll 101 in the late '80s, early '90s knows that it was used to much greater effect in Mudhoney's "In 'n' Out of Grace."

Seen here kicking the ass of some Spaniards a few years ago):



(It's live, so you'll just have to imagine the above Wild Angels quote prior to the muff-shagging superfuzzed goodness. "Spill my seed! Suck my waste!")

The Democratization of Freedom Rock, Man! Turn it up!



The Democratization of Motherfuckin' Democracy! Hope and snagged photos for all! It's the Age of the Interweb! Jacked from the Goddamned Sonic Matrix! Unnecessary Capitalization Did Not Die in the Victorian Age!



All this rabid democracy has led to a spate of well-intentioned Davids trading in their slingshots for video cameras and knocking the piss out of some unwieldy Goliaths. Starting with our man Rodney King, who taught us nothing if not 1) we can all get along, and 2) even if you're pretty heavily dusted, the Man has no right to smack your kidneys into figgy pudding with their truncheons/nightsticks/surrogate big black cocks:



Then, the people scooped LAPD detective Mark "Born Too Late for the SS" Fuhrman during the OJ trial. Of course, all's well that ends well, and after a few rough years Der Fuhrman has been hired as an expert by the Fox News. Being fair and balanced and all, they often need experts to testify how hard it is to “put a bruise on a nigger.”



Cell phone journalism went so far as to get us a sneak peak at Saddam Hussein joyriding his favorite gallows:



But folks, let me tell you, there's a downside to the replacement of every flaccid old paradigm with the proud, shiny, pink steel boner of Future Promise. And thus, winding down the World's Most Longwinded Intro, we arrive at the Democratization of Mediocrity. With the advent of this little gadget ("now playing you"), even a clapped out old geezebox like myself can blast out his mediocre pool riding to a desensitized world (though I can't seem to blast very far out of the pool). Of course, almost no one is listening. (Check the “blog followers”on the right…there’s only one, and it’s me.)

video

My geriatric maneuvering seems a bit more aggressive by throwing Black Flag on the soundtrack. Hooray for the Geritol Generation! Below is a picture of my homie Josh Kumli riding this bowl:



You’ll notice he’s blasting about four feet out, inverted, on the big wall—the wall I’m afraid to air. I’ve seen him go around six feet, easy. Not all of us old bastards have lost our nuts.

My airs are herky jerky: my front wheel barely clears coping before I whip my ass end around. I need to man up and try disasters and tire taps in this bowl--I can do them elsewhere, as well as double pegs, though I'd never touch a peg to Potrero coping for fear of the total assrape by the Skate Police).

In which case, I may just have to start carrying pegs around in my pocket, since apparently they're awesome as weapons. Really? Six months for having a peg in your pocket? Imagine what the kid would've gotten for a sturdy pair of forks. "The officer later testified that he couldn't find a place where the item would attach to David V.'s bicycle." Um...yeah? Seriously? Despite being referred to in court as "metallic bicycle footrests," most people call them axle pegs. Does that clear anything up, officer? Should this kid be culpable for your obvious lack of mechanical know-how?

You know, I have a couple friends who are cops. After spending my youth as a drunk skateboarding asshole, I have to say that if you step to most cops with a non-dickhead attitude, you'll be responded to with the same. However, sending a kid to juvie for half a year for an axle peg makes me think of this image:



("Chuck Higby," by the way, is a Raymond Pettibon pseudonym.) But, not being as aggro as I used to be, I'm led in turn to this image:



See that kids? Two sides to every story. Matter of fact, two cops walked by the bowl today, and neither cared to sweat me for riding a "no bikes" park. Whereas, if it were Dublin they'd have chased me down, tackled me, and pepper-sprayed me (true story, though it thankfully didn't happen to me). Neither did they pat me down and see if I had any lethal metallic bicycle footrests in my pocket. (I'm not saying you can't break someone's jaw with a peg in your fist, but you can do that with a roll of quarters, and I don't see change being outlawed any time soon.)

Continuing with the two sides to every story bit, I have to say that during my limited sessions at Potrero, most of the skaters have been cool. I usually only ride the bowl. The street course is a giant funnel where people roll in at high speeds and collide in the middle. Since groms rarely ride the bowl, I get way less shit. Older heads come to get their skate on, and as long as you don't drop in on them, they return the favor. There was some cat skating there today who rolled in while eating a banana and seemed pinched when I yelled "Banana Grind!" at him a few times, the humorless bastard. I was thinking it'd be awesome if did a frontside Smith and took a chomp out of his nanner. Ultimate Dole ad.

It is all about fun, after all. Which is why I'd have to say that the Democratization of Mediocrity isn't all that bad a thing. I used to clown kids at spots for filming fuckin' everything. Skaters, bikers, rollerbladers, whathaveyou: a tree doesn't fall in the action sports forest without it ending up on YouTube. I'm not talking about pros, mind you. I live in SF--there's always pro skaters and riders being filmed, especially now that full blown DVD releases are being usurped by web edits. These guys are out making their bacon, so film away. But do we really need a million videos of kids trying to ollie a three stair set?

Maybe we do. There's something to be said about putting it down “posterity’s sake.” I've got almost no photos of me skating—maybe one or two, somewhere—though I used to skate all the fucking time. I've only got a handful of riding photos from back in the day. It would've been a blessing to have a hundred dollar, pocket-sized video camera when I was a kid. The stuff I could've captured! Pools that no longer exist: Blue Lagoon, Buena Vista, Salton Sea, Nude Bowl. My acid trips would be more vivid all these years later; the acid still linger in the gray matter somewhere, but the memories have oozed out my earhole years ago. "Excuse me, but is that a dog on that car?"



But you know, the memory of a pool skated or ridden isn't the same as the feeling of skating or riding a pool, right now. I'd rather chase the ghost of that feeling by continuing to do it, rather than chase the ghost of a memory, farting around in squeaky mail order shoes, gnawing on a pipe, and watching videos of how we used to shred like there was no tomorra...well, it is tomorrow. My mom has Alzheimer's, my dad had Alzheimer's, so what does that say about my chances of remembering a goddamned thing? I'm not concerned about making memories as much as I'm concerned about making experiences. Because who's going to remember them for me? Storage devices, I guess...devices more sound than the brain. Cybernetics are the future. We need to stick that hard drive in the soft soupy bits upstairs, so we can replay it at will, fully backed up and distortion free. That perfect carve, rare steak, the mind-blowing orgasm. One will be enough of everything, and we can hit replay from there on out. Ecstasy on infinite repeat.

"Nostalgia is the sign of a dying culture."--Bob Mould



Is the obsession with documentation preparing for future bouts of muddle-headed nostalgia? Can the punk rock world handle another mustache like Greg Norton's? Why do I always spell "mustache" "moustache" before spell check corrects me? Are helpful programs editing our idiosyncrasies out of existence?

"We may never know." Or, perhaps, "who's to say?" Insert insipid, midwestern jingoism here. While we're on the subject of nostalgia, the aging BMXers among us have the Woodward West BMX Reunion, also known as the Old School Jam to look forward to this Easter weekend. Let's resurrect the vibrantly dying culture of our past. Here's the footy from last year's inaugural get-down, the guest list of which was a who's who of radness past (and present)--Eddie Fiola, Ron Wilkerson, Bob Fuckin' Haro, Brian Blyther, Mike Dominguez, Todd Anderson, Dave Freimuth, Dave Nourie, Rich Sigur, Simon Tabron, Hugo Gonzales, Gary Laurent, Tony Murray, Kevin Robinson, Lord Voelker, Dennis McCoy, Lee Reynolds...legends everywhere:



Fuck it--I'm wearing Dyno leathers the whole fuckin' weekend. Or maybe just one of these Defgrip shirts:



Freestyle!

Which is to say, we can't all be Woody Itson, but we can all grow a mustache (MOUSTACHE!) and wear kooky pants. We just can't grow Greg Norton's mustache.

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