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skateboarding Writing

Main distraction

How much footage is too much footage? Where did the last three hours go? Is skateboarding killing itself slowly?

Week day mornings are nearly always planned out the same: Wake up / Get the kids ready / Take kids to school / Exercise / Stretch / Load up the computer…

Throw a couple of chores in there for good measure and that pretty much sums up Monday to Friday 6:30-9:30AM every week for me. So, naturally – and I presume I am not the only one who does this – my go-to apps first thing in the morning are: Email, Youtube, News and Social Media.

It has already been established that Social Media is a HUGE distraction for anyone in possession of a smart phone or a reasonable internet connection. And it is pretty clear that YouTube has overtaken television by a long shot – even marginally more addictive than binge-watching content on Netflix.

I love skateboarding so YouTube is almost the exclusive platform to get a daily dose of adrenaline, inspiration and amusement. When skate videos first started to pop up on the internet almost 15 years ago, I made the easy joke that if skaters weren’t careful they could spend more time watching skateboarding than actually doing it. They do say there’s truth in every joke, and that clever quip of mine is far from funny nowadays.

You see, I like to do stuff. I hate hanging around doing nothing. Holidays at the beach? No thanks. Sundays lazing around the house? Sorry, no. I don’t care if it’s raining cats and dogs, I’m heading out the door at some point. The same motivations goes for creative projects. If I can’t ride my bike or train, I’ll start writing another book, edit a video, tidy stuff up… Anything to avoid succumbing to the brain drain of mind-numbing social media scrolling or YouTube rabbit holes. I’ll also take this paragraph to quickly highlight the importance of physically stepping away from a screen every hour at least to move your body and clear your mind. It’s not just me who recommends it. It’s the doctor’s who treat depression, back pain and tendinitis who say it too.

So, why was this morning different from every other Friday morning? Simple: I found myself staring at skate videos on YouTube for close to three hours – none of which were particularly amazing and none of which could return the favour of attention. Here is a little rundown of said videos and a brief reason why I watched them. I add links in case you have time to waste too.

  • -LDRS- Deck promo
    A 7 minute edit featuring one guy whose name I didn’t catch and have already forgotten, and the sweaty legend who is Gershon Mosley. Gershon has done gnarlier stuff in his heyday but I was interested to see what the recluse was up to? Terence Trent D’Arby was a very strong song choice but he’s got pop and control in those legs.
  • Vans Europe Presents: Piazzetta | Skate | VANS
    Vans Europe have been putting out a lot of good montage edits over the last couple of years so I figured this was going to be another. It turned out to be 10 minutes of their Italian representatives skating various national plazas. I didn’t recognise anyone and hardly any of the spots either. The skating was alright but nothing to write a blog post about.
  • JENKEM – “Okay, Last Try” EP. 7 – Gifted Hater
    This video is almost an hour long. I am a fan of Jenkem and Gifted Hater so a combination of the two is bound to be entertaining. The video is actually a podcast interview, so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to watch it. I can just listen, but I can’t get too crazy because carrying a laptop around isn’t quite as easy as a smartphone.

And I think that’s it. Two and a half hours gone and never to be returned. What did get out of it? Not much. The highlights would have to be the comedy of Yung Filly and Harry (NB Not skate related at all!), the few girl skaters featured in the Toy machine and Vans videos because frankly girls are more exciting to watch than boys because their progression is on a steep trajectory whereas the guys have all seemed to plateau. I’d probably throw Gifted Hater’s interview in as a high note too because I respect his opinion and I could still sort the laundry and empty the dishwasher listening to his answers.

What this chunk of mindless distraction shows to me is how skateboarding video content has reached such levels of profusion that it’s value – and by value I combine both the physical and mental efforts of the skaters / filmers / editors and the financial return of such effort is pretty much nil. The old adage of today’s news being tomorrow’s chip paper describes the way in which skate video content is churned out for free then replaced almost instantaneously by more skate video content later that day or the next. It is extremely rare that I find myself watching a new skate video on YouTube more than once these days. In fact, who am I kidding? It has been like this for the last few years.

To note, three skate videos I have watched more than once over the last 12 months are:

I would watch them all again too, except I have other things to do!

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