Forget the three wise men – two silly men have released the Christmas Eve ITV movie premier of the 1986 box office (s)hit Back to the sock egg of my success part II !!!
Merry Chrimbo everyone!
Chotto Matte! Exclusive!
Joey Decker works his way to the top of the corporate ladder in one DAY, falls in love with the dinner-lady who turns out to be the Chairman’s daughter!
How Much of the World Can We Know?
David Sausage: How come you’re here in Japan this time?
Gasius: You dicta-phoning it?
David Sausage: Yeah
Gasius: Then what?
David Sausage: And then I’m gunna type it up.
Gasius: Are you?
David Sausage: Yup
David Sausage: You’ve been to Japan before and this is your second time s….
Gasius: You’re not going to video me?
David Sausage: No no no no no no..
Gasius: Well I apologise cause I’m eating my lunch.
David Sausage: No no no no..
David Sausage: We can put a photograph on there.
Gasius: (pulls funny face)
David Sausage: Laughing hang on I’m gonna take a picture.
Gasius: That’s a terrible one.
David Sausage: So er How come yer..
David Sausage: TELL Us about why you are here Russell!
Gasius: I’m here to do some work for Make Art Your Zoo, to do a textiles exhibition in LaForete for fashion week and to have a look about… Get some inspiration. Maybe do a small show with ‘Pumfka’ spelled P-M-K-F-A?
David Sausage: I’ll check it out later.
David Sausage: What’s your impressions of Japan? What’s your first impressions of Japan?
Gasius: Well I have been before so I kinda knew what to expect… My first impressions are always the same which are…. This place is BONKERS!
Gasius: its upside-down… generally. Culturally this place is opposite to us.
David Sausage: What do you think of those works over there? We’re sat outside the Yokohama Museum of Art looking at a row of sculptures at the entrance. What do you…
Gasius: I hate them.
David Sausage: You said they were terrifying earlier.
Gasius: Yeah, they’re scary. And not in a good way. I know, scary can be good but… I dunno, they’re a bit too Tim Burton for me.
David Sausage: Aohhh…
Gasius: Awuggggh! (Chewbacca sound)
David Sausage: How would you describe yourself. Are you a graffiti artist, an artist or something else?…
Gasius: Err I started a graffiti writer. I dont really write graffiti much anymore. I tag a little bit. Erm, I just don’t have time for it. I would just describe myself as an artist, and also at certain times, I’d describe myself as a designer.
Really, now, I design to make money. And I make for love.
David Sausage: Who would you describe as having a major influence on you, when you started making art for yourself?
Gasius: Hmm. Difficult to pinpoint.
It’s massively varied from now and when I started making art. I started painting canvasses when I was at college, ’97 I think. When did I do my first show… Ahm… …anyway. Influences? Then, definitely graffiti. People that were pushing graffiti to be not graffiti like Twist and Mike Giant, esp then.
David Sausage: Giant, you mean Shepard Fairey right?
Gasius: No. Mike Giant.
David Sausage: Mike Giant?
Gasius: Shepard Fairey actually stopped writing Giant cos Mike Giant was already writing Giant.
David Sausage: Ah!
Gasius: That’s when Shepard Fairey actually started writing OBEY.
David Sausage: I see. Right.
Gasius: And I guess that was all through skateboarding, skateboard art. I discovered Twist and Giant through skating. Giant was doing alot of the artwork for Think and Barry McGee (Twist) was doing alot of the artwork for Mad Circle and they were both my favourite skate companies because of the artwork. And then I found out afterwards it was them and that’s why I liked the artwork so much because it was graff(iti)-related.
David Sausage: So, You skated when you were younger?
David Sausage: I didn’t know that.
Gasius: I skated from the age of errr… young! I guess 10 probably. I still skate occasionally but again, I don’t have time for it. And then, influences have changed loads over the years. I’d say my biggest influences now are probably… Guston and this German guy called Uwe Henneken.
David Sausage: An artists or a graff-writer?
Gasius: Oh artist. I don’t really look at graff much anymore. Uhm, and also Ged Quinn.
David Sausage: Ged Quinn?
Gasius: Yeah he’s amazing. I mean obviously there’s loads more but ehm…
David Sausage: That’s who’s really rockin it.
Gasius: Yeah those guys are my favourites.
David Sausage: As someone who’s started off doing graffiti, and then gone on to do artwork as you yourself and er anyone, would call it. What do you think about the way graffiti has been assimilated and become part of the mainstream to the extent that… It’s quite prominent now with art in the art scene, in fashion design. What do you think about it’s influence on mainstream and contemporary art?
Gasius: I guess, when you look at it it’s easy to see why it became so big cos it’s so easy to access. I mean if you look at all art that gets massively popular it’s easy to access for everyone and that’s why it’s popular because people can look at it and instantly get it. And that is just instant. It’s political and subversive and it’s edgy and it’s… Yeah… uhm. But I’m kind of not into it, at all. I don’t know what I think about it getting big. It’s changed it a lot. It’s changed everything. It’s made a lot of people come out of the woodwork who maybe shouldn’t have. And… Yeah… It’s like anything though, it’s about opinion on what’s good and what isn’t.
David Sausage: Right. Shall we go inside?
Yokohama Triennial finishes on Sunday, November 6th. You can visit three different sites BankART Studio, Koganechou, and the main Yokohama Museum of Art with a day ticket for ¥1500 with a free shuttle bus between the three throw in for free. Koganechou was a real let-down so save your time for the other two.
See http://yokohamatriennale.jp/en/ for details.
Gasius: How’s things?
David Sausage: Yeah they’re really good thanks.
Gasius: Wahh… The triennial is on innit? We can go hang out and see some things.
David Sausage: Yah? In Hull?
David Sausage: Haaaahaha I thought you were talking about Hull!
Gasius: No… I’m not going to Hull… I could live without going there!
David Sausage: Bloody hell! I thought, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a tri.. Triangu…Triangle anything in Hull!!!
Gasius: Try drugs
David Sausage: Yeah there is something like that on.
Gasius: Yeah, it’s on til November.
David Sausage: I’m just not arsed about it.
David Sausage: Is just yknow too… Woh! Is that Hard Gay?
(looks over to a domed tent next door to the Gasius Textiles Exhibit)
Gasius: Wuh….? (Turns head) Is that actually his name?!
David Sausage: Yeah… I think it might be him!!!
Gasius: Have you seen his sculpture? It’s the most amazing sculpture I’ve ever seen!!!
David Sausage: Well, that’s funny because I was only talking about him with my wife the other day. He was really famous on TV about a year or two ago. He was on all the shows and that and then what happens is…
Things kind of switch very quickly and they kind of disappear from TV. He was a one trick pony.
Gasius: Go and look at his sculpture. It’s amazing. He’s actually a pretty good painter…
David Sausage: Aw is that really him?
Gasius: Could be a doppelganger. Ruth this is Spam.
Ruth: Hello. Have you been to a wedding?
David Sausage: Ahhhhh… I’m a priest!
Gasius: He is actually a priest.
Ruth: Are you? Oh.. WOW!
David Sausage: So… Er………. Yeah… I kinda………
Ruth: Which church do you work with?
David Sausage: Errr lots of different ones.
Ruth: Oh so freelance?
David Sausage: (Nervous laughter) aha yeah freelance priest, that’s my gig.
Ruth: Oh right…. Haha ….. Ha
David Sausage: Is that your tent?
Ruth: It’s my friends tent, I’m just helping.
David Sausage: Your English is very smooth, why?!
Ruth: I used to live in London.
Gasius: Go and check out the sculpture dude.
(Walks over to Hard Gay)
Hard Gay: かっこいいですか？マジですか？…きねん にねん？
(Hard Gay is peering over his glasses at this point properly staring this young Japanese kid out, everyone is laughing.)
David Sausage: Excuse me, can I ask you a few questions?
Hard Gay: A few questions? Yes.
David Sausage: What happened to that guys arse?
Hard Gay: What happened?!
David Sausage: Yeah it looks like it’s been sucked in or something…
Hard Gay: Ah huh… Nanto yu da ne?!… Ahm pardon me?
David Sausage: I mean WHAT HAPPENED?!
Hard Gay: What happened? Everything…
In the world…
David Sausage: …Got sucked into his arse?!
(Laughter) Got sucked into the arse!
David Sausage: That’s got to hurt… Wow… (Laughter)
Hard Gay: (Laughter) so, how about that?
David Sausage: Yeah, it’s very impressive.
Hard Gay: Oh thank you!
David Sausage: I like the style. This is Hard Gay right?
Hard Gay: (Surprised) yeah yeah yeah you know me?
David Sausage: You’re Hard Gay?
Hard Gay: Yeah
David Sausage: (Laughter) yeah very good!
Hard Gay: Real Hard Gay ね?
David Sausage: Excellent. I didn’t know you were a painter.
Hard Gay: YES Paintarrrrrrr! Performer, Comedian,,, EVERYTHING!!! Into the arse.
David Sausage: HA Ha ha,,. Into the arse! You give it everything!
Hard Gay: Heh. You,,, Do you live in Japan?
David Sausage: I do yeah. That’s why I know you.
Hard Gay: I design t-shirts and badges. I designed these (shows badges)
David Sausage: Oh かっこいい！
David Sausage: Thank you. Thanks a lot. Nice to meet you.
Hard Gay: Thank you! Thank you so…
David Sausage: I’ve got a card. I’m gonna give you m’card.
Hard Gay: Cut?
David Sausage: Card. Here.
Hard Gay: Chat mat…
David Sausage: ちょっと待って
Hard Gay: Chowmatte… Oh… CHOTTOMATTE! (laughs) ちょっと待って！! Haha ONLY chotto matte?!
David Sausage: Only chotto matte.
(Walking down the stairs of LaForet on the way to power lunch with Gasius, Ruth and Micke aka PMKFA)
David Sausage: You know what? I don’t know if I should show you this… I’m not sure if you’re Christian or not but here’s my card…
Ruth: My parents are. That’s where my name came from.
David Sausage: Sorry if you find this offensive or something but…
Gasius: He’s only allowed to show it to real Christians!
David Sausage: Where are we going Rus?
Gasius: No idea. Let’s follow these two.
Michael: “Monster Cosplay” woh…
Gasius: What is Cosplay?
David Sausage: Puttin costumes on
Micheal: Playing around in costumes
Gasius: Play. Costume. Right.
Ruth: They’re gonna get dressed up and do Cosplay in the karaoke.
David Sausage: Really? In a karaoke room?
David Sausage: Man that sounds good I’ll be able to rock my priest outfit.
Gasius: Yeah you’ll be able to go after work. Go to karaoke and all the kids’ll be like fucking WOW that’s the new shit. Start rocking it with a top hat.
David Sausage: I think it’d look good.
Gasius: Yeah. Do you think they’ll let you customise it?
David Sausage: Yeah! I’ll put some gold skulls on it next to the crosses!
Gasius: Oh that reminds me have you seen that weird religion church thing, they’ve got like swastikas on the doors?
David Sausage: That’s Buddhist symbols.
Gasius: They’ve got these like saints on the outside… Definitely NOT Buddhist. These Japanese saints have got like halos that’s not Buddha is it?
David Sausage: Really woh I’d like to see that.
Gasius: Does Buddha have halos?
David Sausage: Yeah… He can rock halos as well.
Gasius: Yeah he can do it… It’s not copyrighted!
Michael: Have you seen the fake cathedral in Aoyama? The fake chapels they look slightly smaller.
David Sausage: Yeah they look like you could pick them up dont they?
Michael: You organise weddings?
David Sausage: Nah it’s not me I work for an agency.
Michael: They just want the image don’t they?
David Sausage: Exactly. I went to the interview and the priest there was like “you know, I like black people they’re very joyful and happy but we can’t use them in the weddings”
Gasius: Ohhhhhh man!
David Sausage: He said it didn’t fit the image so, it’s a shame. I just thought, you realise if you said that in America you’d be killed!
Gasius: Well it depends whereabouts in America you said that. If it was Southern America they wouldn’t flinch probably. They’d be yeah that’s alright mate, fine.
Later in the restaurant
Michael: Do you drink whisky?
Gasius: Yeah sometimes. Generally I try steer clear of spirits since I was ill from them.
Michael: Are you recovered from that?
Gasius: Yeah 99% …99.9%
David Sausage: You recovered?
Gasius: Yeah I was quite ill.
Michael: You feel different with the 0.1%?
Gasius: It’s just different if I drink a lot with stuff like that.. Well not with stuff like that it…
David Sausage: WELL THAT DON’T MAKE Y’ SPECIAL!!! Y’THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE!!!
Gasius: Well yeah..
Michael: It’s good that you took him down.
David Sausage: Took him down a peg. That’s m’job. No, but you had a proper problem with drink didn’t you for ages I remember Ziml told me your body couldn’t tolerate alcohol could it?
David Sausage: You, Pinky and Ziml. All three of you guys have been saying you’re not that bothered about graffiti anymore. But that to me is crazy. That was always what it was all about.
Gasius: Yeah. Yeah yeah. At the start of it, but it’s just changed now. I mean it’s just not a priority for me. I would paint if I had loads of time but I don’t have time to draw letters you know. When I have time to draw I need to do just drawings or paintings or prints. I dunno. There’s just no time furrit.
David Sausage: Everytime I paint I’ll just freestyle it. I don’t use any sketches, I just paint.
Gasius: But for me, to make the effort to go and paint I want to have an outline that I’m happy with so it’s like, as fresh as possible bit of lettering cos otherwise for me it’s pointless. It has to be the best I could do.
David Sausage: That’s your approach isn’t it?
Gasius: Yeah, it’s always been about the nicest possible letters for me. I can’t paint an outline from three years ago. I need to sit there for a good few hours and drawing drawing drawing until I get each letter the right balance of freshness. I just don’t draw letters anymore it’s just not… See that’s what I mean, I don’t have a log of outlines I can just pull out and say I really want to paint this one. And otherwise, without that I just don’t have the drive for it… I dunno.
David Sausage: You’re more into the artwork now right? The painting?
Gasius: Yeah. But even painting characters on the wall is a way of doing it. Me and Dan (Mudwig) for quite a while were painting walls with weird shit but… I just think the whole Urban Art thing… I don’t know what it’s like here, it’s probably very different but, in England especially, the whole Urban Art thing has just become so fucking played, you know (laughing)
David Sausage: Yeah, I know what you’re saying.
Gasius: It’s become like a dirty word Urban Art it’s just like eughhhh!
David Sausage: And it’s almostlike..
Gasius: ..I don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t want my work to be bracketed in that. That’s some other shit that those guys are doing. Yeah I came from graffiti and its the most important thing in my work like but,
David Sausage: It just seems like a waste to me. All this stuff now. Their work it doesn’t have roots in proper graffiti like you guys, I mean Ziml and Pinky too. All these guys now they’re like “yeah, I do Urban Art” they’re milking it big time.
Gasius: Yeah I know.
David Sausage: I wouldn’t let these guys if I were you! I’d be like this is where I started. Graffiti.
Gasius: You, true but it’s become such a cliche I just don’t want to become part of it. You know what I mean? So, cheese. It’s just cheese.
Gasius: And like fair enough, you’re selling stuff but it’s got no integrity or whatever. I don’t really wanna become like doing the street adverts. You know there’s guys that just go and paint shutters down Brick Lane it’s just like, doing their street logo over and over again and then doing screen prints of it and then selling prints because of the street advertisement and it’s just like – that’s not graffiti.
Michael: It’s a formula.
Gasius: Yeah it becomes formulaic. I dunno, there’s loads of hideous stencils and its just people are selling stuff because it’s A stencil and…
Michael: But does it sell though?
Gasius: Some of it. Yeah some of it sells really well and it’s just shit you’ve never heard of. Random random stuff and they’ve probably spent a lot of time on online forums and it’s just like, they’ve got themselves related to things.
Michael: Are there a lot of galleries and places that stock that?
Gasius: Bits yeah. Not loads but yeah there’s a few. Hideous. I don’t know, I try and ignore it.
David Sausage: Thus is what I’m saying. Bringing it all back to what it is. It’s just going to paint a wall isn’t it? And that’s why I find that really refreshing.
Gasius: Yeah. I mean, I always enjoy it.
David Sausage: Let’s go and paint then.
Gasius: Yeah of course! You’re forcing me into it?
David Sausage: Yeah I totally am!
Gasius: Hahahaha! Funny!
ATSUGI, Kanagawa — A shutdown hospital here widely known for being “haunted” and the site of petty crime has been bought by the city and is set be demolished and have its land redeveloped into a park, city officials have announced.
According to the city, after “Atsugi Keishin Hospital” closed in 1997, the building has been left to deteriorate, becoming the target of graffiti and suffering damage such as broken windows and a small fire.
The hospital has been introduced as a “haunted spot” on both television and the Internet, and some youths who tried to sneak a look at the “haunted” hospital last year ended up being mugged. The problems have led local residents to complain to the city.
To remove the hospital, the city sought the ownership deed from its registered owner, a religious organization in Osaka Prefecture, but negotiations were stymied by the fact that the land was put up as collateral for loans. However, when the organization failed to pay city taxes on time, the land was seized and put up for public auction. On April 23, the Atsugi Municipal Government bought the hospital and its 2,605-square-meter lot with a bid of 12.63 million yen. The city says it was the only bidder.
Atsugi Keishin Hospital was one of Kanto regions most famous “Haikyo” or ruins. Very creepy little joint that sat on the outskirts of Atsugi and boasted floor after floor of full colour, full sized productions.
Check out http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/ruins-gallery/ for more Haikyo
Toshio Maeda Interview Part 1
League of Gentlemen fan, professional prostitute reviewer(!) and creator of the Tentacle Porn Manga genre. Mr. Toshio Maeda.
Toshio talks about leaving home aged 16 and his apprenticeship with a manga artist:
Toshio: We had no days off completely…. Zero… We had to wash dirty laundry in Winter outside with cold water and that was our apprenticeship. We had to do it, no washing machine.
David Sausage: So the guy was just using you as a slave? He wasn’t teaching you anything?
Toshio: Yeah yeah a slave exactly, you know we were always crying under such strict circumstances, we couldn’t survive so many of my colleagues left. You know, because there was no money! We couldn’t even buy instant noodles because we had financial problems so we were thin, just skin and bones, we were thinner than zombies!!!
David Sausage: Really?! So what did you eat?
Toshio: Nothing. We… You know twice a day they would serve something and on the weekends we didn’t have anything. Just drink water.
David Sausage: Was that supposed to discipline you or because they couldn’t afford it or just because they were nasty?
David Sausage: Yeah?
Toshio: Of course, that was it. So I just had a hand to mouth existence.
After the car accident you know, I had to go back to scratch so you know, I already knew how to survive without money, with nothing.
David Sausage: So obviously you are doing what you do out of love?
Toshio: Yeah. But you know, some time your dream comes true and you tend to loose your drug of life because your dream came true you need another drug of life. So that’s why I got involved with motorbike racing or golf or listening to records,,, you know that’s the way,,, that’s the way the cookie crumbles (laughs) cookie crumb bells! You know in our country that’s the way the tofu crumbles!
David Sausage: The would be kind of difficult really,,, it would just sort of get messy,,, ahuh,,,
David Sausage: Erm… Who’s work, er anime manga are you interested in these days?
Toshio: You know these days I’m just distributing other people’s manga. Translating my own manga into Spanish and English I mean, asking professional translators to translate. I have an American friend who helps explain all the manga jungle out there to me. But you know business is in the red so,,, I’m looking for the mice to you know,, huh huh huh,,, cook in the spaghetti,,
David Sausage: I heard you went to comic conventions, you were invited to one in New York right?
Toshio: Yes, I went to a convention before. I’m going to COMICON, a convention on November 13th and I’ve written a letter to the people who are running that but you know maybe my poor English misled me there ,, so Im asking them to check what I wrote,, I’m not very confident with my English so,,,
David Sausage: You’re crazy! Your English is good! I’m not going to bullshit, I’ll tell you straight it’s good! Most Japanese here with high English test scores can’t actually speak or hold a conversation like you.
Toshio: You know actually I have a chit chat with English speakers,, I guess I’m kind of irritated in a way because I just started learning when I was 40 and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
David Sausage: I understand you started you’re career making children’s animation. I wonder what you make of PuriKyua! the girls animation? My daughters love it. Here (shows sticker)
Toshio: Aeeeeh…. I’m not familiar with it.
David Sausage: What do you think the difference is in Western attitudes towards erotic cartoons and literature?
Toshio: It’s totally different. You know especially with the X-rated manga for perverts, you know what I mean? You know for Westerners it’s totally different this kind of thing, but for us it is manga for another kind of fan. You know, I don’t know how Westerners get our manga or anime. (For them) is it hideous or exotic? I don’t know.
David Sausage: I think people look at erotic manga from abroad and think “this is fucking crazy” that’s what I think. “What kind of people are they?”. Me and Mrs. Sausage were talking about this the other day. She said that Westerners were suppressing this kind of thing and in a way they were more interested in it than people are here.
Toshio: You mean sexual perverts or maniacs?
David Sausage: I think they’re in every country.
Toshio: I suppose,,, then I am the king of a pervert! (laughs)
David Sausage: Yah,,, I noticed that when I was 12 years old and the first scene in Urotsukidoji, the chap is shagging some girl on top of a glass table an then,,,
Toshio: Yeah (laughs)
David Sausage: That left quite a lasting impression,,,
Toshio: Laughs hahahaa HA Ha HA!
David Sausage: It was a bit shocking,,,
INKFETISH: There’s also the scene where Nicky has to cut off his,,,
Toshio:,,, equipment? In order to get the bigger one? Yes.
INKFETISH: I remember thinking WTF IS THIS?!
Toshio: I thought it might be a shock for men. Men would know how painful it would be,, you know?
INKFETISH: It’s like the ultimate sacrifice for power.
Toshio: No pain no gain. (Laughs)
David Sausage: I read when you were young you ha looked at some really dark Manga?
Toshio: Yes, it’s my nature.
David Sausage: How much of your work was influenced by that manga?
Toshio: My work was influenced by what we call kashihon manga. Kashihon manga means rental manga. We go to the video shop and rent out manga like you do with videos and DVDs. We were poor and couldn’t afford to buy manga so we would go to these places like a library and every single day I would you know, rent out this dark manga. When I was around 10, for many years, until I left my hometown (Osaka) because you know,,, the size, the number (of prints?) was kind of small compared to the weekly magazines so the readership was kind of small and segmented… How can I say? Underground? That kind of agenda or theme we really liked to read hmmm how can I say? It’s hard for me to explain, but I am influenced by such manga. Plus after that I saw comic strips from America and my art style became influenced by that. I was a bookworm, always going to the library and seeking such books.
David Sausage: You must have been off in your own world whilst everyone else in your class were running around, playing, fighting? Don’t mean to sound rude, but did you play around a lot with the other kids or did you tend to spend more time on your own?
Toshio: Actually, how to say, I was an athletic kind of student. Not exactly a jock but I was practicing Karate, Gymnastics and especially, High-bar. I was so good at that. So I was always practicing them or drawing silly cartoons, no time for sleep so that’s why I used to bring the pillow in my bag, into lessons, and sleep on the desk and slept like a log the whole day long.
Toshio: And you know the teacher he really got pissed off. He’d be basically, how do you say? “Bugger off!”
Toshio: (junior high schoolkid voice) “okayyy, sorry!” And the teacher would say ” Are you taking the piss of me?” “YES I AM hahah!”
Toshio: Yeah, that’s me. A rebel.
David Sausage: Yeah, and that’s a difficult thing to do in your country isn’t it? In Japanese you say “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. In the UK I think it’s almost like everyone is striving to be the crazy one. “Heeeey! I’m craZy! Look at me!” in Japan if you want to do something different, something creative, something a little crazy, I think you’ve got to be really really strong mentally.
Toshio: My teacher considered this disruption as a cancer and it was contagious that’s why he told me to get out of the classroom. And I was kicked out and that was my intention because I didn’t want to be in school anyway. I just wanted to do animation that’s why I left for Tokyo. That’s what I thought. I pictured the rosey things ahead for me,, you know being a professional cartoonist, having a fancy car for me, having a knockout (girl?!), and having a shag in the back seat!
Toshio: I thought so, and you know, my parents thought it was a pipe-dream. You know, it’ll never come true BUT I made it.
Simon True Interview
What made you get into skateboarding?
I just liked the way it looked,,, the object itself I really like it the way it looked,,,
So was there someone you used to go and see?
I was three years old! Howma gonna go and see someone when you’re three years old?! It was 1976 and everyone was wearing Dunlops and flared trousers…
I was on holiday in Colwyn Bay at a skatepark, I was on holiday in my buggy watching and thinking “worra these people dooin with these objects flyin around in the air?” Flying around on them objects I thought ‘Thats fantastic’ what could it be? What could they be? Where can there be? These magnificent objects flying around,,,
And then when I was five I was on the street around the corner from my house and there was my mate Carl and he had one, one of them fantastic objects and I just looked at it and it was there in front of me and it was fascinating!
More than anything it was the object, the item itself.
But when did you actually start skating?
There and then when I was five years old an I was stood on this board and I didn’t know if it was regular footed or goofy footed. I didn’t know which way to start so I did a moonwalk on the top of it like that.
Did somebody show you?
No, I just did it there and then on my own. When I was older I use to go to the library and get 1970s skateboard annuals.
You mentioned before Thrasher magazine had a big influence on you?
Yeah that was a bit later when I was 11 or 12.
So who did you start skating with first as a sort of skating buddy?
There wasn’t anybody! It was just me on my own really and then… I’d be sort of on the lookout for anyone else who was doing it and then when I was at school when I was about 12 this kid in my maths class, this Asian kid, he had the same BMX mag as I did he’d brought it to school and I said “I’ve got the exact same magazine as you” I said “I’ve bought it not for the BMXing but because it’s got some skateboarding at the back”. It had one or two pictures of lads skating in the back and he said “me too, that’s why I bought it” so we sort of started that generation of skaters in Rochdale. That was about ’84 or ’85
So how did you know what equipment to buy?
From just looking at whatever was in BMX Action mag. They started featuring skating a lot more so we had reference points. There was information about boards and products in there. Then we found out about MB sports in Manchester the American sports shop that used to stock boards in there so we used to go there. Mid-eighties.
What was the first board you bought?
The first board I bought? It was from Zodiac Toys in Rochdale… 4.99
One of them plaggy ones?
Yeah, one of them plaggy ones (laughs)
Could you do any tricks on them?
YES! I could fly all over the city!… I could JUMP over a pigeon!
Over a midget?
Over a pigeon! Yeah a pigeon when it was flying in the air back to it’s castle!
Aha…. So you and this kid skated together for a while…
Yeah! We lived in a pigeons castle! No, yeah me and this kid wallsey(?) we used to go out on missions and that.
What’s his name Moseley?
Yeah Mohsim but you can call him Moses if you want!… Yeah we could say it like that. I started skating with Moses the boy they found in a basket in the bullrushes.
(Laughs) In Rochdale?!
Yeah in Rochdale on the river SPOD!
Yeah I started skating with Moses!
And then… When di you start skating with Foz? Was that a lot later?
Not a lot later. That was in Manchester like because Foz is from Rawtenstall. He used to go to Manchester on Saturdays on the bus and I did as well. He used to go down from Rawtenstall then come to Rochdale, then we all went down to Manchester together and I got to know him then.
Where did you skate in Manchester?
Deansgate banks, Deansgate Manchester just off Deansgate Law Courts in Manchester.
Was it a proper skatepark or just a spot to skate?
Nah it was just a spot – a top spot – yknow it was a Mecca from the mid to late eighties. That was the place on Saturday nights. It was either that or Oxford Road banks.
Did you go every weekend?
Yeah pretty much every weekend. Sometimes we’d twag school on weekdays too, although you couldn’t really skate it as much cos people would park motorbikes and that in front of it.
What did your Mum and Dad think about you skating?
They didn’t really show any interest at all. They were just like ‘Oh he’s off out again’
So when did Heroin Skateboards start? Was that something you and Foz started together?
That was when I moved down to London. Foz was in London at Playstation park and he’d fell over and broke his wrist. He had to have metal pins in his wrist, just temporarily I think, and he was in a lot of pain, he was on Morphine, which is basically Heroin and I was sitting with him on the top of primrose hill and he had his arm in a cast and he was having big arguments with his missus and he said
“I’m starting a skateboarding company called Heroin”. So I said “right, I’ll help you” because I was signing on at the time. He sort of took off with it. I wanted to keep it super raw with hand painted boards and that but obviously that wasn’t going to make money so Foz kind of took it to the next level using all his contacts working at slam city skates and he sort of took off with it like that.
How is the skating scene in Japan compared to the one back in the UK? Is there Any difference?
There’s not a lot of differences really. They speak a different language!
When did you start getting into the artist side of things?
I did a good foundation course in Rochdale, did a lot of shit there photography, printing, sculpture… You know that’s what foundation courses are, you go there and you get to experience all different mediums and ways to achieve, to accomplish creative things and then you get chance to specialise in a field you like and I chose painting.
What did you paint on?
I did a couple of canvases but mainly painting on paper just getting to grips with using the paint itself. I really enjoyed it but didn’t really see any career in it so then I thought maybe I’d like to be an illustrator and illustrate children’s books. I applied for the illustration course at Manchester MET which was a pretty hard course to get on. At that time I think there were only about 15 placements for the whole of the UK. Somehow, by the skin of my teeth I managed to get on it. It was an elite, renowned course but when I got on it I was like “wtf is this?!”. The tutors there were super traditionalist and I was like you know… Fuckin…
And at the same time I didn’t have a particular style myself. I didn’t know which way I was going myself. I didn’t know how to do my own artwork
You were still just learning right? Trying new things out?
Yeah, it was an experiential stage but I had these very very traditional teachers and I didn’t really like it.
I could draw well, I could draw realistic kin of stuff but it just didn’t seem like I was getting anywhere but then in the second year a new student came to join and he was called Nick Lowndes and he was an amazing illustrator.
You’ve mentioned this chap before. Tell me about him.
Yeah yeah he was from St. Helens which is towards Liverpool area and he came and he would do these life drawing classes with oil bars, these thick oil bars. I’d be there with my pastels trying to get creative and that. I was into Van Gogh at the time I was into the naive energy in his works. And I’d be looking over at my mate Nick and hed be drawing like that … With thick black outlines really mad. Not even resembling the model more like his own style, totally his style and I’d never seen anything like this before and I thought “Is he retarded or is he a special student allowed to be on the course because he’s a bit of a madhead?”
How did the tutors react to that?
They were good. They sort of acknowledged a real strength of character within his work. But Nick wasn’t a really in your face guy he was really humble and really friendly down to earth lad.
His work was solid. He had his own way of working. At the same time when I was in second year Michael Shaunesey who used to work two and a half days at Liverpool John Moores University and two and a half days on our course. He saw Nick’s work and thought he might like John Micheal Basquiat so he went to the library and got his drawing book, not his painting book, his drawing book – it’s a really rare book and now if you find it on EBay it’s worth a fortune. It’s just called Basquiat Drawings. I saw it and the first time I looked at that book I sort of fell over. All stripped to the bone. I did see the resemblance to Nick’s work. Also we went to Barcelona on a college trip the whole of the second year went and got mashed up and went to the Picasso Museum there and looked at all the Picassos in there… Seeing all of Picassos works was very liberating and I remember drinking and drawing my mates in the bar and all the bullshit I just dropped it I just thought “I don’t give a shit anymore I’m just going to draw what I want”
You’re style is hilarious. After I finished painting Kevin Bacon and you added Radvan and his body language it was sooooo funny! I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breath. Is that style you and your character or an aesthetic you are trying to achieve?
I like to utilise and absorb you know, stuff that has happened to me throughout my life whether it’s from TV or magazines or friends. I think being British growing up in Britain with the British sense of humour but at the same time being exposed to all the American TV you know Knightrider and all the American movies,,, we had all that and the cartoons and that and then at the same time we’re in Britain. So I’ve had that mixture and I feel blessed for that. You know British people are good at taking the piss out of themselves so I’ve never had the opportunity to get big-headed because your friends, you’re real friends will bring you right back down to earth. In England it’s real and that’s the way it is and that’s a blessing as far as I’m concerned. I’m not interested in impressing people with Art or with skateboarding, I’m interested in having a chance to let out all the bullshit. You know it’s like a valve isn’t it? You know what I mean? Just to let it out and do something and if it makes people laugh or it makes people think “I could do that” then that’s all good isn’t it? I’m not out to impress anybody I’m out to do something that’s not necessary but just to do something to combine all these random ideas and make someone laugh like you today.
I honestly haven’t laughed that hard in ages seeing that being painted.
It is a funny thing isn’t it? It’s funny isn’t it? You know it’s a real chance to release… to release some of the tension.
Simon True’s Flickr is here http://www.flickr.com/photos/92497462@N00/