I keep a keen eye on worktrucks & job sites when I’m riding. That’s mainly because of the woman who got decapitated. Sad story. She was just minding her business, walking to work, or the shops or wherever, when she strolled by a construction site & bzzzzsssswhoosh! A saw blade came flying from where they were cutting a pipe and she was gone. Her body on the pavement, her head in the road. Ever since then I’ve made sure to maintain a healthy distrust of men in hardhats operating heavy machinery.
Andy just sent me the dreamcatcher teeshirt from the New Zealand trip, that one time when I smashed my collar bone into painful fragments. Remember? It was around 2005 and the trip was with P-Stone, O’Meally, Mumford, Shane Cross, Duffy, Chet, Strubing & Mendizibal. Mumford had recently quit Zero and was attempting to make some waves with his Legacy brand under the Dwindle umbrella. Hence Duffy, Strubing and Shane.
Staring into the empty eye-sockets of that longhorn skull the dreamcatcher prompted me to search through an old hard drive.
Mendizibal blazed the pipe at New Lynn. This park is rad. Legend has it the plans were sent from the states in inches and the local contractors read them as centimeters. Full Spinal Tap Stonehenge shit. Amazing. If you watch Riding the Long White Cloud you can hear me say the same thing in real voice words.
Other stuff happened and then I got broke off. Tried a dumb trick on an 8 foot high concrete vert ramp. In Riding the Long White Cloud Rick does multiple Miller Flips on the same ramp. When we realized my collar bone was shattered Duffy assured me it would be fine. “I’ve broken my collar bone like 20 times or something” he said. Very reassuring. Thanks for that, Pat. In due course the fragments fused and the pain subsided.
Popped a few photos of Texas raised, Portland based, Birdhouse pro destroyer of all things skateable Ben Raybourn recently while he filmed for little day in the life documentary. Hopefully they bring a small glimmer of joy to your day.
What up? Portland, brah. So artsy. Mad beats. Now featuring… Chromeball. Onward to Burnside.
Some rap video shit.
Heavy metal parking lot.
Eggplant for lunch. Hayashi in full effect.
Back at the crib scoping the scene with the bird’s eye view. Free runners look on in disbelief. This local training center could make a good TtDiPWYB post, maybe, if there is such a thing as a good TtDiPWYB post.Not dangerous at all.
Fully cropped the ground out of this.
Quicker down than up.
The owls are not what they seem.
And finally, what the internet was made for.
Having a kid really changes things. You could say fucks things up. The bright side is that there’s less time to do dumb shit and every spare moment increases in value like the work of a good artist who just bit the big one. Certain stuff is out. Staying up late partying at the bar is a no go, not too much of a bummer there. I definitely skate less, not a terribly bad thing; I’ve been skating for years. The little dude pretty much needs to be home for a nap every day by 2 or else total nuclear meltdown occurs. So on those bases this is the first of a series of posts about shit to do around Portland in your new life after birth. Installment 1, the Historical Highland Stillhouse loop trail.
We decided on Oregon City because I’d like to see the Falkirk Wheel, a wonder of engineering, but it’s in Scotland and we’re in Portland. From Philippa’s research Oregon City sounded like it has some industry and also a municipal elevator on a vertical street called elevator street. That sounds wonder of engineering enough so we bundle the little man into his padded restraining seat and hit the road.
If we were looking for something reminiscent of Scotland then we’d made a good choice. Driving up McLoughlin Blvd by the Willamette past the Oregon City Bridge reminded me of the River Dee at Riverside Drive near Duthie Park in Aberdeen.
We pulled off into this handy little car park and screeched to a stop right in front of this historical-fact-packed wooden sign where a craggy old balustrade runs along top of the steep riverbank overlooking a barrio-load of ramshackle mill houses. It’s like the Aberdeen paper mill on steroids.
Mad industry surrounds a section of river that looks as though its bed got stomped on by some giant rampaging toddler. It’s a strange sinkhole and if you happen to know the geology that created it then please let us know in the comments. Especially if the geological process was actually a load of dynamite.
McLoughlin Boulevard is the section of highway 99E that links Oregon City and Portland. It runs into Martin Luther King Boulevard and Grand Avenue just past the Ross Island Bridge. The bomb-ass graffiti on this plaque would be all the more bomb if it wasn’t being thoroughly interfered with by a bunch of historical info about pioneering, indian language knowing, fur trading, medical licence having, murder rap beating, long-haired french canadian scottish dude Dr John Mcloughlin after whom this section of highway is named.
He looks pissed about something or other.
And Ivor decided to wear his fox sweater for the day. We turned round and walked back down to find the municipal elevator when all of a sudden we got stoked to find even more historical info on the other side of that wooden sign we’d parked by.
A little further east along the pavement we could see that there was a walkway up on the bluff. It had to lead to the municipal elevator. It just had to. We ran boldly across the highway by this spider’s web and into the dirty soft mud by those bushes beneath the east end of the Museum of the Oregon Territory. The Museum looks sinister on a day like this. Note: if you don’t run across the highway there’s a footbridge just a little further down the road. The walkway that runs along the top of the bluff is McLoughlin Promenade. Somewhere along here has to be the municipal elevator and Ivor intends to find it.
Tight views of the sinkholey bit.
The only Blue Heron we saw.
Aha! The 1954 observation deck of the municipal elevator!
From up top.
From down below.
The first elevator went into operation in 1915. It was a wood, steel, hydraulic contraption that took up to 5 minutes to ascend the 90 feet and caused all the nearby water pressure to drop; when it worked. When it failed you had to squeeze out the trap door and back down the sketchy ladder. 9 years later they went electric, got efficient and in the 50s did the full rebuild. The whole story – with its local house of cards style political shenanigans and a load more fun historical details – is on the little History of the Oregon City Municipal Elevator pamphlet you can get from inside the elevator right next to the attendant. He’s got local knowledge and directed us to a kids play park back up top in the town. That’s where we headed next.
OG bluff ascent.
That’s just how he do.
Decorative cast iron tree grates by Olympic Foundry! Boo Ya! In case you’re unaware Olympic Foundry’s been busting out products metal style since 1900.
Didn’t go in here but here it is.
Ice T never mentioned this in his biography.
Fire engines. Always thankful for those.
Local corvids at 5th and Washington.
Nice old Ford pickup on High Street by 3rd.
Cut back through to the bluff top.
Made use of the footbridge this time. If you’re a skater then it’s worth noting that if you had the right skillset, plywood (or maybe just brass balls) and a good photographer you could get a wild photo here. Gravette?
There’s that museum again. Sinister but probably full of interesting historical stuff.
The walk loops us all the way back to the Highland Stillhouse, a Scottish pub that I’ll go on the record and say is legit.
Is this the hoe?
It’s often advisable to maximize screen time in these situations.
I’ve always likened the end of a pro skate career to the description of vampire death given by Cory Feldman’s character in The Lost Boys, Edgar Frog, “Some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode, but all will try to take you with them.”
Sometimes a vampire will implode and similarly sometimes an old pro skater, who never got involved with a marketing agent, who’s sponsors have revised their strategy, or gone out of business, might panic and decide it’s high time they capitalized on the haunting beauty they can surely craft out of their innate musical talent. Talent they’ve been roughly developing in Waffle House parking lots for the last ten years. And so we did.
We recorded 3 melodic stories that spilled from the soul and the resulting sound, that poured almost automatically through fingertips and larynx, is manly, rustic and inspiring. The accompanying bespoke lyric cards have been exquisitely illustrated by Melbourne based Salvador Gnarly. They are little things of beauty.
Gull Population as Yardstick for Viral Nature of Humanity is an ode to Aberdeen, Scotland, where Mum lives and old friends live and where the old man, old friends and little sister lived. It is a celebration.
Dragons and Things tells the story of a young boy who finds himself in a battle that he must win or relinquish his childhood. And the rest.
Worf Sails his Boat imagines the lovable serenity-challenged Klingon Chief of Security as a young boy in Belarus. The story explores the reasons why security officers are often such assholes. It’s not their fault. It’s not anyone’s fault.
All proceeds from sales of the Vava Records X Predatory Bird Sound in Print project will of course help fund the currently fetal Predatory Bird rap album and/or the next run of comics.
Here’s a list of fun background info regarding the comic:
- Set in the aftermath of a family death the tale takes our kid on his inevitable, abject, journey through the grieving process.
- Luckily the world he inhabits contains a constant array of encouraging beacons to guide him through the dark times; these are all the vibrant characters and details that create and symbolize our culture of the wooden toy.
- The collaboration with Jon Horner was initially sparked by a shared disquiet regarding the Frankensteinian biomechanoid feline nightmare that is Orville the Cat Helicopter.
- The gulls are our reminder to be realistic. No matter how nice we’d like life to be, life is, as the great orator Nasty Nas has explicitly stated, a bitch.
- If you’re trying to come up with a big word to describe the PB comic and you hit upon “phantasmagorical” then give yourself a round of applause because seriously, that is a fantastic word.
- The good folks at Thrasher Magazine were kind enough to print the story over the course of a year or so.
- This edition of the Comic is for sale here and also here.
- In the unlikely event of any profit being generated exactly half will be sent to Jon.
Fate recently returned me to the Skatepark of Tampa. On this occasion I would be attending the 2013 Tampa Am contest.
The night before the trip I became filled with a desire to capture some of the action so I stood in the front room with my camera and tossed a wild thing up towards the ceiling. If the built in flash on the little Lumix could freeze the motion of this fierce stuffed beast then photographing a back nose blunt in a dimly lit Florida warehouse would be child’s play, or at least an approximation thereof.
Upon arriving at the Skatepark of Tampa I found Kevin Wilkins of The Skateboard Mag reflecting on the absurd injustice of it all.
And Colin Kennedy, Nike SB Europe’s dream manager, remaining stoic.
It didn’t take too long to track down a back nose blunt. Aha! See! The onboard flash can do it! On closer inspection you’ll find that if your ISO is maxed out it gives it that sand-sculpture look. Perfect for Instagram.
Then Jon lent me an external flash unit.
I sought out fresh meat. One of the most gifted technical street skaters of our time.
Kickflip light test looks okay.
Back lip skewered by a pillar? It’ll do.
I decided to head outside into the gentle late afternoon Tampa light and mingle. Much nicer.
Dare I say gorgeous?
I found Big News being discussed.
Brief, beautiful, sordid moments of clarity and oblivion swirled all around me like some strange visual poem.
A Floridian poem.
Full of strange characters and tall Englishmen.
Tyshawn remained in a New York state of mind.
And as the dice battle raged round the back…
Dice were rolled.
Eggs were hurled.
Fortunes were won and lost.
As a few brave souls charged for the finish line.
And to the victors go the spoils.
Skateboarding is safe and well.
Probably the darkest strip in the 12. Thrasher featured it in their January 2013 issue opposite Pedro Barros in a G-Shock ad – do people still wear watches?
I suppose Pedro Barros must and that dude is straight-up gnarly. Remember that article Rhino shot where him and Grant Taylor went to Portugal?
So anyway, Part 5 of the comic. The darkest point. The kid is on the way to his old man’s funeral and it’s raining. Death, like rain to a skater, is a bummer. But, there’s always a bright side, right? So, can we learn to laugh about death? Maybe not laugh, that sounds callous and callous is not the laughter I’m talking about. But what am I talking about? I’m talking about the inspiration for an entire genre of Metal.
When friends and family die it’s definitely painful. If it’s not then something is wrong. Loss leaves a gaping hole. It’s disemboweling. Laughter is probably not the healthiest immediate response. But from a distance, I mean with the perspective that time passed provides, we can see death and loss as the brief insignificant things they are and we can get on with enjoying all that we still have.
Okay, blah blah, cliche, cliche, yeah I’ve had losses. We all have; or are going to. What I’m getting to is that this comic grew out of a shitty grieving process that seemed to utterly dissolve any interest I still had in playing the pro-skater game.
I’m fairly certain that the process of writing the comic helped me come through one of life’s tunnels. For that I am eternally grateful to Thrasher, especially Michael Burnett, who was kind enough to champion the thing and encourage the process despite its rambling, stumbling through the dark, story progression.
And obviously, always, to the brilliant Jon Horner.
And of course to the gulls who have no idea about any of this. They’re just hungry, looking for food and in the process they sound like they’re laughing; and sometimes, depending on the circumstances, the direction of the wind and whatnot, they sound very, very callous.