Words: Leon Humphries
Images: Gareth Morton
Video Edit: Leon Humphries. Video Footage: Michael Pupava, Jonny Lee, Tom Sharman, James Bower, Kare Lindberg, Ben Shelbourne, Nicolas Schopfer Video Title: Ian Gallais
Plans deviate after your body says ‘no’. My body said ‘no’ after an innocuous fall at this year’s NASS festival. I would be forgiven for thinking NASS festival holds some sort of personal grudge towards me. In recent years I have regularly been either carried out or stitched up after intense but enjoyable sessions. The reality is that I only have myself to take responsibility for all of these injuries. Nobody goaded me into trying something, nor was the obstacle too waxed or slow. I like to think my skill set is matched to most obstacles so ‘the blame’ really does lie with yours truly. The recovery from injuries and the psychological journey is always tricky. The time and space to reflect on what skating actually is and what it means is a continuous process – may be lifelong. The focus is less on the physical practice of skating. Attention leans towards ideas and the creative process of skating. Periods of self-reflection and visualization help to develop those ideas. In these moments, you tend to find out a little bit more about yourself. I feel my mind is more active. In my mind, I am doing moves all day long, visualizing and refining ideas to the point of tangibility. It becomes truer than ever, that my body and mind were made to feel this way. In exhaling these feelings, an inherent apprehension, sadness, and frustration is apparent hence the trickiness of recovery. I reflect on the breadth of beautiful work being created and left by my peers. I try to be involved with my friends who are fit and able, tagging along, showing support where I can and filming the guys slay. I have been privileged to have been present to witness and experience the energy of my friend Jonny’s production of ‘SOBER’ for Dirt Box. I have also had intermittent conversations with Michal Pupava, regarding his aspirations for the newest ‘London Sessions’. Thomas Sharman and Jamie Harris have meandered towards capturing big wheel moves. They are making their efforts to augment our city’s scene, celebrating the health of skating in London. In addition, James Bower has a camera to experiment with now also. Our city is bustling with amazing creative energy so I guess being on the sidelines allows me to see that clearly. London is beautiful at night. Under darkness, there is a certain serenity, usually fewer people and the terrain is more available. As a means to escape crowded areas, make use of time after work and to stick the proverbial middle finger up at our winters, we frequently ventured out for night adventures. Being out, skating at night is not something new. However, deliberately setting out at night has revealed the true nature of the city and expanded the experience of skating. Like magic, shapes, forms and curvature pop out, embossed and inanimate. They bind an affinity with your perception and imagination. The visualization process takes over, between you and whoever accompanies, the idea can be created. The very same process dictates how the day usually pans out. However, with the day, and there being a different pallet of obstacles or terrain available, comes a completely different arrangement of moves. It’s interesting how parts turn out - the process, the challenges, and the end product. The ‘Night and Day’ theme was conceived retrospectively. Maybe it represents how much I think about skating and my hunger to be on my skates with my friends. Maybe it represents the interesting qualities of the terrain in London. I hope that for you, it represents a video you can enjoy and be inspired to go and skate.