One of my greatest influences, the late great Hunter S. Thompson, once said that there was more truth in fiction. Thus, Hunter could split his personality with Sports Desk editor Raoul Duke, and describe scenes that walked the razor edge between insanity and actual fact. His best examples of this are ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ and ‘Fear and Loathing on the campaign Trail 72’.
I took this pearl of wisdom and applied it to skateboard gossip and news. Obviously some people would get offended by tabloid-esque news reporting, so I called upon an ally, Maxwell Woodger Esq. to dig up the dirt.
Being the international man of mystery that he is, Maxwell kept his ear to the street and held secret meetings (he claimed were mere coincidence!) with various sources to get the scoop.
It was fun while it lasted.
I’ll tell you now so that the mystery can be solved once and for all– I don’t work in an office and I don’t have a receptionist. It was clear from the start that if I wanted to ride the journalism roller coaster all the way then I needed to cut all ties and run wild in the streets. You don’t touch, taste and smell the world behind stucco walls and a MDF desk. You have to prowl the path and interact with your subjects. With this in mind, my news can come from anywhere at anytime…
Last night was entertained by international lawyers, lobbyists and eager politicians. I took no allegiance to any parties but I helped myself to the free drinks. Whilst brushing shoulders with future movers and shakers, I bumped into an architect. The architect in question skated, so it wasn’t long before the mint juleps took hold of our vocals and we enjoyed a bit of shop talk.
My new source was quick to spill the beans on alleged secret skate spots within the confines of the Royal Festival Hall. It sounded like a good tip seeing as we were entering the thick of winter. I mentioned that spots were becoming scarce and major landmarks were getting torn down for the benefit of corporate fatbacks and soccer-moms. Rumours are quick to be confirmed about the demise of the famous Brooklyn Banks in New York. First EMB, then Pier 7, Southbank, and now Brooklyn. When will the pointless destruction end?
The architect nearly choked on his vol-au-vent as he fought back the tears. I tried to cheer him up by making our way to the dance floor that was gradually beginning to fill. Young political aides dressed to kill and shaking their daily woes away to the melodies of Duran Duran. Another mint julep was necessary…
As I left my informer and made my way back to the open bar, I heard all sorts of gibberish and mutterings. Some of it stood out as I heard senior officials and bankers speak about Rob Gonzales and Danny Montoya hooking up to ride for Listen Skateboards. If it was true that left Popwar in the lurch. However, not everyone was going down– the Skatemafia was said to be god stock on the market and ready for profit building opportunities. I took note of the odds on a napkin, but later found I’d lost it!
An attractive young lobbyist asked if I could serve her a drink too, so I happily obliged. She mentioned that these do’s bored her stiff and how she’d much rather be cruising Hollywood Boulevard with her boyfriend, Kareem Campbell. I was astonished and said how I had noticed his Guest board on Krooked. She raised and eyebrow and laughed. Apparently, her Kareem was a screenwriter heading into his late 60s with plenty of money in the bank.
I left her at that and reflected on how odd this situation. Sometimes the people pulling the strings have no idea what’s at the end of them! I fetched my coat and hailed a taxi. On the way home, the cabbie was full of beans and had a thick Argentinian accent. He noticed my Toy Machine hoodie and splattered some weird story about how his cousin Diego was a 6 foot 2 skate legend that suffered from a compressed spinal cord and stunted growth due to intense leaps of faith. I tried not to listen or make the connection between his cousin and the 5 foot 10 Butcher I knew. It was too late to think…
I parked the ‘Beast’ on the sidewalk and made my way towards the venue– A private club that boasted each customer entered alone and left in good company… I wasn’t looking for company, instead I wanted the dirt, the grime and grease that made the industry’s cogs turn. My source was the supplier and this was his turf.
I always thought the ‘Bada Bing’ was an imaginary place where Italo-Americans fantasized about sipping Amarettos with political figures, whilst beautiful strippers cleaned their hunting rifles with strategically placed tail feathers. Ah… Not so!
The new ’Bada Bing’ was a lurid scene of debauchery and fast-life addicts. Even if the beautiful strippers looked more like male gnomes on steroids, I could at least take a breather seeing as their glaring eyes and oiled bodies were contained behind bullet proof plexiglass walls. Phew!
My man with the know was busy arranging floral displays in the Presidential Booth, so I sat at the bar and ordered a grapefruit Spitzer. The Barman saw me coming from a mile off and began to chat.
“ Did anybody tell you, you looked like Guy Mariano?” he asked.
I shook my head, but raised an eyebrow none-the-less.
“Well,” the barman continued. “I’ll let you know that the great man is back and filming for the next Lakai video. He’s their new rider.”
The spritzer suddenly tasted sweeter, and I ordered a side order of olives as a guise for more gossip. The barman smiled and obliged.
“One in the hand is worth two in the bush, “ he said coyly. The greased up gnomes stirred. “Apparently, the man in Black at Consolidated is no longer pro. His backside… Ollies will be missed.”
I drank to that and said it was a shame, especially as almost anybody who can stand upright on a board is allowed to turn pro nowadays. Respectable companies were heard to be overlooking their talented riders, to boost the careers of lesser-known amateurs.
The barman sighed and said, “I know! Your friend in the backroom was once a real bit of ‘Bada Bing Bling’- a high roller. But, things have changed and steroids go a lot further than a nice smile in this business! Gosh!”
Goddammit! Didn’t I know it? Some team riders wouldn’t be privy to a little extra stimulation when it came to performing stunts, I thought. The barman had reminded me of my source still in the back arranging his flowers. He was taking too long, so I paid my tab, thanked the barman and tapped goodbye to the boys behind the plexiglass.
As I turned, the barman asked, “May I ask what your business is?”
I answered, “Skateboarding, but I suppose it isn’t all that different from the Entertainment world…”
The barman nodded his approval.
The ‘Beast’ was parked outside…