The following interview takes place around 2.30 pm on a Monday afternoon.

A group of us are in Lost Art just off Bold St in the centre of resurgent ‘indie Liverpool’, closer to the bombed out church than the steel and glass architectural restart that is Liverpool One. Present and involved are top shop lurker Rauiri Jones, Luke Fletcher, Ollie Birch, Robbi Etherington, Andrew ‘Evz’ Evans and myself.

Mere moments before, Evz had kickflipped over a handrail in the pissing rain and then, whilst standing in his boxer shorts in the street changing back into his joggers, a passing pedestrian had stopped to quiz us on what we were doing.

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So Evz, what’s it like working a gruelling 5-day-a-week job, hardly ever having any free time to skate and then having this guy (points at CJ) turn up at 10am every Monday to drag you out to kickflip over handrails in the pissing rain on your one day off? - Well technically I get two days off, but on a Sunday I’ve got other shit to do, (laughing)…

But this whole thing has been shot during the day on consecutive Mondays though, regardless of the weather, right? - Yeah, pretty much, apart from a couple of things that Leo shot, but it’s been sick man. It’s good to go out and do stuff…

So you’ve never really had a period in your life where you’ve not been working and have had the time to skate whenever you wanted then? - I had a couple of months when I first left college but other than that, no, not really. I’ve always worked because I don’t have any choice. It’d be nice to be able to skate all the time but I can’t, most of the time I’ve just been chilling…

By ‘chilling’ you mean working full time though don’t you? - Yeah, (laughing)…

You’re a chef, right? - Yeah. At the time all my mates were already working as chefs so they got me a job originally. It’s hard work but I enjoy it. At first I was only a KP, (kitchen porter) which is pretty grim – just washing dishes and shit.

Being a chef and working in a kitchen environment is massively stressful, right? - Yeah it is pretty heavy; you’re on your feet all day…

What hours do you work? - I do two separate shifts – the morning one from 6am till 4pm, or the later one from 9am till 1am – it’s full on. You don’t get loads of breaks or nothing. You go in and your head’s down and you prep all day and then you go into a service. You’ll get the odd ciggy break or whatever but it’s proper graft, no standing about doing nothing. You’re on your feet all day, you don’t really get a chance to sit down at all, and if you do then you have a nightmare getting back up and moving again. You’ve gotta push yourself though and get the shift done because you don’t want to lose your job…

So what’s your official position? - There are loads of different ranks in kitchens – you’ve got your Sous Chefs and your Head Chefs and all the rest of the chefs are below that. I work directly with the Sous Chef so I guess I’m like second chef really. I’m in charge of other people. It’s my responsibility to make sure everyone is doing what they need to be doing, and at a good pace - just keeping on top of it all really. If anyone’s slacking it puts the rest of the team in the shit because a kitchen is a team effort situation.

There are higher-ranking chefs than me, say the Commis Chef and the Chef de Partie and all that, they’re higher than I am but it’s not on them to control the kitchen, and they don’t have the responsibilities of the Sous Chef or Head Chef, all the paperwork and that. There’s a lot more to it than just cooking basically. When I go in on a morning I have to take temperatures of things in the fridges to make sure that everything’s been stored properly and is safe to eat. Even down to things like signing people in and out of the kitchen, or getting the orders right first time. There’s not really much room to get things wrong, if you don’t order enough of something and it’s on the menu then you’re f*cked basically…

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Do you think that living this lifestyle where you’re always under pressure at work and having so little free time makes you take skating more seriously when you do get a minute to do it? - Yeah for sure. It’s not like I’m always going ham if I’m out on my own at the skatepark clearing my head, but say in this kind of scenario where you’s are here to shoot photos and we’ve got a deadline to work towards then yeah, I’ll try my best to go in and use the free time I have to my advantage. I only get one day to do this shit so there’s no point being half-arsed about it, is there? I mean obviously I do have to careful as I work full time. I can’t be flinging myself down 50 stairs and then ringing up work going, “Oh I’ve f*cked me leg, I can’t come in…"

Has that ever happened? - Nah, I just have to go in anyway. I don’t have a choice. I kinda f*cked my knee a bit doing that feeble on the bar but I still had to go to work and be on my feet all week afterwards. I could barely walk but I’ve got to earn money to pay my bills; that’s just how it is…

Ollie: Do you see this as something you’ll do as a career? - Not in an ideal world no, but if it has to be then I can make it a career. It’s not really a life that anyone wants to live, is it? I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy it but it’s hard never having any free time, working such long hours and having so much stress to deal with.

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I mean if you make it to like Head Chef then yeah maybe, obviously there’s still a lot of pressure on you but you’re not really in the kitchen as much and you’re making good money to where it is a career job, you know? You’re still there all day but you’re pushing other people to work as much as doing it yourself.

Changing tack - there’s a lot of talent in the Liverpool skate scene but unless people actually come here, it seems as if nobody from outside really knows about it. Possibly because there hasn’t really been that much video output from inside the scene I suppose… - When we were kids we weren’t really bothered about that stuff at all. Not in an “I’m trying to sound cool" way – we just genuinely didn’t even think like that. We were just out skating, having a good time.

Ollie: I think as well, back then in Liverpool there were two crews of people our age really – there was the crew with Tom (Tanner), Vaughan (Jones) and Geff and that who were more related to the shop and more ‘in the scene’ if you like, then there was our crew who just went out skating for the sake of it... - Yeah that’s true; we never really had a camera, and filming wasn’t a part of it for us. We’d just go on days out to Stoke Plaza or something instead, rather than ‘going filming in town’, (laughs). Maybe because we had cars and the other crew didn’t, I dunno…

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What era was this then? Back when you started getting Crayon boards from Dykey? - Yeah, that’s when things started getting a bit more ‘serious’ I suppose and at the same time Jeeves got a camera. Thing is, I moved out from my mum and dad’s when I was quite young and so obviously I had to fend for myself, which meant I starting working. That’s probably why chasing ‘being sponsored’ wasn’t a part of it for me for a while and also why hardly anyone outside of my mates in Liverpool really ever saw me in that period. I was working, I had a bird; you know what I mean? I was still young but I was living more of an adult life in some ways than a lot of people my age.

That’s quite a common theme these days in the UK skate-scene it seems. Ten years ago it felt as if there were a lot more opportunities out there for UK-based skaters to get a little bit of money from their sponsors, just enough so that they only had to work part-time, and could devote themselves to skating, whereas these days, a lot of the best up and comers in the UK are working full time jobs like you… - Yeah that’s true I suppose but you need money to live don’t you? I’m not daft enough to expect to make a living from being a skateboarder right now, I’ve got rent and bills and petrol to pay for – so I work…

Ollie: The other thing is that unlike say Manchester - which is kind of the nearest big scene to Liverpool – we didn’t have that abundance of filmers and photographers that Manchester had back when we were kids, maybe that’s why people like Evz slipped under the radar a bit… - Yeah it goes back to what we were talking before about it being a pretty small scene in Liverpool when we were younger, where it was really just two groups of kids with about 10 or 15 kids in each group. That was it. I mean you had the older crews doing their thing but as far as the youth went, that was it.

Did you all skate different stuff? - Yeah, they were the ‘cool kids’, the ‘townies’. We used to call them ‘the townies’ because they were always in town, too cool for the skateparks, (laughing), whereas we used to love the skateparks, (laughs). I guess we were the ‘not cool kids’…

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Mackey told me that he thought you were a ‘skatepark kid’ at first too, until he saw you do this line at Seel St first try right in front of him and realised that he’d f*cked up. Can you remember that? - (Laughing), that’s funny. Thing is, I started skating when I was 6 years old. I was doing everything back then – my parents would take me to Rampworx and I’d have the BMX, the blades and the skateboard. I’d have an hour on each and eventually as I got a bit older I thought, “f*ck all that shit" and just kept on with the skating. Because I was so young I didn’t know anything about the wider world of skateboarding. I didn’t know there was a skate shop in town or anything like that - I was 10 years old, (laughs). I was too young at that point to really understand what a ‘skate scene’ even was. Once I started to grow up a bit and my parents started to take the reigns off, I’d come onto town and skate and meet people and all that, but for the first few years of skateboarding I was a ‘skatepark kid’ because I was too young to be anything else.

Up until I was about 13 I just didn’t venture into town at all. We spent most of our time skating little jump ramps and flatbars outside our houses, or at skateparks.

Ironically, aren’t you and Charlie the only true Scousers on the Lost Art team, despite what you’ve said about the ‘townies’ and all that? - (Laughing), yeah and yet I wasn’t cool enough to be accepted by the ‘town group’ back in the day, despite none of them actually being from Liverpool, they were mostly from The Wirral. Luke (Fletcher) was part of that group and he’s actually from Liverpool though…

Thing is, it wasn’t like we called them ‘the townies’ as in they were from town, that’s just where the in-crowd skated back then. Like I said before, we were the park-rats and we all had cars so we were more up for travelling. Mackey used to call us the ‘Anthill Mob’ after that old Wacky Races cartoon where one car would pull up and loads of people would pile out of it, (laughing). That was us - rocking up in the Mini, with everyone packed in…

Have you enjoyed the process of shooting this interview Evz? - Yeah totally, if I get the opportunity I’m always down to get a photo or film something. I enjoy the process of doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be out there every day on a mission, filming specific stuff, killing it – but I’m not in a position to do that because of work.

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