Sidewalk Skateboarding James Bush Interview - Sidewalk Skateboarding

James Bush Interview James Bush Interview

I remember Jackie hitting me up about some kid Rob Selley had put forward - after he’d stopped doing Motive Skateboards - as a potential dude we could put on Fabric. I’d always thought that the team Rob put together for Motive was incredible so for me it was a no brainer as I hold Rob in such high regard.

If he was putting someone forward then they would be good. I also knew from the recommendation that James would also be a good fit and a good dude all round.
He’s unreal on a skateboard - sometimes I’m harsh with him as I don’t always believe just because you can do a trick that you should do it, but he knows I’m messing; it’s all love really.
Technically he’s one of the best skateboarders I’ve ever witnessed and I’m sure his Get Lesta part is going to make some waves - he’s put the time and effort into that one for sure.

He’s a straight up dude and I hope he gets what he should from within skateboarding because he really, genuinely does deserve it.

Keep it real James, you beast.

Mark Baines

So you were just saying about Manny (Lopez) leaving Fabric to potentially be getting Habitat flow from Keen Distribution.


Do you think it’s more beneficial for you as a sponsored skateboarder in the UK to be a big part of a domestic company like Fabric, or would you like to be a UK representative of a bigger brand similar to that of Habitat, via a distributor?

In my opinion, I’m happy where I am than if I was to be getting something through a distro. That’s just how I feel. It just seemed like Manny didn’t feel at home any more, if you know what I mean? That’s just the way it goes sometimes, which is a pity.

When did you find out that Manny had left Fabric?

The day before or two days before it was announced, he spoke to me on Facebook then I think (Mark) Baines told me. He was gutted about it but I guess sometimes you don’t feel like everything is fitting together for you, and that was just how he seemed to feel.

And how do you feel?

How do I feel? Sad. I’m going to miss him. I always really enjoyed going on trips with him; every time we’ve been away together we always vibed off each other’s energy and stuff, so it’s going to suck not having him there. You’ve got to move on though I guess, and everyone else needs to focus more on doing what they’ve got to do.

1066 The Battle Of Hastings had nothing on 2016 The Battle Of The Watersports Centre. Switch heelflip at the grimmest. Photo Horse.

How does it work for you and Fabric then? Obviously you’re based outside of Milton Keynes and most of those guys are based around the north – Sheffield, Newcastle…do you see the other guys on the team much?

I don’t see them all as much as I’d like to but I do see Baines a lot more than everyone else, just because he’ll drive down, or we can meet halfway, in Coventry or somewhere like that, or I can get the coach up to Baines’ house and go skate Sheffield. Getting the coach to Newcastle is on a whole other level, it’s a five and a half hour journey so you waste a whole day traveling to that place, but on occasion it’s worth doing.

Is there anything going on there at the minute? Any videos in the pipeline or anything like that?

We’re putting together a promo that should be out pretty soon. That will be a tour video crossed with a little bit of footage here and there that we’ve got from trips and missions and stuff. From going to Sheffield with Baines and going to Leeds, that stuff will all tie in as well.

Do you think it will affect that promo much not having the Manny stuff in there?

Yes, in all honesty it will but it just means the rest of us have got to work harder doesn’t it? That one is for you, Conor (North).

I guess it’s been hard for you trying to get stuff filmed for Fabric because Get Lesta has no doubt been eating up most of your time for the past few years, right?

The thing with filming with Cal (Callun Loomes), is that to meet up with him I can get a cheap ride out of Mark Stern or Kiz (Kieran Wilcox) or someone like that. They live right by me so we can chip in a fiver or whatever, or sometimes nothing – sorry guys (laughs) – then we can drive directly to Leicester or wherever. There have only been eight times in the entire two years filming for this video that I’ve travelled on my own money; I just can’t afford it, it’s not achievable for me. Fabric can’t afford to pay for a coach every weekend to Sheffield or Newcastle, so that’s the main challenge.

I’ve got no filmer down here that I can film stuff with for Fabric, and that’s also a big issue. There was a little while where Baines lent Kieran his camera and then we went out filming for two weeks straight, every day, and we got a minute and half of footage in that time, but as soon as Baines needed the camera back then I had no one again.

You live in the middle of nowhere effectively, don’t you?

Yep, completely, in a place called Wicken, it’s eight miles outside of Milton Keynes, almost halfway between Milton Keynes and Northampton. I don’t drive and there are no buses from my village at all, at any time of day. It’s a £13 taxi either way to get to work and back, so I have no money (laughs).

As you live so far away from town, where do you skate? Do you not skate Milton Keynes most days?

I try really, really hard to avoid it. I’ll try skate Midlands way instead – Coventry, Leicester, Loughborough and places like that, and on occasion take a trip up to Sheffield. They’re the easiest and best places to skate. I will be out with Kieran mainly, my boy Jamie Staples, Joe Jarvis, Ash…the local boys, the Hornz Club.

How often do you see Rob (Selley) and Sean (Smith) these days?

Nowhere near as much as I’d like to. They’ve got their own things going on – Sean works a lot and Rob’s got a lovely little lad now and everything so they’re busy, but on occasions like today when you manage to drag them out, it’s always nice to see them.

That was Cal who got them out today, right?

Nah that was me, that was my doing (laughs), on the record. It was Cal encouraged, he told me to try get Rob out to come out and film a guest trick for my part, so I badgered him profusely and he somehow managed to get Sean out as well. I was surprised, but happy. It was good to see Sean doing switch back tails again – there’s nothing better is there? It’s the epitome of Milton Keynes isn’t it? Watching Sean skating the Theatre District…it makes you feel at home again (laughs).

What kind of influence have those two had on you then, growing up? Obviously all three of you rode for DC, all three of you rode for Motive…

Everything, literally everything that has happened to me skateboarding wise has been down to Rob. Selley was a second father to me for a long time, he literally looked out for me, gave me stuff when I needed it, wheels, clothing, he put me on Motive then when Motive went under he pushed for me to get on Fabric. I respected that a lot. He asked me what company I would like to be on when Motive went under, I told him Fabric then he sorted all that out for me. The guy raised me.

I guess when your Haunts came out you were still on Motive…

I got on Fabric just before because there was a heelflip and a switch flip down the three block in Coventry which were shot on the same day that were both on a Fabric board. A lot of the early stuff I shot with Swampy (Jamie Harold) I looked like a scarecrow, ripped trousers, flares…I got on DC and the first thing Rob said to me was “get them to send you some fucking trousers” (laughs).

Frontside bluntslide transfer at big yellow – photo Horse

Going back to Rob and Sean, do you think they were stoked turning up today and seeing that you’ve got the cover? That there’s someone else coming out of Milton Keynes who’s out there, getting coverage?

I hope so, and I’m sure they are, because obviously as I’ve said, even me being here now is down to Rob’s help and the way he hooked me up when I was younger. He pushed me really hard into the scene and really tried to make me known and be about, and if it wasn’t for that, nothing would’ve ever happened. I’d have been a skatepark kid with a fucked board for the rest of my days.

A lot of skaters will come up through a filmer or a photographer, and I know during your early days we were getting a lot of stuff sent through from Swampy, so many tech ledge sequences…

Swampy was the one who got me on DC, because he sent all of that stuff to Stenti (James Stentiford), he was my TM for maybe two months. That’s a funny story actually. I got the call when I was sat on the green drinking, underage, and I got a phone call from a number I didn’t know, I picked up he was all, “this is James Stentiford from DC” and was like, “fuck off, who is this?” then it took about eight times for me to realise that it really was him, by which point I felt like a bit of a bellend (laughs). “Oh, sorry man…” That must be a fairly told tale though mustn’t it? People not believing that someone would call them up to sponsor them, because it was so out of the blue. The only reason Stenti saw anything was because Swampy had been sending the photos to Leo (Sharp) and Leo was working for DC at the time, so he showed them to Stenti and he sorted me out from that. But obviously to me, I’d never sent any footage to DC; I didn’t know how sponsorship worked.

You can’t have it where DC in the UK doesn’t have someone from MK – they have to have someone; they’ve had three generations of it…

There’s footage of me as a kid skating these fat, fuck off Lynx, doing back foot flips. I had these tiny little legs and these huge shoes at the bottom of them, but DC was my shit, I loved it but that must have been the Milton Keynes influence, seeing Sean skating around wearing it I was obsessed straight away. Hence riding for them for so long.

And you’ve just been on that trip as well – the Special Delivery 2 Tour. How was that?

It was good fun: a lot of beer (laughs).

How long did you go on it for?

I think six days. I left early because the deadline for filming for the Get Lesta video was on that weekend, but I thought it was going to be four days because I only vaguely looked at the email before I went, and there were a few places where we were spending a few days, so I only brought four days worth of clothes, I was wearing the underwear and everything for days…I was stinking it up. There was a point where they had to get me a t-shirt from the London stock room because I was wearing the same t-shirt I had on when I skated Southbank. I was skating the stairs and there was glass at the bottom, I got blood all over my shirt, sweat everywhere and we were off to this nice swing bar thing (laughs). I literally looked like a tramp; it was like the good old days.

Who does fakie hardflips down big shit? Le Bush that's who. Explosive actions #Get420. Sequence Jamie Harold.

Who does fakie hardflips down big shit? Le Bush that's who. Explosive actions #Get420. Sequence Jamie Harold.

Looking at Milton Keynes again, obviously Mark (Stern) just had a Haunts, but is there anyone who, growing up, was on par with you but never got the recognition they deserved?

Robin Lee man, fucking hell. Straight up, he was a boss. He had the best heelflip you’ve ever seen in your life. The heelflip he did over the wall round the back of MACBA was on the best heelflips I’ve ever seen in my entire life. He was one of my favourite skaters growing up. I wish he’d got something out of skating so we could all see more from him, the power he has is just insane. He’s a grafter now I think, but he still skates in London, he’s just not filming or shooting photos or anything. He never expected anything from skateboarding and that’s one of the reasons why he’s so good to watch, because he has so much power and so much ability, but he’s really just doing it all for fun. The guy is one of my favourites from Milton Keynes. Him and Brownie (Giles Brown) both killed it. Brownie did two of the best crookeds in MK ever actually – over all of the T-Block and on the ledge over the double set.

There’s a lot of up and comers killing it as well, one of which is sitting right opposite me.

Okay, like who?

A guy called Jamie (Staples), and the whole Horns Crew, everyone’s just killing it these days, it’s ridiculous. Josh Snooks, Josh Gregory, he’s ridiculous.

What about Jack Edwards? What do you remember about the Motive days, skating with him?

He was a close friend of mine for a little while. He loved Lord of the Rings and used to call my house The Shire – “am I staying over The Shire for a week?”

It was during the summer holidays when I was in school, he’d come stay at mine for a week, I’d go stop with him for a week…it was sick. That dude was one of the best I’ve ever seen in my life, hands down. The technical ability on that guy was so unbelievable, so incredibly talented. It was a pity that he faded out, just one day he stopped talking to me. I was texting him asking if he was good then one day I got a message from his old friend Greg and he was like “have you spoke to Jack lately?” I told him I’d tried to get hold of him but couldn’t. He popped back up out of the blue on a Radlands edit – he did flip back nosegrind nollie flip on the three set ledge, in eight goes or something. He could still do it as well as he could always do it. The guy is amazing.

Here’s the obligatory Cal question – how many times has Cal broken you?

Oh my God, man (laughs). On the last day of filming for this video I sacked myself and smacked my head on the same day. He’s put me in hospital five times, maybe six, with broken bones, ankles, this, that and the other. For this video I’ve not been put in hospital by Cal, but I did put myself in hospital a little while ago skating flat. I shattered my fourth and fifth metatarsals doing a frontside nollie flip. My foot slipped off the front of the board and folded in the middle, and shattered my fourth and fifth; I was out for six months or something (laughs).

You seem to bounce back from it all pretty well – like, when you wrenched your ankle at Watersports in Nottingham, people take slams that aren’t as bad as that one and you never see them again. They get into other stuff and just vanish, whereas you always seem to come back from it.

Oh I got into a lot of beer, I put a lot of weight on after that. I got a fat neck (laughs). We shot some photos of the new Get Lesta t’s to put on the Internet, and we couldn’t use mine because I had a massive double chin from being injured and sitting on the couch for however long just drinking beers. I live so far from anything that I can’t walk anywhere, I couldn’t afford cabs because I wasn’t working, so I’d just sit on my couch and drink beer, all day.

As soon as I got back I bought a shit ton of physio stuff. I was doing yoga – don’t tell anyone – and I did loads of physio on my ankle. I bought bands, boards, everything you need to recover, and I went in, put the effort in, and it worked. It’s not really played up in like a year, either.

I guess looking at this interview and your upcoming ‘Get 420’ video part in general – what trick for you strikes you as the biggest battle?

Definitely the switch heel at Watersports. Having fucked myself on that stair set, trying the switch tre when I did my ankle, instantly I didn’t want to skate it again. There was no way I was going to do that switch tre, and for some reason I had a hundred and fifty goes and maybe landed on two. I couldn’t have switch heeled it back then either, given how hard I had to work for it this time. I went back three times for the switch heel, and I think in total it was way over two hundred goes, but you’d have to clarify that with Cal.

That switch heel was supposed to be your ‘secret ender’ wasn’t it? Explain Cal’s secret ender regime that he’s got going on…

Whenever anyone does an ender, everyone who is there is sworn to secrecy.

Who decides what you do for an ender? Do you decide that that particular trick is going to be the ender? What if you did something better a little later – would everyone get sworn to secrecy again?

For me, the switch heel, it was the work I put in. And I’d already broken my ankle at Watersports too so that trick was like a ‘fuck you’ to the spot. There was the pressure on me, how uncomfortable I felt trying to skate it, and the amount of times we’d gone back for it, and because it’s a bigger stair set as well…there are a lot of factors that have gone towards that being my ender.

We were doing really well with keeping it a secret as well because I did it probably five months ago, and I even had Mike (Simons) comment on one of my statuses. I posted something, on Facebook I can’t remember what it was, and Mike commented “yeah, but you still can’t switch heel Watersports” and I was so hyped because then I knew that keeping it a secret had worked. I don’t even know if he knows now; he will do after this comes out.

Have you got any Buszy footage in your part?

No…oh yeah, I do! What am I on about? (Laughs) I’ve got two tricks on T-Block in there.

It’s funny that you can do tricks like you were doing the other week – the alley-oop fakie shove-it nosegrind reverts – and they just go on Instagram. I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen those tricks before, ever.

The reason that I put those two tricks up was because I never thought I’d do them at a street spot in my life. I can do them on a two and a half inch high manny pad but that’s about it. But I did manage to do one in a line on the DC trip on a street block so I was pissed off at myself for uploading them before, but fuck it, who cares? That’s just the way it goes.

Here’s a popular one from the grip of questions from the Get Lesta Whatsapp group that Cal has rounded up for us – is Rob Selley your real dad?

(Laughing) Going straight in with that one. I hope so, that would be good and it would make a lot of sense. I was born in Corby, Rockingham way, which is not far from Northampton, so it is possible.

If it’s not Rob, do you know who your real father is?

No, no I don’t actually. I don’t know if you know that much about Rockingham but it’s an interesting place, to say the least. Depressingly, Rockingham is one of my middle names, which wasn’t my choice and I’m going to get it removed as soon as I can be bothered. There’s a race circuit there, they do NASCAR and shit, but it’s a bit of a backwards place. I’ve been there a few times; I’ve got American cousins and we went to NASCAR because they’re American so they have to watch NASCAR (laughs), but it’s got that small village mentality where everyone is on drugs, everyone loves ketamine, but on a big scale. From the reports my parents were basically two 16 year olds or something like that, and they just left me on a bench. I was adopted by my real parents when I was 1, 1 and a half, something like that, and I spent some time in foster care before that.

Who found you on the park bench? Do you know?

I can’t remember but it was on the news. I don’t know who actually found me though; I’d have to ask my parents about that.

Obviously at 1 and a half you’ve no recollection about any of it…

No recollection at all. I don’t even remember being told I was adopted so I guess my parents brought it up when I was younger than 3 because you’re not meant to remember anything before that age anyway, are you? I guess they brought me up the best way that you can – they brought me up as being adopted, and explained it to me and kept explaining it to me in simple terms.

Have your parents got other kids, other adopted kids?

My older brother is adopted – he’s got the worse end of it though. You know adoption can cause PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) – I’ve got a little bit of that, we’ve both had to do therapy when we were younger for it – but my brother has had that really bad. It’s been quite difficult for my parents, bless them, they’ve put the time and the effort in but it’s been hard work for them, straight up.

So who chose your name then? Because you’ve got a few middle names haven’t you?

James David Rockingham Bush – I’ve got four names. Bush is my parent’s surname, but I was given the other three names before I was adopted. The two ambulance drivers who took me from the park bench to the hospital were called James and David, so obviously I want to keep those names, and Rockingham is where I was found, but fuck that (laughs).

So you’re going to get Rockingham removed by deed poll then?


What are you going to get put in there in its place? Buszy?

(Laughing) Yep – James David Buszy Bush. There’s good meaning behind all three of the names, I just don’t really want to be associated with Rockingham.

So Stern just sent through screengrabs of the questions for you from the Whatsapp group…

These are going to be good (laughs).

What made you go from baggy to drainpipe? That’s from Goose…

We went to the DC HQ in London and me and John Bell got insanely drunk. The next day Ed took us to get some sample stuff, and I was still drunk as shit, I wasn’t thinking about sizes or anything, and I took this really nice pair of grey trousers. When I put them on they were hugging my legs (laughs). I wore them one day and I got no end of abuse from Cal. “Jeggings” was the quote. That was an accident.

What language do you speak? And what accent do you call that?

Drunk. And annoying.

Why do you like fat girls?

Fucking hell…(laughs).

When are you going to get into conspiracy theories like everyone else from MK?

I had a stint when I was younger, when I used to smoke a lot of weed I kind of went for it, but then when Jack went off the radar I took the hint and dropped it. When I stopped smoking weed I just didn’t care any more. Hornz all the way.

Have you ever wanked off to a picture of the Buszy?

Erm…I’ve wanked off at the Buszy (laughs). That’s not actually true.

Have you ever had a shit at the Buszy?

I’ve not had a shit there, but I have had a shit in the forest at the Peace Pagoda, naked. I took all my clothes off because I was really ill and didn’t want to get shit on my clothes. Charlie was doing switch 180 5-0 down the hubba and I was hoping he was going to land it. Cal was ill as well and he had toilet paper on him so I was like “Cal, I need that paper man, I’m going to die”, so I had to leg it to the forest, take all my clothes off then have a shit. In the forest.

Based on the fact you drink a thousand beers day, smoke a thousand fags a day and shake like a shitting dog, are you concerned about your health?

Am I concerned about my health? Yes…and that’s about it. It’s fun though isn’t it? Hornz.

How do you feel knowing that Get Lesta is going into liquidation after the video comes out?

(Laughing) Erm…I guess relieved because then Cal won’t hurt me any more. I may go a year without an injury.

How many James Bush’s does it take to change a lightbulb?

One to change it and fourteen more to talk endless shit whilst he does.

When are you going to stop flicking down?

A nollie flip question! I didn’t get laid because of that bad nolle flip technique. I was at a new years eve party years ago…I used to do these stinking kick down nollie flips, and I’d been sessioning them all day trying to work out how to do them normally, and I finally did, then it was brought it up when I was talking to Zeta’s sister at this party. They said that I’d not stopped talking about it all day, and then I went off about it again. She was keen, then I blew it, completely, all because I was too passionate about the fact that I couldn’t do nollie flips properly (laughs).

Risking the family jewels James holds tight on a Carlton based boardslide to end the onslaught. Photo Horse.

Risking the family jewels James holds tight on a Carlton based boardslide to end the onslaught. Photo Horse.

Would you rather watch one minute of Swampy footage or a full Baghead video?

That’s hard as fuck. I love Swampy footage, he’s number one, and Baghead videos are fun to watch because Forde (Brookfield) and those guys just enjoy themselves and are super fun to watch. I’d rather watch both, if that’s an acceptable answer?

Is your Instagram account run by Baines?

(Laughs) Erm…yes. Nah it’s not, I just try to tell him that I’m uploading something before Cal so he can repost it before Cal does, but it never works.

Who do you think would win between Voz and Goose in a fight?

Goose is pretty wriggly, but Voz would hammer the fuck out of him.

Why don’t you shut up?

Erm…(silence). Thanks guys!


I just want to say a massive thank you to everybody at Sidewalk – I appreciate it! Also to Rob Selley, Sean, Kieran Wilcox and all the MK amigos – you know who you are!

Callun for being a prick 99% of the time but kind of okay the rest. Sam Murgatroyd for spin kicking the shit out of my head on the DC trip, Mark Baines definitely needs to be on this list! Susgang, Hornz Monday Club, and all my other mates and family.

And Get Lesta, Fabric Skateboards, DC Shoes, Story Clothing and Skate Pharmacy for giving me presents and being rad companies.

If there’s anyone I forgot I apologise, you can kick me in the head next time you see me – the offer stands for one hour after this mag is released.

Thanks everyone, peace!