When we first met Harry Lintell he was a quiet, self-effacing lad with floppy hair, who was dating his manager at the local McDonalds where he worked. He originally came to our, (and by extension, national) attention due to his friend entering a clip of him into the 2008 online DVS ‘Hook Me Up’ contest that we ran on the Sidewalk site. From the very first glimpse of Harry’s eventually victorious one minute and thirty seconds of out-of-focus footage, it was clear that this unknown kid in his Sidewalk subscriber shirt had something remarkable about him. This was stage one of the Lintell story.
From there, Harry began to travel outside of his native Kent, spending weeks on end couch-surfing around Manchester and Yorkshire, picking up sponsors and a reputation as he went. He became a regular guest at both Ryan Gray’s and my house and inexorably, and without any forethought, fell into the early filming process of what would become the second Sidewalk video ‘In Progress’, which Harry ended up having the last section on. Over the next three years myself and Rye got to witness Harry put together what must be one of the best video parts ever filmed by an amateur UK skater still living at home with his mum.
During my many years of working for this magazine I can safely say that I’ve personally witnessed and filmed a hell of a lot of incredible skateboarding but, in terms of producing skating of such ground breaking levels, performed predominantly on UK spots and with such an unbroken intensity – I think I can hold my hands up say that Harry Lintell’s ascent from late 2009 to mid 2011 is unparalleled.
I actually remember an emotional, (and pretty drunk) Harry telling Rye and myself at one of the Sidewalk premieres that all he’d ever really wanted from skateboarding was a sponsor that paid enough to free him from the torture of his McDonald’s job, and the opportunity to film a video part and therefore, at that precise moment, he felt like he was living out his teenage dreams.
And then, at the zenith of his power…he kind of disappeared. Well, not exactly of course; he still found time to go on an international Volcom trip around the UK and impress the likes of Dustin Dollin and Chima Ferguson, land himself a spot on the European Cons team and on the then-brand new UK board co Superdead; as well as unfortunately travelling to the States and destroying his knee on the first day of what was supposed to be a 3-month stay. But after all the plaudits and dangled opportunities that he’d worked so hard for over the previous 2 – 3 years finally materialised it seemed, to the outside observer at least, that perhaps he just wasn’t as keen on being skate-famous as most of those around him assumed that he would be…
Anyway, there’s no need for me to blather on any further as you’ll be able to hear about the ‘missing years’ from the horses’ mouth in the candid interview that follows so, in conclusion, I will just say this: no matter how clear the path in front of you may appear, circumstances both inside and outside of your control can, and will, sometimes f*ck things up for you. All you can really do is to keep your head up and concentrate on what it is that you really want. And, luckily for us all, what Harry Lintell really wants to do is skateboard which, if you ask me, is clearly what he was put on this earth to do.
Welcome back tache-man…
Barney Page: Are you recording it?
Yeah we’ve just started now.
BP: So this is an interview recording of Harry Lintell for Sidewalk Magazine – take 1. Harry Lintell, what is your full name?
(Laughing) Harry Lintell.
Harry, when was the last time you were featured in the mag in an interview capacity?
Erm…to be honest, I don’t really know. I think it was three years ago…four years ago? I think my Haunts was in 2010.
BP: Time flies.
What was going on in your life back then?
Skating…I was working in McDonalds then, trying to get shit done, enjoying it…
BP: Weren’t you going out with your McDonalds manager?
I was at the time; that’s how I got so much time off work, (laughs). She’d ring me up every week and go, “what shifts do you want? When are you away?” And I’d be like, “I can’t do this day, that day or this day” and just have them all off.
You’d be away for weeks though. You’d come stay in Wakefield and Leeds for weeks on end.
I was away a lot back then.
BP: So she definitely made it easier for you to be able to work and skate at the same time then?
Yeah, for sure: Three years ago I’d be skating every day, I’d be up at yours in Wakefield or Leeds. No mentalness…
Korahn Gayle: What mentalness are you talking about?
BP: How was it when you stopped banging her or whatever? Was it awkward when you went into work? Was she like, “you’re not having any days off now, you can stay in Ashford”? (Laughing).
Nah it didn’t even happen like that. I spent so much time away that eventually I just didn’t go into work, and then six months later my manager wrote out my own resignation letter and sent it into himself, (laughs). Then I didn’t have a job.
For six months I had them phoning me going, “when do you want to work?” and I’d just ignore them. Eventually my manager said if I didn’t call him he’d be putting my resignation letter in. I didn’t call…
So the summer your Haunts came out you were on the Volcom trip with Dustin (Dollin), Chima (Ferguson) and everyone, weren’t you?
Braydon was on that trip as well.
BP: Wasn’t that the summer you lost your tooth?
That was the summer I lost my fake tooth. My actual tooth was on my mantelpiece for years, and then I lost it. The dentist did a really shocking job and the metal rod that was in there snapped, but that’s a really boring story.
Is there any truth in the rumour that Dustin offered to buy you a gold tooth to replace your fake one?
Yeah he did offer that. Well, he offered to buy me a gold tooth if I gave him the fake one, that was the deal.
Why did he want the fake one? So he could get the measurements?
Nah, I think he just wanted it (laughs). He wanted my fake tooth. Maybe he was going to make it into a necklace or something, I dunno…he just wanted it.
BP: Maybe he was going to keep it in his pocket as a lucky charm.
He was like “I have to have it if I’m going to buy you one”.
KG: Were you tempted then?
I was well tempted. But when I went out to LA I phoned him because I was going to stay with him before I crippled my knee, and he was like, “I’m in Australia”.
Oh yeah, when you went to LA on that Volcom trip in the February you were going to stay for a few months, right?
The other rumour was those guys wanted you on Baker after that Volcom UK trip, wasn’t it?
I dunno. I didn’t know what the deal was, they just wanted me to go out there and chill with them.
Dustin said for me to go stay at his house and to phone him when we get to LA, but then when I got there and phoned him he was like, “erm…I’m in Australia”. When he said that I was bit like, “well I’ve f*cked my knee anyway, I’d better just go home”.
BP: How did you do your knee when you were in LA?
Skating a rail down some stairs in a school. I was trying a hurricane and my wheel got caught under the rail. I went flying down the rail, ripped my knee, whacked my hand, and that was the end of that. First spot, first day, knee gone. I was only there a week but I was meant to be there for three months.
You’ve had reoccurring injuries with your knee. I think I’ve seen you do your knee more regularly than anyone else I’ve ever known.
You’ve seen me pop my knee back in; it doesn’t always pop back in now.
BP: F*ck that. Does it feel a lot better now than it did? Does it feel stronger?
Yeah, a little: I mean I did it a while ago and I’m still waiting for surgery…
BP: A couple of years back when we were filming for the Sidewalk video you’d always be doing something with it, rubbing it, having a bit of play time with it, but now it looks like it’s a bit stronger.
I think it is stronger now but it’s one of them; it’s touch and go. If you give it one awkward twist and your knee blows out then you have to wait three months for the swelling to go down. It’s annoying. That’s what I did last time; I just waited for the swelling to go and it felt normal again. But at the same time it does still feel f*cked; I try not think about it. I can skate now and it doesn’t hurt when I skate, so I just don’t think about it and get on with it. I am going to get it fixed properly; I’m just waiting on sorting the surgery.
When I did it the last time, it was the first time I met Arto (Saari). I hadn’t even said hello to him yet, we went to Tottenham and I busted my knee and he was straight there, icing my knee. I was thinking, “this isn’t the way I wanted to meet Arto” – lying on the floor, nearly in tears, and he’s there icing it for me.
BP: That is quite cool in a way though…
It is cool but it was definitely not how I wanted to meet him. I’d rather sit down and have a beer with him and talk to him. He was totally cool about it to be fair, he was giving me tips and telling me to get it fixed. He was telling me about his knee surgeries too, how he’s not got a meniscus, or half a meniscus or something.
That was back in July, right before AmsterDamn Am too.
I guess you’ve never had chance to talk about when we were finishing up the Sidewalk video have you? Did you start to feel the pressure when we were coming up to the deadline? And in hindsight, what do you now think of ‘that cover’ (laughs).
KG: Wow…what trick?
A fifty fifty on this rail, you go through a gate then it was along and down.
BP: Oh, that rail in London.
That wasn’t my fault though because I tried it and we got booted, then we went back the next day and security had chained bike locks to the rail so you couldn’t skate it.
BP: Yeah but so many people get covers that they’ve never landed.
(Not in this f*cking magazine they don’t Barney – Ed)
Were you stressing at the time that there was no way you could land the trick?
I was stressing for time. I think that was a week before the deadline for the Sidewalk video and that was going to be my last trick. I’d gone to London to stop with Hold Tight Henry to get it, and we saw the bicycle locks and we couldn’t do anything about it so I was kinda stuck. On a random one we went up to Sheffield, there wasn’t any pressure…well, I guess there was pressure, but the pressure made it more fun in a way, made it more interesting. We went to the Subway rail – you were there, Remon was there, Conhuir was there, Harrison, Ben, CJ…I think I ate shit quite a few times.
Nick Remon: I remember one where you hit the kink in the middle then went into the bush.
I remember the one where I went down the stairs on one ankle, but I somehow managed not to roll it. That rail was sick though; I wanted to do it for ages before I did it.
Where you relieved when you did it, like you could chill because you had an ender?
When I did it I felt like I didn’t have to stress or worry about anything. It was done and I was stoked; I couldn’t wait to see the finished thing, see everyone’s sections and the whole project come together. That was the sickest thing.
I guess. You were there from a year in pretty much, alongside Barney.
Then Conhuir, Nick, Baines, Manhead…
How was it for you to go to the premieres? Was it weird sitting there in a room full of people, watching yourself skate on a big screen?
That was definitely a little weird, but at the Liverpool one we got so much free beer, and in London we got beer and popcorn…that was alright.
BP: Where was the first one?
Liverpool was the first one, but you were away. Did you go to the Ireland one
BP: Nah, I just went to the London one. I flew in from somewhere and I had my f*cking bag with me didn’t I? But it was a dope night though!
Actually, I wasn’t there that evening.
Yeah you were.
I didn’t stay in London though; I had to take my bird home (laughs). I got involved with the White Russians first though, that was the one! Denis and Ben were on it.
BP: At the bar we went to afterwards where everyone had like three drinks in their hands at once? We were so hammered! That was the first time I met Ben’s wife Ayumi too, she was with a big group of friends. That night was sick!
Leo Sharp: Harry, when I came to Ashford to shoot your Haunts, why did you try to skate a clearly unskateable handrail?
Erm…at the time I didn’t know any better, I thought it was pretty good. It is a good rail!
LS: The rail basically has blind bumps for about five slabs before it, and it lands into a bush (laughs).
Yeah but the blind bumps are going with you, and the bush is to the side. That was my first real experience of anything like that and I felt like I had to do something cool. That rail, I’ve always wanted to do it and it seemed like a prime opportunity. I just ended up nutting myself then scorpioning, (laughs). Then we went to the stair set over the rail; that worked out.
So when we finished the Sidewalk video you’d already had your Haunts and a couple of covers, did you have anything in your head to work towards next, like “I want to do this now”?
I didn’t really know what to do or what I wanted to do…I still don’t know what I want to do now to be fair.
I remember speaking to you before we finished the video and you said to me “all I ever wanted to do was shoot a magazine cover, have an interview and film a video part then I’m done with skating” – do you still believe that that is the case?
Nah, I’m too hooked on skateboarding man.
At the time your whole ethos was that you wanted to produce this one package of coverage, these three things, then when you’d done that you would be happy.
I was happy that I’d done it, and then after I’d done it I got the hunger for it. Once the video had come out and people still wanted to go skating with me I felt that there was more for me to do. I just didn’t know what to do or how to do it or if I wanted to do it, if you know what I mean? I didn’t have anything else that was as fun to do, so I did the funnest thing that was there…which was to hang out with you guys and go skate every day.
But you didn’t skate every day. Or really hang out with any of us until recently…
(Laughs) Yeah…for various reasons.
KG: Well tell us some of the reasons then.
KG: Harry takes a sip of his drink.
Just girls. Girls and being useless I think.
To be fair, your ‘one cover, one interview, one video part’ plan, it looked like you were going to be successful in achieving that, even if you didn’t mean to.
That was my agenda, I did say that, but I guess I didn’t know any better.
KG: Once you’ve achieved a goal you usually want to go and do something more. Do you have any newer goals or ambitions you want to achieve in skating?
I don’t even have a goal in life if I’m being honest with you, (laughs). So long as I can eat every day, be clean, skate, have fun and have good friends…that’s it. What more could you want?
OK so let’s take your situation from over the last few years – you’ve spent a lot of time back at home in Ashford and occasionally going to London or going on Volcom or Converse trips, then you’d go straight back to Ashford again and no one would see you for months…
I regret that, for sure.
You look at what Barney has done, he went out to Europe, The States, just skating. Do you not think you could have maybe taken that route and gone traveling, met new people and skated different spots?
Yeah, but at the time I just didn’t know how to do it, you know what I mean?
You know you could have rung up Barney and said, “where are you this week? Can I come join you?”
BP: See, I didn’t know what to do either; I just went with it. I got into some sticky situations but it’s always fun, you get out of them in the end. You always seemed like you were always a bit nervous about traveling didn’t you?
Yeah, I think I definitely was.
BP: It is nerve-wracking though, but I just forced myself to do it. Even with coming up to Wakefield to stay with you for the first time, meeting anyone for the first time…you don’t really want to do it but you have to force yourself to do it. The thing is, it’s not too late, and you’re still going to do it.
I don’t know why I didn’t do it at the time. I’ve been in situations now, like the Poland skate camp where I went to this amazing park for a whole week. When I got the offer I didn’t know anyone there and no one was coming with me, I just got on the plane, got off it and met a bunch of people I didn’t know, and now we’re good friends, we talk on Facebook all the time.
At the time though I guess I was nervous about traveling and didn’t know what to do. I definitely regret spending that much time in Ashford.
You even stopped leaving Ashford though. You’d come stay at ours for two or three weeks at a time – that stopped. Then you stopped going through London…
BP: Is this after the Sidewalk video?
Yeah. Nick would come up, Denis was around but you kind of drifted away. Were you still skating?
Yeah of course, I definitely was still skating.
BP: The thing is as well, because your part had just come out it must have been good to mellow out for a little bit. I don’t know how long you mellowed out for though, (laughs).
I think that’s what I had in mind, but I definitely chilled out way more than I should have because I didn’t know what I wanted to work for next.
Have you figured it out now?
Yeah, for sure.
What do you want to work towards?
Having fun every single day, (laughs). I think I know what I want to do now.
BP: Remember when we first met each other?
I do remember when we first met each other. It was when you feebled that f*cking massive handrail in St Pauls, with half the rail cut off.
BP: You didn’t even have a passport at the time; you’d never been on any trips, never been to Europe or anything. The amount of trips you’ve done now is insane, especially compared to what you’d done four years ago.
The past couple of years I’ve done loads. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve travelled. I’ve been to Slovakia, Spain, France, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Italy, Swede, Germany, Brussels, Amsterdam…Malaga. Ma-lager, (laughs).
I feel like I know what I want to do now, which is go out and skate every day, hang out with my friends and not worry about the monotony of life, like jobs and money. I’ve soon realized you don’t need to worry about stuff like that and things will be ok.
Yeah, but you still have to be doing what your sponsors want to see you doing in order to lead that existence. You can’t just be like, “I don’t really care about having a job because I’m just going to skate”, because if you’re not getting coverage, shooting photos, going out filming or going on trips, that life won’t last very long.
Over the last three years I think I’ve learnt that. As much as it is fun going out skateboarding every day and it is just having a laugh, it has become a job and people expect certain things from me. I need to take it more seriously in order to live this lifestyle, and I want to live it as much as I can.
Who do you see your crew to be in skateboarding right now? Do you have much of a close affiliation with other guys on the companies you ride for? Who would you hit up if you wanted to go out for a skate?
I don’t even hit up my homies in my hometown. The people who I’d hit up to go skating with…back then it would be you because I’d stay with you and then we’d be good to film and I’d have a place to stay. I wouldn’t just hit up Barney and go to Exeter because that would be weird. Barney would always be around though, and whoever else was out filming at the time.
The last couple of years the crew has been me, Kev, Sam Ashley, Morph’s always there, Gav (Coughlan) sometimes, Denis (Lynn) is probably a big part of it, Chroliver I skate with quite a bit. Jerome (Campbell) is always good to skate with but he lives in Sheffield and I never go there, he just appears now and again. Rory (Milanes) is nice to go skating with; if he hears we’re on the mission he’ll hit us up and get involved. Or I’ll ring him up and be like “do you want to have some…skateboarding fun?” (Laughs).
KG: (Laughing) Do you want to have some skateboarding fun?
I don’t wanna say ‘go skateboarding’ though because that sounds lame, it should be fun. I understand that a job isn’t fun, not everything is fun, but if you don’t enjoy certain aspects of it then what’s the point?
So you’ve been working on a Volcom section with Kev for a while now, and that’s been your main focus for the last year. Didn’t that start out as a five trick welcome clip and now it’s grown into a full section?
It was always meant to be a two-minute section for Volcom Europe…
BP: When did you start riding for Volcom Europe?
April this year.
BP: Pretty recently then?
Well this is the only year where I’ve been really doing stuff again. But yeah, that section was meant to be a short ‘welcome to the team’ clip then it started evolving and there was more and more time on the timeline, and it got to the point where they said it was to be a promotional video partially because I’d taken so long and because of the amount of footage we’ve got. Now I’ve just got to get the last two tricks. I ate shit trying one the other day.
KG: Are they stairs, rails…?
It’s two f*cking handrails, (laughs). When I say it like that it doesn’t sound fun, but when I’m riding them away it will be fun.
So you started filming this part this year?
Yeah, I started filming properly in April or May.
Shall we talk about you briefly leaving Superdead?
I just feel embarrassed because the whole thing was my fault and I screwed loads of people over, and I was a dick about the whole situation because I was f*cking useless.
KG: Six syllables mate – you live and you learn. (Laughs).
You live and you learn, but that was one mistake that you can’t take bad. I feel really f*cking lame about it.
KG: Why? I don’t know about this so I’m interested to hear about it, but if you don’t want to talk about it then whatever. But it sounds interesting.
It happened so I have to talk about it.
KG: Lets talk about it then.
When The National thing came out I thought it was sick. I thought the whole art direction, the people who own the company, the team, how it was going…it was amazing and I wanted to be part of it. Me and the people who run it sat down and were talking about it, I was keen (to ride for them) so I phoned up Superdead and because I hadn’t done much for them over the last few months I felt bad leaving, mad guilty.
I felt bad quitting TwoDist because they were the first people to ever hook me up. I left and went to The National, then guilt tripped myself, called them up like “I can’t do this”, then called Superdead up to ask if they’d have me back.
So with your new found confidence we thought you’d sort out your personal appearance, but that hasn’t been the case. What is the deal with that illegal tache?
I want one!
Do you think it makes you more attractive to girls?
No, I just want facial hair.
KG: I really want facial hair. I’ve been trying for a long time…
I keep playing with it and it’s fun. I look like a twat when I do it and I realise this, but it’s fine.
So what’s with this filthy bucket hat you’ve been rocking solidly for six months?
BP: Yeah, are you ever going to wash it?
I wash it every f*cking week but it just gets dirty! I washed it before this trip and now it’s dirty.
BP: You need to bleach it.
I wear this hat because my good friend Nick Stansfield gave it to me, and it’s a Land Shark Road Tings hat. The logo is a shark with some trucks on it.
So the Volcom part is meant to be welcoming you to Volcom Europe, I don’t know for certain but I’d imagine all the people at Volcom would want to see you wearing some nice gear throughout, some of the newer clothing – why did you dig out some four year old Sidewalk hoody and film most of the section in that?
Where the hell did you even find that?
You gave it to me!
Yeah but I gave Barney a hoody at the same time and I bet he couldn’t tell me where it is right now.
BP: Yeah I could, I’ll tell you where it is. It’s at my house. In England, (laughs). I’ve still got it though.
It’s a good hoody, it fits really well and I just like it! Obviously filming all that footage in it was a stupid idea at the time and I realised that, but it’s part of living and learning, and treating this more like a job.
Recently you’ve started to leave Ashford more again, like you came to Leeds for the weekend a few weeks back to skate, drink, hang out.
That was good, to just see all the Leeds boys again…Leon (Walton), Ollie (Shaw), Tom (Harrison), just going out skating.
…and now we’re in Malaga where we are right now.
I fell over a bunch, (laughs).
Have you enjoyed this trip?
Yeah I’ve enjoyed it loads. I think coming on this trip is another part of me figuring out what it is I want to do, and this year I’ve figured out that I want to just keep skateboarding and doing this lifestyle. It’s a tough one because these last two years I’ve not really done anything, but this year is the one where I’ve got the itch back and want to keep skateboarding and go do what I want to do, and not listen to other people. Not have people influencing what I want to do…I listen to a lot of people.
So once the Volcom section is done and this interview is out, are you going to keep on it? Where do you see yourself in twelve months time? Not five years time (laughs).
I see myself trying to keep skateboarding as much as I can, despite injuries.
Does the American route for coverage and sponsorship still interest you?
It does interest me a lot but it’s really f*cking scary, and I think the last two years it has scared me way more than it does now. Now it seems like it’s an actual option, something I could achieve, to actually get there, whereas before it was so nerve wracking that I might as well have been swimming in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no idea where I was or where I was going.
I’d like to try; it’s like backside flipping some stairs, you can’t say, “I’m definitely going to do it first shot”, but you can say that you can try. If I was given the opportunity now I’d snap it up in a heartbeat, but a few years ago I think I was too scared to do anything about it.
KG: Do you like blondes or brunettes?
Gingers. But I feel weird saying that because there’s ginger here, (laughs). If a girl has freckles though mate, I’m well into that.
KG: What advice would you give to any kids reading this interview now?
Don’t listen to too many people, obviously take advice on board but don’t listen to too many people. Do what you want to do, and make sure you’re having fun every single day. Don’t take it too seriously unless you have to, make sure you love what you’re doing, always try and push yourself, and be yourself.
Lets wrap this up then Harry. Who would you like to thank?
I’d love to thank the people who have supported me through skateboarding; I’d like to thank the sponsors I’m on now – Converse, Volcom, Rollersnakes, Superdead, Ricta and Mob. I’d like to thank Barney for being inspirational, not in a weird way (laughs); we’ve always had the raddest times. I’ll never forget that shit. I’d like to thank the people who have put up with me and held out for me over the last three years. I’d like to thank my mum for being supportive. I’d also like to thank Remon for his spontaneous skateboarding.