Text: Farran Golding
Cliché Skateboards’ latest video is here for you to feast your eyes on; this time focusing around the team’s infamous Gypsy Tours, which have previously seen the likes of Fred Gall and Benny Fairfax along for the ride as special guests. For this journey, it’s Heroin Skateboards’ bearded pool warrior Chet Childress taking the guest spot; Chet has also worked on the artwork for Gypsy Life, which features prominently throughout. Abiding by the usual rules of ‘no hotels and fifteen Euro budget a day’, the opening commentary sets the pace for their gruelling journey across Europe. Kyron’s vision of ‘lots of sweaty men’ is applicable to any skate trip (even if just down your local for the summer evening power hour) but even more on a tour without hotels, showers or much concern for personal hygiene.
Due to the tour video format of this production, most of the elder Cliché riders you may be expecting to appear are present only in small doses. Regardless, this does not stop (does anything?) Lucas Puig dishing up his inimitable French stylings - fakie inward heelflipping over a fire hydrant being one such example - along with a couple of ‘less is more’ ledge bangers on our home turf from last summer’s ‘Where’s Cliché’ tour.
The video definitely highlights the younger Am members of the Cliché roster, with the first to deliver a full part being Paul Hart who, very appropriately, skates to a live ensemble of ‘All The Young Dudes’ by David Bowie. For someone likely to be labelled a stair jumper, I found it refreshing that amidst flinging himself down 10+ stair sets (because this lad can go big), Hart actually looks at ease delivering standard tricks and ledge tech lines too. Also while not a strictly a heelflipper a la Wieger (he can kickflip, and well at that), Hart delivers an assortment of the notoriously hard to make look good trick, dropping a switch heel across a roof gap and a few fakie ones down some hefty flights of stairs including the Santa Monica Triple set.
After some skate park partying, drinking and French techno mayhem, Kyron Davis is up next. It really is rad to see Kyron deliver a unique, very British approach to the spots laid in front of him, with the footage of his job centre wallride being even more amusing than the photo was. Newest recruit and all round transition devil Brad McClain provides all sorts of fast-footed back-to-back coping dancing, whilst Adrien Coillard arrives in style to round off this part. Adrien’s skating is definitely one to marvel at, with a nice blend of stuntman type trickery along with well thought-out lines and interesting boardslide/lipslide to smith and feeble variations. He goes on to end the part by giving Lyon’s famous hubba a right spanking with a switch nosebluntslide that’ll go down in history as one of the best tricks to ever grace the spot.
The professional ranks of Cliché follow on, with Flo Mirtain dishing out a tasty frontside tailslide to fakie feeble grind on a familiar bank spot and Javier Mendizabal smoothly cruising through transitions. Cliché OG JB Gillette lays a line with trademark style so smooth to remind everybody he’s one of the few people in the world who could make Gino look sloppy at times. Following on from this, foul-mouthed Australian exports Sammy Winter and Andrew Brophy powerfully pop across the screen for a brief moment. Lem Villemen (who calls it quits after three days of the tour) and Daniel Espinoza also briefly appear, while Lucas does Lucas to round off this section.
After some telling tales about the all around rogue nature and weariness the Gypsy Tour brings, Lucas delights us with trouble maker Max Geronzi’s antics from the tour including hair dye spray cans to give us a good chuckle at a ginger Puig. Max and Kyron’s frequent camaraderie is one of the most comedic bits of the video with both hyping each other up leading to Kyron stating, ‘I wish I knew what you were saying now, Max.’ To which he replies in French, ‘Huh, I don’t understand?’
After this tomfoolery we’re given arguably the most anticipated part in the production, Max Geronzi’s.
Those unfamiliar with Geronzi will find themselves in awe and on a mission post-viewing to rinse his back catalogue of footage, with those in the know sure to be stoked at his casual demeanour and a style suggesting he just threw a flip in at the spur of the moment rather than pre-determining anything. If you paid close attention to UK coverage of him last year, the tailslide to bank gap and bump to bar switch late shuv are delivered at speeds you would not have assumed while handrails, hubbas, stairs and gaps get thoroughly rinsed with French finesse. Switch 360 flipping Barcelona’s renowned bump to bar is an absolute pisstake, as is the following backside lipslide down an eight stair handrail – out of manual roll! If I go on much further I’ll spoil more than what is fair of his part so, quite simply, Max is beast and I’ll leave it there.
In the end, the two week long Gypsy Tour is not that much of a daunting prospect to me. Actually that’s a lie; I’m soft, rubbish at drinking and my rotation of pristinely clean white tee shirts puts Gilbert Crockett to shame. Perhaps I need to man up a little bit... But, with that aside, props to all involved for what is another great Cliché video from Boris Proust. Consult your local skate shop for a copy of Gypsy Life which retails at £12. The deluxe 72-page book edition, covering the filming and making of Gypsy Life alongside art from Chet Childress, will set you back £25.