George Rea ‘First Light’ interview from Sidewalk 213

From Sidewalk – June 2014

 Name: George Rea Age: Twenty Location: Bromsgrove Skating: 8 years 




So you’re from the mighty town of Bromsgrove? When and why did yours and Kelley Dawson’s lives first intertwine then? How was it growing up with Kelley as a sidekick?

Kelley and I first met way back in nursery in Bromsgrove; we must have been about three years old. I have memories of Kelley trying to grass me in to the teachers for being too loud in nursery, (laughs). We always ended up chilling together, and from then on we always just stayed together throughout different schools. We definitely got up to some silly shit, jacking Frijj milkshakes on the way to middle school, (laughs)…

Growing up in rural Worcester, how and when did skateboarding present itself to you?

It must have started off when I was about 12 and I got my first proper skateboard on Christmas Day; I was all hyped after opening it. There’s me running outside in the freezing cold trying to bust off manuals down the road with my parents shouting at me to be careful, but I didn’t have a care in the world, I was too hyped.

I’m guessing you put in a good few hours down Sanders Park in your youth then. In your opinion, what are some of the greatest tricks you’ve ever seen go down there?

At the O.G skatepark John Fisher did some pretty big fatty-to-flattys which where completely mind blowing to see at such a young age. For the new park it has to be (Kris) Vile with the 360 flip over the rainbow rail gap, and also Canadian representative Phil Shore doing flip nose manual shove it manual flip out, along with the classic one wheel manuals he always used to bust out.

Whilst we’re talking Sanders – what did you think of the mural of Kelley that was painted on the back of one of the ramps a few years ago?

Well it all started off as a big joke. A few of us were chatting with one of the council guys that came down the skatepark, he was asking us for some graffiti suggestions and as Kelley was away on a trip we thought it would be too funny to try get a sneaky Kelley tribute on one of the ramps. Believe it or not they took it seriously and before we knew it there was Kelley’s face with a big Jamaican flag behind it (laughs)! Then it was only a matter of time before somebody tagged a big dick over his face, of course, (laughs).

Where would you go skate when you felt the need to venture out on street missions? I’m guessing Worcester and Birmingham, but did you ever venture further afield?

Yeah definitely, I was always motivated to go out and explore new places.
One of my favourites would be hitting up MK for sure; I remember the times when we would all pay for train tickets to Birmingham then just sneak on the train for MK and hide in the toilets until we arrived, then we would all burst out at once on a mad hype that we made it!

You’re currently residing in Barcelona, but before you left the UK, what sort of jobs did you undertake to earn a living? I’ve heard stories of you working in a medal shop amongst other things – that sounds pretty random. What exactly did that entail?

My first ever job was from my dad, working in the exhibition trade. As for the medal shop job, well that was a totally random opportunity given to me by a neighbour and it basically entailed doing all sorts of work for the army, navy, etc, We had to do all sorts of tasks from engraving soldier’s medals through a computerised engraver machine. Here’s a gnarly fact – the shop was awarded the contract to manufacture approximately 450,000 medals to mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

When and why did you decide to make the move to Barcelona? You’ve been there a little while, right?

I’d been to Barca before and had the best experience ever, and it totally opened my eyes up to different cultures and lifestyles out here. I kind of felt gutted to leave after the month was over and ever since that first trip here I have had it in my mind that I would definitely like to come live out here for a while. And look where I am now (laughs). I’m gonna try and finish off a part I started filming with Robert Whiston. But as for this Catalan sun, it’s way too hard to leave it once you have it.

Who do you skate with the most in Barca then?

I’m currently living in the penthouse suite at Winkle’s with Kell, and to be honest I have been meeting so many new skaters out here from all over Europe to go on street missions with. The best person to have a classic MACBA flatground skate with would be Luy Pa Sin! He’s always got the biggest smile and the most enthusiasm towards skateboarding, and that’s the kind of attitude that motivates me.

Have you been working in Barca? Have you found yourself doing shifts in the infamous call centre yet like most other ex-pats?

I haven’t been stressing myself out too much about finding work yet as I’ve only been here a short time, but I did work in the infamous call centre for a total of, say, about one month, (laughs).

Care to tell us about the origins of the Wu Tang tattoo on your wrist that Kelley kindly told us about? What’s the story there…?

It all started on Xmas Eve when I was 17; I headed down to a tattoo shop in Bromsgrove. Still being young and naïve I ended up walking out with a peace sign tattooed on my wrist. A few months later I found out that I had the same upside down peace sign tattoo on my wrist as Lady Gaga. I always wanted to get a Wu Tang tattoo somewhere, so I ended up with a big one straight over the top of the upside down peace symbol.

Any final words of wisdom, shout outs or thanks?

Always smile; just remember shit could be a lot worse! And I’ve got to give a shout out to the legend that is my dad for supporting everything I have done since I was young and helping me out with my first ever job. Nanny Lowe, my mum, the almighty Kelley Dawson and Mrs Dawson for all their love over the past God knows how many years. Zeta and her mum, T-Dog, Whiston, CJ, Phil Shore, Jobson, Steezy D, Bell, Skin and especially all the Bromsgrove and Sanders park homies!
And the guys at Sidewalk for giving me this opportunity – safe!

Nosewheelie into a deep curve. Seq_CJ


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