From Sidewalk 204 - September 2013
When I was asked to write something about James I knew I had a long night ahead of me. Summing him up in words is near enough impossible as he has to be seen to be believed, but if you can’t see him, go home and button bash EA Skate and that will be somewhere close to his standard of skateboarding.
James is a product of his environment: growing up so near to Milton Keynes has left James with a catalogue of ledge tricks thicker than the Yellow Pages and flat ground tricks that will blow your mind, but then with him growing up skating alongside Rob Selley and Sean Smith, who would be surprised by that?
James never seems to learn tricks, he just seems to do them likes he’s done it hundreds of times before. Then once he’s done it that first time, he can take it anywhere, even to places no one else would consider a spot.
Trickery aside, James is the safest guy. He sees good in everyone and gets hyped on everyone's tricks, no matter how difficult. He never gets angry and always seems so
care free - dancing and singing constantly. He is so dedicated to skateboarding, if you ever see him at the Buszy on a Sunday then you should also know that he’s skated 5 miles to the nearest bus stop just to get there and he is so grateful to his sponsors - just a few years ago he was skating soggy boards and hand-me-down shoes with no laces so his new status is very well deserved. Congrats mate! Onwards and upwards!
- Zeta Rush
Trying to explain James in words will do him nowhere near as much justice as he deserves: it’s more of a experience to skate with someone that can learn any trick you could possibly imagine in just a few goes. I firmly believe that it would be impossible for James to take that borderline insane, serial killer smile from his face, but that’s fine as I'm certain that firstly, he's actually quite mentally stable, and secondly every time I see him he’s just that happy to be riding a skateboard. Basically, James is the perfect example of what a positive mindset can help people achieve and all I can say is that I’m excited to see what he’s going to bring to skateboarding in the UK in the future.
- Jeremy Elford
The first thing you should know about James, is that he can flip his board however he wants and put it wherever he wants.
Be it a ledge, a manual, or jumping down something big, he always seems to get things right. James is also always happy when he’s out skating, which is rad as he puts a smile on most other people’s faces. From my experience he is also good at being sick in someone else’s car, but that’s something you can ask him about. So hyped for this Haunts James, I’ve been looking forward to seeing it for ages. Well done man.
- Mark Stern
Right then James – before I start doing your head in: can you give us all the basic info on who you are and how you came to be ‘James Bush the skateboarder’ please?
- Easy! I’m James Bush, I’m 19 and from Milton Keynes. I started skating through my American cousin and a family friend coming over when I was 9/ 10 and after they taught me to ollie I was hooked instantly!
So you’re an MK original then? Born and bred amongst the marble ghost town from day dot?
- (Laughing), not quite: the first couple of years saw me skating a sweet mini ramp neat my house, then after starting to skate MK at around 12 I lost all my ramp ability and started skating there instead.
Who was the first skateboarder you saw as a kid, and, were they wearing massive sweatpants?
- It would have been Selley, Sean and the EGC heads, and most of them would’ve been wearing sweatpants, yes, but there were a couple of ripped jeans rippers around too!
MK is kind of its own universe within skateboarding in the UK isn’t it? Do you think you might have turned out as 9" board riding bowl trog if you’d be born elsewhere? Or were you destined to be a ledge dancer?
- (Laughing), good question! I’m not quite sure really, I get the feeling that I would’ve just tried to adapt although I can’t imagine it too easily as I can hardly pump a bowl!
What kind of things were you into before being introduced to the delights of ruining marble with your trucks?
- Well I was so young when I started I guess I must have been still wetting my bed and watching cartoons…
Rob Selley mentioned you to us years and years ago and, as I remember it he said something like, “James is amazing but he doesn’t need to be shooting photos yet, his style is still a bit wonky and we need to get him to not dress like a scarecrow first"… Got any comment to make on that?
- My response is that I guess at least I now wear good clothes!
When did you first met Rob? He’s obviously been a big influence on you generally, right?
- I remember it vividly! I was probably 12 or 13 years old, and was trying to back nosegrind the whole manny pad at Buszy. He came over and said he’d give me some wheels if I got it. After about 9 more hours I managed to fall feet first onto my board after wobbling all over the manny pad in a backnosegrind-ish manoeuvre, he gave me the wheels, and I was incredibly stoked!
What lessons would you say that he’s taught you in life so far and how has he taught you them?
- Too many to mention! Much respect for the help along the way (so far) amigo!
You suffer from “MK disease" don’t you? As in, no matter how good whatever trick you do is, you’re always going to think you could’ve done it better – tell us a bit about that peculiarly MK disorder please…
- Well basically, I think it has something to do with the fact that everything in Milton Keynes is so square, so if we don’t land as square as the scenery it makes us want to vomit all over ourselves.
Is Rob the ‘Typhoid Mary’ as far as MK disease goes? (Google ‘Typhoid Mary’ and it’ll make sense)
- In answer to whether he spread the MK Disease, yes. He also was the known spreader of Typhoid Fever also, so in both senses that nickname is applicable.
You rode for Rob’s company Motive for a good while too, what memories do you have of that era?
- Ah mate, those were good times, it was rough watching him struggle with it but it was such a rad company and is dearly missed by myself and I’m sure everybody else. The only issue is that Rob cared too much about keeping the company all about skateboarding, and without trying to appeal to current trends a company just can’t succeed these days. RIP Motive, gone but never forgotten!
You must’ve witnessed some pretty crazy shit go down at the Buszy and in MK in general over the years. What are some of the best things you’ve seen happen with your eyes?
- Oh my god, so much! Mind blowing stuff: Half of it at the Buszy when big teams have come down but I’ve seen many incredible things by amigos too. Some of the biggest mindblowers recently have been by Charlie Munro, for instance 5th try nollie tre flips down double sets, and casual nollie back feebles down rinsed 9 stair rails!
Who were the dudes blowing minds when you were down there learning how to ollie? (Or did you learn first and then venture down MK?)
- It was definitely a case of learning first, but even when I’d already been skating a couple years, watching the EGC and Swampy, Brownie, Robin etc. when I first skated MK blew my mind on the regs!
Were you skating before the Buszy was redeveloped?
- Unfortunately not! Sucks that I wasn’t around as it would have been sick to witness Selley and Sean’s endless lines! And I unfortunately missed Chris Ince’s shop too!
The OG’s recently had a reunion sesh down there – were you about?
- I didn’t get an invite! (Cheers Selley and Leo!) No youts allowed!
Despite your upbringing in MK, don't you have something of a strong Bristol connection in your family? Care to explain exactly how you are related to Tom Gibbs?
- I really am not entirely sure, basically he was the family friend I mentioned who taught me to ollie! Apparently his mother is my brother’s mother in law, or something like that. He basically used to live in Milton Keynes but then left us for sunny Bristol!
Do you believe that lizards and Freemasons are running the government, or have you decided to not venture down that route?
- I started to get heavily into it when I was younger, but then realised that if it is true, (I believe bits and bobs of it) then I can’t do much about it so I might as well not waste my life in front of the computer screen, but instead go drinking and have fun. *No offence intended to anybody who does*
You've been a part of the DC UK team for the past couple of years - how did riding for DC come about? Did Rob have much of a hand in making that one happen?
- Oddly no! It basically started as I had been shooting photos with Swampman and as Leo was the bloke he sent them to, Leo had words with Stenti, I think Rob then may have sent some footage too but I’m not sure. Anyway I started getting free stuff soon after that, tah muchly to all involved!
Since then you've also been on quite a few DC funded trips and tours - which have been the most memorable? Driving around Ireland in the rain for a week whilst you nursed a knackered foot and drank Dylan Hughes' beer has to be up there, right?
- (Laughing), that was incredible! Pure trolleyed and just nicking poor Dylan’s last beer! He came and asked me about it but it was quite clear that this steaming retard child (myself) had in fact stolen it! Many apologies again fella! It’s always good on tour though, never boring, every time there seems to be a different running joke and it’s always good to see the lads again!
You can do a lot of late flip, early 1990’s Alex Moul type of shit – where has a 19 year old kid got all these weird variations from? Do we blame the Internet?
- (Laughing), oh dear! I was hoping to keep them a secret! I just used to get bored when I didn’t skate Milton Keynes so I’d just skate flat ground and come up with ridiculously non-aesthetically pleasing manoeuvres!
Do you have any personal specialties?
- My two wackest, ugliest game of SKATE tricks are switch biggie late flip reverts and nollie cab bigspin inward heelflips, (I know there’s no such thing as a nollie cab but nollie frontside 360 bigspin inward heelflip doesn’t quite roll off the tongue).
You’ve said to me a few times that you do a lot of switch tricks down stairs because you can’t do them regular; is that really true? What basic tricks are you better at switch?
- I guess I just got out of practice of doing them. I only have 3 regular tricks down stairs, heelflips, hardflips and backside bigpsins. Every other trick I can do down stairs switch or nollie and I can occasionally land a couple of fakie tricks if the mood is right.
Rob’s first printed photos were a seq of you doing a frontside halfcab heelflip noseslide shove-it: how long did that one take? And, was it a purposeful NBD attempt? You’ve got to put in work if Selley’s shooting photos eh?
- Actually, surprisingly not that long. I was just having a go at fakie heelflip noseslides as I had been doing a lot of half cab heels, then they came quite naturally and I just had a go at a shove on one try and luckily landed it.
You’re a waiter aren’t you? Talk us through your last night at work…
- I actually just got back from work! Basically I just walk around looking f*cking awesome and everyone stares and whispers to each other about how fit I am and I make their drinks and they tip me loads because they all want to take me home.
Does that talkative manner and those flowing blond locks rake in the tips?
- Yes definitely! I’m fit and cool and everyone wants me or wants to be me so I smash it on the tip front. It could be down to the other better, fitter, big breasted female waiters as we have a shared tip box but I choose to believe it’s all me. Peace.
MK, in a similar way to Southbank, kind of has a reputation (usually from people who’ve never been there) of being unfriendly to outsiders: what do you think about that?
- No I don’t believe that’s the case, it may just be because we’re all hard, hench, intimidating and manly, but not one of us is as unfriendly as people seem to think! Honest!
Another thing that a lot of people don’t realize about MK is that despite looking like a massive shopping centre – it’s actually pretty gully on the sly in parts: have you ever encountered any trouble out skating?
- Actually I’ve been pretty lucky due to the fact that I’m such a badman, but some of my friends like Caleb have been jumped pretty bad. They’re just not beefy and hard like me.
Be honest – has the Buszy helped the MK skate scene grow, or did it just make it impossible for anyone to muster up the enthusiasm to travel or explore?
- (Laughs), both of those things are true in so many cases. I’ve only in the past couple of years started leaving Milton Keynes and the same with so many others unfortunately! But it has brought a lot of new kids up skating, some kill it too, *name drop alert* such as Josh Gregory and Ryan Mizzen. Gully kidz.
You’ve been out and about a bit recently – Liverpool for that Big 3 thing for example – what did you make of the scene there?
- Mate the scene in Liverpool is so rad! So many guys I’d never met or heard of but they kill it and it’s obvious that all abilities and ages are welcome. Lost Art is also such a welcoming store too, so big ups to everyone out there, keep killing it Liverpool!
You’ve been on Fabric skateboards for a while now – how did that come about and what’s in the pipelines for you/them?
- Well it all started because when Rob decided he couldn’t keep Motive going anymore, he asked me what companies I thought were sick in the UK besides it, and I mentioned Fabric. Luckily Rob spoke a bit to Scotty, and he linked it all up for me, which I was so grateful for as it’s a company I’m stoked to be a part of!
Aside from skateboarding – what’s important in your life? (Please God don’t say Call of Duty!)
- HA! I don’t even own a games console! I just go out with my friends and do things, work, and chill with my girlfriend. Life’s too short for video games man… (Wait for the Internet beef… Most probably coming from Jody’s laptop).
What else do you want to say James?
- I just would like to give a massive thanks to a few people, yourself of course for running this, Rob and Ark for everything, everyone involved in Fabric, Dephect and DC namely Scott, Bish, Kyle Getz, and of course Jody Smith. Swampy, CJ and Leo of course for bullying me into doing tricks. All the Get Lesta amigos of course too, the MK scene in general. Northampton scene for sure. CSA heads! That’s Charlie Munro, Jopeybar and everyone else from Cambridge. Everyone I’ve met through skateboarding basically. If I’ve not personally named you I’m incredibly sorry, I’m sure I would have if it wasn’t so late and I’m so tired, please feel free to send me an angry message on Facebook or not like any of my Instagram posts. Lastly thanks to all of you that have listened to me babble on for however much pages.