Sidewalk 208 – January 2014
Photography by Rob Shaw / Interview by Guy Jones
These days it seems ever harder to filter out ‘good’ and ‘bad’ skateboarding: full street part here, 2 minute – one trick commercial there – the dilution is in full effect. The best thing about skating with Josh is that none of that bollocks matters as it’s 100% skateboarding with him at all times. He doesn’t follow any trends and he doesn’t go about shamelessly self-promoting the fact that he is one of the best skateboarders in the country via the Twattersphere. Instead, he works, he skates, he travels and he does it all independently, regardless of sponsors. I had the pleasure of skateboarding in New York last summer with Josh and a bunch of others for 2 weeks. Josh skated just about every spot whilst the rest of us sat hung over and moaning in the heat. He’s got something for every category when it comes to skateboarding and I can safely say I spend the majority of any trip to Mile End watching Josh in the middle of the ledge with his trucks in a position I’d never deem possible. Josh smashes it on every front, oh, and he’s really good at drinking beer too, but that’s a whole other story.
– Chris Mann
Josh Cox is a diamond geezer coming all the way from Leytonstone and if you don’t know him already then you’re about to find out. I’ve heard more than a few people say that Josh is one of the most underrated dudes there is because he doesn’t get too much coverage and for a long time he didn’t have any sponsors: the thing is that they’re all wrong because anyone who has ever skated with or seen Josh skate will know instantly how incredible he is on a skateboard. As far as anecdotes go – a couple of hundred beers back at a recent birthday party, Josh was in full party-mode as usual.
As we were heading out to go party he told me that he was going to buy a beer and renegade it outside every single shop we passed. Unless my memory is obscured from putting too many beers in my head that night, he stayed true to his word and managed to renegade fifteen beers throughout the night, only to fall asleep on the night bus and wake up inside a leccy box some- where in the middle of Essex.
Basically, the dude can party hard and skates hard as hell: he’ll be your favourite skateboarder as soon as you see him rip real life.
– Will Miles
Josh got in there before the powers that be at Canary Wharf turned this area into Tellytubbyland
and saw fit to tailslide from tit to tit.
J to the C! How’s it going? Want to do that introduction malarkey?
Yes Guy! I’m fantastic thank you very much. My name is Josh Cox and I’m 24-and-three-eighths, and I’m a roofer from London.
You’re currently holding it down in the East End. Have you always lived here and what are the perks of residing in this area?
Yeah, I’m born and bred in a suburb called Leytonstone (a.k.a. Hellstone), which is just next to Stratford and the Olympic area. The obvious perks are the chicken shops and the best pie and mash gaff at the far end of the high street. Big shout out to Tex Bites (formerly known as Texas Chicken), this place actually shits all over your gyppo attempt of chicken shop wherever you are reading this from.
Have you ever considered going on Eastenders? Albert Square seems a right laugh!
(Laughing), I can honestly say I haven’t; isn’t it filmed in Manchester or some shit anyways? Might give it a go though if the opportunity arises, just to get close to that Dot Cotton. She’s rad.
Can you see yourself ever moving out of the nation’s capital? You know the North is half the price, with half the people and half the stress…
Nah, I don’t think so. I’m already too stuck in my ways with the people I grew up with, my girlfriend, work, and stuff like that. Also the North is also half as interesting, half as warm and I couldn’t find Holsten Pils anywhere for a quid. What’s all that about? I do love some of the accents up there though.
You can often be found not falling off in Mile End. Are you like the kinder version of Ricky Oyola at Love Park there – you know, welcoming visitors and letting them skate any direction they choose?
As someone who went there the first 14 days in a row when the park first opened and never stopped going since, I’d have to say that I do feel like I’m somewhat one of the people who govern it. So when people show up and start using the park in a such a way that it’s starting to annoy others I do sometimes step in and say something from time to time. I’d like to think I’m firm but fair. I just think the skatepark is for everyone, except scooters and graffers. I always make a case of saying, “no scooters” whenever a scooterist goes past. We once told a bunch of scooter kids to leave because they hadn’t filled out permits (that don’t exist) and that we were going to call the police…and they left! People graffing in the way, they’re always annoying. They paint some crap then they step back every 2 minutes to ballbag it and stand right in the flipping way. Do one! There are the other numerous classic faux pas situations you encounter there but I won’t start digging into that one. I won’t ever get out. So to answer your question: no, not really, I’m the same, if not worse than Ricky Oyola.
How many days of the week are you present at Mile End and what makes this place your main choice of dwelling?
Not half as much as I used to unfortunately: I used to be there every opportunity I got but these days I try to avoid it at weekends and skate a few other places. I am still normally there 3 days a week at a guess. They made a sick park near my house in Walthamstow, which I skate with my girlfriend who was getting into it until she broke her ankle, but she’s getting back on it now. The ‘Stow park is only good in the summer or on a day off so I end up there a lot too, even though I haven’t been since the start of the summer holiday, peak. But I don’t know why I love Mile End so much, I think these days I’m more attached to the people there than the skatepark itself, whereas before I used to keep to myself quite a lot and just skate all day. It’s real easy for me to get to as well, normally about 20 minutes door to door. If I feel like skating, I’ll just grab my board and someone I know is going to be there to skate with.
Didn’t you do a nollie hardflip front crook there, or some other unfathomable combination? It’s my aim to make you big yourself up, as I know you hate to do that.
Switch hardflip switch front crook ACTUALLY. (Laughing), nah it weren’t at Mile it was at my local in Hellstone about 5 or 6 years ago, I think I rode about 1 metre before I stopped dead too, gonna claim it still, (laughs).
Tickling the Big Smoke skyline for the amusement of gawping tourists, Josh mayday grinds where many would simply make claims. Don’t worry, my man has it covered. It’s already on Instagram…
You’ve been jetting off a fair bit the last year or so, I’m particularly hyped on that ‘Douchebag I’m Walkin’ ‘Ere’ edit from when you and some of the boys went to NYC. What did you get up to there, and could you find any Holsten Pils?
No Holsten Pils, gutted. There was Red Stripe and various other ‘light’ beers so we made do just fine, Coors Banquets were on point too! The whole NYC thing started through a few guys who were from Baltimore and New Jersey, (Charlie, Erin and Sean) that were studying in London a few years back and we all became really good friends along with Will Miles and Ben Rowles, etc. I’d already been over there a couple of times before to visit and skate but this time we all got to go over together to skate and go ham.
What’s the story regarding you giving some guy a double shinner outside a bar in Brooklyn?
That’s actually a story from when I went the year before with Jake Shunt and Dave Vise and stayed in Manhattan. Some hipster came up to us with shady garms and said, “any of you assholes got a light?” and I told him not to call us assholes.
Anyways, it escalated one step at a time until eventually his skin tight jeans became too tempting so I swung my board at his shins as hard as I could… his leg quivered and then Jake just pushed him over and he walked off and left him there. I felt bad afterwards when my friend Charlie told me that calling someone an asshole isn’t a big deal in America compared to England. Then I remembered what he was wearing and stopped feeling bad. It was a one-off though. I’m never violent otherwise.
Where else have you been to recently and what stood out for you?
Over the last two years I’ve been hitting as many different places as I can really. Last year I went to Paris, Barca, New York, Baltimore, Norway and the Ukraine, and this year I’ve been back to Barca, done a driving trip around France, back to New York and then Budapest in Hungary. Ukraine and driving around France were definitely my favourites. Kiev is an amazing city with hill bombs, unique spots and a bar where they put a flaming helmet on you and smack you round the head with a bat until you do all the shots on the table. We had two different crews for each of the 2 weeks, which was really rad. Partied and skated both weeks but the ratios were a little mixed, (laughing). Then France was so different from any other skate trip I’d been on, camping on the side of the road and skating whatever we found along the way. It was way more chilled than most trips as well.
At what point do you want to talk about murderflips? I know you’ve left them at home for a while now but are you ever tempted to whip them out again? Even as a one-off when the hype-o-meter’s on max, or a secret one when nobody’s looking?
I think you’re thinking of someone else…
No never, I vowed to never try one ever again about 3 or 4 years ago. I did try one once a few years back in a mate’s kitchen when I was pissed but it won’t happen again! I didn’t want to end up being known as the guy who always does a certain trick, especially not that one. I’m so sorry for doing them everybody…I didn’t realise how stinking they were.
When did your love for late flips first develop; and was it provoked by any particular person or video?
Stoked. I’d have to say it was probably a mix of watching P-Rod’s Forecast and Mullen back in the day. I think when I started skating in 2000 I liked the sort of skating that most kids like now like hardflips down stairs, crook backlips etc and was content with whatever was in front of me. It wasn’t until much later on, maybe 2005, that I learned about The Storm and then I became a nerd and started backtracking to old videos. I remember my mate Jonesy (who my cat is named after), made me a DVD with all the H-street videos on it and that was where I saw so many different tricks that I didn’t realise were possible before, like a Sal flip pivot or some insane blunt combo on a curb and that got me so hyped to try and learn as many different tricks/combos as I could think of. I am aware that late flips are even more stinking but I just like the idea that there’s always more tricks to explore. Now people are a lot stricter on what tricks are acceptable but it shouldn’t stop you learning whatever trick you want as long as you’re enjoying it. I do think that you shouldn’t film those tricks in a proper video though, if you’re f*cking about then it’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with exploring different tricks, but some tricks are obviously too gross to show the masses in a big video part.
Do you know where your comfort zone is? I can almost guarantee it resides nowhere near Josh’s.
Commit or quit ride on fifty fifty.
Do you have a hall of fame for the more technical moves, mentally or otherwise, and if so what would make the cut?
Daewon in ‘Second to None’. That’s definitely a favourite for tech goodness at its best.
You make money from being a roofer, do you not? You must meet some real characters in this line of work, are there any which stand out, or tales regarding them?
Yep, I’ve been roofing for 7 years now with my dad. Hmmm, as for characters, you’d think so but not really…I have a good story about myself though, (ballbag). I was working on a house not far from mine doing a flat roof when it suddenly started chucking it down so we had to sheet it up and go home. I put a bag of cement on the corner of the sheet but it rolled over and off the roof and landed in the neighbour’s garden and when I went to clean it up the next day I moved the bag and it had landed on the neighbour’s pet tortoise and the cement had set around it but the tortoise was still kinda soft when I poked it so I think it died from the impact as apposed to being creted in, (laughing). Still, it made for a nice ornament and I never heard anything else about it…
This line of work must reduce your fear of heights, hence why I’ve seen no one else skate that roof you mayday grinded in Jacob Harris’ Eleventh Hour. Which building is that and are there any other rooftops that you’ve got your eye on to shred? I’ve heard you’ve skated things, which would have seen others in The Thames.
I guess it does a little. That’s the top of a newish shopping centre right next to St. Paul’s. It’s easy getting on there and shit but there’s nothing to catch you, so you’re going off the edge of the building if it goes wrong. I’m sure someone’s already been up there and one-upped it though. As for other roofs, I can think of one that’s a massive flatbank that goes up to a point but it’s in a school and there’s always a security guard in the building. Maybe I’ll be in the area and try it and get lucky one day!
Roofing would be one of the least desirable jobs to pursue hung over, have you ever had to hack it?
It’s as bad as you think in terms of labouring, at least not most days, and also it doesn’t require too much brainpower so normally I get through ok. Mind you, I’m not normally hung over; I try to be a good boy during the week. I remember a few years back I got pretty smashed at a friend’s gig at Christmas time and didn’t get in until 3. I ended up spending most of the day sleeping it off in the van!
Once again exploring the road less traveled, Mr Cox sticks this gap to lipslide somehow taking it back into the ‘bank’ before embarking on a cobbled journey. See you!
You’ve featured in some of Jacob Harris’ previous work as well, how was it filming for Square One and filming in general?
Filming for Square One was definitely one of the most enjoyable times of my life. At the start I didn’t know anyone else that was going to be in it very well at all, but week by week I ended up making all these great friends like Dan Clarke, Trombone, Boots, Knox, Rob Shaw, SPT, everyone really, and skating loads of spots I’d never made the effort to go to before that. It was pretty hard getting things done though as we only went filming once a week as Jake was so busy with school work. After that though the crew got separated, which is a shame but I still see everyone from time to time. I would’ve liked to have got a couple more things in Eleventh Hour though, (ballbag).
Are there any future video projects that you’re a part of that we can look forward to?
I’ve got quite a lot of stuff coming out soon I believe, (ballbag). I’ve been filming loads with Jake Shunt for the last 2 years for his next scene video ‘Rugged Raw’, which is all his lot from Harlow sort of way – plus myself, and a few others from London and Essex. That should be out February/March at a guess. Then there’s the Skrimp video, which I’ve got some footy for. I’ll probably have a shared bit in that. I know that should be out soon too. Then there’s the Backwards Wheels edit which is being released at the same time this mag comes out so GO CHECK IT OUT! (Ballbag). Will Miles is getting to work on ‘Glitch 2’ so I’m on getting some stunts for that. Plus Parlour are making a night edit so that should be coming up in the near future as well!
So tell us a little more about how this Backwards Wheels that you’re involved with came about…
Basically Rob (Shaw) has always wanted to start doing something within skateboarding besides the photography. For a while he was talking about starting a zine called Backwards but then I’ve always wanted to something within skateboarding as well so we thought it would be sick to put our ideas together and thought a wheel company sounded like a good idea. I was a pretty slack with it at first but Rob was putting in all the work like registering a company, website, designing wheels and I wasn’t putting in the time at all, just going skating after work and just approving most of what Rob would show me. To be fair, it’s definitely more his thing than mine. With Zorlac being down to distribute from the start I said I’d put the team together, not including myself, (non-ballbag), Rob had to ask me a few times before I agreed. I didn’t want to start a company and put myself on it, that’s always a dodgy move. So we ended up with Caradog, Ben Rowles and Kyron, and we all know how good those guys are at shralping. It’s a small team but it gives us room to play with in terms of keeping the company moving and making edits of new riders and so on. I just want to thank Rob for all his hard work!
I like the way you’re don’t succumb to any skateboarding fads (which are all too present) and as a result I hear your wardrobe is quite varied. How many Mr Men tees do you own and which is your favourite character?
Hmmmmmmm, it’s actually pretty dull these days. Just the Mr. Grumpy tee which has had its day sadly, that shirt definitely saw some good times but I still wear it to work some- times, ahhh the memories. I’m still pretty embarrassed of my Hawaiian shirt but it makes for a good dressing up shirt for Halloween or dressing up as a granddad.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this spot was in somewhere overseas like Kiev, but it’s not.
It’s actually in Walthamstow. Locked in feeble, E17.
Are there any other clothing items you own which may shock the skating hipster? I like your homemade Reebok tee/vest/blouse you rocked on Halloween. Palace might be down to run that as their next collab!
F*ck. Not really, I’ll get to work on something though. Maybe an old Philly Flyers ice hockey jersey I have lying around with a trendy little pattern of moustaches on it. That could work, right? Then you pay extra to have your name and number on the back? Most trill.
I’d love it if you were the next style icon within skateboarding and it could easily happen! Although this could be a PR stunt before you go one roll up over the line and trend out: possible?
I’m not gonna lie, my trousers did get a little shorter, but I’m still keeping it DGK with the tall tees I bought in NYC. Ain’t about that camo life though.
Some of the boys informed me that you don’t actually like music aside from Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total eclipse of the heart’. Can you confirm this and explain why?
Kind of: I do like music, but not how everyone else loves music and always have to be listening to it. Like I wouldn’t put on music if I was just at home chilling or on the train or something. But ‘Total eclipse of the heart’ is my favourite for sure.
They also told me about a karaoke Bonnie Tyler scenario, would you care to elaborate on this?
So we’re in a bar in Queens and we just decide it’s a good idea to sing it, there was already about 10 or 15 of us wanting to sing it and we ended up screaming the whole song and the whole bar joins in and screams the whole place down, (obviously I nailed it word for word though). Then they shut it all down because they were pissed at us so we put a dollar in duke box and the whole bar sang ‘Sandstorm’, which doesn’t have any lyrics. It was so funny. “DADADA DA…DA DADADA DA.” We left shortly afterwards.
I assume for your sections somebody else picks your song then, are there any melodies you wouldn’t allow?
Nah I think I’ve picked my fair share but as long as it’s not some shite instrumental hip-hop then I’m not too fussed I suppose.
You’re a massive fan of beer, what’s your most consistent tipple consumed and where in London can you get the cheapest?
Holsten Pils, Red Stripe, or Heineken if I’m feeling regal.
There’s that estate with all the trannies with the rails on top in Clapham were Malto had a cover a few years back. They had stripes in there for 90p but it’s gone up to 95p now, bastards.
Being such a beer advocate you’ve obviously experienced varying results from this consumption and my God I want to hear about some of the scenarios you’ve ended up in! Let’s start with the time you ended up sleeping in an electric box in Essex. Please elaborate.
Oh dear, I fell asleep on my bus home and woke up in the ass end of nowhere and started walking the wrong way until I found an unwired electricity box, so I must’ve given up and found it by chance and curled up for the night. So the first thing I remember is waking up and it’s completely black and I put my hand out and push a door open and I got out and stared at it for a bit before shouting at it in confusion for a while. I managed to make my way home eventually; I was definitely white girl drunk to say the least.
It’s a good job Josh’s years spent working on roofs has eradicated any conventional fear of heights.
High risk frontside noseslide deep in North London.
Another scenario I’ve been informed of is when you were at a house party, (I think when Ben Rowles, Chris Mann, Anton Kastritskiy and Will Miles were living together). Taglines include: pissing on Bank Station, 3 hours on the train East to West and walking back with someone who left the party 2 hours after you. Again please elaborate.
I’ve got a lot of explaining to do here, (laughing). Yeah, it was New Year so the trains were running all night. So I tend to do a French exit or a Houdini, which is leaving without saying bye to anyone. So I start making my way home and I’d drank heaps of beer and couldn’t hold it any longer when I noticed that one end of the platform was vaguely quieter and already had a bloke pissing all over it so I thought that it was okay for me to do it. After that I got on the train. I got a seat at Stratford, which is two stops from mine, and managed to fall asleep. I woke up at the last stop on the line (Hainault), thought f’*ck this’ and got the train back the other way. I promptly fell asleep again and woke up an hour later at West Ruislip. Then I was really pissed off but as luck would have it the third time was a charm and when I finally got off at Leytonstone my mates Gocke and Set Roy were there, who I’d done a French exit from many, many hours ago, so standardly we went on to get a kebab and a bonus beer to round off the night.
You can dish some on those guys if you like, now’s your opportunity.
I just want everybody to always refer to Chris Mann as “Mannberg” as of now. That’s it really.
Last issue we got Manny’s interpretation of Skrimp life. What is Skrimp to you?
Skrimp crew is a bunch of rad dudes. I ended up skating with that lot pretty much through Ben Rowles skating at Bay one time and it’s around the time that Rob and I were starting the wheel company. Ben was filming with Xavien and he was just saying to get involved and I already knew most of the dudes like Ky, Evan, Anton and Manny so it seemed to make sense just to all go skating together. Turned out to being pretty fun skating with a bunch of dudes I barely knew at the time – they’re all good guys who know how to shred boards, broads and beers! I can’t keep up with them going out all the time to nightclubs and that though. I’m a bit older than the rest of them so only on occasion do I get to ‘skrimp’ it at night.
The future happens and that doesn’t it? What are your plans, sir?
I’m going to keep this wheel thing going, start looking at a wider range of products and do- ing a trip. Maybe expand the team a little. Other than that I’m going to be doing the same old as far as I can see. Keep exploring new places to skate and drinking beers on the regs.
Wrap this up with your shout outs and jazz: I’m going to ballbag you here and say that it’s such a pleasure to have someone so genuine and 100% down for skateboarding being skateboarding. Josh Cox for Pope!
I wouldn’t say 100%. More like 30% I reckon.
Anyways, big thanks goes to: all the Hellstone mans at the top. Chicken D, Chris, Set Roy, Gocke, Sivell, Dave, Bell, Froby, George, Bower, Andy, Jonesy and the rest of the crew. My girlfriend Roxy for taking good care of me.
Sidewalk for hooking this up.
My mum and dad and the rest of the family.
Carl and Bryce at Parlour for giving me cheap chocolate bars. Normen for all hard work he put into the Backwards edit.
Jake Shunt and all his boys!
Jake Harris and all the South London heads like Mannberg, Ill Greg and everyone in that crew. Ky, Caradog and Rowles for shredding for the wheels! Zorlac, Will Miles, Rob Shaw and Adam for sorting the website, Klavs, Coyle all the Parlour guys for a rad trip to Norway. Chaz, James, Ed, Nat, Laurie and everyone else from Hellstone School. Thanking Heath for not thanking anyone, rad. All the Science boys. Guns, Ben Larthe, Peter Buckley and Jelly for the rad trip to France. Nick the Bastard, Wolverkeen. Texas Chicken. Papa Johns. Log Cabin. The local Wetherspoons and the locals inside of it. Xavien and the rest of Skrimp lot. Jerome at “SHINER DIST LTD,” [W]allable, the Stow boys, almost everyone who skates Mile End, anyone else who’s company I’ve enjoyed really. All the boys from the Midlands and beyond and of course you Guy, what a joy ay? The list goes on. Anyone I forgot should call me and I’ll send them a signed blank check as an apology. Tada.