from Sidewalk 201 - June 2013
Photography by Reece Leung
So then Mike, give us your basic stats please – full name, age, current residence and all that...
- Mike Arnold, 21. I currently spend most of my time in Leeds studying art at university. When I’m not shooting photos or painting then I will be skateboarding somewhere. That ‘some- where’ is normally Hyde Park. I spend the rest of my time in Bristol.
What’s up with the height? Why are you so tall?
- It must be something in the water. Ask Knobhead Tom about heavy water - he knows all the facts.
So you grew up in Bristol right? What did life pre skating consist of for you? Did you have many hobbies or interests before skating came along?
- I had quite a few hobbies. I lived outside of Bristol in a place called Flax Bourton, across the road from the woods. I spent a lot of time in there building and burning things. We used to build jumps and trails for our bikes. I also used to play a few instruments and still do on occasion. I had another hobby which you may have seen on a dark corner of YouTube...I will leave you to search for it; good luck.
How far back did you start skating, and who was part of your original Bristol crew?
- I think it was about 11 years ago, so I have been skating for over half my life now! My first ever crew would have been the Cornwallis Avenue gang. That consisted of me, my brother, Hamish, Alfie, Scott and Mike. Three of us still skate today. We used to skate up and down our street, make lots of noise and have a lot of fun!
When I moved out to the country I skated a metal skatepark in Nailsea and had a good group of friends there. On the weekends I used to skate Lloyds with two guys called Max and Josh from Frome. I never really had a solid crew; I had a good mix of people from all over.
Bristol has always produced quantities of talent when it comes to skating – did you ever skate with guys like Korahn, Flynn or Danny when you were younger?
- I used to see those guys in the ‘Bristol In Bloom’ videos, which still remain my favourite videos of all time. I never really skated with them. I would occasionally see them at Lloyds but I was probably too busy fanning out from a distance (laughs)!
What was it about Leeds that drew you to it over any other city in the UK?
- That was mainly a Uni based decision. I remember looking at a few cities on Google maps; Hyde Park in the sunshine may have had some influence on my decision...
Can you tell us a little bit about your art? How would you describe it, what your Uni course entails, where you can see it leading?
- I would say I am a photographer; a lot of my photos would fall into the photojournalism category. I have been lucky enough to travel to some fascinating places in my life and I think this is where my need to capture and remember everything comes from. When I don’t have my proper camera gear I carry a small digital camera with me everywhere I go so I don’t miss anything. Two of my flat-mates and I formed the ‘Blenheim Collective’ and put on an art exhibition earlier this year, which went really well. I think being able to travel and sustain myself with my photography would be ideal.
Up until recently you were riding for the Leeds based Sore Skateboards – how and when did riding for Sore come about?
- I went street skating with the Sore lot one day and filmed a few clips with Vince (Orr). He asked me later on that day.
What was the deal with you and Sore going your separate ways then?
- I think overall it was down to a personality clash. Eventually we had both had enough so Vince kindly gave me the boot. Welcome has helped me out but I’m back to buying boards again.
‘Mad Mike’ – explain. Have you got a temper problem?
- I’m not sure who is responsible for that one but it has stuck! I’d like to think I don’t have much of a temper problem.
What makes the flatbars at Hyde Park such a desirable object?
1. They are perfect for learning tricks on, you can learn something on the lower one and it’s not much of a step up to the bigger one.
2. I prefer square rails to round ones.
3. They are nice and wide so it’s easy to lock in.
4. They are in Hyde Park!
Who makes up your regular crew in Leeds then? And what stands out to you as being the best trick you’ve seen go down in Leeds since you moved there?
- All of the Hyde Park locals really, I definitely spend too much time there. I live with Jack, Knobhead Tom and Cainan, and we always skate together. I film and skate with (Elliott) Tebbs a lot too.
I think Jono’s nose-blunt-pick thing on the rail- ing on the big quarter at Hyde is definitely up there. Not sure what to call it but it was a serious NBD! I once saw Cainan do boardslide to feeble to boardslide to feeble on the flat bar...
What’s up with Foz’s obsession with dogs?
- I’ve never met someone with that much love for dogs before, I think it’s pretty amazing. He gets paid to walk dogs and even has dogs in his ‘people you may know’ section on Facebook!
What does the rest of 2013 have in store for you then Mike? Any plans for world domination, video parts or any of that?
- I think a Guy Jones Facebook domination is far more likely and something we should all be worried about. My love for photography will continue. Jack and I are going to get some of our designs onto tees and possibly boards soon which is exciting. I am filming with Tebbs for a few things including a ‘Welcome to Welcome’ edit; hopefully it will be out by the time this interview is. I’m also filming with Josh Hallet on the weekends for an Indcsn edit but the ‘bad slam to make’ ratio has been a bit off recently (laughs). I’m going to try my hardest not to collide with any more marble corners...
Any last words, shout outs or threats you’d like to deliver?
- Thanks to everyone I have skated with and still skate with, Tebbs and Josh for filming and Reece for doing what he “Doooahs". Thanks to my parents for buying me boards and shoes when I was younger, my girlfriend, Tom Brown for always helping and all the bros in Bristol and Leeds.