DVS Australia

P> The land down under–what else can be said about a place that has seen skate trip after skate trip? I can't even begin to think of a way to start this dang article. What could I possibly write about that hasn't been written about before? We should probably start with some things you already know.

One thing you should know is that Australia's where kangaroos and koala bears come from. See, that's some pretty basic shit right there. Also, Australia's on the other side of the world, so technically you're standing upside down when you're down under–pretty cool shit right there. Well, enough of this boring crap that you probably already know, and if not, well, god help you. Yeah I know, what can I tell you about that you don't already know? The people we met along the way. Man, we met some really good ones.

The first few people we met up with were the Mapstone brothers. Andrew Mapstone is a photographer in Australia. If you look at almost any photo of Dustin Dollin, you'll probably see his name on the photo credit. He's a really nice guy and pretty big one, as well. His brother, who runs the local skate shop and skates pretty damn well, is named Anthony. When I looked at these two together, all I could think was, “These dudes are big motherf–kers.” Well, it wasn't over–they have another brother named Aaron who works at the shop with Anthony. He wasn't as tall as Anthony and Andrew, but, damn, he was wide.

We all piled in the car and went to this park to skate these bowls. The bowls sucked, but that's beside the point. Running around the path in this park was yet another Mapstone brother. Shit, another one, and this one was the biggest one out of all of them. His name is David, and he's a professional Australian-rules football player. All I could think was, “Damn, you guys must've beat the crap out of each other when you'd all fight.” It must have looked like four Tasmanian devils just destroying the whole house. I couldn't even imagine how they all fit in the house together to begin with. We were all standing outside and it got crowded. The real question I had was who would win in a fight, the O'Meally brothers or the Mapstones? Of course the Mapstones said they would, but I'm pretty sure Mike O'Meally would disagree. Well, I guess we'll never know.

Another interesting character we got to know was this guy named Marco. He runs a restaurant down on Brunswick Street. That's the block with all the bars and restaurants and cute little shops. We met Marco because Jason Dill and I would get our late-night coffee fix at his restaurant–one of the only places open late. So of course, one thing led to another, he started talking to us, and we all became friends. He told us that he's an actor and played in the movie Kangaroo Jack. He had this Italian accent, with a touch of Australian in it. He basically sounded like he was from Italy but had been living in Australia for a long time. Marco had a long, lanky frame with shoulder-length wavy hair and always wore a vest that looked like it came from a three-piece suit. His pants were tapered at the bottom and pleated at the top. He had these jerky hand motions and head jerks to kind of match his lanky style. He always sang along to whatever played on the radio–usually some sort of 70s rock music. The guy was pretty nuts, and of course we loved him. We couldn't wait to go to the restaurant and have a laugh with him.

One afternoon Dill and I were sitting outside having a cup of coffee. Marco came outside, sat down, and started talking to us. To our surprise, he spoke with a perfect Australian accent. We looked at each other, and I think we had the same thought, “This guy is nuts!” When we finished up and left, Dill and I started cracking up. A fedays later I brought Mikey Taylor to the restaurant. Of course Marco was there, doing what he does best, dancing around, singing, and speaking in his Italian accent. He started taking our order, and I introduced him to Mikey, who asked Marco “Where are you from?” Marco responded very matter-of-factly, “I'm from here … the accent is fake.” I almost pissed my pants when he said that.

We saw one of the waitresses in a bar one night and we asked her about Marco. She said “Oh yeah, he's got a bunch of accents. He's got a French one, the Italian one, and he's got a hysterical American accent.” Now that was the one that I really wanted to hear. There are a lot of accents in America. I got a Brooklyn accent and it don't sound like no southern accent, so I wanted to know which one he did. The next time I saw Marco I asked him to do the American accent and he said, “I'm doing the Italian one now, so it's hard to just switch out of it.” A true actor, I guess. Just like Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs Of New York, to prepare for the role of Bill the Butcher he walked around with the accent and his knives for months before they even started filming.

We also met this guy named Sebo. He's actually a friend of a friend, so technically we already knew him, but that's beside the point. He was really into Australian-rules football. Now, I know that almost all of you don't know how to play or might not even know it when you see it, so I'm going to try my best to explain it to you, just as Sebo did his best to explain it to me. First off, the field is oval-shaped, and I think it's about 150 yards long and about 75 yards wide. Don't take this as fact because I'm pretty much just guessing. On each end of the field there are four posts standing in a row, and the two on the ends are shorter than the two in the middle. To score points you have to kick the ball through the goal posts. If it goes through the middle posts it's six points, and if it goes between one of the end posts it's one point. Also there's a line that goes across the whole field about 50 yards out from the goal. When you kick a goal from behind the line, it's worth nine points.

The ball is bigger than a football, and the ends are a little more blunt. You can't pass the ball either–to move it up the field you have to kick it. Or you can run with it, but every ten yards or so you have to bounce the ball on the ground. If you want to pass to another player you have to kick the ball, which I mentioned, or you have to punch it sideways to another player. Basically, you hold the ball in one hand and pop it out of your hand with the other. You should be able to figure out what I'm trying to say. Sorry about the lack of education, I really can't describe it too well. Pay attention in school, kids!

Unlike American football, this game doesn't stop. When you get tackled, all that means is you have to drop the ball. At the game, if someone gets tackled, and he holds the ball, the whole stadium yells out “Ball!” It's pretty sick to hear 50,000 people yell “ball” at once. Because the field is so big, there're these guys who run out and give instructions from the coaches to the players. They run out wearing neon green shirts so that no one accidentally runs them over. Also, there're water boys who run out on the field and give the players water since there're no time-outs. Each player runs about ten miles a game, so they probably get pretty high and dry running around that huge-ass field.

When a player scored, the ref or umpire–I think they call him the umpire–stepped from next to the pole onto the field and stood very rigid and straight. With both of his index fingers extended and his upper arms held against his sides, the umpire raised his lower arms, fingers pointing upward, then quickly lowered them, ending up with his forearms and index fingers pointing out perpendicular to his body. While the umpire was doing this, the whole crowd yelled, “How big is your dick?”

It's a pretty exciting game. Keith Hufnagel and I arrived at halftime, so all of the fans were outside “having a kick.” That's what they call it, “having a kick,” because like I said, they don't pass the ball, they kick it. So needless to say, walking through the front of the arena got a little hectic. They call the ball a footy, or they'd say, “Let's play some footy.” Damn, some of those kids were good at kicking that thing. I'm sure you've tried to kick a football once or twice, and usually it would go off to the side, way over your boys' head, or pretty much anywhere but where you needed it to go. About ten or fifteen years ago, during halftime they'd let everyone go on the field and have a kick, then they'd sound a bell and everyone would go back to their seats.

This is a rough-ass sport. These dudes mess each other up pretty bad and only wear shorts and a tank top–tough bastards. No pads, no helmets, no nothing. I hope they have cups on to protect their nuts, because I know someone's getting kicked in the nads.

I'm sure there're a lot more rules and stuff that I'm leaving out, but that's all I can remember. Try and check out a game yourself.

Well, the next time I go to Australia I'll try and meet a few more people who are worth mentioning, or you can go your damn self and find your own people to meet. If you do go, do me a favor and write an article so I won't have to sit and stare at a blank screen and say to myself, “Shit, what the hell am I going to write about?” So help a brother out. And remember, don't change, man.

his lower arms, fingers pointing upward, then quickly lowered them, ending up with his forearms and index fingers pointing out perpendicular to his body. While the umpire was doing this, the whole crowd yelled, “How big is your dick?”

It's a pretty exciting game. Keith Hufnagel and I arrived at halftime, so all of the fans were outside “having a kick.” That's what they call it, “having a kick,” because like I said, they don't pass the ball, they kick it. So needless to say, walking through the front of the arena got a little hectic. They call the ball a footy, or they'd say, “Let's play some footy.” Damn, some of those kids were good at kicking that thing. I'm sure you've tried to kick a football once or twice, and usually it would go off to the side, way over your boys' head, or pretty much anywhere but where you needed it to go. About ten or fifteen years ago, during halftime they'd let everyone go on the field and have a kick, then they'd sound a bell and everyone would go back to their seats.

This is a rough-ass sport. These dudes mess each other up pretty bad and only wear shorts and a tank top–tough bastards. No pads, no helmets, no nothing. I hope they have cups on to protect their nuts, because I know someone's getting kicked in the nads.

I'm sure there're a lot more rules and stuff that I'm leaving out, but that's all I can remember. Try and check out a game yourself.

Well, the next time I go to Australia I'll try and meet a few more people who are worth mentioning, or you can go your damn self and find your own people to meet. If you do go, do me a favor and write an article so I won't have to sit and stare at a blank screen and say to myself, “Shit, what the hell am I going to write about?” So help a brother out. And remember, don't change, man.