Wednesday 27th

I’ve been in Amsterdam for three days. After the Circa tour I left the organized chaos of Madrid and headed back home to Wales to spend the time with the family. On Monday I flew to Amsterdam on a little Fokker, don’t ask me what Fokker means in Dutch, but if you have any fear of flying I’d advise staying away from the Fokker, it has propellers and wings just like in the old days, I always try to give the Fokker I’m dealing with the benefit of the doubt. With this in mind arrived in the Dam in one piece.

After some calls I find out the Flip team have also arrived safely in one piece after a hell drive from Copenhagen, ten hours in a van found them arriving at six on Tuesday morning. In the afternoon we all met for the first time at a shop signing, everyone who’s supposed to be here is here except one, Bastien, Arto, Rune (fresh from his win on home turf), plus Tom Penny who’s made it here after a guessed appearance on the Circa tour. Tom said that I looked like a tortoise. Boulala is MIA since last night with Jim Greco, the thought of which is one pretty scary, imagine living a life without the thought of limitation , then being put in a city that has no limitations. They’re probably dossed out in some boat or canal

Also MIA is Boulalas dog who went by the name of Sydney, a dopey black lab who was once a bouncing little pup who ended up pissing in the van and pissing everyone off. Sydney got left in Christiana back in Copenhagen (unlike the real Sydney who ended up in the air conditioning system of Heathrow airport when his mum accidently spilt his ashes on the way back from New York), Boulala is barely capable of looking after himself, I never met Sidney the van still smell like a dog basket. There are two vans, one is for the smokers and the other is for those you don’t smoke but like the smell of canines, its known as the dog van. I have the feeling that he’s now in a far better place than he once was.

The autograph signing is something of a let down, “There were more joints than kids,” reflected Arto later. Amsterdam is one of the most liberal cities in the world as we found out when Stephanie walked by. One of the guys called Stephanie over as she walked by, we took some photos, some hid for their lives and images, Stephanie was a six foot six drag queen who had a striking resemblance to Herman Munster, he would not be able to walk the streets of Southern California as Grannies would faint. When Stephanie left we noticed that he had some kind of ball hanging out his ass, like some game of conkers gone horribly wrong.

Nikko suggested we head out to Simons ramp for a session. Simons ramp was a beautifull landscaped mini ramp with a slight elbow in it. I talked later in some depth with Simon’s Dad who lives in the house right by the side of the ramp, he explained to me that the ramp was not built . it grew, he obviously was a man of many talents who new what he was talking about. He commented on Bastien Salabanzes (who he compared to Mark Van Basten, a Dutch soccer legend) final touch on all his tricks, and how the most talented always have time and make everything look so easy (Miles Davies was also in this conversation), just by obsevering you may catch yourself saying I could do that, if only. Most of us sat and drank Heinekens on the extend driveway which was built to make the tamp look natural. Talking of natural Penny was also busting some bigs moves over the hip. When the stars came out the lights came on, the session went on well into the night, it had started with Kraftwerk and now Led Zeplin’s The Song Remains The Same, at least in some backyards it always will.

Wednesday Morning

Spent all morning walking around on the great food hunt with Arto, Theo and Arto’s mate, we saw coffee shop after coffee shop and ended up all going for the cheese sandwich in a bakery that always seems to be on the corner. I long for some salad. Well got in the van and headed for Rotterdam, in Amsterdam people are caning it from all angles. A perfect looking street course was there to greet us after our two hour drive, what made this all a little strange was it’s location of being slap bang in the middle of the banking district. Rune ruled the vert ramp for sometime, Bastien layed the street course to rest. Late into the evening we ate at some cafà‡ where the waiter and waitress were fighting it out for grumpy sod of the year comp, I think the waiter may of pinched it at the end. The stake tasted like it came from the sahara (perhaps it was camel) and if the 80′s tape wasn’t a hint for us to get out, then the local dutch band that came through next saw us on our way.

This morning we saw Greco sporting two good looking black eyes, at first I thought he’d been listening to too much Adam Ant, but in fact it was true punk rock make up. He got them one night by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Boulala’s still not dead.

On the way to Dortmund we got in a little crash, Deacon did a runner when some Dutch dude knocked into the back of him, Deac was not at fault but couldn’t be bothered to stay and sort it out, who can blame him. The two vans are looking like hell. Though the doggy van is the sketchier of the two to be in.

The Dortmund comp looks like the same as always, this year there’s a lack of some big names on street, most notably Koston. The street course is the same. Getting on to the street course is a little like finding your way through the Death Star. Food for the skaters is served in the stadiums bowels, it’s a little like being at the races down there, you can watch the game and listen to the announcments. In pratice McCrank, Bastien, Appleyard and Colt Cannon were holding it together pretty well, The Street Pirate also looked like he may be able to take it again if he wanted. You could have picked your winner, laid the bet and gone home. Saturdays qualifiers went much the same as anticipated.

Way more police presence this year than ever before, this must be due to the riots that happened in the past like clockwork every Saturday night of the competition. Why or how this happened nobody is really sure, sure point to Nazi skinheads infultrainteing. But put a bunch of drunk skateboarders together in carpark for one night and your asking for trouble. This year the authorities were taking no chances. Because of this many failed to show up, there’s nothing like a garaunteed riot to entice the masses. Sunday was the by far the busiest day. The vert finals were all over when Rune took his first run, the street contest was another story.

McKrank set the standard early on, by laying down a strong first run, Rayol junior opted to skated without music by letting himself play the only intsrument needed, I thought this was a little weird, and unfair, especially when skaters like had to skate to German hip-hop. Rayols final silent run was pretty good, but by that time it was too little too late. Bastien Salabanzez had put down two runs of near perfection, the second of which was a treat to watch. Not bad for a fifteen year old who’s not yet turned pro. For those of you paying attention it was a Flip double, the last board company to do that was Stereo, correct me here if I’m wrong. Or is it true as rumours flew that Fred Montange has the magic touch, last year he was filming the eS video when Koston and Burnquist took street and vert. This year Fred is filming the Flip video-you decide if it’s coincindence or not.

The best street course in the history of skateboarding was torn down that night. All of skateboarding went to an indian resteraunt and celerbrated the only way we know how.

Some idiot jumped from of a balchony into the crowd and broke a girls neck, he was chased by skaters and cornered in one of the bathrooms where he smashed up a toilet with his bare feet.

From Dortmund we gunned it to Cologne where a demo took place on a park left over from the 70′s, it looked cold and dark even in the middle of summer. The next day we all parted company and went our separate ways, Mark Appleyard headed back to California to avoid getting evicted from his appartment. left to get gnarly back home, Arto flew to Helsinki for some unfinished business, Ali Boulala was on a mission of destruction and continued on that mission. That left me, Penny, Fred, Bastien, and the ghost of Sid Paris bound for a few more days.

it to Cologne where a demo took place on a park left over from the 70′s, it looked cold and dark even in the middle of summer. The next day we all parted company and went our separate ways, Mark Appleyard headed back to California to avoid getting evicted from his appartment. left to get gnarly back home, Arto flew to Helsinki for some unfinished business, Ali Boulala was on a mission of destruction and continued on that mission. That left me, Penny, Fred, Bastien, and the ghost of Sid Paris bound for a few more days.