Blind In Strange Places: The Blind team and Photocop tour Europe.

The Blind team and Photocop tour Europe.by Ronnie Creager

A fantastic Germany … I mean journey. Places were raspberries taste like raspberries, and the shnosberries taste like shnosberries. Armed with bags of clothes and boxes of skateboards, three young skateboarders and a photographer traveling from place to place embarked on unfamiliar territory and different languages. This group of skaters traveled from skatepark to skatepark, stopping off at skate shop after skate shop, skating their little hearts out ’til they couldn’t skate any more.

The first place their feet landed was in a city named London in a world called England. Prior to arriving at their destination, they had been stuck in little seating arrangements with not much to do¿a ten-hour plane ride from Los Angeles was where their mischief started. As well as suffering bad cases of back- and butt ache, the crew members, businessmen, ladies, and families found little balls of wet paper all over their children, food, drinks, hairpieces, and everywhere else you could think of. With unbelievable patience and stamina, we and our endless supply of spitballs, endured the dreadful flight.

The real test came when the flight was over¿immigration checks and searches. We walked through the gates by the hair on our chinny chin chins and found ourselves with the rest of the group. The team was together¿Gideon Choi, Corey Sheppard, Ronnie Creager, and photographer Seu Trinh (a.k.a. Photocop), along with our guide, who we named Mark¿short for Markass. He turned out to be very helpful, leading the team from spot to spot, feeding everybody’s stomach with food from the land.

We spent the first few mornings running around waiting for breakfast to start, or the sun to shine, or anything letting us know that the day was going to start. It was a curse. We had been cursed by the 747 jet airliner. Our blood flowed thick with insomnia, or sleep deprivation, or whatever you call it. It sucked.

For the next five days we traveled from town to town, in and out of little stores and shops, always finding ourselves in the middle of a skate shop. The illmatic finger flops came into action as the fingerboards came out of our pockets. A shop in Covent Garden called Skate Of Mind found themselves with the Blind terrorist group.

Back on the road with demos to do, the Meanwhile Bowl felt our wheels, as did the PlayStation Park in Ladbrook Grove. The air was nice and the sun was out¿what a nice day to have a push. Flatbars, pyramids, ramps, and banks surrounded an area that looked like every kid’s dream.

After a few hours of skating and another plane ride, we found ourselves in Newquay, England. Our plane ride was just the opposite of the last one¿this was a thirteen-passenger plane that made a Six Flags Magic Mountain landing¿hold onto your seats, ’cause this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness! (Actually, that saying is from Thunder Mountain at Disneyland.)

We spent two nights in Newquay, and all the amenities were there. Golf outside your front door, surfing, and video games down the street. Everybody tried their luck with The Shocker¿a game in which you try to withstand as many volts of electricity as you can take. There was also a skatepark a little ways away at Mt. Hawk¿an indoor park with lots and lots of stuff to do cool tricks on.

When everyone was tired from doing the demo thing, we went outside and hid tons of skateboard stuff in the trees and bushes on a road leading up to the main street. It was really windy, so we decided to fly some kites outside the hotel before we had to catch our flight back to London.

There was a photo shoot in Bristol that night, so we traveled by cab up and down the streets, thrashing spots, and finding moves to capture on film.

That was a long night of falling, landing, breaking boards … everything. Planet Hollywood was in order, but we were all broke, and Mark lost hiwallet on the plane. So after a hot dog and some bubbly water, we were back in our two-and-a-half-foot by five-foot beds.

We woke up on our fifth day, which meant it was our last few hours in England. Everybody gave Markass the secret Blind handshake, then we boarded the airplane.

I don’t remember the airplane flight to Germany being too long, but I do remember the free massages and hors d’oeuvres for all the passengers traveling first class¿too bad we were in the very back of the plane with all the chickens and anchovies. Instead of big block letters spelling “Blind” on the side of our usual stretch limo equipped with a hot tub in the back, we found our guides Thomas and Ingo and their van. We squeezed in and were on our way to Frankfurt.

There were some good street spots on the way into town. Stopping and skateboarding for a few hours was just the ticket for Photocop and Thomas to make some money by capturing tricks on the cam-cam. We skated a good spot with all sorts of blackish marble ledges, a three-flat-three-flat-three-flat-three et cetera. Thomas kept telling us to go skateboard the back of the building, so we did. A rather large German man told us to leave, ’cause what we were doing was not allowed. I pleaded my case to try one more time, and he agreed, so we skated for another 30 minutes or so.

I heard rumors of Gideon and Corey skateboarding at the indoor skatepark in Ulm¿hopefully I’ll get to see the photos in the magazine. All I wanted to do was play some foosball at Skateshop 58.

One night I remember Gideon dragging Corey into the room. Corey was acting really funny, blurting out words. His body wouldn’t work for him. I also heard Photocop in the room, and it sounded to me like he was sick and puking. I was interrupted by Corey talking to himself out loud and then falling off the bed and landing in the corner. I had to get up and help him back into his bed. I didn’t realize Corey weighed as much as an elephant. He smelled kind of funny, too, and he was wet everywhere. I eventually made it to bed that night after I took some photos and almost died laughing.

The next morning everybody was pretty tired from the night before. We drove toward a place named Wiesbaden, stopping off at an airport with some really fun ledges. Thomas was hungry for some more photos of everybody. Thomas is a madman, and he loves to take photos. I think he had a secret map of skate spots in his genes.

There was a lot of street skating on this tour. We skated more street spots than demos in Germany, which is a really good thing. There was an autograph-signing at the .ing skateboard shop, where we found ourselves surrounded by tons and tons of kids wanting to see us skate, so they led us to a local skate spot¿four wooden ledges and a three-stair stage with a bench. Everybody skated and had a good time. It was wonderful. Thomas and Photocop got some more photos, and Ingo filmed the day with his Sony digicam.

There was a street festival going on that night with tons and tons of beer, broken bottles, and people sitting really close to tables and peeing underneath them. I remember seeing some good skate material, and I wanted to shoot a photo that night, but it wasn’t going to happen due to the fact that Photonerd wouldn’t get his drunk self out of bed at 4:00 in the morning. Gideon spent the rest of the night with his new friend, the toilet.

The next morning Corey woke up early to go and meet a vendor on the streets and buy a puppet. Our stomachs were craving some good, healthy food, so we stopped at the ever-so-tasty, the one-and-only, ehww … McDonald’s. It is good if you’re starving and have little cash, but not when you’re in a different land. I mean, come on, we have McDonald’s in America. I’d eat there all the time if it was called McCreager’s and had two golden skateboards out front with a sign saying “Over 999-Billion Kickflips Flipped.” There was a store with tons of games for the GameBoy, and we kept the Skittles rainbow flowing for the six-hour car ride to Dresden.

Thomas smoked a cigarette every twenty minutes in the car. In between cigarettes he would drink a beer and roll up a chill flute, if you know what I mean. Stuck in a car for a long time does wonders for one’s brain. First you look around, trying to find something to amuse and entertain you. Then you begin to find uses for things that you would’ve never thought possible, like licking the backs of gummy bears and sticking them on the window, making funny pictures or words. That was really fun, and it only got better when we returned to the car and saw all the bears had completely melted to the window and were dangling there like a big, colorful dingleberry. Then it turned into chewing up sunflower seeds and spitting them on each other. Having someone else’s chewed-up sunflower seeds stuck everywhere on your body, including in your ears and mouth, sucks. Just ask Corey.

With four more hours of driving left, we stopped off in some city. I forget the name, but there was a contest about to start, and they postponed it so we could skate for a while.

Thanks for letting us skate. We needed it.

There were a bunch of rippers there; I saw all sorts of switchy-switch and highflying flippity-flips going on. I was afraid to skate. Gideon and Corey got skatey-skatey as Thomas and Ingo got drinky-drinky, and Photocop got snappy-snappy with the cam-cam.

When the contest started, Corey and I moved over to the side and played OUT for some pounds. Corey has a very large number of tactics to select from when he’s on his Blind stick. We almost had to resort back to the Rodney vs. Daewon video to see if we missed any tricks. I’m glad Gideon didn’t play, ’cause Corey and I would have been broke.

I don’t know if TransWorld will put the name of the next shop we went to in the mag, but here goes, the name of the shop was F¿k You Too Skateboards.

At the F¿k You Too demo I had a lot of fun watching Gideon skate¿he was cruising around busting here and there. We skated a three-foot-long bar that was a foot off the ground. It might sound lame, but it was sort of cool. Then Gideon took off for a six-stair rail on the other side of the building that was more like a long log screwed into some metal beams¿it looked like a canoe but with the end cut off. The filmers and photographers, including Thomas and Photocop, were scrambling for their camera equipment, hurrying to capture Gideon in the act.

It was a very hot day, and the gummy bears melted their way toward the van’s carpet.

We made a stop at the police station, gave some stuff away, and left to go find some food. We found an Italian restaurant, where we sat and ate our spaghetti, and looked around at all the fascinating things. Over to one side was a girl selling ice cream from a little pushcart. On the other side was a girl with a big tattoo right above her butt¿Photocop thought it looked like a good target.

That night, we skated a huge skatepark in Frankfurt. It was our last night before we flew home. Our flight was early the next morning, so we got up early and left.

Now that the tour is over, I don’t have to write this story anymore. I’ve got Seu telling me to hurry up and write it, and Tania from TransWorld putting the pressure on, too. I have to turn in this story in like an hour, so I don’t get to tell you all about Seu breaking down doors to take naked photos of people on the toilet. I also won’t be able to mention all the madness that broke out in the car, which resulted in 100 spitballs covering the entire front portion of the car’s interior. You couldn’t even see out the rearview mirror, let alone push a button on the radio.

Oh yeah, and when we flew our kites, it took an hour for Gideon and Corey to get theirs up in the air. The strings were in tangles and knots. I had a good time trying to land my kite on everybody’s head. When Seu tried to play golf, i we kept the Skittles rainbow flowing for the six-hour car ride to Dresden.

Thomas smoked a cigarette every twenty minutes in the car. In between cigarettes he would drink a beer and roll up a chill flute, if you know what I mean. Stuck in a car for a long time does wonders for one’s brain. First you look around, trying to find something to amuse and entertain you. Then you begin to find uses for things that you would’ve never thought possible, like licking the backs of gummy bears and sticking them on the window, making funny pictures or words. That was really fun, and it only got better when we returned to the car and saw all the bears had completely melted to the window and were dangling there like a big, colorful dingleberry. Then it turned into chewing up sunflower seeds and spitting them on each other. Having someone else’s chewed-up sunflower seeds stuck everywhere on your body, including in your ears and mouth, sucks. Just ask Corey.

With four more hours of driving left, we stopped off in some city. I forget the name, but there was a contest about to start, and they postponed it so we could skate for a while.

Thanks for letting us skate. We needed it.

There were a bunch of rippers there; I saw all sorts of switchy-switch and highflying flippity-flips going on. I was afraid to skate. Gideon and Corey got skatey-skatey as Thomas and Ingo got drinky-drinky, and Photocop got snappy-snappy with the cam-cam.

When the contest started, Corey and I moved over to the side and played OUT for some pounds. Corey has a very large number of tactics to select from when he’s on his Blind stick. We almost had to resort back to the Rodney vs. Daewon video to see if we missed any tricks. I’m glad Gideon didn’t play, ’cause Corey and I would have been broke.

I don’t know if TransWorld will put the name of the next shop we went to in the mag, but here goes, the name of the shop was F¿k You Too Skateboards.

At the F¿k You Too demo I had a lot of fun watching Gideon skate¿he was cruising around busting here and there. We skated a three-foot-long bar that was a foot off the ground. It might sound lame, but it was sort of cool. Then Gideon took off for a six-stair rail on the other side of the building that was more like a long log screwed into some metal beams¿it looked like a canoe but with the end cut off. The filmers and photographers, including Thomas and Photocop, were scrambling for their camera equipment, hurrying to capture Gideon in the act.

It was a very hot day, and the gummy bears melted their way toward the van’s carpet.

We made a stop at the police station, gave some stuff away, and left to go find some food. We found an Italian restaurant, where we sat and ate our spaghetti, and looked around at all the fascinating things. Over to one side was a girl selling ice cream from a little pushcart. On the other side was a girl with a big tattoo right above her butt¿Photocop thought it looked like a good target.

That night, we skated a huge skatepark in Frankfurt. It was our last night before we flew home. Our flight was early the next morning, so we got up early and left.

Now that the tour is over, I don’t have to write this story anymore. I’ve got Seu telling me to hurry up and write it, and Tania from TransWorld putting the pressure on, too. I have to turn in this story in like an hour, so I don’t get to tell you all about Seu breaking down doors to take naked photos of people on the toilet. I also won’t be able to mention all the madness that broke out in the car, which resulted in 100 spitballs covering the entire front portion of the car’s interior. You couldn’t even see out the rearview mirror, let alone push a button on the radio.

Oh yeah, and when we flew our kites, it took an hour for Gideon and Corey to get theirs up in the air. The strings were in tangles and knots. I had a good time trying to land my kite on everybody’s head. When Seu tried to play golf, it took him ten tries to hit the ball one foot. What a nerd. You’d think someone as good as he is at taking photos at just the precise thousandth of a second could make contact between a stick and a ball.

Corey beat me at tennis and took twenty pounds from me. Seu had a temper tantrum when I tossed a fake roll of photos down the bottomless pit in the hotel.

I’m not into this story-telling anymore, so remember: skate far, skate hard, and have fun, because life is no dream.

side bar:

Ausfarht!

In Germany, Ws are pronounced like Vs. When driving on the freeways or whatever you call them, there are signs that read, “Ausfarht,” which means “exit.” In America we have some weird things, too. For instance, our apartments are not apart from each other; our buildings are already built; we park on driveways but drive on parkways; we put boxes of worthless stuff in our garages, and leave our expensive cars out in front of our houses; and our banks leave their doors wide open but chain the pens down. Superman just stands there when you shoot him with a gun, but if you throw the gun at him, he ducks.

f, it took him ten tries to hit the ball one foot. What a nerd. You’d think someone as good as he is at taking photos at just the precise thousandth of a second could make contact between a stick and a ball.

Corey beat me at tennis and took twenty pounds from me. Seu had a temper tantrum when I tossed a fake roll of photos down the bottomless pit in the hotel.

I’m not into this story-telling anymore, so remember: skate far, skate hard, and have fun, because life is no dream.

side bar:

Ausfarht!

In Germany, Ws are pronounced like Vs. When driving on the freeways or whatever you call them, there are signs that read, “Ausfarht,” which means “exit.” In America we have some weird things, too. For instance, our apartments are not apart from each other; our buildings are already built; we park on driveways but drive on parkways; we put boxes of worthless stuff in our garages, and leave our expensive cars out in front of our houses; and our banks leave their doors wide open but chain the pens down. Superman just stands there when you shoot him with a gun, but if you throw the gun at him, he ducks.