(Published: Sidewalk Magazine, 3rd May 2018.)
Last weekend saw ‘PURPLE’, the first full-length video from Converse Cons do the big screen rounds at cinemas in New York, London and Paris.
With French cinematographer Ben Chadourne at the helm, (whose previous work includes the European Cons video #PleaseCharge) and an All Star-clad cast including Bobby Dekeyzer, Sage Elsesser, Kenny Anderson, Aaron Herrington, Brian Delatorre, Kevin Rodrigues, Sean Pablo and Louie Lopez, (to name just some of their expansive roster) – this one was always destined to make plenty of noise, even in these days where 90% of video content is released online.
With the presence of a fair few of the video’s main heads in London and a weekend of street beers and pop up sessions on the agenda, it was a no brainer to jump on the train and head away from (or so I thought) the unseasonably shit weather of the North.
Brian Delatorre – hirsute and over here.
New playthings in the form of a kicker, picnic table and curvy ledge awaited those in attendance courtesy of Converse, Pop Trading Company, Slam City Skates and the woodworking skills of Chris Oliver who also spent the day rinsing his own craftsmanship and rarely missing a trick.
Chris Mann front blunts whilst dreaming of Barnsley.
Neil Smith, backside tailslide.
Chris Oliver, crooked.
Jox Cox lip slides through purple.
George Smith traveled down from Leeds to check the construction quality of the make-shift picnic table from a professional grafter’s perspective. It passed the test. Nosegrind.
Crowds gathered as the Slam City Skates endorsed kicker was pushed up to the otherwise inaccessible rail on the bridge. Neil Smith promptly jumped onto a frontside 5050 and Sean Pablo followed suit with the backside equivalent to bring the session to an end.
Your man with the fishing rod deffo handled this Sean Pablo banger.
Remnants of street beers were swigged and skateboarders jumped on the tube headed for Slam’s Covent Garden Store where more beer, pizza, (for those who spotted its arrival quickly enough) and general schmoozing took place before the Prince Charles beckoned.
Rob Mathieson makes size-based jokes at Jake Sawyer’s expense whilst Henry Kingsford spots a ghost in the near distance.
Even when Charlie Birch graduates from Uni and becomes an Investment Banker, you’ll still find him poncing free booze at skate do’s in London because he’s classically trained.
Nobody had the courtesy to tell Ben Chadourne where the cinema was.
Yorkshire terriers gone AWOL. Welcome Skate Store’s Liam Hobson and George Smith.
Once the last minute stockpiling and concealing of more reasonably priced booze was done the queue for the cinema formed, seats were filled and the audience was greeted with some number crunching regarding the efforts taken to produce a full length video. The lights dimmed and PURPLE began with footage of a typewriter punching out a manuscript stating the somewhat poignant qualities of the video’s namesake colour.
Was this outdated piece of technology referencing the near-archaic nature of the full length skateboard video or a slightly emo piece of b-roll which simply complements Cons aesthetic? Whichever it is – I hope there’s a discarded piece of paper from this introductory skit somewhere which reads, “All work and no play makes Jack Purcell a dull boy.”
Bobby Dekeyzer kicks off the video with a vast array of lines and shocking single tricks presenting a solid argument as to whether the young Canadian has surpassed his Habitat team mate and pioneer of the loose spine ledge dancing, Mark Suciu, with his ability to perform tricks likely to lead to scoliosis.
The contorted Canadian is followed up by Sage Elsesser with a part mainly consisting of nipple-to-neck height ollies and equally powerful haircuts which shift from shaved head to cornrows to afro.
While PURPLE doesn’t present the most versatile trick selection from Sage, the pop he boasts is incredible and his burly approach is a nice contrast to the gentle feet of Kenny Anderson who takes over for the latter half of the section.
Kenny continues to appear throughout the video ala Gonz in ‘Away Days’ albeit with fancier footwork and a more swoon-inducing visage. The abundance of Kenny’s footage throughout the video begs the question as to why he wasn’t given his own full part but I’m sure a remix of sorts will manifest onto the internet in no time courtesy of some anonymous message board hero.
Kevin Rodrigues’ talent for dividing opinion seems to grow with every Instagram account he focuses. Is it avant-garde or is it of the same calibre as a mosher kid at your local park who likes jumping off their board a bit too much? With early grabs, unorthodox tricks and guest appearances from the Blobys, this section felt like a slightly toned down version of his part from ‘I like it here inside my mind, don’t wake me this time’. You will either love it or hate it.
PURPLE has possibly the most shared parts of any prominent full-length video to date and Chadourne’s grouping of the different contingents of the Cons team makes up the middle of the film. Brian Delatorre is served with dashings of Al Davis (perhaps reserving footage for the upcoming Quasi Skateboards video) and the GX1000 crew.
Sammy Baca begins a transition heavy section joined by Tom Remillard, Raney Beres and Ben Raemers, (who springs the most frightening boneless put to film on the Forum street quarters in Barcelona) in a section which may make you ponder how vastly different Cons’ image was prior to ‘The Cherrington Effect’.
Aaron Herrington, Eli Reed and Zered Basset take the last shared part bringing the rugged charm of East Coast sidewalks, alley ways and staple spots to the foreground, (including the Brooklyn Banks where Eli places a lesser seen switch frontside shove-it to wallride).
At the risk of spoiling too much I’ll wrap this up quick by saying Sean Pablo’s trademark post-teenage angst is introduced with a series of b-roll then amplified by My Bloody Valentine accompanying his svelte style. Nothing too surprising here – backside 360s, tailslides and the awkward boyish charm that’s either for you or isn’t. Although there’s a hefty over-the-top lipslide before Louie Lopez rounds PURPLE off with a strictly no bullshit curtain call that functions as a heavy juxtaposition to the previous section.
Finally, Jake Johnson’s long lost section from Vase is unearthed for a short, sweet and rather heroic epilogue with the enigmatic powerhouse Gillette-grinding over a bump to bar and kickflipping up a roof gap before the credits properly roll.
There’s no official release date for PURPLE yet but rumour has it that the video will be appearing online for a short period of time in the near future. However, there are shop premieres taking place over the weekend so inquire at your local skateboard shop for a screening near you.