Though Jay was loath to going to Surf Expo when Bastien originally mentioned it back at the hotel, he still held onto a small shred of optimism that it wouldn’t be as bad as he anticipated -even though from all past experience, there really was no logical basis to make such an inference.
In actuality, Jay probably had no business there and the hostility he encountered from just being in the general vicinity of thet wo men with the one socially inept woman who was displaying herself breastfeeding in public, even seemed to reflect that.
Even though the industry proudly touted their monthly IV drip of stunt innovation -what no one ever seemed to realize, was that maybe such an insistent nervous gallop towards the general idea of progression went against the very same laid back West Coast life style that made skateboarding attractive and distinguished itself from all the other sports in the first place. Like all those Ams and Pros who would model in those easy going chillax spam ad photos, were the same lamers who would also pathetically display themselves frantically trying to land everything every try in front of a most likely, completely clueless contest practice audience. It was like watching the whole damned rollerboard industry simultaneously try to look cool smoking a cigarette while competing to win the highest ollieing competition (and if you didn’t know, it is actually impossible to enjoy a cigarette while skating).
As far as Jay could tell, most of the people he knew didn’t seem that much burdened with the discomfort that went with growing or changing or venturing into the unknown. Sure, they may have discovered some new Am to exploit and not pay, found some new product material to mention in their ad in Transword or Thrasher or Poweredge or discovered some new lame-duck head graphic designer who’s visible tattoos and Southie hat were direct evidence that they had no aesthetic taste whatsoever -for the most part everyone was still getting paid to take away from the value of America’s most important export.
On top of doing almost irreparable damage to something other countries still couldn’t get right (but were slowly catching up on), the people Jay knew also aggressively played parodies of themselves doing such. It doesn’t exactly take an industry insider to notice such behavior, you can see it just in the way they walk around their little booths, how they cut people off in mid conversation only to start talking to someone else and make it seem accidentally incidental. The way they fake emphasize their laugh out loud as if they can tell they are being watched. When talking each other up,they expose things about their true selves that they aren’t consciously aware of. It was as if when these people were alone, their internal dialogue was powered from coming up with answers to future hypothetical media interviews they conducted on themselves in their heads.
Jay walked along the booth corridor and it was as if the essence of himself eluded itself and was gradually becoming nulled away; like he was on the verge of floating up through himself- if as if everything that made up his being resigned itself and only wanted wanted to disappear into somewhere else.
Jay stopped in front of rows of nine Sony television sets that were stacked and lined up in a tic- tac- toe grid. The sets were synched up and playing what looked like sort of documentary of Dane Mc Connell. Clips of 8-chip footage of Dane Mc Connell being interviewed were montaged, but it was impossible to hear what he was saying because the speakers were on mute and the area around the booth was blasting what sounded like Good Charlotte, Saves the Day, Blink or something equally idiotic. Jay imagined or assumed and just pretty much mentally commented to himself that Dane would probably predictably blurt out his tagline somewhere during the interview: “Get gnarls or get the fuckcz out!”
“Get gnarls or get the fuckcz out!”
“Get gnarls or get the fuckcz out!” Dane’s mantra, which he would audaciously belt out during interviews, public appearances or anytime he was being recorded (probably even if he was privately being filmed for home videos) as if his modus for the pursuit of whatever constituted as gnarls never ceased, as if there was no greater aspiration to well, um “get gnarls”.
Jay was all too familiar with Dane’s history. And how couldn’t he be? It was only reproduced and exalted practically every other month all over an/the incestuous action sports media network outlet ad nauseum. To spare lavish detail, the short version goes : Dane came up in Lake Tahoe and grew up skating full pads in exclusive invitational contests located within the outer margins of Orlando, Florida. From an over young age Dane was also a prodigious pro-snowboarder for Santa Cruz and also was BMX-ced sponsored before he began devoting all his time navigating over over cooked transitions and inevitably going pro for professionally for Delinquentcykiller. He must have practically re-invented the prestigious “Mark Gator Rogowski Life Time Achievement Award” from Poweredge three years before breaking his back trying to backflip on a motorbike on a dirt pyramid only to then to make a miraculous physical therapied recovery comeback (despite re-exacerbating his spina bifida) from winning the Billabong '93 Redondo Beach Invitational (it was never clear how/why/if he was actually invited).
Jay can hear the sound byte of Sal Masekela bragging about Dane: “Dane can do anything he wants!” It was as if just being able to mention Dane’s accomplishments made Sal cooler (and a lot of people though Masekela was cool). Never mind that Dane looked like a big giant plumber when he pushed and carved around, never mind that in his insistent quest for gnarls-dumb the possibility or the idea or even the notion of subtlety was thrown out the window, never mind just listening to Dane speak made Jay think slower- made Jay feel like he was loosing brain cells through osmosis.
But the black Sony televisions flashed images of Dane on paid vacation, riding a track bike on a pristinely sunny day in Austin, Texas. Someone on a bicycle was follow filming him and you can almost sense from looking through the gaze of the camera-recorder, the person filming it was thinking: “I’m getting paid to film Dane Mc Connell!” There was a montage clip of him riding up that bank next to the sidewalk on 9th and Brazos and Dane riding up some other bank that had rocks on the lip, somewhere else downtown- where Jay couldn’t remember the exact cross street. Another clip of Dane sitting, interviewing on a couch (you still couldn’t hear what he was saying) with a painting in the background that looked like a glorified doodle. Then there was a stationary panned shot of Dane bombing down the hill at San Jacinto and sixth where Jay could make out the giant soft Texas-ey mural of anthropomorphized armadillo painted on the side of the brick building, while Dane fool heartedly blazed down the slopped street at full speed, ran the red light and swerved around a pedestrian crossing on the other side - barely missing them. Seeing Dane almost hit the innocent person crossing San Jac seemed to perfectly illustrate how there must have been some kind of internal switch flipped off that allowed Dane to rationalize (or maybe in Dane’s case, not rationalize) putting himself in and getting away from dangerous situations. Most confused these kind of acts as bravery and showing “No Fear”, but most normal people could never do such stunts because their body did kinda care about itself and would never let them put themselves in such foolish predicaments. Dane made a living off this indiscretion and was a legend and made many wish they were capable of such acts. Although Jay always thought to himslef that grinding the Gulliver Rail near Towne Square looked anything but fun or attractive and Jay also never had the urge to air into that ginormous bowl at Burnside. No one seemed to stop to think or maybe even care that anyone who would willingly justify heelflipping a thirteen stair would have to be certifiably not quite right in the head.
Jay walked away from the television screens with slight longing, not really longing for what he didn’t have (well, for the moment he actually wasn’t obsessing about who was currently fucking Heather or Sigourney), he even surprisingly for once wasn’t longing for what he wasn’t capable of. More than anything he just wished people placed value more on the same things that he did. He was just so exhausted by looking at everyone’s visible tattoos, exhausted by everyone forcing their uninformed and badly judged music selection on him, exhausted by how the industry let the same certain type of people come up, while holding others back. It wasn’t just the skateworld that was guilty of such crimes, it was everywhere, in every scene. Things could be better, but bad decision making made us all suffer and after all, we all existed in the same life boat, we all walked the same land (for the most part). Jay thought about all the possible therapeutic art he was missing out on because people decided to campaign poster for people who had no business running shit. Art shows still sucked everywhere because most every one who stepped into any gallery rarely questioned anything and pretended to be impressed and able to appreciate the boring vacuum of subtlety of a Mark Rothko or a Walter de Maria or a Cy Twombly or a Richard Serra- works that which did nothing except make people believe they were smarter than they actually were, works that were actually used instead to separate social classes instead of uniting us all. Pop culture and rock music and skateboarding have the potential of traversing the man made barriers and making many types of people from all types of backgrounds come together through shared experience but unfortunately more often than not, most everything that was produced and put out seemed to do nothing more than suck a big fat giant donkey’s dick.