The first podcast in a six-part series, On Tattoos, has just gone live on Anchor, iTunes, and Google Play.
Check out the gallery below to see my tattoos as I tell the stories of getting them and discuss their meanings in the podcast.
My first tattoo, a dragon with cherry blossom by Kanae.
My second tattoo, a mandala by India Amara.
My most recent tattoo (and ongoing work), a peony sleeve by Damien Rodriguez.
If you can’t wait for more tattoo talk, why not check out Kanae, Damien, and India, read this old post from the EYT archives, and remember to follow this blog and subscribe to the podcast on your platform of choice to keep up to date with the rest of the series over the coming weeks!
Today, I did the same thing I do every working day: I woke up (slightly earlier than I’d have liked), ate a quick but nutritious breakfast, and went to work. Some 9 hours later I left the lab, grabbed my skateboard and shoes from the boot of my car, and went for a skate. These after-work skates clear my head like nothing else can; it’s me and the board, and nothing else – not that I have a choice, if I want to stay on my feet anyway… It’s a ritual that has quickly become essential. I do it everyday after work, come what may – I’ve skated in the pouring rain, on ice, and in near total darkness amongst other potential hindrances. Today I worked up such a sweat that I soon found myself wearing only the t-shirt I had on under my work clothes, despite it being a nippy 5°C.
Sometimes my session alone isn’t enough to satisfy my skateboarding needs, however, and today was one of those days. The cure today came in the form of Polar Skate Co.’s I like it here in my mind. Don’t wake me this time. The movie (which you can watch in its entirety here: https://polarskateco.com/theatre/ – though I own a physical copy nevertheless, worth owning [in my opinion anyway] for its packaging’s aesthetic alone) is a genuinely unique project work of art.
As much an art film as it is a skate video, Pontus Alv’s brainchild mixes early avant-garde (especially surrealist/dada) cinema, cartoons, and artistic shots of landscapes – amongst other tidbits – with the skating itself. The whole project is gloriously lo-fi, combining aged-looking grainy shots (in both black-and-white and colour) and higher quality shots (after all, this is in fact a skate film made between 2011 and 2015) with visual effects and transitions reminiscent of 1970 TV (as is the project’s 4:3 aspect ratio). Even the soundtrack, between the occasional philosophical monologue, includes songs from some of the skate classics of yesteryear…
Oh, and the skating’s good too. Check it out.
In some ways, the story behind my new skateboard set up seems a good analogy for life.
The build itself started when I ordered a spare blank deck (I love its simplicity and cleanness), and, either by placing my order carelessly or an error on the website’s end, instead of receiving a deck my usual 7.75 inches wide, I received an 8.25. I realise this may sound like nothing to a non-skater, but it does make a significant difference. I have no hardware suitable for this wide a deck, but instead of sending it back I took my/their mistake as an opportunity to experiment and try something new! That same morning I ordered new 5.5 inch trucks to match the deck’s width, and thought that while I was at it I’d order some 56mm A-cut wheels (monstrously enormous compared to the 50mms on my current deck).
In fact, I didn’t stop there, ordering new bearings and bolts too, to commit fully to an entirely new build. The truth is, as with many things in life, I had become very comfortable with my set up; I have been riding the same trucks for the last 6 years, the wheels for the last ten, and – whilst the boards themselves wear out and break – I have exclusively ridden 7.75s as long as I can remember (excluding one 8 inch early on that was too big for me, and a 7.5 years later that by then was far too small). Maybe I’ll love the new set up, and maybe I’ll hate it. But at least I’ll know, and I’ll have learnt something from the experience.
And this is true of all facets of life – leaving one’s comfort zone is a risk: maybe things will improve as a result, and maybe they won’t. Sometimes we may choose to leave that comfort zone, but too often we will choose the opposite, and it takes a mistake, surprise, or just dumb luck to force us out. Of course, a new skateboard set up is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but when changes in life are more significant there is also inevitably also more to be gained. After all, you have to move to move forward.
When life gives you lemons…