BLADE DIARY First edition January 2017 © 2011 Pietro Firrincieli © 2016 www.pietrofirrincieli.com CBb001
CHAPTER I A Family Album
CHAPTER II Iâ€™m Totally Broke Chiraq Mexgroove Hotel Julio Love, Time, Space Home
21 25 29 37 41 45
CHAPTER III Memories Captions
Dedicated to Blading. Thank you for the friends, the travels and the good time. You made me who I am.
A FAMILY ALBUM
When I started the BLADE DIARY, it was both a reaction and a pesonal revolution. In 2011 I was 26. I had a good job. I was shooting commercial photography and making good money. I had a nice apartment and a beautiful girlfriend. My life was all set up and looked great to myself and everyone around me. But I was suffering panic attacks. This scared me. I was satisfied but I wasn’t happy. It was in January of that year when I received a call from J.Son Adriani, one of my best friends. We had not been in touch for a while because my life left no room for Blading. I had little time for it. My family, my girlfriend and most of the people around me did not consider it a “grown up” activity and I gradually started to believe it too. J.Son called me as he always did from time to time, just to say hello. He told me he was going to Winterclash the next month. At that time I was living at Cesura, a photojournalist collective founded by Alex Majoli, a photographer of the Magnum agency. I was surrounded by cool friends of my age working in photojournalism. 13
I went there once to visit my good friend Chiara Fossati, whom I had met during our photojournalism masters at the Contrasto agency in Milan; and after that weekend Gabriele Micalizzi asked me if I wanted to join the collective for a little while. I was already looking to take photographs with a deeper meaning than those of the architecture and design shoots I was doing at that time, so I moved to Cesura. But I had no idea what project I should work on. I wasn’t interested in photographing wars or social issues. I didn’t feel very much connected to those topics. I decided to call J.Son back and ask if there was a spot for me in the van to Winterclash, thinking I would do a report of the world’s biggest Blading event to sell to Sportweek. It was only after some time and the chance to listen to the Magnum photographer’s teaching workshops at Cesura that I really understood that photojournalism can extend further than just a commercial product. A mind blowing experience. Laughs. Travels. A feeling of freedom. I realized there was no documentation of our past times as Bladers, since 1996 when I started. There was very little proof that we, the pioneers of Blading in Italy had existed. Our youth. Our good times. Our adventures. Back at Cesura I was a little upside down. I saw my life from a different perspective. What I and the people around me had thought was a great life, didn’t seem so great to me anymore. I was surrounded all day by clients instead of friends. These clients cared only for their business. With little attention paid to the quality of their products, my job, their life and mine. I almost forgot my identity as a Blader because the people around me were only consumers. I realized what scared me. Death scared me. 14
I was scared of losing my life while doing something I didn’t care about. Something meaningless. Trading happiness for satisfaction. And I decided to quit. Everything. It wasn’t easy. I had to explain my decisions to my family, my girlfriend and everyone around me. Of course, no one understood or supported those decisions. I was alone, but I always had been, in fact. I was the only one who believed Blading was important. That being grown up doesn’t mean accepting an unhappy life and forgetting your dreams. Or who you are. I spent the rest of the year touring Italy, visiting the lifelong Blading friends I grew up with, and going to contests to make memory of our new times together. I wanted to show our lifestyle. The beauty and the freedom of our way of living. I brought a reporter language with me to show the intimate aspects of the culture I belong to and I am proud of, along with the action. Sportweek never answered my e-mail with the Winterclash pictures, but Johannes Jacobi, the founder of the event, saw them and invited me to come back for the next year. In 2012 the new Winterclash shoots were the first pictures I ever published on Be-Mag magazine and the beginning of our collaboration. As Be-Mag staff photographer I spent the next two years on the road, without a home, receiving the golden hospitality that has belonged to the Blading community since day one. We invented carpooling and couch-surfing before these terms existed. Sharing the little money we had for gas and crashing at someone’s house all together was the only way we could afford to go to the competitions and see each other since the’90’s. As time passed and the incredible adventures happened, I started to realize that I was doing something totally new. I have toured the world documenting the contests, crews and 15
people who allow our culture to exist. I kept the BLADE DIARY, a blog that transformed into the first portrait of Blading culture as a whole, and that has now become this book. A family album.
I’M TOTALLY BROKE
The tour is what every Blader dreams of. Pure freedom. It connects both the adventure of Blading in new spots, and our universal need to travel and experience the world to understand life. Getting on the road is how everything started, including this book. My favourite tour was the last one. It was summer 2013 when I realized that I needed more pictures from the U.S. to finish the BLADE DIARY. I booked a flight from Milan to New York and a return flight from Los Angeles 6 weeks later. I had 300 euros left in my bank account. I was broke. I had no clue where to go, where to sleep, how to eat or how to reach Los Angeles in time. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to shoot the NYC Invitational in New York and the Blading Cup in Santa Ana, California. I created a Facebook page and named it: BLADE DIARY - I’M TOTALLY BROKE U.S.A. TOUR. I explained my situation and asked the Blading community for some support with floors I could sleep on, leftover food I could eat and random transportation to get me across the country. When I landed at J.F.K. airport in New York, the cops at immigration must have checked that page. 21
They started asking me about my financial situation, if I had money in my pockets, an ATM card, if there was cash in my bank account, and, of course, the real reason for my visit and if I had a place to stay. I had to answer those questions many times, sitting in a room that didn’t exactly seem like the V.I.P. area. After a few hours, they let me in. Shawn Engler gave me a spot on the same couch Ivan Narez was sleeping on, in his new apartment in BedStuy, Brooklyn. He had also hooked me up the year before at his old place, where we became friends. The NYC Invitational took place under a bridge in Williamsburg. Real street obstacles made up the course, like a concrete jersey, a piano tool or a truck. The Blading was at a level I’d never seen before in competitions. I’m not talking about just the tricks; you can see crazy stunts at pretty much every contest. I’m talking about the execution of tricks. It’s not even the style, it’s something more. It’s style and technique in unison. It’s when awareness of the trick starts with the first push of the run up and not on the feet after the lock of a grind. The awareness stays through the approach of the obstacle, in the jump, aware of the entire body, the timing of every movement and in the landing. Every decision made about the execution of a trick, together with the attitude, is what makes Blading look good yet interesting to watch. In my opinion, this is the difference between who is pro and who is not. Or at least, it should be. Jon Bolino got the 1st place for the second year in a row, Alex Broskow got 2nd and Montre Livingston got 3rd. The 2 weeks in New York passed by pretty chilled, riding on a bike around the city to go to exhibitions, Blading and eating very spicy 22
food with Ivan. We even tried to make a good pizza, using random wheat from the shop around the corner, with Shawn. Pizza was a big bummer though. Each time we ended up with a different kind of cookie covered in tomato sauce. A huge one. I’m still wondering which flour is the right flour to bake a fucking pizza in New York! And not every bike ride was blissful either! Once we wanted to go pick some rolls of film for Ivan’s Bolex at E.Rod’s in Harlem. From Brooklyn it was a long ride but that was no problem for me. Ivan insisted he knew a spot that would allow us to easily jump onto the metro with the bikes. An open station, where you can figure out at first sight if there are any cops around, is best. And so we did. We got to Myrtle Ave, took the bikes up the stairs, jumped in and got fucked by the police hidden behind the only thing on the sidewalk. $100 fine, 1/3 of my budget gone. The cop was actually a cool dude and we spent 10 minutes checking papers and talking about Jay-Z. It was an expensive lesson to learn that Mr. Carter was living in that area and named himself after the lines of the metro that were stopping by that station. J and Z, in fact. But the way back from Harlem to Brooklyn crossing Central Park at sunset made me forget about the $100 until we got back home. I then had to put my second camera, a Contax T2, for sale on Craiglist. But after a few days of tests, Ivan bought it. With that money I booked a night train to Chicago.
I always like to travel at night, with the slowest transportation possible, usually a bus, for different reasons. First, it’s a safe place to spend the night, fresh in the summer and warm in the winter. Second, you save money. With the same price, you move and have a “bed” at the same time. And third, its valuable alone time. Alone time between the time spent with many old and new friends with no routine. It’s a Space where you can both realize what’s just happened, and reorganize yourself to be ready for what happens next. I arrived in Chicago the morning of October 9th. I still used a smartphone at that time and woke up with the news that Brandon Negrette passed away in Los Angeles during the night. I thought it was a bad joke on the internet. To me an artist is someone who’s able to sense symbolic changes in culture and the world. An artist can analyze them, understand them, and synthesize them into a body of work that can inspire others and show a new perspective. Like a prediction or a guide. And this is what Brandon was doing in every video. Every time he chose to work with a crew of Bladers, they were incarnating the 25
new wave, portraying the future of the culture, plus the friendship, the youth and the fun. And I see all this summed up in the title of his masterpiece: Forever Now. Seàn O’ Dalaigh picked me up at the train station and introduced me to Colin Martin and both of their beautiful families. They invited me to join for a nice breakfast and offered me to stay at The Pull Skateshop’s building during my time in the city. Having 3 little kids around and the vibes of a chill family morning made me switch from feeling powerless in front of death, to a peaceful feeling of love of life. Chris Farmer was living in the same building too. He was in Chicago to film the promo for his fifth pro-skate together with Paul John. We met in New York and talked about joining them during their filming. But Chicago was mostly rainy and I managed to shoot only the night they filmed on the roof at Paul John’s studio. Farmer was playing his guitar and drinking whiskey, with a model dressed in a net suit and duct tape on her nipples dancing around him. One day Colin had to visit some shops as Sales Representative fors ome streetwear brand and asked me if I was interested to see the real Chicago. I jumped in the car directed to Englewood. All the stores we went were owned by Palestinian’s around our age, and they were selling only streetwear and cellphones. Most of them had the same design: you get in the store, where the clothes are exposed and you are surrounded by an about 2 meters high wood desk where the guy of the shop will wait for you to pay. When I asked the reason of that weird design Colin introduced me to Chiraq. Chicago has 2 nicknames, the first one is Shy. Because it’s like New York but not as loud. And the second one is Chiraq. 26
Chiraq because there are more people who got murdered by a bullet in Chicago than during the war in Iraq. The reason of the design of the store is that when a robber gets in with a gun and asks for cash, the guy from the shop will shoot him through the 2 meter-high desk with his shotgun right in their face. I’ ve got a hoodie with a silver Illinois map with a bloody bullet hole on Chicago and bloody typed: Welcome to Chiraq. Realinois. As a gift. The same day, in another shop, a black girl offered herself to me for $25 but I denied. It was about half of my journey and I still had no clue about where to go next or how to reach L.A. in time for the Blading Cup and my flight back to Rome.
Being on the road I’ve learned that things show up when you need them. Every encounter is for a reason. And the only thing that makes me blind to this law of the universe is other plans and fear. So I learned to relax and trust the flow. The only thing asked of myself was to have an intention, a clear will. And I definitely had it. A few days later I had a message from Ivan, he was in Mexico and the weather was pretty good. He talked with Pablo Partida who said that there would be a spot for me for the next two weeks if I would like to join. The change of currency to pesos made this option not only affordable, but the best thing that could have ever happen to me at that moment. And I booked a flight to Guadalajara with the return on Los Angeles the day before the Blading Cup. As an Italian citizen I didn’t need a VISA to get into Mexico. When I asked for the change, they apply no taxes. I immediately felt I did the right choice. Ivan and Pablo picked me up at the airport. On the way to Pablo’s, while stuck in a traffic jam, two little kids about 10 29
years old climbed to the front windows of Pablo’s car asking for money. The one on the left side was catching our attention talking, touching our beards and asking if we were a rock band, meanwhile the other one quickly got himself half in the car from the front window in the right and grabbed Pablo’s pack of cigarettes near the gear. A moment later, they were gone. Once home, walking in the garden between the trees, we joined the session in La Mexgroove, Pablo’s backyard pool. That night we went to a crowded local pub. Everyone got a drink and I recommend you try a Yerba Bonita, if you have the chance. A Yerba Bonita is a kind of mojito with beer, tequila instead of rum and yerba buena instead of mint. The guy from the pub gave me a little plastic bag, closed with a knob with a straw in the middle and full of a green liquid and some ice. They ran out of glasses and that’s how they serve drinks in this case. The jukebox was playing some local music, someone was singing along, many were dancing in couples, some on the tables, and I was drinking from my plastic bag. I heard the guys talking about leaving for a tour the next morning. When I received that message about a spot for me for 2 weeks in Mexico, Ivan meant in the van. But he didn’t mention this awesome surprise. Outside the pub, B Free was smoking with 2 locals without speaking a single word of Spanish. All this beautiful and chill hospitality reminded me of south Italy and I felt at home a little, even being so far away, and immediately fell in love with this country. In the second club, this Rocker, who was about 80 year old was making everyone want to dance by playing his guitar. Another old man dressed in a brown leather trench was shaking his cowboy hat on the dance floor already wet from the spilt beer. Without the time to even recognize how, I was dancing with 2 girls, one was 30
holding my hands and the other one was squeezed in the middle. They said they were cousins. When we decided to move to the next club they jumped in our cab and joined us on our way to the Americas. During my first round to the toilet, I noticed some cash changing pockets and got the feeling that it would be a long party. I then decided to type down Pablo’s address for future reference and took it easy drinking a beer and answering to C.’s questions. C. was nice. When I told her that I was in Chicago that same morning and that was my first day in Mexico, she assumed I was tired and invited me home. I had to tell her I was broke and didn’t have any cash for the cab and that the next morning I had to leave for the tour. She replied that she would pay the cab and take me to Pablo’s the next morning, in time. When she opened the door, a huge black dog jumped on me, pushing me against the wall. She apologized and opened the glass door to the garden for Jager. Like Jagermaister, she said. Jager went to his toilet and we went to her room. The next morning I woke up with a hangover, and noticed a tattoo I didn’t see the night before. It was in Latin and right above C.’s pussy. The translation is pretty much: “what feeds me destroys me”. And I took a photograph. She woke up in that right moment and asked what I was doing. I explained to her that since I’m a photographer, taking pictures is what I do. She agreed and said I could use the shower if I wanted to. When I opened the door of the room, naked, Jager was right in front of me with his huge head. I protected myself with my hands and he started to lick my knuckles. After the shower C. took me to the address in my pocket in time for the tour as promised. Once the van was packed, Raul Chew, Luis Mendez, Alan Sheppard, Brian Freeman, Victor Arias, Brandon Smith, Ivan 31
Narez and I jumped in. Led by captain Pablo we went to the airport to pick up Erick Rodriguez. The crew was complete. E. Rod got in the trunk with B Free, both laid on everybody’s bags, grabbed some weed that was hidden under the insoles of his skates and started smoking. Ready to go south to Morelia in time for the Chasco competition at the end of the week. To do so, we stopped in a different town every day after about a 300 km drive. At every stop, B Free would 360 on something, Ivan would film it with his 16mm Bolex camera and everyone would eat a billion tacos and drink beers. When in the van, Ivan would ask everyone to guess who’s section of which Blade video was the song playing on the radio. Everyone would eat spicy chips and drink beers and E.Rod and B Free would keep smoking in the trunk laying on everybody’s bags. Since I refused to smoke every time during the first 2 days, one night in Leon, E.Rod sat next to me and said: “Listen Brò. If I would offer to you the best coffee in the World, you would drink it right? You would try it, right? I’m offering to you the best weed in the World. This is Kush. Niggas watch it grow naturally for months. They don’t do shit on this. Ain’t no shit on this, it’s all natural. One of these joints costs 20 bucks in Cali. Tell me you’re going to try”. He was smiling, his golden teeth were shining in the moonlight. I just couldn’t say no. I said “Alright, got you, I will”. “Promise?” he asked. “I Promise” was my answer. And we shook our hands. It was a bunch of nights later, in Mexico City, that E. Rod wanted me to join on the balcony to honour that promise. He passed me the joint and I was careful for the first puff. I passed to B Free, he passes to Victor, then Korey Waikiki, Dre Powell, again to E.Rod and then me. Since the taste was very good I went in for a deep puff this time. 32
B Free, Victor, Korey, Dre, E.Rod. At my third puff, my arms and legs started feeling like noodles. I didn’t say anything and just walked inside the apartment and lay down in my sleeping bag on the floor. I closed my eyes before I had the time to pull up the zip, still on my side and with no pillow. The next morning I woke up with the half of my body I slept on, completely numb and with my mouth dry as sand. I was so thirsty that I grabbed a 5 litre tank of water and drunk half. That day I took it easy and went to the Emory Douglas exhibition. Emory Douglas was the artist behind most of the Black Panther Party communication. He was illustrating the struggles of the Apartheid in posters and magazines that became iconic. The whole propaganda was about pride and organization. Blading could learn a lot from that. Take Rollernews, for example. Clicking on the website is unhealthy for the Blading culture. Since Rollernews doesn’t produce any original content and doesn’t sponsor any athletes or events, this means, in fact, that it doesn’t investsany money into Blading. Brands advertise on the page because of the amount of clicks it has daily. The money those brands pay, flows outside our industry and we never get it back. It is a black hole. All the content on Rollernews is somewhere else first. Often on the page of the same brands who advertise on it. Changing this habit, and spending the same clicks and money on Blading magazines instead, would give them the chance to produce original quality content by sending Bladers, photographers and filmers on tour. And eventually print new issues. This is something that many of us are looking to do and complain about the lack of opportunity. Everyone thinks it is someone else responsibility though. 33
Acting united is being aware that it is everybody’s responsibility instead. And that a simple daily act like not clicking on a web page anymore could have a huge impact on Blading. After the exhibition I realized the importance of the role of magazines play and how they should spread culture and awareness by giving direction to the energy of the Blading community together with the power of being united and proud of our identity. That same day we moved to Morelia, a beautiful city that was hosting a big festival of cinema and the Chasco competition. The skatepark was impressive and fun. Once there we met Demetrious George who drove alone from southern California to join the competition and the rest of our journey on the way back north. Once in Sayulita, he disappeared. Brandon and I rented a surfboard and went to the beach where everyone got some rum in a coconut. We spotted some red scorpions too. At sunset we moved to a surf house in the wood and had a nice pizza for dinner. It felt like being in paradise and I thought about staying there for the rest of my life. Nando, our host there, said that a friend of his was looking for a photographer and the job would be well paid. After some counts about the salary in pesos and the change with euros I realized I wouldn’t be able to leave Mexico anymore and sadly, I had to refuse the opportunity. The next morning from the roof of the house where we slept we saw the bay and still thought that would be a great place to get stuck. Then we had a fuseball match and jumped on the back of Nando’s pick up directed to the jungle. After a 20 minute ride on the only road there was, we stopped on the left by a D.I.Y. skatepark - the last thing I expected to find there. When everyone got some clips and fresh beers, we crossed the road, jumped a fence, walked 15 minutes across the jungle to 34
a desert bay and had a swim. Back at the skatepark, Nando was waiting for us with a 1 meter long fresh fish and some tacos for our barbecue. Another great day. The next morning during breakfast, Ivan and I were wondering about where Demetrious was and the great time he missed. We made a joke saying that the only way he could top our days in Sayulita would have to have had a threesome with 2 beautiful girls. In that exact moment he appeared again saying: “guys, you wouldn’t believe what happened to me. Last night I was in this bar in a close town, I don’t know if those 2 girls were models but ...” And we laughed. When we asked for pictures of his incredible story, he said that his phone was out of battery, so he took a hotelroom receipt for 3 out from his pocket as proof. Everyone laughed again and got in the van back to Guadalajara where the beautiful Mexican tour ends and where a piece of my heart still is.
Everyone got to Los Angeles with different flights. Victor, Ivan and I went to Santa Ana and got a spot on the already packed floor at “Hotel Julio”, Jon Julio’s house. I’ve been around with many Bladers but Jon is the only one I know who wakes up at 5 a.m. and starts working, still blades every day at almost 40 years old, and killing it. Someone asked him once if he see himself keep Blading in the next years and he said: “I’m not even questioning it. It’s what I’ve done for my whole life. It’s the only thing I know.” Another good lesson. The vibes at the Blading Cup were similar to Italian contests, a big family meeting where the Blading is just one of the reasons to be there. Alex Broskow and Chris Farmer dedicated the victory to Brandon Negrette, their best friend. That night there was the premiere of Kook a short movie about Blading directed by Drew Barchrach featuring the Blading of Erik Bailey. The last and only time that Blading got in a movie in a proper way was Airborn with Chris Edward. A very long time ago. 37
When it was the time to pick one of the Italian dialects to become the official Italian language, the last decision was between Tuscany dialect and Sicily. Tuscany‘s became the offcial Italian language because Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio wrote their masterpieces in that dialect and spread it to many people with their stories. In the same way, Blading will get recognition in the world through the work of the artists who reach the popular culture. And Kook is one of the few steps we did in the right direction. It is because it shares a story. 20 years ago, being a kid, I used to show Blading videos I loved to my parents, teachers and non-Bladers friends. In the beginning they were impressed by the danger of the stunts. However, after 5 minutes they were less able to enjoy the technical variety of the tricks and lost interest. At that time the videos where about an hour long, more than enough to get bored if the only difference you can see in the distort vision of the fisheye clips of the suburbs, is between a 2 legged trick, a 1 legged trick or a cross legged one. There was nothing they could relate with. The street cultures that made it to the mainstream did it through movies, music videos, books and exhibitions. They build imagery by sharing stories about their lifestyle. Inspiring other people to live the same stories, to live the same life. But then they have trouble keeping it real, and that’s why artists should work as a filter too, between the culture and the mainstream. Not selling out to corporations, energy drink companies or the Olympic Games. So we will never see our brands doing collaborations with Hello Kitty or pros becoming stuntmen or gymnasts. Blading is not a sport but a culture that performs in the street. 38
We don’t like rules and don’t have schools, but we have a strong code and language of movements. We shouldn’t change our nature to please someone else, our ego, or to make money at the cost of who we are. Otherwise there will be a fracture between the core who will keep it real by remaining poor, while the sell outs will make money - for a short time - instead of making the culture grow organically, united and strong enough to stay. While I was taking a nap on a sofa at Julio’s, Matt Luda woke me up. The last time we had seen each other was at Roskilde festival in Denmark a few months before. Together with Patrick Ridder we laughed to tears for almost two weeks. It was a nice surprise and he hooked me up with a place to stay in Long Beach at the warehouse where he was living together with JC Row. The next morning he invited me for a breakfast to a nice diner he always goes to, and after a burrito and a few pancakes we went Blading to a famous ditch not too far away. Having a session in a Californian ditch was a dream since VG6, the first video I ever had the chance to watch. Making this dream become true on the very last day of this tour was probably the best way to end the BLADE DIARY and make the kid I was when it all started 20 years ago, in 1996, happy.
LOVE, TIME, SPACE
It was a beautiful and sunny day when I landed in Rome. There was music in the streets and I had a joyful feeling of being home, without actually having one. When I first left, a few years before, I thought I would have remained where ever I would have liked more than Italy. I had nothing to lose, I thought. Being on the road I’ve seen many beautiful places where I met many new and awesome friends. Many incredible adventures happened too, that made the time together just unforgettable. I have learnt and grown a lot. My life is just amazing. During the time I was constantly on the move I had to learn to stay in the present. I had to learn to stay where I was and with whom I was. With no plans for the future and no expectation from it and the persons I had around me. Everything became a gift, because nothing was owed to me. I learnt to be grateful doing whatever possible to give back. Often not much, but always, all I had. A great feeling of joy was filling me every day. It was clear that things just happen. I learned to “go with the flow”. 41
What “the flow” is and how it works became clear too. It is a mix of the circumstances and the possibilities that comes with them. They are organized and become real by the attraction force of the will. And I learnt the difference between will and desire. Desire, comes from the ego and its goal is pleasure. It works by asking for things that can be taken for the self. It consumes the resources. The will, comes from believing in something and its goal is creation. It works the same way with everything that can be built. Transforming the resources by giving them time, energy and attention, into something that has a value which is more of the sum of the parts. It organizes and optimizes the resources according to their qualities and through care. It’s a fusion process. Like cooking. Like love. I thought a lot about love, time and traveling back then. Love is a connection that lasts through time and space. It is what give sense to how we use time and space. It is a reason. A direction. Time is our only real currency. That’s why we say that we “spend” it. It is all the energy that we dispose. It’s a finite source. Travelling is space. And space is where everything becomes physical. Where everything has a body. Where everything exists. I realized that during those years of moving from one city to the other every one week or so and living in my small backpack, I built a lot. But I built it all inside myself. I collected many experiences but I was the only one in all of them. My life was awesome but I was the only one with the whole story. The only one to know that I was in many places without belonging to anyone. And I felt that something had changed. I felt the need to use my time and space in a different way. 42
I felt the need to go deeper into those thoughts and that to do so I had to be able to slow down as much as possible. Like diving.
Since I was a little kid, every summer, in August, my family and I used to go to Sicily to visit my grandparents. Ever since I can remember, every time, once on the ferry, I have had the feeling of time slowing down until it gets totally frozen, when I take my first step on the island. I’ve wondered about that feeling for a little while and I started to go there more often when I was randomly passing through Italy. When the BLADE DIARY was over at the end of 2013 I thought it would be the perfect place to stay, work on the book and follow my thoughts for a little while. Why after 3 years I’m still on the island writing the last words of this book on a beautiful terrace along the harbour in Catania, and what I have found here, is another incredible story.
48 / 49 Los Angeles, October 2012 We get taught from school that something is always better and something is always worst. To compete and judge, instead of giving credits to the different qualities.City halls build fences all around skateparks turning them from plazas to ghettos.
50 Lisbon, April 2013 Dominik Wagner was bummed. His skates sponsor couldn’t support him anymore and he was wondering about going back to Berlin to find a regular job. He could’t resist much. After a year he was back on the road with his first pro-skates at his feet.
51 New York, September 2012 I have the same feelings for New York and Dominik. I love both, but I can’t stand them for more than a week without getting nervous.
52 New York, September 2013 Bladers would rather hit up the streets and film videos to get recognition for their own style than go to competitions. Billy O’Neill’s NYC Street Invitational, is the only excetion. The Olympics Game should take note.
53 New York, September 2013 New York is a special place to Blade. Alex Broskow made it visible through his Blading in the Vibralux video. For the first time in our history, there was a concept behind a single profile that was going over the tricks.
54 New York, September 2012 When Jon Bolino’s skate sponsor failed and he was broke, USD offered him a new sponsorship. Jon refused and preferred to keep Blading with SSM, the brand he helped build, even if it was about to disappear.
55 Cpenaghen, July 2012 To make a living Jon sells weed in California, where is legal. Once he told me: “keep doing what you want”. And I’m sure it was an honest advice even if he was drunk.
56 / 57 Los Angeles, October 2012 Street cultures represent the last resistance.
58 Santa Ana, October 2012 Dylan Davis was caught by the police, drinking a beer outside the Yost Theater. He got a $100 fine, his drivers license taken and wasn’t allowed intp clubs that night. It was the premiere of Voodoo Show and he sneaked in from the back door.
59 Oslo, December 2012 This is Olav’s flask. Olav doesn’t talk too much, but he always says the right words at the right moment.
60 Los Angeles, October 2012 Haitian Magazine It’s named after where it’s from what the crew smokes.
61 Los Angeles, October 2012 The Death Gime Manor was Haitian’s crew house in Los Angeles. Dylan Davis, Brian Bina, Malcom Heard, Seba Sufferheld, Thin Lee and Sean Darst, moved in together to follow the dream of becoming pro Bladers.
62 / 63 Chicago, October 2013 Chris Farmer is a living legend. He was the tourning point between classic and modern Blading.
64 Mexico City, October 2013 «You can murder a revolutionary but you can’t murder revolution». Emory Douglas.
65 Los Angeles, October 2012 Brandon Negrette had the Haitian’s under his wings during their time in L.A. No wonder Malcom is becoming one of the most interesting filmers in Blading.
66 Los Angeles, October 2012 Sean Darst drove the Haitian’s van most of the way from L.A. to San Francisco smoking weed. When we arrived in the freezing and foggy night is S.F. we jumped in a school and he still managed to film a banger for the Haitian video.
67 California, October 2012 I used to think of roads as connections between point A andÂ point B in space. Now I think to them more as a connection between two points in time. Between who I was and who I will be.
68 Sayulita, October 2013 Full speed in the jungle on the back of a pick-up with the last pesos in our pockets.
69 Mexico, October 2013 His name is Brian Freeman. Everyone calls him B Free.
70 / 71 Sayulita, October 2013 The last thing I would expect to find in the middle of the jungle is a D.I.Y. skatepark and fresh beer.
72 Roskilde, July 2013 Patrick Ridder is one of the few new wave Bladers of the in Europe. He is damn picky about style.
73 Frankfurt, March 2013 Filming a clip with Patrick may take forever but the result always pay off.
74 Mannheim, March 2013 The weather sucked the whole week. Olav finished Super Mario Bros a bunch of time on Patrick’s Nintendo before the sun finally came out. We managed to shot his whole interview for Be-Mag Magazine on the very last day.
75 Mannheim, March 2013 Olav likes video games, Johnny Cash and Whiskey. He qualifies at every competition but gets drunk before the finals.
76 Berlin, June 2013 In 10 years there will be kids dressed like Montre Livingston, that won’t know who Black Sabbath are.
77 Berlin, June 2013 Montre is a true Professional. He always Blades and makes it a show. Kids love him.
78 / 79 Frankfurt, March 2013 If you want to get the shot home, it works better to say sorry afterward, than ask for permission before.
80 Gdansk, September 2012 Being on the road, everything is a new opportunity. In every new city, with every new person, you could be someone else. You could start a new life.
81 Oakland, October 2012 Like a stray dog. Biting every piece of life. It’s hard to not get lost in the crosses of those many roads.
82 Gdansk, September 2012 In “street theatre”, the border between a lie and the acting of a role gets blurred.
83 Gdansk, September 2012 Too many possibilities is like no possibilities at all. Sharing loneliness.
84 / 85 Guadalajara, October 2013 She woke up in that exact moment and asked what I was doing. I said that since I’m a photographer, taking pictures is what I do. She agreed and said I could use the shower if I wanted to.
86 Roskilde, July 2013 Breakfast at Roskilde Festival. The next day he got banned for stealing cocaine from a tent and fighting a security guard.
87 Roskilde, July 2013 When I returned to the “Trash Camp”, this is how I found the tent I was sharing with Patrick. The mattress and beer were gone.
88 Roskilde, July 2013 The Blading camp at the Roskilde Festival is also known as “Trash Camp”. You can recognize it by the R.A.D. flag waving in the wind or the smell.
89 Roskilde, July 2013 The prize of the Blading show at the Roskilde Festival is are 2-4’s of beer. Beers is one of the most important thing at the festival because it is the cheapest way to keep yourself hydrated and not feel too hungry when the currency is Danish Kroner.
90 Santa Ana, October 2012 Jon Julio is the boss. He is one of the first professional Bladers ever, runs the most successful brand in Blading, organize the Blading Cup and still gives hospitality to the Bladers that pass by Santa Ana. The carpet of his door says: “Hotel Julio”.
91 Santa Ana, October 2012 Chris Haffey keeps pushing the limits of how big is possible to go on skates. He became the first Blader at Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus and breaks World records.
92 Roskilde, July 2013 Josh Glowicki is one of the first Bladers who started this endless tour life. Together with Fredrik Andersson and Richie Eisler started The Gipsy Project in 2012.
93 Berlin, June 2013 Summerclash is more a festival than a competition. Even though the contest is the main event, the 3 days are more about camping by the river, chilling with old and new friends, music and partying. Alex at 8 p.m. of the last day.
94 / 95 Berlin, June 2013 During Summerclash 2013, together with Domink Wagner, Felix Strosetzki and Bea Conde-Corbal, we made BROKE! The first group exhibition ever about Blading culture.
96 Rome, November 2011 Nicolò Sabattini and I talked about doing the Mindgame Tattoo for a long time. J.Son Adriani, Nicola Fiorenza and Marco Valera decided to join the adventure giving it a new meaning.
97 Rome, November 2011 It was one evening at the Cinecittà skatepark, in Rome, when Nicolò had the idea to call a friend to figure out if he would keep the studio open that night for us. For J.son and I it was our first tattoo.
98 Jesi, December 2012 At Nicola’s parents, in the basement, there is the most famous obstacle in Italy: Nico’s box. Since the beginning, Nico asked to every friend who went visit him, to sign the box with a marker. It should be in a museum.
99 Jesi, December 2012 Every December Nico still organizes the Fiorenza Blading Jam at the box. It’s the perfect excuse to meet, blade, and have a big dinner and some Verdicchio wine all together. It has become our family Xmas dinner.
100 Jesi, August 2011 We had a session at the box even the night before Nico and Raffaela got married. We slept in the basement, near the box as we always did. The next morning we dressed up pretty much the same and went to the church.
101 Jesi, August 2011 Love.
102 Rome, November 2011 A family album.
Thank you to everyone who gave me a place to stay during this years.
A special thanks goes to Johannes Jacobi, Felix Strosetzki and Ivan Narez.
digital / 70
Published on Mar 10, 2017
The BLADE DIARY book is published in a limited edition of 70 copies and distributed worldwide in 2017. Since all the copies are gone, it’s...