The Red Bulletin UK 09/20

Page 1





How Notting Hill Carnival became much more than a street party



Editor’s letter



“My relationship with Notting Hill Carnival has always been one of joy, freedom and celebration,” says the London-born visual artist and designer, who illustrated our cover and feature on Carnival. “Incorporating imagery and producing illustrations that are true to its Caribbean origin and Black British progression was not debatable.” Page 30


The British journalist and documentary filmmaker moved to Athens in 2017. There he met female rollerskate crew Chicks in Bowls, who became the subject of a short film, and a feature in this month’s issue. “I wanted to show Athens in a way outsiders haven’t seen it before,” says King. “The result is thanks to the girls. They really pushed hard and gave everything!” Page 48


How to navigate testing times and, at the same time, find positive outcomes is a challenge we’re all facing right now to some extent. And it’s one that many of the stars of this month’s issue of The Red Bulletin are managing to rise to. News that the physical celebration of London’s Notting Hill Carnival (page 30), the biggest event of its kind in Europe, was to be cancelled this year for the first time left many crestfallen. But, as our cover feature shows, Carnival is a lot more than a street party: it’s a state of mind that those at its heart carry into everyday life. Not only have the organisers created something uplifting with their digital offering for 2020, it’s estimated that more people than ever will attend this year, sampling Carnival culture from their homes. Photographer Pablo Allison (page 42) had a lifechanging experience in the unexpected setting of a Mexican freight train. The British artist says that, despite being imprisoned and held at gunpoint, riding on top of these fast-moving trains to document the journeys of thousands of migrants is making him a better person. Then there’s the group of the women pushing back against economic and social restrictions in Athens as they rediscover the city together on roller skates (page 48), offering each other support, solidarity and, most important of all, fun. And Canadian cave-diver Jill Heinerth (page 56) knowingly enters difficult waters on her deep dives into barely accessible caves. But, she says, the thrill of discovering the unknown makes the risks well worthwhile. We hope you enjoy the issue.





CONTENTS September 2020

6 Canyon fire: good times in the

birthplace of freestyle MTB

8 Subway surfer: skateboarding the

escalators of Frankfurt’s U-Bahn

10 Rust and play: the WWII wreck

that’s a magnet for Cuban surfers

12 Slack jaws: how one man and his

highwire stunned an Italian village

15 Comedy gold: musician and

stand-up comic Reggie Watts on what makes him laugh 17 Making music: the machine that

lets you cut and play your own vinyl records at home

18 The Z-Triton: is it a tricycle, or

a boat? Answer: both – and you can have a kip in it, too 20 Chain reaction: love it or hate it,

there’s no ignoring the divisive ebike named the Babymaker


22 J ehnny Beth

Talking fears and fantasies with the multitalented Savages star

24 G aika

The electronic musician who’s changing the world for the better

2 6 Jasmin Paris

Greece-ing the wheels: meet the women roller skaters who are reclaiming the streets and skateparks of Athens

Snow, exhaustion, pregnancy – nothing stops this ultrarunner

30 N otting Hill Carnival Six decades on, it remains a celebration like no other

42 P ablo Allison

Highlighting the plight of Mexican migrants in film and graffiti paint

48 C IB Athens

We tear up tarmac with the all-woman roller-skate crew

56 J ill Heinerth


A deep dive into the Canadian explorer’s underwater world

6 8 Fabio Wibmer

From motocross prodigy to YouTube bike-trick sensation

79 Four months, 10 countries,

more than 11,000km, in temperatures of 35°C upwards: the epic continent-crossing bike adventure known as the Tour d’Afrique is a punishing but unmissable experience

83 Graphic statement: a stack of

skateboards inspired by street art

84 Flash point: how strobe therapy

is supercharging the training and performance of athletes

88 Drive time: watches that belong

behind the wheel

89 Glare free: this summer’s most

desirable sunglasses

90 Taking control: all you need

for gaming on the go

91 Game of life: lessons in stoicism

from The Last of Us, Part II

94 Essential dates for your calendar 98 Leaps and bounds: parkour

shenanigans in Panama

85 Worth the weight: are you ready

for the smart kettlebell?

86 Rock the block: sound-system

tech for the ultimate house party




Canny valley


Shooting in Farwell Canyon – a location he describes as “the birthplace of freeride mountain biking” – has been a longtime ambition for British Columbia native Steve Shannon. Following several failed attempts, the photographer finally realised his wish in April last year, accompanied by local shredder and bike mechanic Cory ‘Coco’ Brunelle. “Hiking out to the top of the line pre-dawn, we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise over the Chilcotin River,” he says. “Having grown up nearby, Coco is very comfortable riding down the chutes of Farwell, letting out a little style as he hurtles to the bottom.”



One step beyond This stunning image, shot prelockdown by Robert Garo on Frankfurt’s U-Bahn system, required patience from both the Croatiaborn photographer and his subject, local skater Milan Hruska. “My friend Milan works just around the corner [from the station],” says Garo, who is also based in the German city, “so we made arrangements to do the shoot. But we’d underestimated how much traffic there is during the normal evening rush hour. In the end, we had to wait a few hours, until we were almost alone, to get the final picture.”




Wreck star


Utah-based photographer Will Saunders had been documenting a crew of surfers and skaters in Cuba for a fortnight when they took him to one of their favourite spots. “I couldn’t believe it,” Saunders says of the rusted wreck. “This place felt like a spot out of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. We spent the entire morning making images of this unique wave and surfing until the swell was gone. The game of this wave is to try to surf under the bow of the boat while dragging your hand along its hull – without getting tetanus. Yojany [Pérez, the surfer pictured] made it look too easy.”




Crossed lines

Regarded to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Castelmezzano in the southern province of Potenza is a magnet for tourists. But here was a sight that neither visitors nor locals had expected to see: slackliner Benjamin Kofler walking high above the rooftops. “Even with the general noise, I could hear the comments of the crowd gathered in the Piazza Emilio Caizzo,” reports Italian photographer Matteo Pavana, who took this shot. “One lady at the edge of the square cried, ‘Oh my God, I can’t watch those crazy freaks!’”


Copyright © 2020 MNA, Inc. All rights reserved.



150 years of engineering progress. Check it out at .


Playing for laughs The versatile US musician and comic gives his pick of comedy’s innovators, past and present He may be best known as James Corden’s bandleader on The Late Late Show, but US musician and comedian Reggie Watts is an allround entertainer. The 48-year-old made his name performing experimental stand-up – check out his 2016 surrealist Netflix special Spatial – before diversifying into everything from voice work for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to launching his own app, WattsApp, where fans can watch exclusive content and buy his unwanted tech gear. On a musical note, in February this year Watts and dance producer John Tejada released a second album of soulful electronica as Wajatta. Here, Watts (pictured on the right, with Tejada) salutes the comedians who broke new ground and, crucially, continue to make him laugh…

George Carlin

Eddie Murphy

Whitmer Thomas

Eddie Murphy

“Carlin was a philosopher comedian. His monologue Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television showed me there are other ways to think about things. A word is a word, but how is it said and what’s the context, what’s its origin? He gave me deeper realisation. His message is deep in my operating system.”

“Eddie Murphy invented the rock-star comedian. When he came onstage in the all-leather outfit, to people screaming like [he was] The Beatles, that was incredible. I heard the cassette of Raw before I saw the video – I was 15, on an orchestra trip in Montana. I loved it because he was speaking freely and using a lot of profanity.”

“I tend to avoid books and comedy specials, because I’m an improviser and I don’t want to accidentally use an idea. But I did catch this HBO special by Whitmer Thomas. He talks about mental health issues and is a very earnest open book, so it’s comedy but also drenched in melancholia. He’s raw and honest, and I like that.”

“That whole [early-’80s] period for Murphy – Trading Places, Coming to America, 48 Hours – was insane, but Beverly Hills Cop is a perfect movie. I remember watching the opening action sequence and laughing and losing my mind. He was so cool in his dope sunglasses and those tight ’80s jeans that fit perfectly.”



Class Clown (1972)


Raw (1987)

The Golden One (2020)

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)






Go, cut creator, go: the mini dubplate is finally an achievable dream

When Yuri Suzuki was a highschool student in ’90s Tokyo, he was obsessed with two things: punk music and vinyl. “Making a machine to create my own records was always a dream for me,” the 40-year-old Japanese sound artist says. “As a student, I tried to mend old cutting machines from junk sales, but they didn’t work.” Three decades on, he has realised his dream, inventing a device that can cut and play homemade records. Suzuki’s Instant Record Cutting Machine – created in collaboration with Gakken, a maker of educational toys – features two arms: one for scoring grooves into the vinyl, the other for playback. “You use your phone’s headphone jack to connect via USB,” he says. “It’s quite a primitive process: the audio becomes information in the form of vibrations, and the stylus engraves this into the vinyl. This project isn’t about making super hi-fi equipment; it sounds DIY and lo-fi.” THE RED BULLETIN

Some people are also using it to create new music. “There’s a DJ who records breaks with the machine during live sets,” says Suzuki. “He quickly cuts them onto a 5in [13cm] record, which he then uses in his set, so the record maker is almost a musical instrument.” Others have used different surfaces: “One thing I wasn’t expecting was people cutting tracks onto CDs. I’m sure all families have a bunch of old CDs they don’t use any more – now they can turn them into unique 5in records.” The death of vinyl has long been touted, but with each year interest seems to grow. “As a teenager, I was always making mixtapes for my friends,” says Suzuki. “It’s that feeling that makes people still love vinyl. Sending an online song doesn’t feel valuable, but a physical record you need to place the needle on – especially one you’ve made yourself – that still feels quite special.” easyrecordmaker


Vinyl fantasy Digital streaming killed the homemade mixtape. But one audio buff has revived the personal touch with his latest invention

Stylus icon: Suzuki and his IRCM (as we like to call it)


The Z-Triton: imagine the Transformers movies remade on a tight budget

Applying the tiny-home concept to adventure travel, this amphibious tricycle/caravan could be the answer to self-distancing holidays A few years ago, when Latvian urban designer Aigars Lauzis conceived the Z-Triton – a mix of boat, electric tricycle and adventure van – the idea of travelling in a self-contained mini-cabin would have appeared odd to most people. But fast-forward to 2020, and as the global pandemic stalls the world’s travel plans, Lauzis’ invention seems prescient. The concept came to Lauzis during a four-year, 30,000km cycling trip from London to Tokyo as he pondered how to recreate his journey as a family experience. “I came up with the idea for an amphibious tiny home that is completely solarpowered and electric,” he says. “You can cycle, sail and be fully immersed in nature, with a little camper to sleep in.” 18

Cabin fever: all the thrills of cycling around the world and sleeping under the stars, but without the tent pegs

It may look like an big toy boat, but the Z-Triton squeezes in a lot of technology. The trike can navigate terrain at 40kph, and it turns into a motorboat for freshwater sailing. The cabin has its own lights, heating, and cooking facilities. Out front, there’s room for one passenger while the other cycles, with an extra seat available for pets. This is far from Lauzis’ first ‘big idea’; previous projects include a trailer that becomes a narrow boat, and the Z-Bioloo – an outdoor toilet that composts human waste to feed a lavender bed on its roof, then funnels the fragrant floral air back in as a natural air freshener. Lauzis hopes the Z-Triton will inspire a new trend in humanpowered adventure travel. “While it is electrically assisted, you burn your own battery,” he says, “I want to be fit and power my adventures with my own energy – to create something fun and a bit crazy that could tackle world problems.” THE RED BULLETIN


Floating an idea




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The Marmite bike Some cyclists adore it, others absolutely despise it. Why is this crowdfunded ebike attracting so much love and hate online? Rarely has a cycling product divided opinion as sharply as the Babymaker, from San Diego-based startup FLX Bike. The brightly coloured ebike concept raised more than £10 million on IndieGoGo – the largest amount on the crowdfunding platform this year so far – but before the first prototypes had even shipped, it had received a lot of negative feedback from inside and outside the bike industry. The Babymaker is the brainchild of Rob Rast and Peter Leaviss, who met by 20

chance while sofa-surfing in China. “I was a college dropout who bought a one-way ticket in 2009 to learn about life,” says Rast. “I got a message from this British guy who wanted to rent my room out. Peter shows up at 2am and we hit it off.” The pair bonded over their joint love of “bikes, speed and adventure”, resulting in the concept for a new type of ebike that harnesses the power of an engine in something as sleek as a city single-speed. “We were seeing all these little electric scooters around,” says the



American. “They inspired us to make something that was fast but would also make people go, ‘Whoa, what is that? I want it.’” And fast it is. With a 250w motor and a top speed of 40kph, the Babymaker is technically classified as a moped in the UK and Europe, so it requires a driving licence, road tax and insurance for road-legal riding. Meanwhile, the bike industry dismissed Rast and Leaviss’ design, mocking the lack of a spec sheet or geometry chart. Other parts of the internet took offence at its name, but the duo say this was merely a means of grabbing maximum attention. It got just that, in the form of increased financial backing. “Any industry is going to be resistant to change,” says Rast, “especially when there’s money involved and it gets redistributed from the guys selling $10,000 road bikes to Pete and Rob and their crazy $1,000 ebike.” With fundraising closed, the bikes will start shipping in December. Rast is confident people will be as in love with the bike as he is. “The problem with the cycling industry is, it’s so niche that it’s no longer approachable for the average person,” he says. “You’re not going to put the Babymaker in the Tour de France. We’re just here to have some fun.”


Go green: there are two models – the PRO (pictured) has higher specs

Baby fathers: Rob Rast (left) and Peter Leaviss of FLX Bike THE RED BULLETIN

Jehnny Beth

Renaissance woman The multitalented Savages singer says she likes doing the wrong thing. Judging by her latest work, that impulse is steering her right Words MARCEL ANDERS  Photography XAVIER ARIAS

Jehnny Beth, best known as the frontwoman of UK post-punk band Savages, is sitting at her home in Paris mid-lockdown, pondering positives of the new normal. “Maybe we need to reset our priorities,” she says. “This might make us realise we need to slow down a bit.” It’s hard to imagine Beth – real name Camille Berthomier – slowing down. The 35-year-old is a social animal, which she attributes to mingling with creative types – her parents were theatre directors – at the family home in Poitiers, western France, during her youth. It’s partly why she now hosts Echoes, a chat show on the European TV network ARTE, for which she’s interviewed the likes of Primal Scream and IDLES. “I love it,” she says. “I always feel inspired after talking to other artists about what they do.” Beth also hosts a radio show on Beats 1; acts in arthouse movies; plays in another band, John & Jehn; runs her own label; released her debut solo album, To Love Is To Live, in June; and has just published a collection of erotic short stories, titled C.A.L.M: Crimes Against Love Memories. Here, she talks about the challenge of change, her love of risk-taking, and why we should all embrace our fantasies… the red bulletin: You have a lot of projects on the go. How many outlets does Jehnny Beth need? jehnny beth: I think it’s all down to curiosity. When people come with


a project unlike anything I’ve done before, I think, “Why not?” I have no idea if I’m up to the task, but I’m going to do everything I can to make it work. Sometimes you do things that are a bit out of character, but I feel that the world is a little bit more accepting of that nowadays. You recently released your solo debut. What prompted that? It was time for me to take a risk. I didn’t want to be the kind of singer who is enslaved to a band. I wanted to see what I was worth on my own. It felt like a risk, and I was definitely advised that it might be, but that’s something I’ve often heard during my career. I like the sensation of starting from scratch, of doing the wrong thing – it’s kind of exciting. The album focuses on your fears and insecurities. Was it difficult turning the spotlight on yourself? If I was going to make a personal record, I had to commit to showing every part of myself, even those I was most ashamed of. “If you’re going to try, go all the way” – that’s the [Charles] Bukowski line, isn’t it? That doesn’t mean there was no resistance; I think every human being fights against change initially. But I don’t want to make art or music that isn’t going to change me. Was that also the allure of your music chat show, Echoes? [Talking to other musicians] is something I do anyway; if I like a new artist, I’ll write to them and say, “Hey, I love what you’re doing.” When I started Savages, artists like Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye [both US punk icons] and PJ Harvey

would come and talk to me. Their generosity influenced me – having that openness to just tap someone on the shoulder and say, “Hey, I’m here, I see you, I see what you’re doing, and I have questions.” What inspired your new collection of erotic short stories? I’m interested in the subject of sexuality, and in fantasies and the part that imagination plays in them. It all started when Johnny Hostile [Beth’s longtime partner and producer] and I moved to Paris three years ago. He picked up photography as a new medium and took pictures of me and friends. The images deal with the subject of sexuality and the liberation of the body. Suddenly, I realised people are free to speak and share and talk about their fantasies, and I thought that was kind of a goldmine for writing. Not that it’s a new subject – erotic literature is enormous. What were you hoping to add to the genre? I think young people are very interested in finding new modes of loving. All I’m trying to do is observe and offer alternatives to family, to monogamy, to this generational inheritance that creates a form of imprisonment. If we want to talk about women’s liberation, we have to talk about the liberation of the couple, of the relationship – I think they go hand in hand. So we should explore our fantasies? Why not? I don’t think there’s a reason to oppress them – that’s definitely not healthy. I believe it’s better to be creative with them. Ever considered becoming more of a writer than a performer? I definitely feel that I want to write more. I’ve got another idea for a book. I don’t know if it will get me anywhere, but you have to try. Which goes back to taking risks… Yeah. You’ve just got to make the most of life. Enjoy it to the fullest. Jehnny Beth’s book C.A.L.M: Crimes Against Love Memories is out now;


”I don’t want to make art or music that isn’t going to change me” THE RED BULLETIN



Gaika is a visionary musician and activist on a mission to make the world better. Here, the Londoner reveals how we all can take part Words FLORIAN OBKIRCHER

For Gaika Tavares, life and art are intrinsically linked. Some musicians provide the listener with a lighthearted escape from the world’s turmoil; the South-London based artist, director and political activist known simply as Gaika, does the opposite. With futuristic tunes that blend dancehall, rap and experimental R&B, Gaika processes his observations and experiences as a Black man living in the UK. This approach has earned the 30-year-old a reputation as electronic music’s dark prophet. On Blasphemer, a song from his 2015 debut mixtape, the son of Jamaican and Grenadian parents repeats the line “I can’t breathe”, a sentence that gained tragic notoriety after the killing of American George Floyd in May this year. In his 2017 short story The Spectacular Empire, Gaika envisions cities shaken by demonstrations and civil unrest over police brutality. However, on Seguridad, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2018 debut album Basic Volume, optimism prevails. Gaika sees the current situation as an opportunity to make the world a fairer place. the red bulletin: Do you think the perception of your music as dark and apocalyptic is fair? gaika: I get frustrated when people view my work that way. I don’t think my songs are negative. I focus on the future, like, “OK, what can we do now?” We’re at a juncture where we decide what happens in this new version of the world. And that starts with the people. That starts with


mutual aid, with looking at our neighbours, our friends and family and believing we have collective power. I’ve always felt that we can change things for the better. Your recent Nine Nights project [a series of live-streamed events in aid of Black-focused charities] seems a good example… I don’t believe that charity is the answer, but at the same time I have to ask the question: what are the real fruits of my labour, and who does it benefit? All the money that comes from people who want to listen to my songs, where does it end up? It ends up on the wrist of some hedge-fund guy. Let’s get real, that’s what happens in music. And I believe our creative labour should be used to benefit artists and the communities they’ve come from. But don’t you need the likes of Spotify to increase your audience and spread this message further? I was signed to [renowned electronic music label] Warp Records, and they made their business rely on Spotify. I didn’t agree with that, so I’m no longer signed to Warp. It’s that simple. Yes, I want to be heard by a lot of people, but what’s more important to me is actually being able to make a valuable contribution to our society. I speak through platforms like Red Bull because I think it’s important that my message gets heard, but at the same time I’m doing things in my life to balance that. In that way, in some sense we hold these entities to account. I focus on the positive bits I can do, rather than thinking, “Oh, it’s hopeless.”

Can music can be a positive force for change in the current climate? I don’t think it’s the only way, but it has a part to play. I mean, what are we doing? This coronavirus thing, it showed we’re not invincible. Like, humanity can get into situations of danger. So, are we going to live together, or will we continue to exploit the earth and motor towards extinction? And those of us who are good at communicating – artists, musicians – what are we trying to say? What do we do with the wealth that music generates? I think music is definitely part of this moment. How can consumers of music make a difference? I don’t aim to preach, but it comes down to this: where you spend your money has an impact. If you spend your money with people who are engaged in conscious business, we can force bigger companies to do the same and stop destroying the natural environment or tolerating racism. We’ve always been told we’ll never be able to compete with big businesses, but I don’t think that’s true. People pay attention, they look at a company’s behaviour, and they decide if they want to support them with their money. That is power, and we need to make use of it. Gaika’s latest album, Seguridad, is out now on NAAFI, the label run by the socially active Mexican DJ collective of the same name;



Power is in our hands

What if artists feel they’re too small to have an influence? I don’t believe market forces are sacred. It’s only human beings who make the decisions in these big companies. If we can influence those decisions, we’ve got our part to play. Ultimately, we have the power – we’re the ones who make the songs that the people like. It’s just about whether you do the harder thing or [you’re happy] to live in this bubble of materialism and non-stop hedonism. I don’t want to stand in judgement of people, but for me it’s not a difficult decision.

“I’ve always felt that we can change things for the better”



Jasmin Paris

The British ultrarunning champion on how having a child gave her the motivation to win Words FLORIAN OBKIRCHER

In January last year, British runner Jasmin Paris became the first woman to win the Spine Race, a gruelling 431km ultramarathon along the Pennine Way – crossing the hills known as “the backbone of England” – from the Peak District to just inside the Scottish border. She completed the course in 83 hours and 12 minutes, smashing the previous men’s record by more than 12 hours and beating her nearest male rival by 15 hours. It was one of the best moments of her life, but not the greatest – that would be giving birth to her daughter, Rowan, just over a year earlier. Paris spent her rest stops at aid stations along the route, expressing milk for her then 13-month-old child. Amazingly, the 36-year-old doesn’t consider herself a professional athlete, despite having achieved a number of race records in her career, winning the British Fell Running Championship in 2015 and 2018, and taking the crown in the Sky Extreme category of the 2016 Skyrunner World Series. “I have a talent for endurance and long-distance running, but I’m a normal person with a full-time job,” says Paris, who works as a vet at the University of Edinburgh. “I just do the thing I love, alongside work, and with a child running around. I eat normal food, and I drink alcohol when I’m not pregnant.” To compete in the Spine Race, she had to take a week off from her PhD in veterinary science. And yet, it’s the narrative of Paris as a new mother besting men at their own game that grabbed the headlines.


Her victory in the Spine Race came in a year that saw a number of women triumph in previously male-dominated ultra-disciplines – among them, German cyclist Fiona Kolbinger, who won the Transcontinental Race through Europe (4,000km in just over 10 days), and US swimmer Sarah Thomas, who became the first person to swim the English Channel four times non-stop (215km in around 54 hours). Paris has plenty to say on why women are more than capable of beating men in sport, and how her motherhood may even be an advantage. As for her position as a role model for sporting mothers, she’s unfazed by it all. “I’m not bothered about being a celebrity, but people find it helpful,” she says. “Running just makes me happy, and having that time for myself makes it easier to cope with the challenges of work and having a small child.” the red bulletin: When did your passion for running begin? jasmin paris: I’ve always been into hill walking, and the differences between that and trail running aren’t huge. I discovered it when I was working in Glossop in the Peak District [in 2008] as a way of getting onto the hills quicker. Within an hour, I could be on the hill and back again before breakfast. That’s pretty special. Ultrarunning was a natural progression, but trail running is what I love. What is it about the hills that draws you to them? Mountains give me a sense of perspective – there’s a timelessness that makes all the things we worry about seem irrelevant. You’re running in your own world, with the smell of rain, the mist, the sloshing

Did starting a family change all of that for you? I competed in a hill race 10 days before the birth, and I ran the park run three days before. I ran the day I went into labour, too. It’s my way of life and it makes me feel good about myself. It was just natural that I came back to running afterwards. The post-birth recovery was fairly quick, then I was back into it. I started gently jogging four weeks after Rowan was born. You’ve said it’s important to have something else in your life besides being a parent… Being a mum is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but having something I’m passionate about makes me a better mum. Sometimes I look at the way our society works, with parents spending their whole life driving their kids from one place to the next. That’s great, because they’re encouraging the child, but I’m not sure it’s the best example for the child to feel that’s the way the world works – that everything just revolves around them. It’s good for them to see their parents enjoying their own lives, because that’s what you want for them, too – to grow up being passionate about something they want to be. What was the toughest moment of the Spine Race for you? My main worry on the start line wasn’t my physical fitness, or breast milk, it was leaving my daughter for that length of time. The first night was the hardest, because I already felt tired and still had more than 200 miles [320km] to run to see Rowan. You’d think you’d get more and more tired, but on the last day I knew I was leading the race and I’d see my daughter that evening. It was actually an advantage, because it kept me moving. THE RED BULLETIN


Tough mother

of mud; you see animals like foxes and birds, too. I really like running up a hill with the challenge of reaching the top, the feeling of acceleration, of running along a ridge and it stretching in all directions. And then there’s the sunrise. I find it hard to imagine a situation better than that.

“The real heroes are the runners at the back of the field”



“Having this passion makes me a better mum”

Unstoppable: inclement weather is like water off an ultrarunner’s back for an athlete such as Paris, pictured here en route to her record-breaking triumph in last year’s Spine Race; (below left) Paris poses with her very muddy tools of the trade; (below right) competing in the 2018 Glen Coe Skyline race, where she took second place



Jasmin Paris

What’s it like in those moments of absolute exhaustion? I was hallucinating. Shapes morph and change. In a way, it was an interesting distraction. When I was getting close to the very end, it looked like there were people at the side of the road. It was only trees, but your mind starts showing you things you want to see.


Your main rival, Spanish runner and 2013 men’s champion Eugeni Roselló Solé, quit just 6km from the finish. What would have been going through his mind? When you’re trying to win a race like the Spine, sometimes you overstep the mark. Eugene was chasing me all through the night before, and I think he pushed himself to the limit. I was wearing every item of clothing I had – six layers, three pairs of leggings – but it’s difficult to stay warm when you’re not moving fast. He had less gear than me. That’s part of your decision-making – how much weight you’re carrying, how fast you’re moving – and ultimately it didn’t pay off [for him]. That night, it started snowing and the temperature was way below zero. If you’re getting too cold and you’re moving too slowly, it’s a vicious circle. I’m just glad he was rescued and safe in the end.


There’s been a lot of talk about women outperforming men in ultra events. What’s your take? I get this question a lot. I’m not a scientist. I mean, I am a scientist, but this is not my area of studies. I’ve found that the longer the race, the more competitive I can be with men. If you’re running a short race, it comes down to strength and aerobics. With long distances, stamina is obviously important, but 50 per cent of it is in your head – in a 24-hour race, you’ll go through bad stretches, but it’s about learning that you’ll come out the other side feeling better again. It’s meditative. In my experience, the women who turn up at long races, even if they’re just 10 per cent of the field, are usually better prepared. They’re less likely to have this macho attitude of “how hard can it be?” At the Dragon’s Back Race in Wales, I was told that if you’re a man you have a 50 per cent chance of finishing; if you’re a woman, you have a 90 per cent chance.

How can we change sport so more women get involved? At races, especially the bigger ones, a readjustment in terms of gender equality is due. There needs to be equal prize money and equal trophies for women. It doesn’t matter if there are fewer women taking part – that’s not an excuse. It has to start with everything being made equal, then more women will join. Your success in the Spine Race drew attention to mothers in sport… I’ve had so much positive feedback from people telling me their own personal stories and how they’ve been inspired, including lots of mums, some of them in breastfeeding groups. It’s just this message about women, about mothers, doing sport. I do my best to support that. Like with This Mum Runs, a volunteer-led company dedicated to getting more women out running. It is a real problem – a lot of women think they can’t do sports, and some have issues with their body image. I hope that people like me will help to change that, so this movement is aimed at getting mums running together as a social thing. Regardless of your gender, sport shouldn’t be about being good – it should be about taking part and enjoying it. Sport in schools shouldn’t be about the competitive element. Who inspires you? There are certainly some women I admire a lot. [British fell runner] Helene Diamantides raised the profile of women in the early days of the sport. And [Scottish skyrunner] Angela Mudge. But they didn’t make me start running – that came from the love of it. It sounds corny, but I feel more inspired by the people at the back of the field. They generally run twice as long as those at the front. I’d finish in eight or nine hours and have time to rest, eat, relax and sleep; they’re running 16-18 hours a day with six hours to eat, sleep, change clothes and set off again. They don’t have the promise of winning and fame, and the aid stations are depleted of the best food by the time they reach them, yet the spirit they show… They’re the real heroes. I get most of my motivation from them. Twitter: @JasminKParis   29

In the six decades of its existence, NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL has faced challenges from many quarters. But this annual celebration of Caribbean culture has prevailed. This year, although the traditional live event has been put on hold, the story continues… Words GEORGIA CHAMBERS  Artwork CHIIZII





Notting Hill Carnival


his summer has been a quiet one for fans of live music because of the pandemic. But there is one festival that has, in its rich history, often managed to find opportunity when faced with setbacks. When, in 1959, activist Claudia Jones staged the celebration of Caribbean culture that would become the Notting Hill Carnival, it was a reaction to race riots in the neighbourhood, a call for peace and unity within the local community. Over the past six decades, the event has grown far beyond anything Jones could have imagined. Carnival is now the world’s second-biggest street festival, with 40,000 volunteers and more than a million visitors each year, adding £93 million to the UK economy. In 2020, the live event has been cancelled, but Carnival is far from over. Organisers are busy creating its first digital edition, where, over August Bank Holiday weekend, mas bands, steel bands, sound systems, dancers and DJs will be streamed live to the world, giving millions a deeper insight into what Carnival culture is all about. Because Notting Hill Carnival has always been more than a street party; it’s a living history. Here, eight people involved in different aspects of Carnival explain how it has helped to shape their lives. 32

“Carnival is a reminder that it’s possible for people to be together and unite”

MATTHEW PHILLIP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL Matthew Phillip doesn’t remember his first Carnival. At the age of just two years old, he witnessed the festivities from his buggy. Such an early introduction isn’t surprising when you learn that he’s the son of Notting Hill Carnival veteran Clive Phillip (see page 35). Matthew’s first Carnival memories are as an eightyear-old. “I would wear a costume and sit on a float as it went around the parade,” he remembers. “Rather than there being a set route, the band would be based on All Saints Road. There would be music playing, and when the steel band felt like it they’d get on the float. There were no trucks pulling the floats – people would push them. It was ultimately very environmentally friendly!” Needless to say, presentday Carnival is a very

different affair, with more than a million visitors each year (making it second only to Rio in the big league of street festivals) and more than 25,000 performers, 15,000 handmade costumes, 250 food stalls, 70 bands and 35 sound systems. And Matthew is the man who makes the spectacle happen. The 48-year-old is humble when THE RED BULLETIN

discussing his role, however. “I try to make sure everyone’s voices are heard, to steer the event in a way that everyone can buy into and feel that they’re part of it,” he says. “If there was somebody leading and saying, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to do,’ that wouldn’t be what Carnival represents. Carnival has grown organically.” THE RED BULLETIN

Notting Hill Carnival has deep roots in London and beyond. As a reaction to the Notting Hill race riots the previous year, in 1959 Trinidadian journalist and human-rights activist Claudia Jones staged an indoor Caribbean Carnival at London’s St Pancras Town Hall. Seven years later, community activist Rhaune

Laslett took the idea outdoors and created the first Notting Hill Carnival, which was attended by 500 people. The aim of the event, originally organised for children, was to promote integration and cultural exchange through the involvement of local residents who had emigrated to the area from the West Indies.

It’s this 54-year legacy that has made the cancellation of the 2020 Carnival – the first in its history, as a consequence of COVID-19 restrictions – all the more painful. “If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said there was nothing that could ever cancel Carnival,” says Matthew. “But in the interests of safety, and particularly the way [COVID-19] has been affecting the Black community, there was nothing else we could do. It wouldn’t have been wise to continue.” Rather than accept defeat, however, Matthew and his team decided to turn this difficult situation into a new opportunity – the chance to take Notting Hill Carnival global for the very first time. At the time of our interview, Matthew and a crew of around 30 directors, camera operators and others are preparing to shoot the trailer for what will be Carnival’s first digital edition. “We plan to show people around the world what Carnival is about, and what it has to offer, in more detail than you’d be able to see if you came in person. You’ll be able to see performances and also get an understanding of the history behind the costumes, the steel pan and the artists.” For Matthew, giving people an insight into Carnival’s roots and processes is an integral part of his work towards greater tolerance and an anti-racist society. “Recent events have shown that actually we haven’t come as far as we would hope,” he says. “Racism today is much more subtle; it’s behind closed doors, it’s systemic. Carnival is a reminder that all this diversity can exist in the same space and we can be at ease with each other; that it is possible for people to be together and unite, no matter the colour of their skin.”   33


“I love telling stories with my costumes” 34

Clary Salandy came to England from Trinidad as a child. It had always been her intention to study music, but when then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher raised university fees for overseas students, art was the less expensive option. “I applied to do theatre design at the Wimbledon School of Art,” Clary remembers. “In my interview, they asked me, ‘You don’t know anything about




theatre – why are you applying?’ So I said, ‘I’m from Trinidad and we do this street theatre thing.’ I was able to turn that interview into a discussion on Carnival, and they took me on.” Today, Clary is one of the UK’s most accomplished costume designers. She has taught at the renowned London art school Central St Martins and created costumes for prestigious events including the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It all began with a passion for Carnival. In 1989, she formed Mahogany, a Carnival arts organisation that became known for its spectacular costumes, some of them 15ft high. Mahogany lends its talents to events worldwide, but there will always be a special place for Notting Hill Carnival because of its importance to the community. “A lot of people who started with us in 1989 are still with us, and their children are doing it now, too,” says Clary. “That’s what we want: a culture that has a future, and where these skills and values get passed on and on. That’s really important because it, too, is a tradition in African oral history – you take the tradition and you pass it on – so we hold true to that. So, anybody who comes in, their family must come in, too.” In Trinidad in the late 18th century, slaves were banned from joining in the celebrations of the European settlers, so created their own version of Carnival – Canboulay – in defiance. Homage is paid to this history throughout Clary’s costume designs. “If you were a slave and put on a costume for Carnival, you wouldn’t just be dancing,” she says. “You’d be looking back and commemorating. You’re standing your ground for what happened to you – it’s a protest. Carnival is an art form that has been handed down to us from that horrible journey where people died to enable us to be free and walk on the street.” With the Carnival outfits she makes, Clary says, people commemorate their ancestors’ struggle in a similar way to those who wear the remembrance poppy. “I love telling important stories with my costumes, so the passion is there,” she says. “Whatever I intend to do, I’m going to do it well. Carnival is a loud voice for the Black community, because there really isn’t anything so big and recognised as a Black art form. All those things channelled me into becoming this Carnival woman.”

Notting Hill Carnival

CLIVE ‘MASHUP’ PHILLIP COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, FOUNDER, MANGROVE STEELBAND When Clive ‘Mashup’ Phillip came to the UK from Trinidad in 1961, Notting Hill was very different from how it is today. Like many in the Windrush generation, the then 19-yearold had answered the call from the British government for help in rebuilding the country. But those who arrived in search of a new life were greeted with signs that read, ‘No dogs, no Blacks, no Irish,’ and were forced to live in almost slum-like conditions. In 1958, a mob of around 400 White people, inflamed by right-wing groups, chased Black residents through the streets and attacked their houses in what would become known as the Notting Hill race riots. “Notting Hill was a bombsite,” remembers Clive, now 78. “Race relations in the area were terrible.” At the time, he was residing on All Saints Road, opposite the now infamous Mangrove restaurant, a hub for local Caribbeans that was also frequented by famous faces including Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye. “It wasn’t just a building, it was a community,” says Clive. “The police were determined to terrorise Black people. This is when we stood up and fought. We started doing things like building homes for our elders THE RED BULLETIN

and supporting ex-offenders leaving prison. What the police didn’t realise was that they were making us stronger.” In 1980, this activism led Clive to start Mangrove Steelband. “To me, it was something for the youths, to keep them out of trouble, because a lot of youth clubs were closing down,” he says of the band, now a big name in their field. “They enjoyed playing pan because it gave them confidence.” The steel drum (or pan) has long been a symbol of defiance. In 1877, enslaved Trinidadians were banned by the British from playing hand drums, so turned to beating bamboo tubes. Then, after

“What the police didn’t realise is that they were making us stronger”

WWII, the island was awash with oil drums that had been left behind by the US forces, so the Trinidadians began experimenting with these. “The development of the steel pan began in different stages,” explains Clive. “First one note, two, three, then scales.” Mangrove Steelband are now synonymous with Notting Hill Carnival, but their longevity has not come without struggle. Clive recalls police in the ’70s and ’80s making repeated attempts to scupper their involvement. “One year, they’re blocking the roads and won’t let us pass, so [steel bands] Ebony and Eclipse decide that if they don’t let Mangrove [through], nothing will move. Eventually the police said we could join. We could hear people say, ‘Mangrove is coming!’” Carnival became an excuse for the targeting of Black people by the authorities. In 1976, with tensions high due to the ‘sus’ law – police could stop, search and even arrest any person they suspected of criminal intent – there were clashes between police and some in the Black community. Anticipating trouble, as many as 3,000 officers had turned up to Carnival – 10 times the usual number. “Carnival was like a battlefield,” Clive says. “We were playing on All Saints Road when a fight started on Portobello Road. The police came, smashed everything up.” Despite an unfair portrayal in the media as a hotspot for crime, today’s Carnival has around the same number of arrests per 10,000 people as Glastonbury, which is often praised for its low offence rate. For Clive, it’s important to remember the past. “A lot of people don’t know the history of Carnival or slavery,” he says, “so it’s important that people understand why they’re attending Carnival – to learn and experience culture, not just to party.”   35

Notting Hill Carnival

“Carnival boosts your confidence” CARMEN LONDON


DJ, DISYA JENERATION SOUND SYSTEM Many of us remember our first club night as a transformative moment, a feeling of entering a forbidden world. But for Carmen London it was more than that. When she entered the Union Club in Vauxhall, south London, at the age of 18, it was life-altering for two reasons. Firstly, she had never been in a crowd of LGBT people of colour before – “I was like, ‘Wow, I never knew that there are others like me’” – and secondly, as she watched the DJ controlling the crowd, she found her purpose in life. Carmen was raised on a broad diet of musical styles by her Jamaican parents – from reggae to country – so the south Londoner quickly appreciated that there are hidden gems in every genre. This turned her into a music collector very early on, so by the time she witnessed the DJ at the Union Club, Carmen was ready. Within a year she had played LGBT events in London, soon followed by club bookings across Europe. And yet, when she was asked by a fellow DJ to play Notting Hill Carnival in 2015, despite all her experience it didn’t feel like just another gig. “For a DJ, playing at Carnival is one of your big goals,” says the 32-year-old. “It was like a dream come true.” The sound system she was asked to play for, Disya Jeneration, is one of Carnival’s biggest, entertaining thousands of dancers on a tightly packed Powis Terrace with a mix of hip hop,


house, dancehall and more. “It can be scary at first,” she says of her first time. “It’s so different from a nightclub gig; the crowd is huge, and a lot of people don’t know who you are, so you need to read the crowd, find out what they like and keep the energy level high.” Disya Jeneration is run by Carnival board director Linett Kamala, who, in the early ’80s, became one of the first female DJs to play at Carnival and has subsequently provided a platform for others like her. “Linett has been a mentor to me,” Carmen says. “When she passed me the baton [to help curate the sound system’s DJ line-up], it was a big deal.” Through her work with Disya Jeneration, scouting for up-and-coming DJs has become an important part of Carmen’s life. Being given the chance to DJ at Carnival was a career-defining moment for her, so she wants to provide other young people with the same opportunity. “A Carnival gig is great for your CV,” she says, “but, most important of all, it boosts your confidence. And that helps you in all areas of life.” This August Bank Holiday weekend, Carmen and her sound system crew will evoke Carnival vibes from their homes via livestreaming. As a radio presenter – Carmen hosts shows on BBC Radio 1Xtra and Pulse88 Radio – the idea of DJing in a studio is something she’s used to. “I’ll miss all the people screaming and shouting,” she says. “But we’ll give the crowd the same music and the same energy we always do.”

HASAN DE FOUR CHEF, PURE LIME CHOCOLATE MAS “For the past 15 years, I’ve looked after the catering for Pure Lime Chocolate Mas,” says Hasan De Four. “I remember when it started, with 20 people coming out covered in chocolate, everyone was like, ‘What is that about?’ But it was something that was missing in the UK Carnival scene: there was no J’ouvert.” J’ouvert is a Carnival tradition in Hasan’s home of Trinidad that dates back to the emancipation from slavery of the Caribbean islands in 1838. Before the ‘Pretty Mas’ where dancers parade in feathers and sequins, revellers daub themselves in oil, paint and mud – the ‘Dirty Mas’. Of course, being a chef, Hasan prefers chocolate; the 43-yearold is open to progress as well as respectful of tradition. In 1995, an 18-year-old Hasan came to London to live with his mother and his grandparents – members of the Windrush generation who arrived from the Caribbean between the late ’40s and early ’70s. “I got here the week before Carnival,” he says. “It was different to the Carnival at home. [Veteran hip-hop DJ Tim] Westwood was playing! I headed to the Trini float to get my soca on – that was my introduction.” Hasan found his passion in catering and championing Caribbean food. “I was like, ‘Why isn’t our food recognised?’ People say London is the original melting pot, but we’ve been doing it longer. Our food comes from the native Arawaks; from the British, Spanish and Portuguese colonists; from African slaves; from Chinese and Indian labourers – it’s a real fusion.” Opportunities soon came Hasan’s way, including a stint   37

Notting Hill Carnival

“Food and culture are like bread and butter”


veg in one pot – soaking up the fuel intake for Carnival weekend. Trini corn soup, that’s the reviver,” he laughs. The chef says his favourite moment is shortly before the revellers arrive. “On the Friday, I leave the kitchen, walk through Ladbroke Grove, and feel the change in the air. They’re dropping the barriers, the steel pan is testing. It’s the last Bank Holiday of the year, and you know that the following week it’ll get cold. It’s the last celebration before we go into that dreary time.” This year, things may be different for Carnival, but Hasan is excited by the potential. “We’re doing cooking sessions,” he says. “People can go to this one spot and be educated by myself or a mixologist doing rum punch. And it’ll be broadcast internationally. “It’s going to be different but still fun. You can still enjoy your own space, turn your music up, and invite your neighbours to eat some jerk chicken. Let’s create our own vibe in-house.”

MIKEY DREAD SELECTOR, CHANNEL ONE SOUND SYSTEM Some people learn how to operate a sound system – others, like sound-system veteran Mikey Dread, inherit it. “From the youngest age, we’ve always known sound systems; it’s basically in the blood. That’s how we started,” he says, recounting his father arriving in the UK from Jamaica in the late ’50s with a sound system in tow. Having taken over the running of their dad’s set-up in 1979, Mikey and his brother Jah T began performing at local venues and adopted the name Channel One. In 1983, the siblings pitched up at a spot on Acklam Road and played their first Notting Hill Carnival – and they’ve been bringing reggae and roots rhythms to listeners young and old ever since. “We go to Carnival for the people,” says Mikey. “It’s great to see old faces you’ve known for 25 years, as well as new faces just enjoying the vibe. We don’t play any music that incites violence or negativity – that’s not what people come to Channel One’s Carnival for. They come for spiritual healing. A lot of people could have been experiencing problems during that week, and they will come to Carnival and dance for a couple of days and go back a better person. That’s what reggae and roots music is all about.” THE RED BULLETIN


as Gary Rhodes’ sous chef on TV, and the launch of Singapore’s first Caribbean restaurant, Lime House. “On the first day, we mirrored Notting Hill,” he says. “We called it Lime Hill. But because we were new, we didn’t get to block any streets.” He also pitched cuisine to UK clubs and festivals. “I was like, ‘Why don’t you have food inside the parties?’ They were like, ‘Sure, go ahead.’” And then there’s Carnival. “I cater more than 2,400 meals,” Hasan says. “Breakfast is fried eggs, dumplings, saltfish, plantain; callaloo [a thick stew made with spinach-like greens] for the vegans. Lunchtime is pelau – Trini chicken, peas and

“They come for spiritual healing”


RHONA EZUMA DANCER, PARAISO SCHOOL OF SAMBA On a typical Monday during Carnival, more than 70 bands parade the streets of Notting Hill, with in excess of 25,000 dancers in flamboyant costumes decorated with feathers and tassels. As a roadside spectator, you’re lucky to catch 10 minutes of each band. So what you don’t get to see is that many dancers are moving to the Carnival rhythms for six hours a day. “It’s very long, but some Carnivals are more gruelling than others,” says 30-year-old fashion stylist and THIIIRD magazine editor Rhona Ezuma, recalling the intense summer heat of last year’s

“Carnival is a space to celebrate your body”

event. “Despite the weather, I feel it’s my responsibility to push joy out there!” Rhona first started parading with the Paraiso School of Samba in 2015. A big inspiration for her was seeing the confidence of the women participating in the first Carnival she attended, at the age of 15. This was one of the things that made her fall in love with it. “Carnival is a place where you can be the largest woman or the smallest, show as much as you want or as little as you want,” she says. “And no one is telling you that you can’t be who you are.” What’s so special about Carnival, Rhona says, is that it creates a safe space for Black women’s bodies in particular, which have historically been subject to scrutiny. “Even today, when having a big bum and big lips is in fashion, these are features that Black women were previously ridiculed for. And now, in the mainstream, they’re celebrated more on White women than on Black women.” The freedom and confidence Rhona and many revellers feel at Carnival is intrinsically linked to dancing. “At Carnival, I make use of my hips, the bits that move and jiggle,” she says. “That’s THE RED BULLETIN


Channel One is now one of the UK’s best-known reggae sound systems, with a loyal fan base, but Mikey and his brother have walked a long and arduous road to reach this level of success. “In the ’70s and ’80s, a lot of venues wouldn’t let us take our sound system in, so we ended up in backstreet community centres and things like that,” he says. “We’ve gone through all this fight to pave the way for younger sound systems.” Mikey’s experience echoes history. When the sound system arrived in England from the Caribbean in the ’50s, they often had to be set up in basements and old warehouses, away from Britain’s more mainstream pubs and social spaces which, for many Caribbean people, could feel like a hostile environment. The sound system created a more welcoming space. For Mikey, honouring this history is important: “Black people have taken a lot of shit throughout the years. That’s why I keep the sound system going – it’s a Black entity, it’s a Black unit.” Mikey and Jah T don’t plan on turning down the volume any time soon. In a time when you can buy huge sound systems that are almost ready-made, in their eyes it has become even more crucial to pass on traditions – and part of sound-system culture is building the set-up from scratch. “If you really love sound systems and reggae, you’re in it for the long haul,” says Mikey. “The music itself is very important in my family’s life, because that’s what we’ve grown up with. Pops isn’t here any more, but my mother is, and she was the backbone of our family when it comes to music. So it’s very important that we keep it together and people know we’re trying to keep it going.”

Notting Hill Carnival

what makes it such a powerful space for women to celebrate their bodies.” Samba has influenced Rhona’s work beyond the dance moves. Although it’s known today as a Brazilian brand of dance, the roots of samba can be found in the semba, a style that originated in Angola, south-west Africa. When Portuguese slave traders transported Angolans to the state of Bahia in northeast Brazil in the early 17th century, the slaves maintained this tradition. With the abolition of slavery in Brazil in the late 19th century, those who had been freed settled in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where they developed their own form of samba. “Being around those stories has inspired certain headpieces and accessories I’ve made,” Rhona says. “There’s a recognition of those stories in the garments I create.” On a personal level, the sense of achievement Rhona feels post-Carnival lives on long after the floats have passed. “I’m knackered by the end of it, but that same feeling of ‘Wow, this is what I’ve done…’ lives on,” she says. “I think I’ve learnt to treasure that a lot more. I think that’s made me a more secure person.”

LEONE BUNCOMBE PRODUCTION MANAGER, MANGROVE MAS BAND Leone Buncombe designs and creates more than 200 costumes for Carnival each year, but on the big day you’ll find her in jeans and a T-shirt. “It’s funny,” she says. “I’ve never been the kind to dress up. When I was younger, I’d go to Carnival with my mum, who was a seamstress. She wasn’t a costume person either.” However, as production manager for Mangrove Mas Band (short for masquerade band), one of Carnival’s most historic costume troupes, the 36-year-old is passionate about her creations. “It’s the spectacle of costume, starting with an idea, going through the design process and creating something

“We try to get young people into creative industries. Carnival is a great route in”


unexpected,” she says. “You can go anywhere with it. Creating costumes for Mangrove Mas Band is a year-round job – work starts almost as soon as Carnival finishes. “It’s like, ‘We’ve finished. What are we doing next year?’” says Leone with a smile. “In July and August, it’s all hands on deck. You have 15 people a night at the mas camp, all volunteers working until the early hours. Around 200 costumes equals tens of thousands of gems, hundreds of metres of fabric, and at least 1,000 glue sticks.” The community effort is part of the appeal for Leone, who has been with the mas band for 14 years. “If you don’t have community, it becomes a lonely world,” she says. “Carnival has taught me to ‘free up’, as we call it – not to take life too seriously. You walk into the mas camp and there’s music playing, people giggling and catching up. It doesn’t feel like work.” In her day job, Leone is service manager for the Rugby Portobello Trust, a charity that helps young people find education and employment. “It’s about getting people through doors they might not be able to walk through themselves. We have a creative arts project called Amplify, which Mangrove is attached to. We try to get young people into creative industries, and Carnival is a great route in.” Leone and her team are making 15 ‘utopia’-themed costumes for a catwalk show that will be part of this year’s digital offering. She believes that being online will help spread a deeper knowledge of Carnival. “You’ll be able to see every element for what it is, and get a better understanding of the history. You couldn’t usually see it all on foot in a day. It’ll give people a chance to see the bigger picture.”   41

Taming the beast During his work on the Mexican migrant trail, photographer and graffiti artist PABLO ALLISON has been imprisoned, robbed and held at gunpoint. But he’s never considered quitting Words RUTH McLEOD  Photography PABLO ALLISON Chasing a dream: (from top, left to right) migrants risk a ride on top of a lorry en route from Oaxaca to Veracruz; a mural painted by Allison in Shoreditch, east London; after 15 days of travelling across southern Mexico, many board a freight train in Oaxaca; a tribute to the ‘Brave Migrants’; riding atop ‘The Beast’ after more than four weeks crossing central America to northern Mexico; tyres, plastic, wood and anything else flammable is burnt for warmth at night; a graffitied message of hope; David from Guatemala, stranded in the state of Sonora with the aim of reaching the Mexico-US border


“Graffiti has been a great educator for me. I’ve never seen it as destructive”

Pablo Allison

Writ large: the message in Allison’s graffiti and his photography is clear – love conquers fear



t’s midnight, and Pablo Allison is clinging to the top of a fastmoving freight train as it speeds south through the Mexican desert. Heavy rain batters his body; it’s freezing cold. The train shakes as it rushes noisily on at 100kph, meaning Allison can barely adjust his grip during what will be a 10-hour journey, for fear of falling off into the darkness. Travelling illegally on this industrial network is fraught with dangers – it’s also common for these vast trains to derail, or for criminal gangs to come aboard – but it’s still the safest of the few travel options open to migrants moving across Mexico. And photographer and graffiti artist Allison has been doing these trips with them for more than three years now, to document and better understand the experiences of some of the tens of thousands of migrants who pass through the country every year on their way to the United States.


Allison began riding these trains in 2016 with the aim of shooting the inaccessible landscapes along Mexico’s private train routes. “But I realised I couldn’t turn my lens away from the migrants I met,” he says. “I’m fascinated by the perseverance, the strength, how people do these extraordinarily difficult journeys. The motivation people have to escape, to seek a better life, is astonishing.” Most migrants Allison meets are escaping poverty, violence or both. There are men, women, children, young and old, from all sorts of backgrounds and situations, from all over the world, battling the odds and often treacherous conditions to make a new life. “People come from as far as Iraq, Syria, Iran Bangladesh, and find themselves in South America,” he says. “Then they embark on a journey through various countries, cross the notorious lawless jungle of north-west Colombia, the Darién Gap, and then somehow get to

Panama. Once they get to Mexico, they still have so much to do… Those of us living moderately comfortable lives should learn from these people, rather than demonising or criminalising them.”


hen Allison meets The Red Bulletin, he’s far from Mexico. It’s a rainy February day in Hastings on England’s south coast, and Allison – dressed in a red T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘FUCK TRUMP’ – is in the UK to run a workshop on migration at a street-art event and spray-paint a wall in town with a poem by a Guatemalan migrant he travelled with. In recent years, Allison has taught workshops in several countries, in art galleries and refugee centres, using his skills in both photography and graffiti to reach a range of audiences. A book of some of his photographic work comes out later this month. But Allison isn’t pushing a political agenda.   45

“I’m always careful not to be preachy about social or political issues,” he says. “Everyone has an idea of what migration means, and I don’t dictate. I show them my experience as I’ve documented it, and we have a conversation. This project is primarily about me understanding the complex reality of people who have to escape very difficult situations. The real objective has always been for me to become a better person.” Allison’s passion for this subject started when he was young. Born in Manchester, Allison moved with his family to Mexico – the birthplace of his mother – when he was three. Allison was curious, his parents liberal. “My mum’s only rules were that I couldn’t take drugs or join the Nazi party,” says Allison, now 38. So he started exploring ’90s Mexico City. “At 16 or so, I’d take my parents’ camera and photograph graffiti. I’d go to train yards on the outskirts of the city to paint trains. I’d notice people travelling on the tops of these trains, which run between Mexico, the US and Canada.” Allison’s own journey has been anything but straightforward. He’s been imprisoned in both the UK and the US, and held at gunpoint in Mexico

– distressing episodes that have informed and shaped his current work. “Having my liberty taken from me made me realise how important being creative is,” he says. “Art is freedom. I was free even then, because I was able to use my head.” Allison was first sent to prison in 2012, a decade after returning to the UK to discover the graffiti scene and study documentary photography. “London’s energy was inspiring,” he says. “Graffiti belongs to urban environments, and I was seriously into it. It’s the adrenalin, the rebelliousness, the creativity, the curiosity. Graffiti has been a great educator for me. I’ve never seen it as destructive.”


ut, in the run-up to the Olympic Games, London police were cleaning up. Allison was given a 19-month jail sentence – six of which would be served in HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs – for tagging trains. “I don’t see graffiti as a criminal act,” he says. “But I always knew that prosecution was possible. It was about completing the sentence so I could leave and start a new life.” While he was inside, Allison collaborated with his photographer sister, Roxana, on a creative project

about the experience. He read, wrote and drew. “I just wanted to be locked in my cell,” he says. “I had so much to do. I didn’t want to waste time.” Allison says he left more serious, more solitary and less restless. He stopped doing graffiti. He ran a lot. He continued to work on projects around migration and identity, while working several different jobs in London, including roles at charities Amnesty International and Action Aid. His idea for the project in Mexico began to form. “I realised I wanted to go back, to apply my knowledge from those charities,” he says. “I was very motivated to start from scratch there.” In 2016, he moved back to Mexico City to begin photographing the landscapes visible to migrants when they travel by train, a single project he thought would be done within a year, but which has now morphed into two projects across three countries, which are still ongoing, almost four years later. Allison soon experienced first-hand the vulnerability of the people travelling these routes. “One train won’t take you from south to north,” he says. “You have to understand the route you’re taking, you have to get on and off. These freight

“We should celebrate migration and understand it not as a problem but as a phenomenon. Trump’s idea that they’re all criminals, it’s rubbish”

Brave statement: a tribute to the Migrantes Valientes. The tombstones display the names of some of the migrants’ countries of birth



Pablo Allison

to lead me, to the detention centre that I’d heard stories about from migrants. Before this, I’d always had the option to opt out, to go back home. When I was locked in that jail, I was treated like any other prisoner. That was the first moment I could feel like a non-privileged person working on this topic.” After Allison was cleared to leave, he waited in a holding cell. “Most people in there with me were being deported and losing everything they had; some were still wearing their work uniforms, others didn’t have their own clothes so were still wearing their prison uniform. But it was a party. We were still locked up, but it was a celebration of freedom.”



“People who embark on any journey as a means to survive appreciate life… they’re optimistic, resilient” trains carry thousands of dollars’ worth of goods to the US or Canada. Banditos regularly steal grain, TVs, whatever. So travelling this way is seriously risky.” He has witnessed violence, been robbed, and was almost killed two years ago by a criminal gang while travelling with two friends. “We were held at gunpoint on a train,” Allison says. “I prayed for my life. We were lucky to escape alive.” Yet he was back at work the next month, armed with his camera, travelling on foot and by train with a caravan of around 7,000 people. “Somehow, you brush it aside,’ he says. “After all, I’ve chosen to do this.” Then, last year, Allison’s resolve was tested again. After he was refused entry to Canada, US agents noticed Allison had overstayed the visa he’d been issued to attend an exhibition in New York a few months earlier. He was detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and imprisoned in Tacoma, Washington State. “I had no idea,” says Allison. “It was an admin error! But they locked me up. I ended up being in jail for almost a month – I believe because of my previous conviction. I’d done nothing wrong, THE RED BULLETIN

but I was handcuffed, leg-cuffed. I wore a prison uniform. On the way to jail, I remember seeing these huge murals showing great American scenes like the Grand Canyon, which felt pretty ironic as those were the landscapes I’d wanted to photograph.” Allison threw himself into his writing and drawing. He got fellow inmates to pose for portraits. “Again, being creative was crucial in an environment like that,” he says. “Imagine, you wake up in a cell with 85 other people. You have two widescreen TVs showing CNN all day long in a confined environment. The food’s terrible. You’re forced to go to sleep at 11pm. Then all through the night there’s noise.” But somehow Allison also managed to find positives thanks to the other inmates – mostly people classed as illegal immigrants, awaiting deportation. “We gave each other nicknames, joked about our situation,” he says. “I laughed so much. It was so much therapy to me. I realised that I didn’t need to be in Canada, I needed to be in that prison. That’s where the work I’ve been doing passionately for the last few years had

lthough, like most, Allison recently endured yet another unforeseen period of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic – the time was spent in Manchester with his sister – he’s back on the migrant trail in Mexico again. “People always try to escape bad conditions,” he says, “so migration doesn’t stop.” How does he see his projects ending? “The moment it doesn’t stimulate me, is the moment I’ll stop. But despite the dangers, it still makes me feel alive. “I’ve seen people find the strength to move forward. People who embark on any journey as a means to survive and live – and maybe a bit more than that, too – appreciate life. People are pretty optimistic, resilient and enthusiastic. They crack jokes. I’m fascinated by that. We should celebrate migration and understand it not as a problem but as a phenomenon. Trump’s idea that they’re all criminals, it’s rubbish. There will always be exceptions, but all the many, many people I’ve become friends with are hardworking people.” It’s this idea of positivity in the face of hardship that inspired the name of Allison’s forthcoming book, The Light of the Beast. “‘The Beast’ is a name that migrants have given the train over the years,” he says. “It’s dangerous, and there’s the roar of the engine. It’s like a huge monster that people have to jump on the back of. The light is the hope that it represents, too.” The Light of the Beast is out on September 2, published by Pavement Studio, and an exhibition of Allison’s work will be at Make Your Mark Gallery in Helsinki from September 2-30;   47

Ready to roll

In the historic city of Athens, these young Greek women are reclaiming space, navigating uncertain futures and pushing for progress. And they’re doing it all on roller skates Words ALEX KING Photography MARK LEAVER

Suzana Bakatsia skates across the battered tarmac of the old Hellinikon Airport on the Athens coastline


CIB Athens

“A huge part of roller skating is about reclaiming space. It’s about feminism and being empowered as a woman”


hen you approach Athens’ old Hellinikon Airport, sun-bleached road signs direct you towards Domestic Arrivals and International Departures. But nothing has taken off here in decades. Old planes sit eerily silent next to the perimeter fence, and the control tower gazes out over a runway with grass breaking through its cracks. This afternoon, a group of female roller skaters have found their way into the old departure lounge. They cruise around, exploring its forgotten corners and slaloming between its battered pillars. As the sun begins to set over the runway outside, its rays stream in through the dirty glass windows and bathe them all in an otherworldly golden light. For many of these women, skating here has always been a dream. Some glide effortlessly around the space, jumping and spinning, while the other women freestyle, laughing and joking as their wheels kick up clouds of dust. As Athens tentatively emerges from a decade of economic chaos, young female roller skaters are fighting for space in their city. This generation of Greeks grew up with few opportunities, but that taught them a valuable lesson: if you want to follow your passion, you have to make it happen yourself. While support and infrastructure for young people fell victim to Greece’s historic economic crisis, Chicks in Bowls Athens are using roller skating to 50

Nothing has taken off at Athens’ Hellinikon Airport since 2001. The site has sat empty for years, waiting to be redeveloped THE RED BULLETIN

(Left to right) Stefania Malama, Suzana Bakatsia and Sofia Argyraki skate through the airport’s empty terminal building

“Roller skating honestly helps us get out of what is, for most people, a really tough reality” 52


CIB Athens

Below: the crew cruise and freestyle around the empty car park near the summit of Athens’ Mount Lycabettus, just before sunrise. Opposite page: (left to right) Suzana Bakatsia, Constantina Xafi and Lydia Panagou wait for the sunrise on top of Lycabettus after skating through the night


create their own community, express themselves and forge a new relationship with their city. Day in, day out, they’re showing up at male-dominated skate spots, demanding respect and inclusion. “All skateparks here are male-dominated, however you look at it,” says Constantina Xafi, 28. “We all roll, and it’s OK for all of us. Whatever level you are and whatever type of person you are, you deserve space at the skatepark.” Xafi is one of the group’s driving forces. She works in theatre, founded her own screen-printing business, and volunteers as a teacher with Free Movement Skateboarding, who offer free skateboarding lessons to young Greeks and refugees. Xafi is working towards her dream of creating a skatepark full of bowls suitable for roller skaters but open to all. However, of all the types of rider who call skateparks home – on skateboards, BMXs, scooters or inline skates – roller skaters are almost always women. And building a strong community has been game-changing. “After I started roller skating, I began to imagine rad girls conquering the city on their skates,” remembers Chicks in Bowls Athens co-founder Sofia Argyraki, 31. In January 2015, Argyraki went to skate the now-demolished DIY BMX ramp in Vrilissia, a town in Athens’ northern suburbs, with friends Christina Rodopoulou and Akylina Palianopoulou. The trio spent the best part of the afternoon attacking the ramp together, encouraging each other to push harder. Stoked after their high-energy session, they created a group to encourage other women to share their passion for ramp skating.

Today, Argyraki’s dream has come true: the group has grown to around 30-40 female roller skaters who link up regularly to skate their favourite parks and explore new corners of the city together.


he ancient metropolis of Athens is no skater’s paradise; it’s a chaotically planned and densely packed city, scattered across many steep hills. It’s also home to numerous potholes and broken pavements, which are particularly hazardous for the small urethane wheels on roller skates. If you want to skate ramps in Athens, there aren’t many options; the city doesn’t have lavish municipal skateparks or an administration particularly tolerant of DIY spots. Some suburbs have small parks, but the best spots have been built by skaters themselves, whether it’s the sprawling DIY park in Galatsi or Athens’ only bowl, the experimental skate/art space Latraac in gritty Kerameikos. But, despite less-thanfavourable conditions, the city is home to an increasingly vibrant community of skateboarders, BMX riders and, most recently, roller skaters. “It’s nice to explore the city on skates, but it’s not ideal, not easy,” Xafi says. “Once you start hanging out with people and skating regularly, they tell you about new spots that are nice to skate, so you can go and check them out and discover new places.” Lydia Panagou, 23, who has become one of the group’s most accomplished skaters, agrees. “The thing I like most about roller skating is that it brings me together with others,” she says. “We organise meet-ups, we have our music, and we travel around the city to our favourite spots. Each person moves and dresses however they feel. It’s important to be one with your skates: the style, the aesthetics, the rhythm. That comes out when there’s a harmony and you feel comfortable with yourself and the people around you. Your friends encourage and uplift you.” Panagou introduced her childhood friend Suzana Bakatsia, 22, and the pair now skate whenever they can. “I tried with Lydia’s skates and it was strange and unfamiliar at first, but then I really felt a rush of adrenalin,” Bakatsia says. Anyone can hit up Chicks in Bowls Athens on Instagram and join one of their regular skate sessions, from first-time skaters to visitors keen to find a local crew. “Having a community is really important,” says artist and architect Foteini Korre, 29. “Many spots are far away, which puts you off going alone. But when we travel and skate together, we help and support each other, and you feed off that energy.” Before she joined, Korre had grown increasingly intrigued by the roller-skating scene she saw emerging in Athens and around the world, but didn’t know how to find her way in. Eventually, she discovered Chicks in Bowls Athens on social media. Two years later, she looks back fondly on her first session, outside the Athens Conservatoire, a historic performing arts centre. Its long expanse of smooth marble, mercifully shaded from the beating sun, is where many Athenian skaters take their first steps   53

CIB Athens

– or rolls. “I enjoyed falling over all the time and pushing myself,” Korre says. “I loved that I was doing new things with my body and I felt so supported by the girls. There was a big sense of achievement.” Skating isn’t something Korre, or the other girls she knew, did during childhood. “My generation of girls didn’t have the opportunity to skateboard,” she says. “We were expected to play with dolls, or stay at home and do chores, while our brothers played in the streets. I started roller skating at 28, and I wish I had the chance when I was six. It’s hard when you realise in your twenties you want that wasted time back.”


ale-dominated skateparks aren’t unique to Athens, of course. Around the world, huge efforts have been made in recent years to make skate culture more inclusive, but it remains largely a boys’ club. “To go into that space as a female when the majority of skaters are male creates this automatic divide,” says Chicks in Bowls founder Samara Buscovick, aka Lady Trample. “Whether it’s intentional or not, there’s a feeling that all eyes are on you. It can be really intimidating, especially if you’re new. The majority of interactions I’ve had in parks have actually been really positive, but there’s still a sense that you’re an alien in their space – you have to prove you belong.”

The sprawling concrete jungle that is the Greek capital, as seen from the top of Mount Lycabettus


Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, and now based in Kremmling, Colorado, roller derby pro Lady Trample was introduced to bowl skating by her friend Michelle ‘Cutthroat’ Hayes back in November 2012. It immediately became an addiction. During a group session a few weeks later, a friend exclaimed, “It’s so cool to see all these chicks in bowls!” – and the name stuck. Seven years after Trample began building this inclusive community, Chicks in Bowls (now CIB) has more than 300 chapters worldwide. “One of the beautiful things about CIB is connecting with your local chapter and not feeling so isolated on that journey,” says Trample. “A cultural shift has taken place; there’s now greater representation of both females and quad skaters in the parks – they have become safer spaces to enter.” Yet there is work still to be done, particularly in Greece, historically one of Europe’s most socially conservative countries, where patriarchal attitudes die hard. For the women of CIB Athens, there are sometimes frustrating reminders that the city is still playing catch-up. “Public space is mainly occupied by men, and that’s a fact,” Korre says. “You see it on the streets: if there’s only space on the sidewalk for one person, a man will just walk straight and you’re expected to move. It’s the legacy of women being shut in their homes for so many years with no rights. Women here were only given the vote in 1952.” Greece’s skateparks reflect the situation in wider society, which is moving slowly forward, but not fast enough for many. “I know I’m far from a pro skater, but some young men in the park have completely disrespected me,” Korre says with a sense of exasperation. “A huge part of roller skating is about reclaiming space. For me, that’s political on its own – it’s about feminism and being empowered as a woman. Most people in the skateparks are cool, but you sometimes have to deal with sexist and misogynistic behaviour. The more we show up where people skate, the more accepted we get. Now most have started facing it that we’re here to stay.” For the city’s young female skaters, there are so many more reasons why having an Athens chapter of CIB – and the community it helps to build – is so important. “The truth is that I love Greece, I love Athens, and I love the place where I’ve grown up,” Panagou says. “Somehow we’ve got used to living like this, but things are difficult for young people.” The Greek debt crisis erupted in late 2009 and became the worst economic disaster in European Union history. Young people were hit particularly hard, with youth unemployment peaking at more than 60 per cent. After years of austerity and cuts to spending, many of the services that young people rely upon – schools, universities, sports facilities – are in urgent need of repair and investment. Politicians have announced repeatedly that the crisis is over, yet Greek young people have seen little improvement in their prospects. Most available jobs, usually in tourism, are poorly paid. This leaves the likes of Panagou, who is about to finish her degree THE RED BULLETIN

Hellinikon’s dusty, long-neglected terminal building is a roller-skating playground for the CIB Athens crew – a place to hang out and try out new freestyle moves

in Art Theory and the History of Art at the Athens School of Fine Arts, with an agonising choice: “It’s hard for anyone my age with hopes and dreams for the future. To find work in the arts, I’ll probably have to go abroad. But I’d love to find something to keep me in Greece and be part of the change.” With its economy so dependent on tourism, Greece is predicted to be severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This city of seemingly endless summers has financial storm clouds circling over it once again. While Panagou tries to focus on finishing her studies and working out what she’ll do next, roller skating provides a much-needed release. “It’s not just studying – I feel stress and pressure from the city and the rhythm in which we live,” she says. “Roller skating helps me get away from all that. Going out with friends to do our thing, landing tricks, or just laughing and talking about random stuff – it all feels good. It honestly helps us get out of what is, for most people, a really tough reality.”

“It’s important to be one with your skates: the style, the aesthetics, the rhythm” THE RED BULLETIN


afi and fellow roller skater Eva Balasi, 30, have linked up for an evening session at the Vyronas mini ramp, nestled in the forest beneath Mount Hymettus. After burning through all their energy, they’re catching their breath at the foot of the big concrete ramp. “Most ramps in Athens are built for skateboarders and are tall, slippery and dangerous for quads, like this one,” says Balasi, who broke her shin in two places after falling here in March last year. Yet, even with a 34cm titanium rod in her bone marrow, two screws in her knee and two more in her ankle, the fashion photographer couldn’t stay off her skates – six weeks after the operation she was skating again, despite being told to rest for six months. “Skating is about falling,” Xafi adds, philosophically. “When you fall, you have to get up and stand back on your feet.” She continues, “For me, feminism is about spreading equality; I don’t see borders in roller skating. When you see boys and girls supporting each other, that’s where the magic happens. There is no need to say who does and doesn’t belong to this place – everyone belongs to wherever the fuck they want to belong, wherever they feel free. In Greece, we don’t have the infrastructure or opportunities for young people. But that’s the beauty of DIY: we have streets and we can come together to build whatever we want. We can be the change we want to see.” Watch the CIB Athens crew in action in the short film Athena Skates at   55

Beyond fear

More people have walked on the Moon than have visited the underwater worlds explored by Canadian cave-diver JILL HEINERTH. What the 55-year-old does may be incredibly dangerous, but, she says, it’s also life-affirming Words ANDREAS WOLLINGER  Photography JILL HEINERTH

The deepest desert Dan’s Cave, located deep beneath South Abaco in the northern Bahamas, is believed to be 350,000 years old. The underwater cavern is of particular interest to climate researchers, as deposits of sand blown by the wind from the Sahara and across the Atlantic have been found here. By researching the cave’s stalagmites, it’s been possible to determine when our planet has experienced periods of drought.


Jill Heinerth

Left: Heinerth at the Wookey Hole caves in Somerset. The UK’s first-ever underwater cave dive took place there, in the cavern known as Swildon’s Hole, in 1934

ill Heinerth didn’t get to live her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. Instead, the Torontonian has dedicated her life to exploring a different sort of alien landscape: the world of underwater caves. Heinerth gave up her day job as a graphic designer before she turned 30 so she could devote all of her time to exploring almost inaccessible and undiscovered environments. Now 55, she has dived the world’s longest, deepest and narrowest caves, including an iceberg in Antarctica – a list of achievements that will see her inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame this year. It’s incredibly risky squeezing your way through narrow, pitch-black underwater caves. The slightest mistake could end up costing you the ultimate penalty – in an average year, as many as 20 cave divers lose their life. But Heinerth says the counter to that risk is exhilaration. “There’s no greater thrill than diving at a spot where no one else has ever been,” she says. Heinerth admits that even with years of experience she still gets scared, “but you can’t let it take over, or else you’ll use up too much air”. So, how does she cope with high-risk situations? “Take a deep breath when you come face to face with danger,” Heinerth says. “Then take a step-by-step approach to what you need to do to survive.” To read more about Heinerth’s diving projects, visit 58




Hidden wonderland Visiting this bizarre underwater landscape off Bermuda requires a special permit, as the cave has been out of bounds for 40 years on safety grounds. “I have always been utterly spellbound by the beauty,” Heinerth says. “I think this cave is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.”



Jill Heinerth

Divine light A ray of sunlight penetrates the darkness of a cave in Mexico, bringing to mind the Mayan belief that these karst caves were home to the gods of the underworld. “I call this picture from Yucatán ‘Beam me up,’” laughs Heinerth.

Safety selfie

Heinerth tests a rebreather – a device that recycles the diver’s air, enabling longer explorations.



Jill Heinerth

Strange brew The waters of the Santa Fe River in northern Florida are stained this brownishred colour, which resembles tea, because of tannic acid released by decaying cypress trees.


Jill Heinerth

Tight squeeze Moments of claustrophobia such as this are par for the course for cave divers. To get through them, Heinerth says, you must “strike a balance between fear and self-belief”.

Towing the line Heinerth’s dive partner secures the safety line at the entrance to the Devil’s Eye Spring in Florida. This is the only way to ascertain where you are, should dislodged silt suddenly reduce visibility to zero, which is pretty common. 64


Deep history This French ship was sunk by a German U-boat off Bell Island, Newfoundland, in November 1942. The wreckcum-artificial reef is now home to a plethora of marine life.

American underworld The Floridan aquifer is a network of underground channels that branch out in all directions and provide groundwater to 60 per cent of the state’s population. It also has a magnetic pull for fearless cave divers from all over the world. This is the entrance to the Sunshine State’s Orange Grove Sink Spring.

Jill Heinerth

Call of the unknown In 2000, Heinerth had an accident in this cave – the Pit, far below the Mexican peninsula of Yucatán – that almost brought her career to an end. But the Canadian says that the thrill she gets from diving outweighs any risk.



PEAK PERFORMANCE Having started out alone in a field in rural Austria, FABIO WIBMER now entertains millions with bike skills that have to be seen to be believed. Here, the 25-year-old discusses the secrets of his success Words ALEX LISETZ  Photography HANNES BERGER

NON-CONTACT SPORT Cycling on the jetty at Austria’s Lake Hall­statt is technically forbidden. Wibmer’s solution: no touching the ground


Fabio Wibmer

O FLIPPING THE SCRIPT Wibmer is in complete harmony with his environment in this mountainous playground


verlooked by Patscherkofel mountain on a bright day in rural Tyrol, just a few kilometres from his Innsbruck home, Fabio Wibmer is about to start riding. And when the Austrian pro gets on his bike, the world watches. Most recently, the downhill and trials bike rider wowed millions online with his video Home Office, made in response to lockdown. In the film, he transforms his house in ways that few would imagine possible – jumping off his roof on his bike onto a mattress perched in a tree, netting a basketball with his back wheel, and binning a bag

of rubbish using a homemade catapult. Wibmer’s tricks have a sense of humour. They’re also insanely difficult to pull off. These sorts of unique moves are exactly what the 25-year-old has been training for almost all of his life. Wibmer, it would seem, has a more vivid imagination than most of us. And it makes the world his playground. “I look at the absolutely normal things around me from a different perspective,” the Austrian says. “I think of using them in ways that could be a good idea. And then I put those ideas into practice.” Wibmer makes it sound so simple, and for him, in some ways, it is. “You don’t need a budget or a chic location to make the most of your creativity,” he says. “Sometimes you even have better ideas when your opportunities are limited.” Simple, maybe. But not easy. The rider grew up in a mountain village in East Tyrol – not the greatest springboard to worldwide fame. “I love Oberpeischlach,” he says, “but there was absolutely nothing to do there. We didn’t as much as a piece of even ground. You could play football for five minutes and then the ball would roll off downhill.” Wibmer was six when he realised something important: a meadow and a fallen tree can actually offer hours of fun if you think creatively – and get yourself the right tools. A meadow can be a moto­cross route, and a fallen tree can be part of a trial obstacle course. THE RED BULLETIN

“I look at totally normal things around me from a different perspective�


BRANCHING OUT When planning his tricks, Wibmer looks to other disciplines, including skateboarding and parkour, for inspiration

Fabio Wibmer

BALANCING ACT In his YouTube videos, the Austrian executes tricks that are not only audacious but also funny

“If I can do a trick within 30 seconds, I’m not interested”

After a family day out at the Motocross World Championship in southern Austria, Wibmer and his cousin Gabriel begged their parents to buy them mini motocross bikes. From that moment, his uncle’s field went from being a bad football pitch to becoming the perfect motocross course. And the forest at the back of the house became an adventure playground with endless inspiration for daring stunts and heroic feats.


Fast-forward to today and Wibmer is now his home country’s most successful YouTuber, with more than five million subscribers; total views of his videos THE RED BULLETIN

number somewhere in the hundreds of millions. His success is, of course, down to his ingenious skill on both trials and downhill bikes, but the extra element is creativity. Wibmer’s videos tell a story. His tricks are surprising and funny. To devise them, he says he thinks like his six-year-old self. He examines everyday objects from his surroundings and uses them to create unexpected ideas. The best example of this is Fabiolous Escape, the video that gave Wibmer his breakthrough five years ago. “Fabiolous Escape was originally my entry for a video competition where the aim was to film a sleek line in a single take,” he says. “I thought to myself, ‘Why not tell   73

Fabio Wibmer

Wibmer’s guide to the perfect ride

1. POC helmet

“It’s important to buy a quality helmet and find one that fits you well. I really trust in the protection I get from this one. If you do have a serious crash with a helmet, you need to get a replacement. I actually haven’t been through too many, which is either skill or luck!”






2. Magura MT5 brakes

“Brakes are almost the most important part of my bike – I use them in almost every step I do. And when you’re standing somewhere 6m off the ground, you need to know that your brakes won’t let you down. If they did, it wouldn’t end well!”

3. Canyon bike frame

“This is the first trials bike from Canyon – it’s been specifically made for my riding. It’s a prototype, and we’re constantly making small changes. I’ve been riding it since the beginning of this year – it’s the bike I rode it in Home

a story, actually, and get the whole village involved?’” Wibmer’s ‘escape’ from the somewhat blundering village policemen takes him over rooftops and dining tables, and is peppered with front flips, drops, and a balancing act on his handlebars. The result: he won the competition, and the video has now had more than 60 million views. “I take things that everyone knows and give them a new twist,” says the former sports marketing student on the success of his concept. “Like in [his 2017 video] Urban Freeride Lives, where I leap down stairs. Anyone can imagine that – unlike with a ramp that has dimensions the viewer can’t gauge so easily.” 74

“I watch skaters and try to repeat their moves” Ideas constantly pop into Wibmer’s head when he’s out and about: “I see a wall and think how I could ride on it or jump over it.” On one occasion, he was scouting for locations in the Malta Valley in Carinthia, a region in the Eastern Alps, when a 200m-high dam wall with a security rail on top caught his eye. “I saw the handrail and

Office. I like to have it kind of short and compact, with a higher handlebar so that it’s easier to get your front wheel up.”

4. Crankbrothers pedals

“The pedals are where you and your bike meet. Having a good pedal with a lot of grip is really important. These have nice pins that go into your shoe so you stick to your pedal and don’t slip.”

5. Continental tyres

“Tyres are the connecting point between you and the ground, so having a tyre with a lot of grip and resistance can make the difference between crashing and not. Danny MacAskill developed these tyres specifically for trials a few years ago, and they make a big difference to my riding as they’re a little bit wider and the grip is better.”

thought to myself that if that thing was only 10cm off the ground, I’d be able to ride along it, no problem. So then I just had to blank out the knowledge that there was a 200m drop next to me.” A couple of days later, secured with a rope, Wibmer cycled along the rail – the width of one of his wheels – from one end of the dam wall to the other, with the yawning abyss just to his left. “It was an indescribable feeling,” he says, “especially afterwards.” Mere mortals might want to have a can of deodorant close at hand after watching the YouTube video, titled Riding a Bike on a 200m High Rail. THE RED BULLETIN


PLAY WITH GRAVITY, PROTECT WITH SCIENCE The VPD SYSTEM TORSO is a certified modular back and chest protection system. Developed with innovative materials and design it has been optimized for protection with extreme levels of ventilation and comfort.




Fabio Wibmer

worked. You can see it now in the Home Office video, along with the basketball sequence.



But even for a rider so experienced in creating something from nothing, success isn’t guaranteed. Wibmer says many of his ideas end up going nowhere, “because in reality they didn’t turn out like I saw them in my head. Or they end up being totally lame, even though I’d imagined they were ingenious”. However, according to the Austrian, that doesn’t matter. Part of being truly creative is allowing for mistakes and potential humiliation, and being prepared to do stuff that might end up being useless. In fact, Wibmer says, it’s often the very ideas that seem the most hopeless that are most worth pursuing. “There are people who give up on a trick if they haven’t managed to pull it off after 30 goes,” he says. “If I can do a trick within 30 goes, I’m not interested. It can’t have been hard enough. I’m only excited by a trick if it takes me 200 or 300 goes to do, like in the Home Office video where I flick a basketball into the basket with my rear wheel.” 76

“Ideas and stress don’t mix. You have to find what helps you switch off” When tenacity alone isn’t enough, Wibmer still won’t give up. On those occasions, he falls back on his creativity to find a workaround that will help bring a good idea to fruition. “Once, when I was in the garage, a bike that I’d turned upside down for repair caught my eye,” he says. “I thought, ‘What would it be like to jump onto a bike in that position and create a mirror image?’” His first attempts left him battered and bruised. “Then I had the idea of fixing the lower bike to the spot and locking the brakes.” And the trick

“I’ve always been inspired by what other people do,” says Wibmer, “and then I’ve made it my own.” This is what made a spring day in 2009 the most important of Wibmer’s life. The rider, then aged 14, was searching the internet when he happened across Inspired Bicycles, a video by Scottish trials-bike titan Danny MacAskill. “I knew right away that I wanted to do something similar,” he says. Wibmer immediately switched his motocross bike for a trials bike and used MacAskill’s videos to teach himself tricks. He began to post videos of his progress, too, and gradually built up a community of his own. He first met his idol in 2012 at a Red Bull Wings Academy workshop. “I was so nervous I couldn’t speak,” says Wibmer. “He’s such a big inspiration.“ They stayed in touch, and MacAskill ended up making Wibmer an offer. MacAskill was looking for people to join him on a show tour, as part of his professional street trials team, Drop and Roll. Wibmer accepted. He’s now the youngest member of the team of four, who perform live across Europe, turning fans’ heads with f­ lips of all kinds off ramps, down ladders and over bespoke obstacles. It’s all a far cry from the meadow in Oberpeischlach.


When it comes to seeking inspiration for his next challenge, Wibmer doesn’t limit himself to the bike community. Over the years, he’s learned the value of looking further afield. “I’m interested in how other communities or sports approach a problem,” he says. “Sometimes I watch skateboarders and try to repeat their moves. In Home Office, I jump off the roof and onto a tree, then slide down it sideways. I got that idea from parkour videos.” Once an idea is set, the Austrian gears up to test it out. “Ideas and stress don’t mix,” says Wibmer. “If you want to be creative, you need something to help you focus. You have to find the one thing that helps you switch off and come into your own.” Clearly, Wibmer has found his. Watch Fabio Wibmer’s videos, including Home Office, at THE RED BULLETIN

spectral:on With its plush suspension and 150 mm of travel, the new Spectral:ON e-MTB exists to crush technical descents and nail fast turns. We could tell you all about the new carbon frame, fully-integrated battery, and modern, agile geometry. But to truly get it, you need to try it yourself. Test the Spectral:ON at selected events this spring. We’ll let the bike do the talking.


VENTURE Enhance, equip, and experience your best life



The Tour d’Afrique



“You really get to know yourself like never before” Canadian PE teacher Jérôme Blais on the four-month 11,000km Tour d’Afrique


y head was about to explode. Too much sun and not enough fluids. Everything was just dust, heat, sweat and exhaustion. It was a brutal day. But when I arrived at the camp, I saw it wasn’t just me who felt that way – it looked like a field hospital. All I could see were emaciated faces. The doctor was running from one tent to the other. Some of my colleagues were lying flat with drips in their arms. Hard to believe this was just a biking trip. That said, it did cover the whole of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, passing through 10 countries, multiple climatic zones and the Equator. And we were still in Sudan, only a fifth of the way through. Why was I doing this to myself? I had never been to Africa, so the trip seemed perfect, the ultimate challenge, one you’d remember your whole life. I teach PE, so I’m pretty fit. I’d also done several solo bike trips around North America, each lasting months at a time. But I wasn’t prepared for what awaited me here. The idea is very simple: you can cycle the whole way – more than 11,000km in four months (33 others just as crazy as me also went for that option) – or join for shorter stages. A truck transports the equipment, tents, spare parts and food, and we’re in the saddle, on set routes, for between 80-200km a day. A team from TDA Global Cycling, a company that developed out of an NGO for used bikes, came up with the idea. It used to be a race. Some of the participants still see it that way. But for most – me included – it’s not about times but the experience. The start of the tour, in Egypt, already felt odd. We set off in January [2019], so our bodies were in winter mode, but here we were, struggling our way through 35°C in the shade – except there wasn’t any on the road, sadly. Plus you’re riding as part of a military convoy. As a cyclist, you’re an object of curiosity on Egyptian roads, which isn’t an advantage when it comes 80

The heat is on: Jérôme Blais in the saddle on the 2019 Tour D’Afrique

to safety in traffic. So we were escorted by trucks and armed soldiers. It was a strange feeling: both oppressive and reassuring at the same time. Our experiences during the tour soon made us forget those moments. We saw the Sphinx in Egypt and cycled along the Nile to Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel, then into the Ethiopian Highlands, through lonely deserts in Kenya and Namibia, safari hotspots in Tanzania and Botswana, and finally arrived at Table Mountain in Cape Town. You travel much more slowly on a bike. You really earn these places. And the experience is so much more intense when they’re right there in front of you. You’re guaranteed goosebumps.

But we had to work for it. I didn’t find the physical strain the greatest challenge – what’s much more difficult is having no control over your schedule. What I’m talking about here is gastrointestinal viruses. Everyone gets struck down, whether you like it or not. If you’re lucky, you’ll get hit on a day off. I wasn’t – we were mid-stage. If I’m riding on my own, I take a break and get well again. Luckily, the supply truck drove me part of the way. But we weren’t the only ones to suffer; our equipment did, too. Sand, dust, filth, never-ending dirt tracks – no bike can stick that for long. I didn’t get a flat until Malawi, more than 7,000km in, but after I’d had 11 more I stopped counting. I had THE RED BULLETIN




Scenic route: Blue Nile Gorge in the Ethiopian Highlands has dramatic views

Crossing the continent

Lifesaver: the supply truck carries vital equipment, tents, spare parts and food THE RED BULLETIN

Start: Cairo, Egypt Finish: Cape Town, South Africa Official distance: 11,222km In existence since: 2003 (the first outing broke the Guinness record for the fastest crossing of Africa under one’s own steam) Countries traversed: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa Areas passed through: the banks of the Nile, the Ethiopian Highlands, Lake Malawi, the Victoria Falls, the Kalahari Desert Duration: 115 days (86 on the bike, 25 rest days, four travel days) Price: US$17,400 (£13,800)

Cairo, Egypt


Cape Town, South Africa



Riding out trouble Got a flat tyre in the Ethiopian Highlands, but no tools? All you need is a shoelace and a field

1 Remove the outer tyre and tube from the rim

2 Tie a shoelace tightly over and next to the spot with the puncture. Don’t go easy on the knots Head for the hills: the riders pass through Kenya, almost halfway into the tour


The next Tour d’Afrique runs from 15 Jan to 8 May 2021; 82

Fill the outer tyre with as much grass or as many leaves as you can before replacing the tube

Pump up the tyre and carefully continue on your way until you find a colleague with a professional repair kit.

Stop and gape Make a detour to visit these three marvels City of the Dead (Cairo, Egypt) It is estimated that around half a million people live here among the graves, family mausoleums and lavishly decorated burial sites. Devil’s Pool (Livingstone, Zambia) A natural pool (pictured)

Items that Jérôme Blais advises you pack for the trip:

with a stunningly good view on the edge of Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall.

Baby wipes Essential to combat sweat, sunscreen, and a lack of showers

Leper Tree (Liwonde, Malawi) A hollowed-out baobab that became a final resting place for lepers, who, as recently as the 1950s, couldn’t be buried in Malawi.

Stretcher bed Forget roll mats and air mattresses – they get soaked when heavy rain hits Clothes brush Being able to brush the filth from your clothes from time to time is surprisingly re-humanising THE RED BULLETIN




the most problems in Namibia, as less than 10 per cent of the road network there is tarmac. At least I’m now an expert at patching up holes by the side of the road. The team spirit that comes about on a tour like this is great. When you’re on the bike, you may be fighting just for yourself against the heat, the potholes, the climbs and the headwind, but as soon as the others see you’re in difficulty and might even want to give up on that stage, they urge you on until you’re pedalling again. Some of your teammates become real friends as you sit around the campfire in the evenings; I’m still in touch with them. I had to fight against exhaustion, heat stroke, diarrhoea, and dips in motivation. But even if the tour really took it out of me, I never considered retiring. You really get to know yourself like never before. I’ve been much more relaxed and open in the way I live since the adventure came to an end. I’ve realised what a good life I have, and that many of our problems aren’t really problems at all. Pretty amazing what a bike tour like this can do to you.


Artful dodgers

Design by US artist Tallboy (@tallboy666), whose work is influenced by legendary cartoonists Robert Crumb and S Clay Wilson

The flipside of board design Once, skateboards sported designs on top. Then came grip tape. But the art lives on below deck. Pioneers like VC Johnson for Powell-Peralta (‘Flame Face’ 1980s reissue, top left), and Jim Phillips, creator of Santa Cruz’s ‘Screaming Hand’ (remixed bottom right), inspired future generations of inkers. Clockwise from top left: POWELL-PERALTA Claus Grabke board,; BANZAI Speed Seal wheels and trucks,; SANTA CRUZ Winkowski Dope Planet VX and Echo Chamber Preissue boards,; VANS Sk8-Hi shoes,; KROOKED Zip Ziiiiiiinger board,; ARBOR Martillo Legacy board,


The Martillo (Spanish for hammer) is so-named because of its blunt tip. Arbor also makes a bullet-nosed Pistola and a spoon-tipped Cucharon





In the mind’s eye Most glasses enhance your eyesight. These exercise the brain

An app is used to set the duration of the ‘blindness’ phases as well as the difficulty level of the session


Senaptec CEO Joe Bingold on how to improve coordination even without strobes FAST TURN “Turn your back on your partner and stand 5m apart. When your partner throws, they shout, ‘Go.’ Only then do you turn and try to catch the ball.” UP THE ANTE “Make the exercise more difficult by reducing distance, using a smaller ball, or closing your eyes before turning around.”

“Now, it’s almost like the ball is approaching in slow motion” Carlin Isles, 30, rugby player


The technique can be traced back to basketball legend Michael Jordan’s time with the Chicago Bulls in the ’80s and ’90s, when he trained under strobe lighting to adjust to camera flashes on court. His mind, essentially, had to compensate for being blinded continually during a game. Today, this is a recognised sports science, and US firm Senaptec’s Strobe glasses are used by athletes in various disciplines, including the US shooting team and, of course, Isles, who wears them for 15 minutes several times a week. “My hand-eye coordination has greatly improved,” says the 30-year-old. “Neither the pace nor distractions bother me. It’s almost like the ball is approaching in slow motion.”


GOING SOLO “Mask one lens of your sunglasses or close one eye, then try some basic running drills.”

Quick start: prior to taking up rugby in 2012, Ohio-born Isles was a talented track-and-field athlete with college records to his name THE RED BULLETIN


In 2012, Carlin Isles earned himself the tag of “rugby’s fastest player”. The US star’s speed is undeniable: at the time, he could cover 20m 0.22 seconds faster than Usain Bolt. But Isles sees it from a different perspective – for him, it seems the world has slowed down. And this is down to a technique he uses: strobe training. For this, athletes in training wear stroboscopic glasses with liquid-crystal lenses that flicker between transparency and opacity, as if under a strobe light. Being momentarily blinded might seem counterintuitive, but it actually exercises the senses, forcing the brain to work overtime to fill in the gaps in visual information, improving spacial awareness and reaction times. This ‘blindness’ can be set to anything from 100ms to more than a second; the longer the athlete is in the dark, the greater the brain is challenged. Studies show that it enhances peripheral vision, eliminates the dominance of one eye, and helps the inner ear track objects.

Lightning responses


The not-sodumb bell JaxJox KettlebellConnect


The kettlebell is one of the earliest pieces of modern gym equipment – ancient societies including the Greeks are known to have used handled weights. Today’s version derives from the Russian girya, a block of cast-iron that was used to weigh crops in the 18th century and was subsequently toted by circus strongmen. Its design and methodology have remained much the same over the years: with the centre of gravity below the handle, exercises such as ‘the swing’ and ‘clean and jerk’ work the whole body, building usable strength. Now, this dumbest of bells has been given 21st-century smarts, connecting to your phone and loading six ‘bullet weights’ – from 5.5kg to 19kg – from a stack in its charging station. All of which will prevent your home from becoming as cluttered as an Imperial Russian farm.



VENTURE Equipment


Champion sound Our edit of the best house-party tech Virtual festivals, concerts inside video games, a digital carnival, professionally made cocktails delivered direct to your home – 2020 was the year the house party evolved to the next level. Though born of unhappy necessity, this situation has shown how resourceful we humans can be when looking for ways to share good times. Society may now be slowly emerging into the new normal, but the state-of-the-art house party is here to stay. Here’s what you need in your home set-up…



Clockwise from left: FOCAL Aria 926 floorstanding speakers feature cones woven from flax for a natural sound and tight bass; The NAIM Uniti Star is a complete music centre that streams from services such as Spotify, wirelessly connects to your music player via AirPlay, Chromecast and Bluetooth, and has a CD drive to rip tunes or export them to the built-in hard drive; The PIONEER DDJ-800 pro DJ controller has jog controls, a mixer and performance pads in a club-style layout, plus a feedback reducer to prevent microphone ‘howl’ if the MC gets to close to the speakers; The URBANISTA Brisbane Bluetooth speaker gives 10 hours of play time; urbanista. com. SKULLCANDY Crusher noise-cancelling headphones (shown in black and deep red) offer a personalised audio set-up via an app; skullcandy. URBANISTA London wireless earphones with active noise-cancelling allow you to filter out ambient noise; The PIONEER XDJ-RR all-in-one DJ system has an LCD screen for monitoring BPM and waveforms;


VENTURE Equipment

LCD displays on the dials of the Pioneer DDJ800 are customisable to show everything from BPMs to hot cues and loop points

The aluminium/ magnesium tweeter at the top of these Focal speakers is suspended in Poron – a memory foam that greatly reduces sound distortion



VENTURE Equipment Any decent driver’s watch should ideally feature a chronograph (stopwatch) and tachymeter (numeric bezel for calculating fuel use, distance and speed); some degree of motoring heritage is a plus, too. Crucially, it must look great when you’re gripping the wheel. From left: TISSOT Alpine On Board Automatic Chronograph,; BREMONT Jaguar MKII White,; ZENITH Defy El Primero 21,; ORIS Movember Edition 2019,


Speed dials 88


Your quick guide to identifying a good driver’s watch THE RED BULLETIN

VENTURE Equipment


Shades of greatness


Sunglasses that are fun glasses

From prehistoric times, Arctic tribes have worn slitted walrus ivory over their eyes to block out the sun. Emperor Nero would watch gladiatorial battles through cutemerald lenses. Today’s shades are more hightech and easier to obtain. Clockwise from top: DRAGON Renew shades with Lumalens,; SPECT EYEWEAR Fly Mirrored shades,; RAY-BAN Nomad shades,; MELON OPTICS Layback shades,; OAKLEY Frogskins 35th Anniversary shades with Prizm lenses,; SPEKTRUM Anjan Black shades, THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE Equipment


Open-world adventure Engage in pro-level gaming on the go 90

Whether you’re taking part in manoeuvres in Call of Duty: Warzone’s fictitious city of Verdansk or swimming around Battle Royale Island in Fortnite, it’s possible to traverse the vast real world at the same time. Clockwise from top left: HYPERX Cloud Earbuds gaming headphones with mic,; RAZER Blade 15 gaming laptop, razer. com; ASUS ROG Strix Impact II mouse and ROG Ranger BP3703 modular gaming backpack,; OMNICHARGE Omni 20+ charger,; HYPERX Cloud Flight S wireless gaming headset,; NINTENDO Switch Lite, THE RED BULLETIN


The Razer Blade 15 is the world’s smallest gaming laptop – as thin as 18mm, and just over 2kg in weight



The logical approach



Video games often help us escape reality, but here’s one that might enable us to see it more clearly To say 2020 has been a tough year is an understatement, but video gaming has provided some light relief, with even the World Health Organisation – which previously warned against gaming addiction – recommending it as a way of coping with lockdown. One of the year’s biggest games, The Last of Us Part II, is all about coping when everything goes to hell. In this survival-horror adventure, set in a post-pandemic world, main character Ellie must demonstrate calm, resilience and self-reliance – qualities we might all learn from, and key traits of the philosophy known as stoicism. “The core idea is that your wellbeing is dependent on your mental state, your character,” says stoic philosopher John Sellars. Rather than worrying about external factors beyond your control, develop a clearer perception of what is within your power to affect, and take rational actions based on this. In short, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are five stoic lessons from the game that you can apply to your own everyday challenges…

Don’t buy into fear

One of the enduring images from early lockdown is of panic-buying. The Last of Us Part II takes this to its logical conclusion as survivors battle not only zombies, known as ‘the infected’, but each other. “How much stuff were people buying that they didn’t need?” asks Sellars. “It’s an immediate emotional response, rather than one that’s been thought THE RED BULLETIN

Strings of life: stoicism is one of the many traits that Ellie depends upon in The Last of Us Part II

through. None of that external stuff directly contributes to our happiness. Slow down, adopt a wider perspective.”

Keep calm, carry on

A common trope in postapocalyptic games is the resilient survivor drawing on an internal well of courage. This, says Sellars, is stoic. “[Roman Emperor] Marcus Aurelius, in his Meditations, describes his ‘inner citadel’ – that bit inside his control that nothing can damage unless he lets it in. If you judge a situation to be terrible, it will generate fear, and that can result in bad judgements.” Instead, realise that while you cannot control the circumstances, you are in charge of your response.

Army veteran who raised £32 million for charity] and people clapping for the NHS or looking out for vulnerable neighbours. In adverse circumstances, you discover what people are really like. There are always positives.”

See the bigger picture In The Last of Us Part II, Ellie is estranged from the protagonist of the original

Appreciate life

Stay positive

Pulling through seemingly unsurvivable situations requires optimism. “[Roman stoic philosopher] Seneca the Younger said, ‘Disaster is virtue’s opportunity.’ Some people step up, like Captain Tom [Moore, the British WWII

2013 game, her father figure Joel, which is something that many family groups can relate to after recent months. Stoicism, however, views our interconnectivity on a much grander scale. “There’s a concept of cosmopolitanism – that everyone is a fellow citizen of a single, global community,” says Sellars. “It downplays trivial differences [such as tribalism or nationality] and focuses instead on the fact that we are all social human beings with shared rationality.”

John Sellars A philosophy lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, and research fellow at King’s College London, Sellars has written widely on stoicism. His book Lessons in Stoicism is out in paperback on October 1.

Unlike most video games, The Last of Us Part II delivers an empathetic view of death, even of your adversaries. “That we constantly reflect on our own mortality is important,” says Sellars. “Part of that is just being realistic, but it’s also to stress the value of our own time. We only have a limited amount – the more we understand that, the better we can prioritise the things that are most important.”   91



BEYOND THE ORDINARY The next issue is out on Tuesday 8 September with London Evening Standard. Also available across the UK at airports, universities, and selected supermarkets and retail stores. Read more at TYRONE BRADLEY/RED BULL CONTENT POOL

VENTURE Calendar


August to 9 October BREATH IS INVISIBLE

13 August to 19 September DRIFT MASTERS EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP The sporting calendar was sent into a spin earlier this year – but, for one returning competition, spinning is what its athletes are relishing coming back to. Drift racing involves drivers precisely manoeuvring around custom-built circuits by over-steering and counter-steering at speed round the turns. Since the launch of the European Championship in 2014, the series has rapidly grown in scale and popularity to become today’s multi-region European race schedule. These three livestreamed weekends see the doyens of drift head to Bikernieki Circuit in Latvia (Aug 14-15), PS Racing Center in Austria (Sep 5-6) and Mondello Park in Ireland (Sep 19-20).


August to 6 September WAVELENGTH DRIVE-IN CINEMA Every August, the Boardmasters sport and music festival is staged on the cliff-tops at Watergate Bay in Cornwall. Following the cancellation of this year’s event, however, the site will instead host a series of classic movies. There’s surfing in the line-up, in the form of 1991’s Keanu-vs-Swayze action epic Point Break and 1995’s Blue Juice, as well as skate classics Dogtown and Z-Boys and Back to the Future. 94

June 14 was the threeyear anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. Three weeks later, the works of artist Khadija Saye, who died in the fire, were exhibited less than a mile away. This public art project, which aims to address social injustice, continues with pieces created by artists Martyn Ware, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom and Joy Gregory in collaboration with the local community. 236 Westbourne Grove, London;


to 15 September OPEN CITY DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL Last year, more than 5,000 people attended this annual curation of some of the best works in documentary and non-fiction filmmaking. This year, the event will be a digital edition, with the 24 selected films available as video-on-demand, including pre-recorded Q&A sessions, and a web-based tour of the popular Expanded Realities audio-visual art installations. THE RED BULLETIN

VENTURE Calendar



August to 24 January TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA Odutola is a NigerianAmerican artist whose work – created with drawing materials and, most famously, black pen ink – has drawn acclaim for challenging notions of skin colour and ‘Blackness’ in society. Her latest exhibition, A Countervailing Theory, is an imagined ancient myth set in a surreal landscape inspired by the unique geology of Nigeria’s Plateau State and told in 40 drawings created in pastel, chalk and charcoal. Accompanied by a soundscape from music producer Peter Adjaye (aka AJ Kwame) and a publication from author Zadie Smith, it was set to debut at the Barbican in March, but then lockdown took effect. Now, we can examine the work – unfurled across the 90m gallery space of The Curve – through the lens of a year that has reframed our perceptions of society, racial identity and cultural mythology. The Barbican, London; THE RED BULLETIN


August onwards AROUND THE WORLD In recent years, the popularity of freestyle football – the balletic art of ball control through tricks, dance and acrobatics – has exploded in popularity. This documentary showcases the dexterous sport in dazzling detail, following 10 freestylers from different cultures and backgrounds as they independently set off on a journey that could bring them all together at a single destination – the Red Bull Street Style World Final in Miami, Florida – where only one can claim the sport’s most coveted title: World Champion. It’s a tale full of emotion, adventure and, most important of all, epic freestyle tricks.


September THE LAST ASCENT Canadian Will Gadd is one of the world’s greatest ice climbers, but it’s a pursuit of diminishing returns. In 2015, he scaled Mount Kilimanjaro only to find the ice structures he’d seen in photographs had shrunk. Between 1912 and 2011, 85 per cent of glacial ice on the mountain in Tanzania had melted, with all of it predicted to disappear by 2020. This documentary follows Gadd’s emotional return to Kilimanjaro’s peak, one made all the more deadly by the ice’s rapid melt.   95




The Red Bulletin is published in six countries. This is the cover of our Swiss issue for September, which features cyclocross and cross-country mountain bike rider Lars Forster… For more stories beyond the ordinary, go to:

The Red Bulletin UK. ABC certified distribution 153,505 (Jan-Dec 2019)


Editor-in-Chief Alexander Macheck Deputy Editor-in-Chief Andreas Rottenschlager Creative Director Erik Turek Art Directors Kasimir Reimann (deputy CD), Miles English, Tara Thompson Head of Photo Eva Kerschbaum Deputy Head of Photo Marion Batty Photo Director Rudi Übelhör Production Editor Marion Lukas-Wildmann Managing Editor Ulrich Corazza Copy Chief Andreas Wollinger Design Marion Bernert-Thomann, Martina de CarvalhoHutter, Kevin Goll, Carita Najewitz Photo Editors Susie Forman, Ellen Haas, Tahira Mirza General Manager & Publisher Andreas Kornhofer Managing Director Stefan Ebner Head of Media Sales & Partnerships Lukas Scharmbacher Publishing Management Sara Varming (manager), Ivona Glibusic, Bernhard Schmied, Melissa Stutz B2B Marketing & Communication Katrin Sigl (manager), Alexandra Ita, Teresa Kronreif, Stefan Portenkirchner Head of Creative Markus Kietreiber Co-Publishing Susanne Degn-Pfleger & Elisabeth Staber (manager), Mathias Blaha, Raffael Fritz, Thomas Hammerschmied, Valentina Pierer, Mariella Reithoffer, Verena Schörkhuber, Sara Wonka, Julia Bianca Zmek, Edith Zöchling-Marchart Commercial Design Peter Knehtl (manager), Simone Fischer, Alexandra Hundsdorfer, Martina Maier, Julia Schinzel, Florian Solly Advertising Placement Manuela Brandstätter, Monika Spitaler Head of Production Veronika Felder Production Friedrich Indich, Walter O. Sádaba, Sabine Wessig Repro Clemens Ragotzky (manager), Claudia Heis, Nenad Isailovi c,̀ Sandra Maiko Krutz, Josef Mühlbacher MIT Michael Thaler, Christoph Kocsisek Operations Melanie Grasserbauer, Alexander Peham, Yvonne Tremmel Assistant to General Management Patricia Höreth Subscriptions and Distribution Peter Schiffer (manager), Nicole Glaser (distribution), Yoldaş Yarar (subscriptions) Global Editorial Office Heinrich-Collin-Straße 1, A-1140 Vienna Tel: +43 1 90221 28800, Fax: +43 1 90221 28809 Red Bull Media House GmbH Oberst-Lepperdinger-Straße 11-15, A-5071 Wals bei Salzburg, FN 297115i, Landesgericht Salzburg, ATU63611700 Directors Dietrich Mateschitz, Dietmar Otti, Christopher Reindl, Marcus Weber

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THE RED BULLETIN Germany, ISSN 2079-4258 Editor David Mayer Proofreaders Hans Fleißner (manager), Petra Hannert, Monika Hasleder, Billy Kirnbauer-Walek Country Project Management Natascha Djodat Advertising Sales Matej Anusic, Thomas Keihl, Martin Riedel,

THE RED BULLETIN Switzerland, ISSN 2308-5886 Editor Wolfgang Wieser Proofreaders Hans Fleißner (manager), Petra Hannert, Monika Hasleder, Billy Kirnbauer-Walek Country Project Management Meike Koch Advertising Sales Marcel Bannwart (D-CH), Christian Bürgi (W-CH), Goldbach Publishing Marco Nicoli,

THE RED BULLETIN USA, ISSN 2308-586X Editor-in-Chief Peter Flax Deputy Editor Nora O’Donnell Copy Chief David Caplan Director of Publishing Cheryl Angelheart Country Project Management Laureen O’Brien Advertising Sales Todd Peters, Dave Szych, Tanya Foster,





Razer’s BlackShark V2 gaming headset gives esport gamers the edge Players at the pinnacle of esports are a unique animal: their reaction times, spatial awareness and ability to make decisions on the fly operate at an instinctual level. Heightened sight, touch and sound can make the difference between victory and defeat. This is where Razer’s latest gaming headset, the BlackShark V2, delivers the competitive edge. Optimal gaming performance starts with a lightweight stainlesssteel headband with breathable padding for marathon sessions. Memory-foam ear cushions give maximum comfort, advanced passive noise-cancelling, and are a perfect sound chamber for Razer’s TriForce Titanium 50mm audio drivers. Featuring titanium-coated diaphragms, these drivers provide

exceptional clarity across the full audio-frequency range – from powerful bass to rich trebles and a crisp high-end for clear voice communication, all of which can be custom-tuned. Add the immersion of THX Spatial Sound with 7.1 Surround, and players can pinpoint sounds precisely around them. Controls including volume and mic mute can be accessed direct from the ear cup. In team gaming, clear two-way communication is critical. The Razer BlackShark V2 features a HyperClear Cardioid Microphone with lowfrequency sensitivity to accurately capture a player’s voice. The open design provides superior voice pickup while rejecting external noise. It’s bendable to the optimal position at a player’s mouth, and fully removable for regular headphone use. The Razer BlackShark V2 headset connects to games controllers via a standard 3.5mm jack and includes a USB Sound Card for PCs. This audio enhancer includes in-line controls such as Mic Boost, Voice Gate, Volume Normalization, Mic Equalizer and Ambient Noise Reduction, to carry vital commands clearly across noisy battle arenas. These are, in short, the only headphones that pro gamers need to be the best.

RAZER’S EDGE The BlackShark V2 headset delivers accurate positional audio thanks to Razer’s co-development of the THX Spatial Audio app, which creates a 3D soundfield from the two TriForce Titanium 50mm audio drivers.

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The next issue of THE RED BULLETIN is out on September 8




All flip, no flop In case you couldn’t tell, Dimitris Kyrsanidis loves the beach. “The San Blas islands [in Panama] were one of a kind,” says the Thessaloniki-born freerunner. This parkour project, shot on the tropical coast of central America in February this year, was titled From the Office to the After Office. Fortunately, Kyrsanidis’ line of business doesn’t require a suit. Watch him in action at




The aston martin red bull racing official teamline 2020 has LANDED. available worldwide now at / and in the red bull world stores in salzburg and graz.

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