Chris Moran - Musings From Uranus
Non-snowboarders think our sport is all about risk, but the truth is, I don’t think there’s a great deal of it around at the moment. Now before you say, “hang on, what about that rodeo-to-back lip I saw on YouTube?" I’m not talking about the actual death-defying stunts. No, I mean creative risk. There ain’t a lot of that around.
Seeing a petrolhead destroy a pristine cornice gave me the same shudder as imagining Elizabeth Hurley climaxing underneath Shane Warne
What we have instead is things like Ken Block’s recent shredding of Baldface in the RaptorTrax, which made my face actually invert itself in horror. Seeing a petrolhead destroy a pristine cornice gave me the same shudder as imagining Elizabeth Hurley climaxing underneath Shane Warne. It’s every kind of wrong.
It’s the same as when I watched Travis Rice’s That’s It That’s All: incredible, amazing snowboarding, but the slow-mo sections of people shooting gas canisters and helicopters-filming-helicopters was gratuity gone meta that made my brain swell.
Here’s a truism: snowboarding is at its best when the creative stuff comes from kids with no money. Not when it’s a bunch of guys (like me) with access to marketing budgets and creative agencies. Mark my words: nothing genuinely good has ever come out of an ad agency.* Loads of incredibly clever ways to sell us stuff, yeah, but nothing that Melvin Bragg would approvingly stroke his chin at and say “fuck me, that’s going in the next episode of The Culture Show and no mistake."
Don’t take my word for it though, take Biggie’s: because no truer catchphrase has been uttered than “Mo Money, Mo Problems." Personally, I like to imagine Bruce Forsyth kicking himself at the obviousness of it all. And luckily for the man himself – Biggie, not Brucey – he didn’t stay around long enough to see phat budgets turn snowboarding into the bloated, creatively-stifled whale carcass it is today. For interesting things to happen, hunger has to be THE motivating factor.
Luckily for Biggie, he didn’t stay around long enough to see phat budgets turn snowboarding into the bloated, creatively-stifled whale carcass it is today
Of course, exceptions to this rule do exist. There are the Helgasons, backflipping in forests and roof-gapping their way around the world like a couple of giggling Vikings; there’s Mike Basich getting face shots in a yeti outfit; and there's Eric Jackson’s beard catching its own salmon after hibernating in a cave for a few months. But essentially what this means is that snowboarding’s creative edge rests with a handful of people who’ve quite clearly gone genuinely mad. And yes, there have been other recent valiant efforts at breaking the moulds of the snowboard industry; David and Boris Benedek for example, and our very own Tim Warwood, Johno Verity and Adam Gendle have all moved the humble snowboard film on a bit.
But this is undoubtedly a dwindling breed. Let’s face facts: the snowboard industry plods a well-worn trail. New films get released in autumn, following the exact same format as the zero-budget skate films that first dropped in the early 90s. They are the proverbial clichéd porno film complete with plumber and bored housewife. And they’re now being fed to us in ever-smaller bite-sized pieces until we’re craving money-shot after money-shot like a monkey in the Viagra wing of Pfizer’s research lab.
And you know who should be the first under the guillotine in this creative revolution? Boring columnists who incessantly moan about the state of snowboarding.
What the snowboard world really needs to wean itself off endless tricks and gratuitous slo-mo is the shredding equivalent of the Kama Sutra. We’ll know it’s happened when Jeremy Jones’ latest film is called Spent, and it’s basically an hour-long documentary of him snoring next to a jizz-covered sock.
Some might say that magazines such as Whitelines should already be the definitive counterpoint to the fast-edited, trick-after-trick edits. But the people saying this have obviously never seen the WL editorial team furiously macking off over a zip file of photo submissions.** Nor do they understand that entrusting the spiritual well-being of our beloved sport to an unelected group of heathens is asking for trouble.
No, what we need is a genuine grass-roots movement to spring up and do something. Exactly what should they be doing I have no fucking idea. I refer you back to the point above: no real creativity comes from people who have mortgages, pensions and a loyalty card for Johnsons The Cleaners. Sadly, I’ve got a freshly steam-cleaned three-piece suit ready to pick up at this very moment.
So yeah, bring in some risk is what I say. And you know who should be the first under the guillotine in this creative revolution? Boring columnists who incessantly moan about the state of snowboarding.
Read more of Chris Moran's ramblings from this season below: