Neil Macdonald: 5 Favourite Wig Worland Pics
It’s a return post from recent guest Neil, in which he delves into Wig’s vast archive to come up with these five classics.
This is the walkway down to Festival Pier on the Thames, at Southbank, basically across from the Undercroft, and it ran over two pages for the contents of Sidewalk in April 1997.
It's kind of an unusual photo, being shot from the back looking down, but I think that's why I still love it so much. It's different. The 'spot' is pretty different too, since it's tidal, so it goes from being super steep to almost flat, which means Channon had to be there at the right time to get it at the right height. The colours are appropriately aquatic (even if the Thames is brown rather than green here); and it feels a bit like he's heading into some abyssal unknown, or descending through a ribcage into the belly of some kind of monster. Not being able to see Channon's face definitely adds to the strangeness, and the general uneasiness.
He ollied from before the yellow and black bit, and he grinded the full length—the footage is in the credits of Playing Fields—with big wheels and tight trucks. There's no locking-in with super-loose trucks here.
Wig shot this twice; there's this one and the one from underneath, and the footage is in Waiting For The World. Wig isn't in the footage, which is unusual, since he had quite a knack for popping up in footage around then. He could definitely have had his own full part with all the appearances he's made in other people's.
I like how perfectly flat on top of the rail Colin is here, and how silent it is. You know he was rattling up to it before popping, and there's going to be the bang when he lands and rolls away, but this is the moment of silence, and it's in the grounds of the headquarters of one of the biggest companies in the world. If Shell Centre was still there now, there's no way this could be done as there would probably be protestors chained to that very handrail.
Colin's on his first Blueprint board here—the stained glass graphic—and in Blueprint colours too, the yellow Octagon shirt and navy jeans. That was a good time for DC too, when they were pretty much putting out a cool new shoe every month. I think these ones were called Cosmo.
This was the cover of Sidewalk, June 1999, but it looks really different without the logo and the text. Look at the pole; Seth must have been going 100mph to be able to smash into that and get over the top of it, and you can imagine the noise it'd make. He's certainly earned that Unabomber sticker he's got on his board there.
Wallies and pole jams were still kind of new at that time, and there wasn't a lot of opportunity to do them since crashed-into poles in this country tended to get removed or fixed pretty sharpish. So it was unlikely you'd have somewhere to try to learn them for very long, which meant there weren't many people doing them as well as this. Seth was the manager of Slam City Skates at this time too, and I like that he's repping FTC pretty hard.
I love the framing here, and the depth - how the ledge Rory's nosegrinding curves away off into the distance, and it's as if he's reaching up to the golden angel on top of the memorial; passing it a joint or something. It's a beautiful composition.
This is from 2019, but it was in Austin Bristow's brilliant Portions, which was 2021, and I think that might be the only footage from here. The other side has been skated too though; Will Bankhead grinded it in 1989—when you could probably still be sent to the Tower for such things—Dan Cates nosegrinded it with Clockwork Orange griptape in 1997 for another Wig photo and the same year Channon King shot Spence doing a hurricane on it in the wet. They're all completely different photos too.
I think it's really obvious what the trick is here, but it still takes a second to comprehend. H was and is really underrated, which I think is because he was too busy actually skating to get caught up in the industry side of things. He was on Consolidated, so he'd have got boards without having to get too many photos or do demos or any of that stuff. With that said, he did have a Sidewalk interview and this was the opener; it was amazing back in 1998 and it still is today.
A frontside 360 down that big ten is ridiculous, and the capture here, where he's so clearly in the right place in the air to be coming into the second half of the spin, makes it look so solid. Arms at his side too; he's like a cannonball.
To listen to my conversation with Wig, click here.
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