Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Frame by Frame part 4 - Léo Valls
Shall we observe the dozens of reporters at La Lodge, we would realize that one of the recurrent subjects that come up during the long hours of chitchatting in front of the coffee machine is Bordeaux's finest Léo Valls's part in Frame by Frame, edited by Romain Batard. And indeed, its quite a puzzling material.
To the surprise of the average skateboarder, Léo opens his part sporting a face mask. "What does this mean?" asks the upset everyman confortably numb by the resemblance of every skateboard video these days. Well, we first thought of an affiliation with the Canadian Satan-inspired Barrier Kult, for Léo is a man of many connections. However, the hip-hopesque nature of the musical accompaniment seems to indicate that no answer can be supplied by this lead.
Perhaps we should come back to the intrinsic definition of the face mask. Face mask= clandestiness. There it is. Such an opening signals Léo's shifting to undergound. Indeed, we, in France, live in a country where the cover of a magazine is a handrail stunt 9 times out of 10. People care more about the flying backfoot of the famous contest-winning Ronald Weasley look alike than about actual creative skateboarders. Street-skateboarding is very often reduced to fair-headed pre-pubescent skaters with rolled-up pants firing 3-6 shove-its in every line. Despite the regular claims of the artisitic potential of skateboarding in magazine editos, it seems that glory still lies in normality and if one wants to shine, the panel of his tricks must not step out of the boundaries of what is traditionnally accepted as 'steezy'.
How much room is one given for innovation? Not much. Where else than in the US is one supposed to look for inspiration? Nowhere. Well, be ready my friends, because Léo's skateboarding is largely Tightbooth-inspired and some of his maneuvers will probably never find their place in the French skate-landscape notwithsanting their originality. Therefore, to come back to our point, the problematic face mask announces the ideological stand that Léo takes against normative skateboarding. His skateboarding bears neither shaking junts nor combo-slides. In other words, there is nothing to satisfy the average skater's hunger for performance, hence Léo's noctambulism. If such unorthodox skateboarding is not recognized by the mainstream, why not playing according these lines and keeping the joke running by skating at night? Thus, when the everyman gets his well-deserved rest after the session, Léo fires lines in Bordeaux's most obscure back-alleys, and never these two worlds cross each other's way.