A Fragmentary History of Skateboarding Videos – Chapter 1 - Have a Banana

Like a huge, out of control tamagotchi, the Internet monster demands to be fed. Like the average human being, I have a hard enough time feeding myself. Which means the present series, beginning with this here chapter, will offer you a history of skate videos in scraps, bits and pieces, odds and ends, and Hall and Oates. There are connections to be made, the parts may form a whole, but it’s up to you to assemble them. Sponsored by bleeding Ikea.

Chapter 1 – Have a Banana

Fragment 1

The banana is the undisputed king of comedy fruit. For ages, people have been faking to slip on them, or their peels, for the delight of the masses. The line I allude to in the title is also the longest running joke in British humour, since it was casually introduced into a song that had nothing to do with bananas in the early twentieth century (ca.1910) just because it sounded like the whining string accompaniment was saying “have a banana.” It’s a funny fruit.

Fragment 2

The video above is not the original Lance Mountain “part” in the Bones Brigade Video Show (1984). Besides the idea of a “part” as we now think of it only having taken form later, this video is a montage of many different Lance Mountain street skating scenes that tied the first half of the original video together. I chose this version because of the banana. In the original 1984 video, you can see Lance skate by eating a banana, but in this version you get to watch him buy it and are forced to pay more attention to it.

Fragment 3

Lance Mountain has been on record saying he didn’t think he was as talented as the rest of the Bones Brigade. Being the funny guy in the crew is a time-proven tactic for compensating for feelings of this kind. Maybe Lance did feel like he was playing second banana in the Bones Brigade Video Show. He didn’t have a long sequence of freestyle pyrotechnics like Rodney Mullen, whom he sees in a magazine, nor a collection of slow-mo airs like Tony Hawk, whose pro board he sees in a skateshop. Still, his shorter scenes of rolling down the street and hitting whichever obstacles come up would prove influential for a later crop of street skaters who felt that that sort of endless continuity - just rolling and adapting to the changing surroundings - captured the essence or soul of skateboarding.

Fragment 4

The type of apparently aimless street skating I have just described is usually seen as having reached its climax in Mark Gonzales’ part in Blind’s Video Days (1991). Around that same time, in response to a Powell ad where Lance Mountain was featured, Blind launched three Mark McKee board graphics that spoofed classic pro models the Bones Brigade had ridden. Mark Gonzales’ model was based on the Ray Rodriguez “Skull and Sword” deck that Lance Mountain briefly skates in the Video Show (most of the time he’s skating a prototype board). Instead of a sword, Gonz’s skull is holding a banana. Blind was fighting Powell, but either Mark Gonzales or Mark McKee or Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, or all of the above, knew in whose footsteps Gonz was following.

Fragment 5

After I had started writing this chapter, I watched Nike’s new video (published on the first of June, 2021) Constant. Lance Mountain is in it. Grant Taylor has the last part. The soundtrack (Bob Seger’s “Still the Same”) comments on the fact that it had been a while since Taylor had a “proper” full part. It’s a comeback. It’s a celebration. It’s mostly a street part, with a lot of going-down-the-street-hitting-everything type of skating. He does a 360 wallride holding a banana.

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

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