The Red Bulletin September 2019 (UK)



SEPTEMBER 2019, £3.50



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The culture-shifting artists redefining the city’s sounds



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In our cover feature (page 40), drag artist Victoria

Sin makes a statement worth repeating: “Not

only do we need our own spaces, but when we

get together we start creating our own culture,

and that’s beautiful.” This philosophy applies to

all 10 of our cover stars – artists who have, in

some way, been shaped by London and who are,

in turn, redefining the city. This month, they’ll be

playing at London’s first Red Bull Music Festival,

a celebration of its cultural diversity, progressive

values and ever-evolving soundscape.

Culture’s malleability to fresh interpretation is

everywhere this issue. At the US Sumo (page 52),

a centuries-old Japanese art form is opening up

to international competitors; flat-track rider Leah

Tokelove (page 30) is laying the groundwork for a

gender-irrelevant playing field; and, as our piece

on the birth of rave (page 32) shows, all it takes is

one fine summer to ignite a cultural revolution.





The British writer/filmmaker

travelled to the far north of

Vietnam with BASE jumper

Tim Howell to document his

attempt to pull off the

country’s first-ever wingsuit

jump. “I’m always interested

in people who live on the

margins,” says Langenheim,

“and Howell is exactly that

– tough, independent and

resourceful.” Page 66


The London-based pop

culture writer is experienced

at interviewing talented

people, but doing so at an

event as busy as our cover

shoot still provided a few

surprises. “What stood out

were the opportunities and

the inclusivity of London's

music scene,” says Sigee.

“All these artists are doing

something totally different,

but they’ve found or made

their own space to express

themselves.” Page 40

Wall of sound: London-based photographer Edd Horder

shoots 10 of the stars of Red Bull Music Festival London

for this issue’s cover feature. Page 40





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September 2019

Leap into the unknown: BASE jumper Tim Howell searches for a launch point in Vietnam


10 Rockin’ in the freeride world:

a sequenced shot in the scorched

landscape of Utah

12 Catching a break: an encounter

with the Antipodean force of

nature known as ‘The Right’

14 Sharp contrast: a BMX image that

puts others in the shade

17 Drop zone: drum-and-bass dons

Chase & Status share four

groundbreaking jungle tunes

18 Curtiss Motorcycles: reinventing

the bike, not just the wheel

20 Call him Mr Marvel: the origin

story of comic-book god Stan Lee

22 China’s Mars Base One: all the

thrills of the red planet without the

risks (if you don’t count pollution)

24 Brad Pitt &

Leonardo DiCaprio

A lesson in longevity from two

Hollywood heavyweights

28 Nick Ashley-Cooper

The earl of endurance talks

adversity and how to survive it

30 Leah Tokelove

The ‘hooligan with pigtails’ who’s

blazing a trail in flat-track racing

32 Birth of rave

Snapshots from the

‘Second Summer of Love’

40 Red Bull

Music Festival

Meet the London artists shaping

the sound of the city and beyond

52 Sumo

Not just big in Japan: the age-old

form of wrestling goes global

66 BASE jumping

Winging it in rural Vietnam

75 Equipment: the most desirable

gear around, from a deep diver’s

watch to a cool credit card and

the smartest of glasses

86 Lure of the wild: join the Kenyan

safari where there’s a photo op

around every turn and you might

get peed on by a lion (optional)

90 Less fitness tracker than fitness

tractor, Tom Kemp’s farm-based

exercise regime is the ultimate

outdoor workout

91 Thinking outside the sandbox:

what Minecraft can teach us

about our planet

92 Essential dates for your calendar

94 This month’s highlights on

Red Bull TV

95 The freewheeling stars of

Red Bull Soapbox 2019

98 Rotor city: ’copter tricks in the

skies of New York






Sequence photography is an

increasingly popular art form in the

world of freeriding, but few shots

have ever managed to capture a ride

quite like this one. Taken in Caineville,

Utah, by photographer Chris Tedesco,

it captures X Games winner and pro

rider Tom Parsons in his element.

“I think it’s the combination of the

epic, ancient landscape with the

quality action that makes this shot

so special; the amount of time those

rocks have been there, contrasted

with the in-the-moment energy of the

rider,” says Tedesco. The photo was

nominated for Red Bull Illume’s ‘Best

of Instagram’ category in February.

Instagram: @tedescophoto








When a huge swell moves

through the Indian Ocean, it

can bring colossal waves to

The Right’, Western Australia’s

infamously deadly reef break.

Only the most fearless of

surfers take on this beast when

it rolls around, so photographer

Ren McGann knew he had to

capture the moment this rider

braved and conquered the wave.

“This image is special to me;

it's probably my favourite of

all the shots I’ve taken,” says

McGann. “For me, being in

nature is the ultimate goal.

When I take my camera, load

my car and drive off, the trip

begins. Nothing brings me

more peace than being

surrounded by giant waves.”

Instagram: @phlyimages;







With its clean lines and bold

contrasts, it’s easy to see why this

BMX shot was chosen as Red Bull

Illume’s ‘Best of Instagram’ winner

this March. But when photographer

and filmmaker Baptiste Fauchille

set up his camera at this bowl in

Fillinges, a small town in the Haute-

Savoie region of eastern France,

he had no idea he was about to

take an award-winning image.

“My first thought was to make

a top-shot video with the drone,”

says Fauchille. “Then I realised that

the bowl was really clean: no tags,

no dust. I was able to have the rider

and his shadow come out well.

I asked Alex Bibollet [a rider in the

team of BMXers, photographers

and videographers Fauchille was

with] to do what he did best, and

I immortalised the moment.”

Instagram: @baptistefauchille





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to the


Drum-and-bass titans Chase

& Status revisit four tracks

that helped shape their career

When jungle hit the UK rave

scene in the early ’90s, it was

the deep, dub-like basslines

and echoes of Jamaican reggae

culture that set the genre apart

from other breakbeat-driven

derivatives. This was also one

of the reasons why Londoners

Saul Milton and Will Kennard

fell in love with the music as

teenagers. Today they’re

better known as Chase & Status

– arguably the world’s most

successful drum-and-bass act

– and on their latest album,


(pictured with ‘third member’

MC Rage, left) pay homage to

the genre. Here, they list four

jungle/drum-and-bass tunes

that sparked their passion…

Listen to Chase & Status’

Fireside Chat on Red Bull Radio

on Mixcloud;


DMS & The Boneman X

Sweet Vibrations (1994)

Milton: “One of the earliest [jungle]

tunes that caught my attention.

Everything about it – the drums,

the percussion, the dancehall

vocals they sampled – sounded

so different to anything I’d heard

before. This is what jungle did so

well back then: you’d just have loads

of different vibes on one track,

which either didn’t make any sense

or made perfect sense, like in the

case of this tune.”


One & Only (1995)

Kennard: “In the mid ’90s, Good

Looking Records dominated the

jungle scene, particularly the more

atmospheric style that people at the

time called ‘liquid’. PFM were a group

on that label and had a string of

groundbreaking releases. On this

track they’re using pads, samples

and strings, which was really

cutting-edge and sort of led into

what Goldie was doing with [his

drum-and-bass label] Metalheadz.”

Adam F

Circles (1995)

Milton: “It was around 1996 when

I heard this tune for the first time.

It would have been on a pirate radio

station, and the track shaped my

youth. Whereas other jungle tunes

use reggae or dancehall elements

to go deep, Adam F maintained this

vibe with lavish pads and playful

percussion. Consequently, it

became a timeless classic that

works on the radio as well as at

a rave at three in the morning.”


Burial (1994)

Kennard: “This tune has become

synonymous with jungle and has

one of the genre’s most recognised

hooks. What makes it so legendary

is the use of lots of different samples

to create something new and unique.

The producer behind it, Jumping

Jack Frost, is an absolute legend

and a pioneer of the genre. I just

finished reading his book, in which

he talks about his musical journey.

Highly recommended.”






Inspired by Greek mythology

and the world’s first motorcycle

land-speed legend, this is the

last bike you’ll ever have to buy

Electric dreams:

Curtiss Motorbikes’ creations

– with their hyper-futuristic

shapes, monocoque aluminium

bodies, prototype carbon

wheels and touchpad cockpits

– push the boundaries of bike

design. The Zeus (below) is

a case in point

Curtiss Motorcycles is building

bikes unlike anything that’s

gone before. Its electric steeds

– named after Grecian gods –

seemingly belong more in a

sci-fi movie than on our roads.

“We asked ourselves, ‘Why

do motorbikes look the way

they do?’” says head designer

Jordan Cornille. “The bike’s

components have defined its

proportions for the last 100

years. Making these bikes

look like modern-day internal

combustion machines? That

didn’t make any sense.”

The US firm is named after

Glen Curtiss, the inventor and

aviator famed for creating the

American V-Twin motorbike

engine, and for breaking a landspeed

record in 1907 on a bike

powered by one of his 40hp V8

aeroplane engines. Its early

models – the Zeus Cafe Racer

and Bobber – were the kind

of innovation Curtiss would

approve of: 190hp electric

beasts capable of 0-100kph

in 2.1 seconds – 0.7s quicker

than the world’s fastest car,

the Koenigsegg Agera RS.

The new Zeus Radial V8,

however, looks back to

Curtiss’ 112-year-old machine

for inspiration. Its unique

radial V8 design is inspired by

the original V8 record-breaker,

while the cylinders contain

proprietary battery-cell

technology for colossal speed.

“Our goal is to develop

machines that last for ever,”

says Cornille. “We’re saying,

‘Buy one Curtiss motorcycle

and pass it down to your kids

and grandkids.’ Our batteries

will be swappable and fully

recyclable, so you’ll always

have the latest tech.”



Lee as a security guard in Captain

America: The Winter Soldier





If you’re writing a book

about one of the world’s

most gifted comic

creators, there’s only

one person good

enough to introduce it…

Stan ‘The Man’ Lee in Marvel’s Manhattan offices, 1968

“If you’re able to lift this book,

then you truly belong in our

wondrous world of superheroes.”

So says Stanley Martin Lieber,

aka Stan Lee, Marvel’s legendary

writer, editor-in-chief and star

cameo performer in its

Cinematic Universe films. That

he’s penned it in a foreword to

a book that posthumously

celebrates his own magnificence

tells you everything you need

to know about the incredible,

uncanny, amazing showmanship

of one of 20th-century pop

culture’s greatest bards.

At 624 pages, Taschen’s The

Stan Lee Story is a mammoth

tome (with an equally massive

£1,750 price tag), but is still

The illustrated man: Lee in cartoon

form as the comic fans’ hero

barely able to contain the life and

career of a man who managed

to go from junior editor (refilling

the inkwells of the artists and

fetching their lunch at the age

of 17) to publisher of the entire

Marvel Comics Universe – all

while co-creating beloved

characters such as Spider-Man,

Hulk and Black Panther.

Lee reimagined the comicbook

medium, both in how they

were made (developing the

Marvel Method – a collaborative

storyboarding technique

between writer and artist that

allowed comics to be created

ever quicker) and how they

were perceived by the world.

Breathing fun and wit into his

stories and prose, Lee conceived

of heroes who were more than

just strength and brawn; here

were fully imagined individuals

with everyday problems and

flaws – ones that readers could

readily identify with.

The story of the Marvel

Universe is, in many ways, the

story of Stan Lee, so it stands

to reason that perhaps no one

could better explain it than the

man who wrote the origin stories

for more than 200 comic

characters: Stan the Man himself.

“It’s a cornucopia of fantasy,

a wild idea, a swashbuckling

attitude, an escape from the

humdrum and prosaic,” Lee once

said of his masterwork. “It’s a

serendipitous feast for the mind,

the eye and the imagination;

a literate celebration of unbridled

creativity, coupled with a touch

of rebellion and an insolent desire

to spit in the eye of the dragon.”

Lee may have passed away

last November at the age of 95,

but his stories and legacy will

endure. After all, as all True

Believers know, the best is

yet to come!





Press play.


We took our most fun trail bike and put a motor in it. A light BallisTec Carbon frame, impressively

agile handling, Proportional Response size-tailored suspension and Bosch’s most powerful drive

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The Martian base that allows

you to live like an astronaut without

saying goodbye to planet Earth

Mars Base One sits in a dusty

arid landscape of endless red

rock, with no sign of life in the

parched fog that engulfs it. But

not everything is as it seems.

This is not the surface of the

Red Planet, but the Gobi Desert

– just 40km from the city of

Jinchang in China’s northwest

Gansu province.

The base aims to simulate

the experience of life on Mars.

Comprising nine capsules –

including a control room, biomodule

(a greenhouse/lab),

airlock room, medical facilities,

recycling unit, living quarters, and

a fitness and entertainment room

– it was created by education

initiative C-Space with the help

of the Astronaut Center of China

and the China Intercontinental

Communication Center.

“Mars Base One allows visitors

to understand what it’s like to

live in closed quarters where

every aspect of daily life must

be controlled with very limited

resources,” says C-Space.

“Water needs to be salvaged and

recycled down to the last drop.

Food sustenance must contain

high protein to keep the base’s

occupants fed and in shape.

And taking a walk outside means

putting on a space suit and going

through the pressurising cabin.”

Open to the public, this

1,115m 2 educational facility may

only be playing make-believe,

but the hope is that it will inspire

the next generation of space

explorers, and help China catch

up with the United States and

Russia in the interplanetary

exploration game.


C-Space – the C stands for Community, Culture and Creativity – created the base for Chinese teenagers

at the cost of almost £6 million. It will teach them about space exploration and living on Mars

Wheat grows in the base’s bio-module,

a greenhouse/laboratory dedicated

to research into the growth of plants

and animals in the Martian climate


The Gobi Desert was chosen as the location for Mars Base One as its landscape is reminiscent of the surface of the Red Planet, with

hot dry conditions, frequent sandstorms, and heavy pollution from the lithium mining town of Jinchang, 40km away

Inside the control room. Mars Base One was featured in reality TV show Space Challenge, in which six

volunteers – five of them Chinese celebrities – had to survive at the base after receiving astronaut training


Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio

Last Action


In the shark pool known as Hollywood, it’s a case

of swim or get eaten. What does it take to survive?

We asked two guys who know a bit in that regard…


think, “I have the right material and

a great director,” and sometimes it

still misses, but you keep going.

bp: Acting is like being in the ring:

you’re enjoying the fight, but taking

punches. A film is a big commitment

– it’s one or two years of your life.

In a leading role, the preparation

alone can take six months, and then

you’ve got post-production. It’s got

to mean something to me. I don’t

know how much time I have left,

I just want it to matter.

The most exciting dynamic star duo

since Paul Newman and Robert

Redford” is how director Quentin

Tarantino describes the leads in his

latest movie, Once Upon a Time in

Hollywood. The film is Tarantino’s

confessed love letter to Los Angeles

in 1969 – the year that the Manson

murders shook Hollywood, signalling

the end of the hippy movement;

the Vietnam War was at its zenith;

Nixon entered the White House; and

humans first landed on the Moon.

It’s also the year that Newman

and Redford starred in Butch Cassidy

and the Sundance Kid, a revisionist

Western that – alongside the two other

highest-grossing films of 1969, Easy

Rider and Midnight Cowboy – heralded

a new wave of counterculture cinema.

Enter the protagonists of Once Upon

a Time: an ageing film star and his

stunt double, struggling in the

afterglow of Hollywood’s golden age.

Half a century on, the parallels

are clear. Global unrest and

controversial presidents aside, Pitt,

55, and DiCaprio, 44, could be seen

as anachronisms – the last big-screen

idols in a shifting landscape of

streaming media consumption.

Are they portraying representations

of themselves? What does it take to

stay alive in a carnivorous industry

with younger talent waiting to take

their place? The Red Bulletin asked

the stars for their survival secrets…

“Once you get

in the door, you

have to stand

in the room”

Don’t fear the reaper

brad pitt: There’s a shelf life to

what we do, and we’re aware of that.

It makes us more appreciative of

the time we’ve had. As long as you

find meaning in what you do, it’ll

transition into something else. Look

at the amazing careers of Anthony

Hopkins and Gene Hackman.

leonardo dicaprio: Any career

is a rollercoaster ride; there are ebbs

and flows for better or worse. I look

at this as a long-distance race. Both

of us try to make the best choices

we can, working hard on films that

challenge us and are hopefully

great pieces of art. That’s the best

we can do.

You need to get lucky,

but be ready

ldc: Brad and I talked about this.

You need to be prepared, but also you

need to have that one stroke of luck.

I have actor friends who are still

searching for those opportunities. I

just happened to be in the right place

at the right time when I was younger.

bp: I agree. I feel like we won the

lottery. There are many talented

people out there, but the trick is:

once you get in the door, you have

to stand in the room. We’ve had

opportunities to learn that, find

our way, and make it our own.

Keep your chin up

ldc: I’m ambitious. I grew up in LA

and I don’t come from a well-to-do

background, so I know how hard it

is to get your foot in the door, to be

a working actor. It comes from a need

to satisfy a hunger – not for wealth

or celebrity, but to do great work

that moves me. That’s not easy. You

Be prepared to take risks

bp: I don’t ever like to repeat myself.

For better or worse, I want to keep

moving on. It’s like I’m on a road trip

and I forget something – I can’t go

back, I’ve just got to do without my

glasses or my licence and risk getting

a ticket. I choose projects by the

inexplicable feeling that this next

one is something new and different.

ldc: Martin Scorsese once said to

me, “It’s important to do films about

the darker side of human nature.

Don’t sugarcoat it. If you’re authentic

about the way you portray someone,

the audience will go on that journey

with you, no matter what.”

Always bring your A-game

ldc: Research is the most

underrated part of filmmaking. If

you don’t show up with a wealth of

knowledge about a person and the

way they would act – if you’re not

comfortable in their shoes – it won’t

result in an authentic character.

On the day, the director may change

his mind, or you might. If you don’t

have real intent going in, it won’t

be as good.

Become a strong negotiator

ldc: A lot of making movies is

agreeing on what you don’t want

to do. You have to be blunt from

the very beginning and tell the

writers and directors what you’re

comfortable with and in what

direction you feel the movie should

go. My blunt German honesty [his

mother is German] comes out when

it’s something I really care about.

I hope that elevates it sometimes.

Directors don’t always agree with

me, but not one of them would say

that I ever pull my punches. The

unknown is what you do want to



“You need to

be ready, but

also have

that stroke

of luck”

do. You discover that when you’re

committed to the movie.

Respect where respect is due

ldc: My father has always been

a huge influence in my life and

continues to be. I remember being

18 years old and getting a script

about Arthur Rimbaud [1995’s

Total Eclipse, about the 19th-century

French poet]. I was like, “OK, I don’t

know who this person is.” My father

stopped me and said, “Don’t brush

it aside because you don’t know

about it. This was the James Dean

of France at the turn of the century.

He revolutionised poetry and took

on the establishment. Let me give

you a little insight.” Even with my

own production company, I still

ask for his advice.

bp: There’s this view that Hollywood

is solipsistic and needy; that it’s all

about getting ahead. You can’t deny

that attitude exists, but that’s the

case anywhere. I’ve found people in

this industry with thought-provoking

ideas; people who are searching for

meaning and worth through their

storytelling. One of the reasons we

love movies is that they point us in

a direction. I think that defines this

industry the most.

Ride together, die together

bp: Leo and I came onto the scene

about the same time; Quentin, too.

[Pitt won his first major film role in

Thelma & Louise in 1991; Tarantino

directed his feature-length debut,

Reservoir Dogs, the following year;

and DiCaprio made his breakthrough

in 1993’s This Boy’s Life.] We all

have the same reference points;

we’re sequestered in the same circle.

There’s an immediate comfort and

ease. I respect [Leo] and I think he

respects me. There’s also a relief that

you don’t have to carry the whole

thing; you’ve got all-stars with you

who are giving their best.

Tarantino always knows best

ldc: There are few filmmakers I’ve

worked with like Quentin – Scorsese

being another. Their childhood was

so immersed in this art form that

anything you discuss – whether

cultural or political – is in the context

of movies. It’s in their DNA. If any

director were to ask what’s the first


Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio

“Acting is like being in the

ring. You’re enjoying the fight,

but taking the punches”

but there was no mention of it.

I was surprised, because I felt I’d

witnessed a true victory. It’s the same

with movies: we often don’t think

about how difficult it is. For me,

that’s success; it’s not just being

recognised as Best Picture.

thing they should do, I’d say, “Spend

two years watching what the hell

people have already done and then

come to the table and try to create

your own thing.”

bp: Quentin’s a purist. There is no

CGI. He wants it to happen in the

moment, on camera. We had to

do this long fight scene with Bruce

Lee [played in the movie by actor/

stuntman Mike Moh], and Quentin

says, “We’re going to do it all in one

shot.” I go, “Oh, man. But you can

do some whip pans, cuts, switch it

if some of the takes don’t work,

right?” He says, “No, man. If we do

it all in one shot, it’s got to be all

in one.” You can debate with him,

but you can’t argue with him.

To know someone, first you

must fight them

bp: There was one director who

made me and my cast mates spar

with each other. He told us it was

to help get comfortable with a daily

level of violence. It wasn’t until later

that he revealed it was also to get us

to know each other. He said you

never learn about someone until you

punch him in the face. We formed

a relationship through sparring.

You push a little, but also hold

back because you’re rooting for

each other. You’re competitive,

but also protective.

Don’t get greedy for

the limelight

bp: Trying to steal a scene is a dead

end. If you’re fighting for that, it’s

a sure way to crap out on the film.

On a great film, everyone’s firing

on all cylinders.

Success doesn’t always

mean winning

bp: I remember watching the

gymnastics at the Olympics in the

early ’90s, and there was a Russian

woman who was supposed to take

it all. But then, 10 seconds into her

routine, she fell. The announcer

went, “What a shame. This is just

horrible.” But she just picked herself

up, persevered and finished the

routine perfectly. It was magical

and inspiring, but all [the media]

talked about afterwards was how

humiliating it was. I looked for

recognition [of her strength and

resolve] in the papers the next day,

What’s gone before will

happen again

bp: Quentin is prophetic, hitting us

with this now – certainly with the

change in our industry. And at that

time America was transitioning.

The Manson murders were a loss

of innocence for our country. We’d

been coming off this free-love ride

of peace and utopia, and then we

saw a dark side of human nature that

made people feel unsafe. Fences and

security cameras were being put up,

leading into the full-on darkness of

Vietnam and Nixon. I don’t need

to say anything about the state of

America right now, about our

leadership and how split we are as

a country. It certainly is relevant.

ldc: Quentin is not only a cinephile,

he’s a great historian. He’s taken

the perspective of two guys on the

periphery of Hollywood, looking

in, and that’s a unique way to view

not only one of the most pivotal

periods in world history, but one

that produced some great cinematic

pieces of art. We’re not only

watching the changing of culture

but inhabiting these old TV cowboy

guys who are now relics of the past.

It’s an amazing approach to this story.

You are what you leave behind

ldc: Movies are the greatest modern

art form. I feel privileged to be a part

of it. I’ve been able to be my own

boss creatively, and I feel fortunate

for that.

bp: Now that I’m a dad [he has six

children], I’m clearer about the

work I want to do. I’m now painfully

aware that my kids are going to be

seeing my movies as they grow up.

I think of how movies affected me

when I was a kid; the ones that told

me something, honed me a little

bit, left that indelible mark. It’s

important to me that I leave

something they’ll be proud of.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

opens in cinemas on August 14;











Nick Ashley-Cooper




A triple tragedy

transformed a hedonistic

New York DJ into an

accidental earl – and

a dedicated ultrarunner



Even a privileged background can’t

insulate you from tragedy and pain.

Nick Ashley-Cooper discovered this

in 2004 when his father was

murdered by his own estranged wife.

Six months later, Ashley-Cooper’s

elder brother died of a heart attack.

These events catapulted him out of

his career as a professional DJ in

New York and into the hereditary

role of the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury.

Returning to the family’s UK

estate, St Giles House – then a

disused wreck – Ashley-Cooper took

on the mantle of its restoration,

enrolling in the London Business

School and turning parts of the home

into accommodation and an events

space. He also took up running,

clocking up marathons before going

deeper into ultrarunning territory.

Then, in 2009, more outrageous

misfortune struck when he took

an awkward tumble from a horse,

fracturing a vertebra and permanently

injuring his spinal cord.

Rather than accepting a limited

life, Ashley-Cooper pushed himself to

recover and, a little over a year later,

ran a 250km ultramarathon across

South America’s Atacama Desert. He

still walks with a limp, but has a love

of the mountains and, on August 26,

will embark on the gruelling 300km

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Petite Trotte

à Léon, ascending the Alps (to a height

of 25,000m) to raise money for the

Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research

Foundation, which aims to find a cure

for spinal injuries. The earl’s life has

been one of highs and lows, but has

his strength been forged in adversity?

the red bulletin: Losing your

father and brother within a year

must have been deeply shocking…

nick ashley-cooper: The way

I lost my father and brother was very

sudden and unexpected. Part of me

was just like, “Wow.” There was

a realisation that you’re just not in

control of life; it has its own path and

you have to adapt to the things that

are thrown your way. I became very

focused. I felt driven and, in a way,

that’s how I channelled the grief:

“Right, I’m going to try to turn this

tragic situation into a positive. I’m

going to do it for me. I’m also going

to do it for my brother and my dad.”

Your sleeve tattoo looks like a

robot arm. What does it mean?

When I was DJing in New York, the

event I was doing was called ‘Robots’.

Part of the rationale of my tattoo

was that I realised I was being taken

down a different path and my life

was changing. But I’ve always tried

to stay true to myself, and I didn’t

want to lose sight of where I was at

that point in time, so it anchors me.

Why did you turn to running?

I find it really grounding. That’s the

beauty of running. It gives you that

space to just think and be alone with

your thoughts.

You turned the derelict St Giles

House into a business as well

as an ancestral home…

No one thought that this house could

be saved. It seemed like too big a

mountain – no one had lived here for

50 years. I used the most simple yet

profound lesson I’ve learnt doing

ultramarathons: don’t think too far

ahead. Break it down into chunks

you can tame, get little victories

along the way, and don’t think of the

whole problem and be overwhelmed.

Meeting Dinah [his wife] – someone

who seemed to be up for an exciting

adventure – it was like: “Why don’t

we just move into a few rooms of this

crazy, falling-down house and then

think of what to do next?”

Though unlucky to fall from a

horse and permanently damage

your spine, you had the good

fortune not to be paralysed. What

was that whole experience like?

It was the toughest moment in my

life, mentally. I felt really scared in

the hospital, not knowing what my

future would be like. It was such a

strong emotion. Then I imagined all

those who have been through harder

stuff, and I was in awe of them. When

I attempted to run again, it felt like I

was running on sand; I couldn’t lift

my legs. Now, I’ve just become so

used to that feeling when walking

– that’s the technique.

Has adversity shaped you?

Adversity is a powerful thing. You

get confidence when you have real

adversity and you find a way to

overcome it. It’s also really important

to know that you’re not always going

to overcome everything, and not to

beat yourself up too much when you

don’t manage to do something.

Have you been surprised by what

you’ve achieved despite having

a permanent injury?

You’re capable of much more than

you think. That’s what I’ve learnt

through all the things I’ve done, from

ultrarunning to mountaineering; that

the limits of what you can achieve

are much further than you think. It’s

for everyone to try to find it. I mean,

my edge is here, but you see some

of the things that people are doing

and it’s insane. I’ve always had that

hunger to try to find my personal

edge, both physically and mentally.

Do you feel your life was destined

to be the way it is?

I’m not one for destiny. Life is like a

wave you ride. You’re never really in

control and, if you can let go of that

notion and just ride the wave, you

get loads out of it and won’t be upset

when something knocks you for six.

Nick Ashley-Cooper is an ambassador

for the Wings for Life Spinal Cord

Research Foundation;


“I became focused

and driven. It’s how

I channelled the grief”


Leah Tokelove

Success is

no easy ride

Flat-track racing is wild, brutal and doesn’t

have a women’s category. No problem for

this rising star of the sport



motorcycle and adventure festival

Camp VC in Wales’ Brecon Beacons

earlier this month, she encouraged

more women to get into the scene

– something Tokelove actively pursues

through her own women’s flat-track

school, Days On The Dirt. Here, she

tells us why she loves playing rough.

bike stuff. I’ve had some bad

ligament damage and bruises – one

of my knees is permanently swollen

from a crash – but I haven’t broken

anything. As a rule of thumb, I’m a

really fluid rider. I’m a bit like a cat:

I always seem to land on my feet.

Why do you run events specifically

for women?

I know how much of a thrill I get out

of riding a bike, so why shouldn’t

someone else get the same? Yes, I race

against the men, but I love being on

girls’ rides. Every time I go to the track

and see more women, I’m stoked

they’re there. I don’t think there will

be enough riders for a women’s class

for some time – but then, in a sport

like flat track I don’t think we need

a women’s class. I don’t just want to

be the best woman, I want to be the

best out of everybody.

The Hooligan race series is aptly

named. Consisting of street bikes

with no front brakes racing on dirt

speedways, the discipline of flat

track is rough, dangerous and scary.

In this heavily male-dominated sport,

it’s tempting to underestimate the

chances of Lincolnshire-born Leah

Tokelove, aged 21 and a little over

5ft tall. But that would be ill-advised.

Having ridden off-road bikes since

she was five, and raced them from

the age of 13, the self-proclaimed

“hooligan with pigtails” became the

only female competitor in the UK’s

Dirt Track Riders Association pro

championships before she was out

of her teens, and is ranked ninth in

the pro class (at the time of going to

press). But Tokelove doesn’t want to

stand out in that regard. At women’s

the red bulletin: What does

being part of the flat-track

community bring to your life?

leah tokelove: I do think, “What

the hell would I be doing if I wasn’t

racing bikes?” The meets, the places

I get to go, like Morocco and

California, it’s all because of riding

motorcycles. It’s made me a more

interesting, well-rounded, better

person. I’ve mixed with people

I wouldn’t have mixed with before.

It’s a real passion that’s driven me

to be the best version of myself.

What goes through your mind

when you’re racing?

Flat track is over very quickly. I do

a lot of positive visualisation before

I start, because I sometimes feel my

mind drifting when lining up for

ages. But the second the green light

hits, all you think about is who you’re

behind and how you’re going to pass.

There’s not much space, so you have

to be tactical. In some races, towards

the end, I’ll make more aggressive

moves, not really caring if I crash,

just going for it. But if you’re in a

good starting position, you’ve got to

stay focused and not let anyone pass.

Are big crashes a part of the sport?

Touch wood, I’ve always walked

away pretty lucky. I’ve been run over

a few times when I’ve fallen off. I’ve

been clipped, T-boned, just normal

Do you face pressure to play safe?

Yeah. The Indian Scout I was riding

in the UK Hooligan championships

last year was 250kg. I’m 5ft 2in

[1.6m] and everybody was offering

their unwanted opinions that I would

never be able to race that big bike.

I was too small, I was too this, not

enough that. But if I’d passed up that

opportunity, I don’t know where I’d

be now. Obviously I know there are

massive risks riding a 250kg bike.

I don’t need every Tom, Dick and

Harry saying, “Oh, you don’t want

that landing on you.” Of course I

fucking don’t. I’m not stupid. But the

second I got on it, I fell in love with

the way it rode. It was like taming

a beast, and once I had it tamed

we had some unreal riding moments

together. I won on that bike. I got

multiple podiums on it.

How do you find strength to push

against those pressures?

People are always going to give you

their opinion and put doubts in your

mind, even if they’ve got your best

interests at heart. You just have to get

that tunnel vision on, disregard all

the negative comments and focus on

what you want to get out of riding

the bike. One of my favourite things

to say to myself is: “Just be your own

person, do your own thing.” That’s

how I’ve worked it out. Be your own.


“Riding that 250kg

bike was like taming

a beast”


Birth of rave

“It was the start of

something really big…”

Thirty years ago, a cultural revolution hit the UK. And the impact of rave – a scene

drawing from the sounds of Chicago and Detroit via Ibiza – can still be heard in music

today. Photographer Dave Swindells was there for the ‘Second Summer of Love’

Tottenham Court Road,

London, July 1988

I’d heard that a street party might happen

after [London club night] The Trip at the

Astoria closed at 3am. So I was thrilled when

this car pulled up with its speakers blaring,

and a few hundred people were suddenly

jumping around, dancing in the street and

on top of the bus shelter, screaming “Street

party!” and “Acieed”. We were right outside

the Dominion Theatre in the heart of London,

causing a party roadblock. The police seemed

to regard it as joie de vivre rather than as

a serious nuisance, but the revellers were

already making their way into a multi-storey

car park below the YMCA, which must have

been pretty freaky for the hapless people

who came to collect their Porsche and found

it surrounded by screaming ravers.


Shoom, London, May 1988

It seems amazing now that [singer] Sacha Souter wore this straw hat

without those strands blinding half the people around her – most of

whom were surely a bit smitten. What a look! It’s like something out

of Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I only noticed her that morning because

the house lights were switched on around 5am and everything was

illuminated in their fluorescent glare. People danced on, but everybody

was out by 6am, heading off to RIP on Clink Street to carry on.

Shoom, London, April 1988

In a sports studio off Southwark Street, with mirrored walls, strobes,

dry ice and around 300 people squeezed in, [club founder] Danny

Rampling played amazing acid and gospel house like The Night

Writers’ Let The Music (Use You) and Joe Smooth’s Promised

Land. Amid this maelstrom was [Shoom regular] Andrew Newman,

who treated acid house as an opportunity to dress in style, proudly

sporting a Stephen Sprouse jacket and getting utterly lost in music.

Ku, Ibiza, June 1989

Now called Privilege, this was a superclub

long before British people had dreamt of

such a thing. The club held 7,000 and had

an enormous roof, but it was still partially

open-air in 1989. So when a violent electrical

storm blew in at around 4am, most sensible

people – including the likes of Boy George,

Fat Tony, MC Kinky and Adamski – ran for

cover. Fortunately, there were a few Brits

who carried on regardless, dancing in the

downpour as Lil Louis’ orgiastic track French

Kiss throbbed to a climax for the third time

that night. And when we came out into the

sunshine at 7am, there were about five of the

trendy little Suzuki jeeps in the car park, all

full to the brim and looking like warm baths.


Tribal Dance,

Sudeley Castle,

August 1990

I was asked to do some Super-8

filming at this rave, so I bought

a vintage camera and headed

west to Gloucestershire. It was

a beautiful warm night and the

rave was amazing, but it was

impossible to shoot on Super 8

film without lights, so after a

while I went back to taking stills,

meeting people from all over the

West Country. This guy stood

out: Joe Bloggs T-shirts were as

massive as their typeface that

summer, and teaming it with

baggy dungarees and big, bright

patterns, complete with a

beaded-necklace whistle, made

him the model raver.

Rage, Heaven, London, 1990

At this club night, Fabio and Grooverider were transforming hardcore house by adding sped-up, chopped-up breakbeats and ever-more rumbling

basslines – elements that coalesced into jungle around 1991 – so I should really have been photographing them. But as I was crossing the

dancefloor, the podium dancers caught my eye. It wasn’t the shell suits that stood out – they were everywhere that summer – but one of the

dancers, Leeco [right], who was performing brilliantly athletic moves in his new Nike Air Max trainers and fantastically baggy trousers. It was

great to hear, when I posted the photo a few years ago, that he has gone on to have a successful career as a dancer and choreographer.


Birth of rave

The Future, The Soundshaft,

London, March 1988

I’d seen clubbers on ecstasy before, especially at

[outrageous club legend] Leigh Bowery’s Taboo in ’85-86,

but this time it wasn’t the hedonistic demi-monde getting

“on one, matey”. This was a dressed-down crowd who,

like the DJ/host Paul Oakenfold, had been out to Ibiza,

fallen in love with ‘Balearic beat’ and the vibe there,

and wanted to carry on in London. Most were ordinary

suburban kids, and if they were this over-excited on

a Thursday night, Oakenfold’s club name was bang on:

this was The Future, only it was already happening.

Fascinations, Downham Tavern, Kent,

July 1988

I couldn’t believe it when I first saw a gyroscope at an all-day rave.

Whether the kids were on ecstasy or not, being spun every-which-way

was bound to result in diced carrots flying through the air. I was happy

to be proved wrong. The promoter, Tony Wilson, also organised indoor

pyrotechnics and two go-go dancers – from London gay club Troll –

wearing dungarees and performing synchronised moves with fans in

front of the lasers, which was pretty radical in Kent in the late ’80s.

Fantasy FM radio studio, late 1990

Sixteen storeys up in a tower block somewhere in Hackney, pirate

station Fantasy FM was broadcasting to the east side. No one

bothered with NDAs in those days, but I had to promise not to reveal

where their studio was based. I’d been to their storming World of

Fantasy night at the Astoria, and the invitation came from there. I had

dreamt of a shot of the DJs playing in front of a window, with the city

spread out behind them – but, of course, that could well have given

away their location. So instead I took some snaps of DJ Stacey on

the decks while DJ Foxy, aka Mystery Man, who ran the station, got

busy on his brick-sized mobile phone in the background.


Birth of rave

World Dance, near East Grinstead, West Sussex, August 1989

I set out with writer Alix Sharkey to photograph some of these ‘orbital’ raves [so-named because of their proximity to the newly

completed M25 motorway, which was given the moniker ‘the Magic Roundabout’]. I was worried about whether we’d actually find

any parties, as I’d been out with fellow journalists before, driving around Surrey, encountering police roadblocks, getting lost down

country lanes, doubling back, following convoys, getting lost again and finally having to give up and drive home at 6am. This time

we were lucky, as there were two raves a few miles apart near East Grinstead. At World Dance, they’d brought in these great lighting

rigs and sound systems on huge flatbed trucks, so keyboard wizard Adamski played tracks like N-R-G and I Dream of You live and

around 5,000 people danced all night. We left just as the dawn lit up the horizon.

Dave Swindells, photographer

A London nightlife snapper since the early ’80s, Swindells was

perfectly positioned to capture these pivotal moments in the birth of

rave in spring 1988, when DJs Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and

Nicky Holloway took their experiences in Ibiza the previous summer

and transported them to the UK club scene. “It was intense and

euphoric, kickstarting parties and outdoor raves, while pirate radio

reached even more people,” recalls Swindells (pictured here, furthest

right, in August 1989 at the second of the East Grinstead orbital raves).

“At the same time, there was democratisation in Russia, the Berlin Wall

was dismantled, the ‘Velvet Revolution’ took place in Czechoslovakia,

and Mandela was finally released in South Africa. It seemed like

oppressive regimes were taking a battering across the world.”

Sweet Harmony: Rave | Today, an exhibition featuring the work of

Dave Swindells and other photographers, is at the Saatchi Gallery

in London until September 14;


It’s a



Photography EDD HORDER

Red Bull Music Festival London



Red Bull Music Festival London

July 2019. In a warehouse in Peckham, south London,

10 of the UK’s freshest musicians and performers

gather for the photoshoot you see here. For four weeks

from August 20, they will be part of the first Red Bull

Music Festival London, showcasing their boundarypushing

talents in venues across the capital. Here, they

explain why they‘re involved, what their neighbourhood

means to them, and what their own music represents

Lava La Rue

& L!baan

Wild, wild west

September 7:

NiNE8 Collective,

No Place Like

Home Live

Westbank Studios,

Thorpe Close, W10

NiNE8 will celebrate its

west London heritage with

a workshop, panel talk,

performance, and a clothing

collaboration with ’90s

rave collective MAP. “We’re

doing a showcase of the

older generations we look

up to, who helped pioneer

the sound system culture

here,” says Lava La Rue.

“You have dancehall and,

from that, drum and bass

and jungle, then grime

and a lot of the UK music

we play today. It’s paying

homage to our roots.”

Twenty-one-year-old rapper and

singer Awia Laurel, aka Lava La Rue,

hails from Ladbroke Grove, west

London. The founder of arts and

music collective NiNE8 believes that

cultural and gender diversity are

pivotal to the area’s unique sound.

“A lot of groups are all one thing

– all from Harlem or LA – but that’s

not our vibe,” she says. “At NiNE8,

we have people who are Indian,

Jamaican, Caribbean, Irish, kids who

grew up in Spain, Somalia… We’ve

got just as many female as male

rappers. It’s music where we all

come from different backgrounds

but coexist on one track.

“That’s west London. It has one

of the starkest gaps between superupper-class,

multimillion Kensington

houses and then estates like Grenfell.

But that means you’re exposed to all

walks of life. There’s a generation of

kids who’ve grown up together. You

walk down Portobello and you’ve got

the Rastafarians, the Moroccans, the

Spanish, all in this area together.

That’s what our music is.”

There’s a strong social message in

the lyrics of La Rue and NiNE8, but

she doesn’t see their music as overtly

political. “I don’t think any of us

strive to make political music,” she

says. “It’s just inherently political

because of the lives we live. We’re

rapping our perspectives, and if mine

is, ‘I’m from London, I’m gay, I’m

of colour, I’m working class,’ then

there’s going to be politics in there.

“I love the idea of catchy music

and it being quite politically strong

and people singing it like a mantra.

What you say every day, you speak

into existence, so let people say stuff

that benefits them, rather than,

‘Yeah, I’m from the south, put my

dick in her mouth,’ or that shit,

which is what you get in a lot of rap.

Let’s have people say something

they’re going to speak into existence

every day, and positively.”

Twenty-two-year-old MC and

producer L!baan hails from north

London, but now considers himself

“pretty much local to west” after

getting to know the NiNE8 Collective

through friends.

A drummer while at school,

L!baan – real name Libann Hassan

– joined the collective after chatting

to La Rue in a skate park. “Skating

forced me to explore other parts

of London. And on the way to all

these places, you see and hear a lot

of things. That’s relayed into my

music, because I try to be as versatile

as I can be. And, for real, there are

a lot of artists, painters and musicians

among skaters.”



“We don‘t strive to

make political music.

It’s just inherently

political because of

the lives we live”

Lava La Rue

“My music is a mix.

I don’t want to

think about genres

when I make tunes”

Joe Armon-Jones

Red Bull Music Festival London

“London has a

profound impact on

me as a creative.

It‘s a very

harmonious chaos”

Joe Armon-Jones

& Nabihah Iqbal

The tag team

Nabihah Iqbal


Just back from playing at

Glastonbury, 26-year-old pianist

Joe Armon-Jones seems a little

dazed that jazz superstar Kamasi

Washington had joined him on stage

at his Sunday-night gig alongside

Afrobeat band Kokoroko. “[LA

trombonist] Ryan Porter rolled

through, and Kamasi played on some

of my tunes. It was pretty mad,” he

says. “I was directing legends that

I’ve looked up to for some time.”

Armon-Jones is used to adapting

quickly. He plays with different

musicians almost every night, either

as part of renowned London jazz

crew Ezra Collective or in his own

projects. But despite the nearconstant

attachment of the word

‘jazz’ to anything he does, he’s

reluctant to label his music. “I don’t

sound like Miles Davis. It’s a mixture

of improvisation, dub, hip hop, soul,

funk – if I start giving it a stupid

name like, ‘Oh, it’s trap-dub-jazz,’

then it’s like I’ve put a stamp on it.

It would stop me from making

whatever I want to make in the

future. I don’t want to be thinking

about genres when I make tunes.”

The Oxfordshire-born musician

moved to south London to study jazz,

and he cites local DJ and producer

Maxwell Owin as a key influence. “He

opened my mind to dance music. As a

jazz musician, it’s easy to be arrogant

about other music styles because, say,

there might not be as many notes. But

when you go to make those styles,

you realise how hard it is.”

When 32-year-old Nabihah Iqbal

says she has diverse taste in music,

she means it. A childhood Michael

Jackson fan, she spent her teens

dancing to ska-punk at Camden’s

Underworld club, and cites her

favourite recent gig as jazz legends

Sun Ra Arkestra at Dalston’s Cafe

OTO. On her fortnightly NTS radio

show, she’ll play anything from the US

punk-rock of Alkaline Trio to calypso.

There are no boundaries,” she

says; something that has surprised

those with narrow ideas about what

music a British-Asian woman might

listen to and play. “It’s why I’ve

chosen to use my real name as an

artist,” she says, explaining why

she dropped her previous moniker,

Throwing Shade. “This is who I am

and what I do, and there’s nothing

incongruous about it.”

Iqbal’s own sound is dreamy

and electronic, as heard on her

2017 album Weighing of the Heart.

A multi-instrumentalist – playing

guitar, piano, flute and sitar, thanks

to a degree in ethnomusicology – she

studied to be a human rights lawyer

and sat the bar, but a sideline in DJing

at friends’ parties led her to music.

If music is her first love, London is

a close second: “It’s where I was born

and lived my whole life, so it has a

profound impact on me as a person

and a creative. It’s a very harmonious

chaos.” She grew up near Regent’s

Park and now lives behind Abbey

Road Studios. “I’m channelling the

energy. There are legendary studios

in that area, so I’ve got good music

feng shui. Noel and Liam Gallagher

lived nearby when I was a kid –

I used to see them on the street and

freak out. Once, I walked into a

lamppost because Noel, Paul Weller

and Alan McGee – Oasis’ manager –

were sat outside a café on St John’s

Wood High Street. I was 10 years old.”

September 11:

Round Robin

EartH, Stoke Newington

Road, N16

Created for the RBMF, this

event pairs up solo artists

from different backgrounds

for unpredictable, one-of-akind

performances. So, how

does Round Robin work?

NI: “There’s one person

on stage, then the second

person comes on and you

play together for a bit. Then

the first person leaves and

a new person comes on. So

there are always two people

playing, but it’s random.”

RED BULL: How do you feel

about sharing the stage?

NI: “Jamming with people

on the spot can be a bit

daunting, but it pushes you

out of your comfort zone.”

JAJ: “I like having other

people to bounce off.”

RB: What will you play?

JAJ: “Just keys, man. I can’t

play anything else.”

NI: “Guitar. I’ll take some

effects and maybe a loop

pedal. I play lots of things

a little bit.”

RB: Can you prepare for

an event like this?

JAJ: “You can try to make a

plan, but it’s a bit pointless,

really. Whatever happens,

you’ve just gotta go with it.”


Red Bull Music Festival London

The oppressed

dance the best!”

Lil C

Lil C &

Alicai Harley

Galdem style

August 25:

Red Bull Sound

System at

Notting Hill


Emslie Horniman’s

Pleasance, W10

This west London park

will host the Red Bull Music

stage for the third year

running, bringing together

the best sounds from the

UK and Caribbean on a bill

of dancehall, Afrobeats,

bashment and rap.

AH: “The Red Bull Sound

System is gonna be lit.

It’s Carnival! I want to give

a show to all those drunk

people. Everyone is going

to be so finished by the

time I go on, I just want to

bring something more here

than I do anywhere else.

LC: “Playing tunes for

girls gets me going.

The dance is led by women.

When there’s a woman

on the decks, there’s

reciprocal joy. I want you to

have fun, and then everyone

else feeds off that energy.”

West Norwood native Lil C – aka

Cesca Ivaldi – credits her corner of

London with her interest in music:

“It’s synonymous with people playing

bashment from cars.” The 23-yearold,

who began her DJ career on

student radio while studying art in

Leeds, is a “kind of self-professed”

dancehall expert. She’s proud of the

scene’s roots, but conflicted about its

mainstream success: “It’s great that

people are listening to it more, but

only a certain number are eating off

it. It annoys me that the money

doesn’t feed back into the scene.”

Her top spaces to play are London

QTPOC (queer and trans people of

colour) nights Pxssy Palace and BBZ.

“It’s like playing for family. I’m bi,

and the energy of queer people is

next level. ‘The oppressed dance the

best’ – me and my friend coined that.”

South London rapper/singer Alicai

Harley likes to mix up her sound, but,

when pushed, describes it as “’90s

dancehall pop in its purest form –

nostalgic, infectious vibes.”

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, the

23-year-old moved to London in

2002. “South London definitely

influences my music,” she says. “Even

though I was born in Jamaica and my

family is Jamaican and my culture is

so strong in me, I’m British, too.”

When it comes to working with

other artists, Harley’s dream line-up

is strictly dancehall (“Buju Banton,

Lady Saw”) with one exception:

“Destiny’s Child”. The influence of

Queen Bey extends to her career

mantra, too: “I always tell my friends,

‘In life, remember you have the same

number of hours as Beyoncé.’”


“South London

definitely influences

my music. My

Jamaican culture is

strong in me,

but I’m British, too”

Alicai Harley


Red Bull Music Festival London

“Dance music is

an inclusive space.

There’s a common

thread that

unites everyone”



& Riz La Teef

Sunday drivers

Anna-Marie Odubote, better known

as Anz, couldn’t be further from the

image of an aloof DJ hiding behind

the decks. The London-born 27-yearold

rarely stops dancing through her

own sets, which she describes as “a

mishmash, a taster of music I like,

from old-school, breakbeat, hardcore

and rave all the way to Afrobeat”. In

person, she has the same exuberant

energy and a huge smile.

Anz began creating and posting

her own music to SoundCloud about

four years ago, and someone soon

messaged to say they wanted to book

her. “I was like, ‘To do what?’ So my

partner and I got a ratty mixer and

a pair of old £80 CDJ-100S CD

players. That’s how I learnt.”

Now, she’s released a debut EP

– Invitation 2 Dance (dedicated to ​

“the boys who used to muscle me

off the decks at house parties”) –

and has just played iconic Berlin

nightclub Berghain. “I was worried

it would be techno-focused and 4/4

serious music, but they told me to do

whatever I wanted. It was 4am to

6am at the Panorama Bar, so I had

a nice slot – although I accidentally

got drunk at the artists’ dinner and

had to have a nap before my set.”

Today, the Manchester resident is

optimistic about marginalised voices

in the industry. “Dance music is a

fairly inclusive space, even if it can

sometimes look like it isn’t. At the

parties I play, there isn’t a sense of

otherness because, whether you go

for this one DJ or genre, there’s

a common thread that unites

everyone in that space. It helps.”

Anz is just as excited to be in

the crowd when her friends are on

the decks. “I’m looking forward to

Afrodeutsche playing with Aphex

Twin [at the RBMF finale at

Printworks] because she’s a friend in

Manchester. Going from us playing

together in my living room to seeing

her play in that context is unreal.”

South Londoner Riz La Teef started

spinning records in 2008 when his

university housemate went on a

foreign exchange and left his decks

behind. His name comes from an

unusual source: the BBC news. “We

used to watch the news for London

every day and the presenter was

called Riz Lateef,” he reveals.

“I thought it kind of sounded like

someone who steals people’s Rizlas.”

La Teef is known for cutting his

own dubplates, and this year the

30-year-old started his own record

label, South London Press. So, what

do people get at a Riz La Teef set? “A

bit of everything: dubstep, garage,

funk and grime,” he says. “I still play

vinyl. I’m pretty analogue. I’ve got

about 3,000 records in my front room.”

Here’s a DJ who knows how to

move a crowd – no matter the size.

“I’ve played Fabric three times. The

first was at about 11pm and it was

just me and the security guard. He

seemed to like it, though.”

September 8:

The Sunday Club

Union Car Park, Great

Suffolk Street, SE1

In the late ’90s, UK garage

was the sound of the

moment, dominating pirate

radio and impacting on

the Top 40. Its epicentre

was the so-called ‘Sunday

Scene’ – a series of

laid-back daytime sessions

across south London.

On September 8, at a

car park just south of the

Thames, Anz and Riz La

Teef will join a host of

garage veterans – including

So Solid Crew, Ms Dynamite

and Todd Edwards – to

revive the party series

and celebrate those glory

days of UK garage.

“Playing tunes alongside

this line-up is surreal and

an honour,” says Anz.

La Teef agrees:

“With so many legends,

it’s going to be quite

interesting finding those

off-piste garage tracks.

Mike Millrain is one of the

best garage producers ever.

Jeremy Sylvester as well.”



“I’m pretty analogue.

I still play vinyl.

I’ve got about 3,000

records at home”

Riz La Teef

“It’s our queer

London, one

we were born

of, met in and


Victoria Sin

Red Bull Music Festival London


“Get started at

Wetherspoons, then

go to Pxssy Palace.

It’s a great night”

Shy One

Victoria Sin

& Shy One

The shape changers

Performance artist and drag queen

Victoria Sin doesn’t need to invent

a stage name – the 28-year-old

Canadian’s real one works just fine

for a multi-disciplinary and genderexploratory

artist who offers a

unique interpretation of drag.

“When I was 17 in Toronto, I used

a fake ID to go to drag clubs and

saw this empowered embodiment

of femininity in a way I never had

before,” says Sin. “I was transfixed.

I always wanted to be a drag queen,

but didn’t know it was something

I could do until I moved to London.

I’m trying to express that gender

and identity are constructed, but it

doesn’t mean we can’t take pleasure

in those things. Through a process of

doing drag and putting on and taking

off my gender, I realised I wasn’t a

woman and came out as non-binary.”

Sin’s Red Bull performance with

Shy One is all about queer spaces,

but these opportunities alone don’t

mean the world is becoming more

open-minded. “Trans rights have so

far to go in the UK, and this is why

spaces like BBZ and Pxssy Palace are

so important, because that’s where

I can be myself,” says Sin. “I live in

a country that doesn’t recognise nonbinary

as a legal gender identity, so

what does that do for me?”

Sin also recognises that the way

femininity is treated on stage is

totally different to how it’s treated on

the street. “Femininity is something

you can wield to make space for

yourself and other people and be

loud and proud. Unfortunately that’s

not always possible, because of the

social context we exist within. My

work is about distancing ideas of

femininity from ideas of womanhood.

They are not necessarily related.”

Given that Shy One’s dad is the DJ

Trevor Nelson and her godfather

is Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, people

assume they know how the 29-yearold

– born Mali Larrington-Nelson –

ended up being a DJ. However, her

mum was the biggest influence: “She

was a raver and big music lover. She

introduced me to jungle, garage and

broken beat when listening to pirate

radio in her car, and also neo-soul

like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill.”

Having said that, it was Jazzie B

gifting her decks on her 13th

birthday, combined with a mixing

workshop at her local youth club

in Harrow, that led Shy to become

one of London’s most eclectic

underground DJs. “Right now, I’m

definitely playing more broken beat

and jazz,” she says. “Not to look

down on other styles as I play them

all, but there’s a heavy jazz presence.”

Influential on London’s queer

party scene, Shy is part of the BBZ

collective that centres on women and

non-binary people of colour, and

chooses queer collective Pxssy Palace

as her favourite night to be on the

bill. But her eclectic taste extends

to socialising. “Wetherspoons is

somewhere I feel comfortable going

and being able to eat and drink for

cheap,” she says. “I used to take my

laptop and work there. It’s odd that

I, as a queer young black woman of

immigrant descent, often feel more

at ease in spaces you expect to be

most hostile. Line your stomach at

’Spoons and then go to Pxssy Palace

– it’s a great night.”

September 13:

We Know That We

Can Shape Ourselves

Venue TBA

Victoria Sin and Shy One

will be collaborating at this

bespoke event expressing

what it means to be queer

in club culture. Here, they

explain what we can expect:

VS: “This is a meeting of

our worlds, and of the

collectives and artists we

know and love. It’s our queer

London, one we were born

of, met in and celebrate.

Mali does the music that

creates the narrative, and

I activate the words by

performing as this extreme

embodiment of identity.”

SO: “It’s quite cool that

we’re doing the show with

BBZ and Pxssy Palace,

because we met through

their events.”

VS: “When we met, I was

coming into something

that’s unique in London,

which is a party scene that

centres the experiences of

queer people of colour in

ways I’d never experienced

before. Within queer

spaces, places are often

cis-male and white, and if

you’re queer and not those

things, it can be very violent

coming into those spaces.”

SO: “In London, there are

so many of us crammed

into a small scene. There

are a lot of black people

and other people of colour,

and we probably have the

most populous gay scene

in the UK. There are so

many opportunities for us

to have parties.”

VS: “It feels like a moment,

like we’re part of something

special and unique. Queer

people of colour are

realising that not only do

we need and want our own

spaces, but when we get

together we start creating

our own culture and our

own world – and that’s

really beautiful.”

Styling: Hannah Elwell

Hair: Maki Tanaka

Make-up: Emma Williams

Thanks to Copeland Park,

Peckham, for the location

Red Bull Music Festival

London takes place

from August 20 to

September 14. For more

event details, head to

page 93 or


Practised for more than

2,000 years, sumo

is still Japan’s national

sport, but no longer its

exclusive field of mastery.

International competitors

have muscled in, forcing

the country’s wrestlers

to push harder for a place

at the top. Nowhere is this

more evident than at the

largest contest outside

Japan: the US Sumo Open






Byambajav Ulambayar

is a giant of sumo in

more ways than one:

the Mongolian former

pro has won the men’s

heavyweight title at

the US Sumo Open

10 times since 2007

“Sumo is a bit like

American professional

wrestling, in that

it’s a theatre show”

The 19th US Sumo Open – the biggest sumo tournament

outside Japan – attracted almost 5,000 spectators and

64 international wrestlers to the Walter Pyramid arena

in Long Beach, California


Norway’s Henning

Westerby attempts

to force America’s

Robert Fuimaono

(with the ‘Bulldozer’

tattoo) out of the ring

Sumo is a heritage

in the midst of being

reimagined for the

tastes of a wider,

global audience

Hiroki Sumi weighs up the

competition. In 2018, the

Japanese sumo was a surprise

entrant in the WWE Greatest

Royal Rumble, a 50-man battle

royale staged in Saudi Arabia



Viewed from the bleachers, the three sumo

squatting on the basketball court below look

like oversized tan beach balls. It’s an unusual

juxtaposition. After all, this is California –

the arena of California State University Long

Beach, to be precise. Built in the shape of a

pyramid that mirrors the clement sky, this

4,000-seater is home to the Long Beach State

49ers basketball and athletics teams. The

interior of the Walter Pyramid is festooned

with gold and black banners reading ‘Go Beach’, there’s a stall

selling kettle corn, and, whichever way you turn, vendors are

ready to furnish spectators with hot dogs and oversized sodas.

In short, the place is as American as apple pie. All of which

makes the two Japanese and one Mongolian sumo all the more

conspicuous as they warm up against the polished wood and

black markings of the basketball court.

The three athletes are Byambajav Ulambayar, a 1.84m-tall

Mongolian and former sumo pro; the 1.92m-tall Hiroki Sumi

from Japan; and, standing at 1.7m, the relatively diminutive

Takeshi Amitani, the former five-time Japanese National

University Champion. What brings them to town on this mid-

March afternoon is the 19th annual US Sumo Open – the largest

and longest-running sumo event outside Japan. Collectively, its

participants have amassed 18 World Sumo Champion titles and

travelled from as far afield as Japan, Mongolia, India, Egypt,

Tajikistan, Georgia, Ukraine, Norway and Germany.

If the eclectic make-up surprises you, it shouldn’t. More than

any other sport, sumo is a tradition in transition. In Japan, the

best national wrestlers are regularly bettered by a new influx

of Russians, Mongolians and Ukrainians – nations that have

proudly adopted its national sport and set out to dominate it.

So great is the impact of non-Japanese in sumo that in 2017

Japan celebrated its first yokozuna (the highest rank) in almost

20 years: Kisenosato Yutaka. But when Yutaka retired this

January, at the age of 32, a brace of Mongolian wrestlers were

competing for the top spot. This development is indicative of the

changes happening across sumo. In short, sumo is a heritage

in the midst of being reimagined and remoulded to fit the tastes

of a wider, global audience. And nowhere is this more evident

than at the US Sumo Open.

Worth the weight

Two days before the 19th US Sumo Open is due to begin, The

Red Bulletin arrives in Long Beach. Inside the Walter Pyramid,

sheltered from the bright sunlight, we find some of the event’s

most famous competitors weighing in. Ulambayar, the 35-yearold

former pro, tips the scales at 161kg. “I’m so skinny,” he jokes.

As Ulambayar dons a purple floral gown and paces around

with regal grace, 29-year-old Sumi clutches his plentiful stomach

in his hands and climbs onto the scale. At 220kg, he will be one

of the heaviest sumo to compete in the competition. At 100kg,

26-year-old Amitani easily makes middleweight class.

As Ulambayar attempts to score a basketball with a balled-up

towel, Amitani and Sumi form a little-and-large double act, with

the former translating our questions for his towering counterpart.

Perpetually beaming, Sumi – who, in 2018, fought in a one-off

WWE Greatest Royal Rumble – resembles a Japanese version

of Dustin from the Netflix series Stranger Things. Amitani,

meanwhile, is handsome and muscular with swept-back hair and

a cauliflower left ear, one eye partially closed from injury.

“I train very hard,” Sumi says through Amitani. “I benchpress

90kg, shoulder-press 60kg, and leg-press 140kg.” He acts

out the movements as he speaks, fleshy limbs bunching up.

He points to his right knee, where an angry, jagged red line


The Ukrainians are

particularly deadly in

modern-day sumo.

Pictured: compatriots

Demid Karachenko

and eventual winner

Sviatoslav Semykras

do battle in the men’s

lightweight final

of scar tissue is visible. This, Sumi says, has put paid to his

deadlifting and squatting days.

Amitani’s routine is similar. Back in his college days, he

wanted to bulk up, so he mainlined sushi, ramen and the sumo

staple chanko-nabe – a relatively healthy stew loaded with

proteins such as chicken, tofu, meatballs or fish, plus starchy rice

or noodles, and veggies including bok choy, mushrooms, daikon

(white radish) and carrots – to build himself into heavyweight

shape. Now, as a middleweight, he includes running in his regime.

Last night, the three sumo enjoyed a barbecue at their hotel.

“We had 5-6kg of meat,” smiles Ulambayar. It was clearly a

welcome change from chanko-nabe – to build the body shape

needed for top-flight sumo, the likes of Ulambayar will shovel

down industrial quantities of the stew on a daily basis. Dinner,

“Slapping, leg-sweeping

and pulling the belt are

allowed; punching, kicking

and hair-pulling are not”



Japan’s best wrestlers

are regularly bettered

by Russians, Mongolians

and Ukrainians

meanwhile, comprises lighter fare such as fried mackerel,

noodles and salad. And because sumo is a 365-day sport without

competitive seasons, the diet of a professional wrestler remains

the same all year round.

All of this feeds into the typical Western image of the sumo

as an obese but muscular athlete. Many sumo – especially

the Ukrainian competitors – come from a more traditional

wrestling background, but packing on as much mass as possible

is essential for the heavyweight stars of the show, not just to

add to the spectacle but to make themselves an immovable

weight. The heavier you are, the harder it is for your opponent

to shift you from the ring.

Training with opponents who weigh in excess of 160kg makes

match preparation easier, too: try to stop one of them and your

legs will quickly develop the strength necessary to withstand

their onslaught in the ring. Sumo can grow so large that a

1994 study by sports scientists from four Tokyo universities –

conducted to determine the upper limit of fat-free body mass

in humans – found that the average competitor’s body is 26.1

per cent fat, as opposed to a bodybuilder’s 10.9 per cent.

But to be classified as a professional sumo involves more

than just a big appetite; it requires dedicating oneself to a sumo

stable in Japan and training day-in day-out to compete at the

highest level. Anything outside of that is considered ‘amateur’.

While Amitani was only ever a collegiate sumo wrestler in Japan,

both Sumi and Ulambayar competed as professionals. Now,

all three live in California and, as such, are arguably the face

of the sport outside Japan. With sumo now recognised as an

Olympic sport (though still not on the programme for Tokyo

2020), their services are more in demand than ever.

When he isn’t competing, Amitani teaches in a nearby dohyō

(ring) and regularly performs for television, expositions and

conferences, as does Sumi. Ulambayar, meanwhile, came to the

US in 2007 to appear in the film Ocean’s 13, and he hasn’t looked

back. But the US Sumo Open is not just another expo for these

wrestlers – as well as being the most prestigious competition

outside professional sumo, it’s also a way to keep their hand

in alongside foreign competitors. Ulambayar has taken the top

spot in the heavyweight class 10 times since 2007, while Sumi

won 234 matches during his professional career in Japan.

“Sumo is very simple,” Amitani translates for Sumi. “There

are many people who respect what sumo is, so I don’t mind

if non-Japanese people compete. Sumo is still a minor sport,

and I want it to be more popular. I was a professional for many

years in Japan, but I wanted to show my techniques to more

people. That is why I came to America.”

Our resident Mongolian, Ulambayar, is a man of few words

but deep insights. “I love my sport,” he says. “In America, it’s a

growing sport. The competitors are getting stronger and learning

a lot. I think they respect the culture. It’s difficult to fight the guys

who haven’t been professional. With a professional, you know

their moves. Others come from different sports, like judo, so we

don’t know how they will move.” He shrugs. “But I’ll handle it.”

Brawn in the USA

While the former pros are feeling strong, there are a whole host

of American-born sumo eager to make their names known.

Lightweight Andrew McKnight is a wiry, kinetic Californian

native. “I’ve always wrestled, and sumo was just something to

do,” he says. “I think a lot of guys hope to be a professional boxer

Left: Andrew McKnight prepares his sumo

belt – mawashi – for his first tournament.

The length varies from five to six metres

for amateurs, up to 10m for top professionals.

Opposite page, clockwise from top left:

Takeshi Amitani (JAP), Owen Albers (USA),

Jose Galindo (USA), Sviatoslav Semykras (UKR)



Sumi in repose. At 220kg,

he’s one of the heaviest

sumo in this competition



“Sumo is the hardest

sport in the world.

It’s just brutal”

US hopeful Jose

Galindo takes a

tumble in the men’s

heavyweight final

or MMA fighter, but once you accept that isn’t going to happen,

this is a good step down.”

Feeling inspired a year ago, McKnight built a ring in his

backyard and has been practising with his roommates ever since.

This will be his first competition. “I love the traditional side,” he

adds. “In my mind, sumo is like American professional wrestling,

in that it’s a theatre show. It’s nice to see something where the

old ways are respected, even if they no longer make much sense.”

Heavyweight Jose Galindo, meanwhile, got into sumo after

watching Ulambayar body-slam an opponent on YouTube.

Born and raised in Utah and Los Angeles, Galindo used to play

semi-professional football. He’s now a chiropractor by trade

and appears for his weigh-in covered in red cupping bruises.

Like McKnight, this will be his first tournament. “I started

participating a month and a half ago,” he says. Now, having

filled in the entry form and paid the $30 fee, here he is. “It’s

been a baptism of fire,” Galindo admits.

Not every American competitor will be making their debut,

however. Heavyweight Kelly Gneiting is a legend in the sport

and has claimed the US national championship five times.

Gneiting, who weighs in at 197kg, originally got into the sport

after becoming too heavy to compete in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Now 48 and sporting a grey beard, he’s also the only competitor

here to have competed in the very first US Sumo Open in 2001.

The highest truths are hidden from people,” he says,

philosophically. “One is that sumo is the hardest sport in the

world. It’s just brutal.” He recounts a story of how, during his

time in Tokyo in 2004, he was beating a champion when the

president of the sumo team gave his opponent a signal, which

led to Gneiting taking a palm to the eye. “You don’t do that in

sumo,” he says. “It felt like the kitchen sink had fallen on my

head. Things they wouldn’t stand for in the US or the UK, over

in Japan it’s normal.” He claims that the Japanese team didn’t

like a foreigner muscling in on their sport – an attitude that

Gneiting says was once widespread in professional sumo.

Over the years, though, he believes the Japanese have learned

to “release their baby”.

Andrew Freund is the founder and organiser of the US Sumo

Open and has the frantic energy of the sleep-deprived. Having

spent time in Japan in the early ’90s, Freund began putting on

sumo events in California as a hobby, before organising the

first US Open in 2001. The mix of competitors, he says, has

traditionally been 50 per cent American, 50 per cent foreign.

And 90 per cent of the time it’s the foreign competitors who end

up on the podium. “The US is a little behind the curve in terms

of international amateur sumo,” he shrugs.

Freund explains that the dichotomy between Japanese and

non-Japanese sumo is not really the focus of division in the

sport; the largest contrast is between professional and amateur

sumo. “Professional sumo in Japan is its own entity entirely,” he

says. “When you join pro sumo, you don’t have a vocation, you

don’t have a holiday, you don’t have your own place. You wanna

go somewhere for a day? You have to check with your coaches.

Most of these guys are training 365 days of the year. It’s not like


“Sumo is very simple…

People in Japan don’t

mind when Japanese

sumo don’t win”

[American] football where you have a season of three [or four]

months, then a down season with free time.”

Ulambayar, he explains, was a professional sumo for five

years. During this time, he got to see his family only once. “Once

you’re pro, you can’t do anything else. And once you retire, you

can’t go back.” But not everyone who practices sumo in Japan

does so within the rigid confines of its heritage – far from it.

“Tens of thousands of people practise sumo in Japan,” Freund

says, “but there are only 600 to 700 ‘pros’.”

The others practise sumo like you might play football. There

are elementary-school teams, company teams, regional teams,

salary men competing after-hours. You might see the Nissan

team squaring up against the Toyota team, for example. “It’s

not about sumo inside and outside Japan,” Freund says. “It’s

about pro and amateur standards in Japan and worldwide.”

In terms of the Japanese response to non-Japanese

competing, Freund admits reactions are mixed: “On the one

hand, there are some purists who say we’re diluting and

corrupting the sport, that these guys don’t know the concepts

of honour and Japanese tradition.” Despite this, there is an

official moratorium on foreigners joining professional sumo

stables, with just one allowed per team. “There are 700 pro

sumo on 35 teams, which means no more than five per cent

of them can be foreigners,” Freund says. “That’s pretty damn

strict. If you lifted that ban, you’d have 7,000 Mongolians

pouring into pro sumo tomorrow.”

Others, meanwhile, think the influx of fresh blood into

the sport encourages Japanese sumo to train even harder.

And Freund believes that the Japanese unreservedly support

foreign participation outside the country. “It’s the Japanese

national sport, foreigners are learning it, and [the Japanese]

take pride in that. Foreigners are learning Japanese culture

and techniques. It’s an inevitable thing once a sport becomes

popularised – people will want to do it.”

Amitani dispatches

an opponent in the men’s

middleweight rounds



America’s Kelly

Gneiting (left)

grapples with

a fellow contender

during the early

rounds in the

men’s heavyweight


Lords of the ring

It’s competition day. The 4,000-strong audience is hunkered

down with bento boxes and cans of Sapporo as ritual taiko

drummers perform. These Japanese accoutrements aside, this

could be the crowd for any traditional American sport: eclectic

and not shy of verbalising their enthusiasm.

By the dohyō, a Japanese referee in a white shirt, bow tie

and gloves calmly officiates. Matches frequently last as little as

10 seconds before being won by the first wrestler to either knock

down their opponent or force them out of the circle. There are

82 recognised techniques for doing this, most of which involve

pushing or throwing. Slapping, leg-sweeping, and pulling of

the belt (mawashi) are allowed; punching, kicking, and pulling

of the hair are not.

Beneath the bleachers, the sumo await their matches. Some

sit wrapped in towels, others chat among themselves. The

Ukrainians – an unusually muscular group – are sequestered

in a corner, warming up. Some competitors alternate between

practising moves and napping. McKnight has taken himself off

to perform some Jedi-esque stretches. Ulambayar waits calmly

in his purple gown, eating. The Norwegian team – all blond hair

and matching tracksuits – have set up their national flag in

a corner, like some makeshift Arctic base camp.

The men’s lightweight matches are over in a flash, with

McKnight and the 12 other US competitors quickly ejected from

the dohyō and the tournament. At the climax, Ukrainian

Sviatoslav Semykras launches himself at his opponent’s chest

and, with a half somersault, sends him flying into the crowd

before landing neatly on his feet to claim gold. Not for nothing

are the Ukrainians revered in this sport.

The men’s middleweight competition offers few surprises.

Amitani is the clear master of his class. While others grapple

and shove, the Japanese wrestler deftly sidesteps, tussles and

pushes, using his opponent’s weight against him to claim the

top spot, his second win in three years.

It’s the men’s heavyweight competition that most spectators

have been waiting for. Next up is Ulambayar, squaring up against

the Egyptian Ramy Elgazar, US Sumo Open champion in 2015.

A sumo match begins when the two opponents rest both fists on

the floor of the dohyō, and Ulambayar and Elgazar revel in the

element of theatre by placing just one hand down, then standing

up, stretching or walking around the ring when the other’s

knuckles hit the floor. When they finally clash, the Egyptian

knocks the Mongolian down and out. It’s only Ulambayar’s

seventh loss in more than a decade of US sumo matches.

Newcomer Galindo’s tournament looks set to come to an

abrupt halt as he squares up against Gneiting, but then, all

of a sudden, the veteran is out of the ring and Galindo stands

victorious. It’s an incredible result for someone who admits to

having trained for only a few months.

Galindo’s next opponent is Sumi. They grapple for a while,

then Sumi goes down. The referee, believing the American’s foot

left the ring first, awards the match to the Japanese wrestler. The

crowd boo. A replay is checked, the panel of officials consulted.

The result is reversed and Galindo wins, beating his second world

champion in two matches. As Sumi sits serenely, the victor gees

up the crowd with his arms. “I’ve been to Super Bowls, NBA finals,

and this is more fun than all of them!” says an audience member.

Eventually, with every favourite eliminated, Galindo faces

off against Oleksandr Veresiuk in the final, but succumbs to the

onslaught of the Ukrainian. Resigned to second place, a beaming

Galindo shakes his opponent’s hand. “I feel good,” he enthuses

afterwards. “Going up against Hiroki was amazing. I didn’t think

I’d beat him – I was just hoping to tire him out.” His confidence

newly bolstered, Galindo wants to continue to compete in sumo.

If today’s performance is anything to go by, he could well be

America’s best sumo athlete since Gneiting.

As the day’s competitions come to an end, the Ukrainians

have emerged victorious in every category – both men’s and

women’s – except men’s middleweight, which Amitani claimed

for his home country, the originators of the sport. Results such

as these are becoming commonplace, but Amitani appears to bear

no ill will towards the foreign usurpers, believing instead that

the increase in popularity is good for sumo. “I think it’s great,”

he says. “Sumo is very simple, and many people can enjoy doing

it. People in Japan don’t mind when Japanese sumo don’t win.”

Perhaps, then, the influx of foreign talent into the sport

does not represent a dilution of sumo’s traditions, but rather

a widening of its parameters – and people’s perceptions –

making for a more inclusive sport. “In America, they see sumo

as two fat guys belly-bucking, and they think it’s funny,”

Gneiting says in parting. “But sumo is a legitimate martial art,

and nothing could be further from the truth.”


Howell wears a

Phoenix-Fly Rafale

wingsuit – a relatively

large model that’s

ideal for high gliding

and short starts

On a wing

and a


How far will an elite BASE

jumper go for the chance

to break boundaries in

their sport? For Tim Howell

in Vietnam, the answer

was three days‘ travel for

just 40 seconds of flight




Wingsuit BASE jumping

Tim Howell isn’t

answering our shouts.

All that photographer

James Carnegie and

I can hear are echoes

bouncing off the crags

and gorges below us.

Howell’s rope, tied to

a hollow rock, snakes

into thick jungle at a

near-vertical gradient.

Somewhere down there is a 300m sheer

limestone face, and he’s looking for it. As

concern sets in, a sudden string of elated

expletives tells us he’s OK. Even better,

he thinks he’s found an exit point.

Howell first saw Vách đá Trăng in

Vietnam in 2017. The 30-year-old British

mountaineer and BASE jumper had been

scouting possible wingsuit routes in lesserknown

locations when a spectacular white

cliff popped up on his Instagram. He was

intrigued. Checking out the BASE jump

forums, he realised no one had ever done

a wingsuit descent in Vietnam before.

Six months later, he and his fiancée,

fellow BASE jumper Ewa Kalisiewicz,

were on their way to Hà Giang, Vietnam’s

northernmost province. Halfway up the

1,364m peak, in driving rain, they were

forced to turn back. With no prospect of

a let-up in the weather, and commitments

back in Europe, the couple reluctantly

headed home. This March, 15 months

later, Howell decided to try again.

We’ve spent three days just getting

here: London to Hanoi, then an overnight

train to Lào Cai province on the northwest

border with China; three of us in a fourberth

sleeper with a young Vietnamese

guy, his face lit by raucous game shows

he watches on his phone all night. This is

followed by a six-hour minivan ride east

along the border to Hà Giang, crossing

high plateaus on dirt roads, and finally

seven hours to Ðông Văn in a bus that

doubles as a postal service for everything

from sacks of rice to four bemused-looking

ducks riding on the roof. When you put

Above: the overnighter to Lào Cai. Below: locals wear masks against pollution

in 72 hours of travel for a 40-second

flight, the destination had better deliver.

Howell scrambles back up to us. There’s

no time to jump today: it’s almost 5pm

and he’ll need a machete to clear the exit,

sort out his gear and prepare himself

for the point of no return, 100 per cent

committed, leaning into the void. It’s a

moment he loves, but it’s not to be rushed.

Still, there’s disappointment. That

morning, the three of us had scoped

out the landing area, clambering down

and then back up a steep muddy track

bisecting steep terraces planted with

corn and cassava, passing huddled

houses of mud and thatch, down to

the banks of the Nho Qué River. After

a pot of bitter green tea and a grilled

sausage from a makeshift market at

a nearby lookout point, we’d headed

up in search of the exit.


Howell loves to open

new routes. It’s an

explorer’s mentality

The Vietnamese flag flaps in a chill wind blowing

up through the gorges of the Mã Pí Lèng Pass.

This viewpoint was the team’s base of operations

Wingsuit BASE jumping

Top: Bushwhacking to the top of

Vách dá Trang in search of an

exit point. Bottom: Howell uses a

machete to clear undergrowth –

a botched exit can prove deadly


“I’ve walked

away from an exit

if I didn’t like

the conditions”

Howell, 30, is a former Royal Marine

Commando who has climbed the north

face of the Eiger; Carnegie is an ultrarunner

used to 100km jaunts. Both set a relentless

pace, despite carrying heavy packs.

People don’t climb Vách đá Trăng. Its

flanks – save for the limestone face – are

covered in thick jungle that overhangs

the cliff edge. We trek to the point where

Howell and Kalisiewicz turned back last

time – literally the end of the track. “From

here, we’re bushwhacking,” Howell says

with relish. “We should head for that

seam of rock.” He points to a faintly

visible break in the vegetation.

Without a machete, it’s tough-going.

We scramble through dense foliage and

over crags, loose shaley rock giving way

beneath our hands as vines ensnare us.

We veer left to avoid blundering over the

edge. Within half an hour, we’re covered

in cuts, our trousers torn to shreds. Doubt

creeps in – does Howell know what he’s

doing? By the time he finds the exit, any

preconceptions about wingsuit pilots as

devil-may-care, instant-thrill seekers are

gone. This is methodical madness.

“I’ve already put 10 days’ work into

this one jump,” Howell says that evening

at a backpacker café in Ðông Văn – our

base of operations. “A lot of people are

content to do what they know – you can

head to Lauterbrunnen [in Switzerland],

ride up in a gondola and do five jumps

a day. It’s a lot harder to open up a jump

[create a leap never attempted before].”

For Howell, BASE jumping is freedom.

There’s no one saying you shouldn’t be

doing that because you don’t have the

right sticker in your log book,” he says,

taking a swig of whisky. His approach is as

much about exploration and finely tuned

preparation as it is about leaping off

precipices. Mountaineering, skiing and

rock-climbing are part of the story. There

isn’t much of the adrenalin junkie about

him – but then, in a sport that requires so

much skill and composure, such headlinegrabbing

tags are often off the mark.

Adventure is a crowded market. As our

appetite for content becomes ever more

voracious, and once-remote places turn

into the next selfie opportunity, the

extreme tends to get amplified. But while

Howell – by necessity – inhabits the world

of sponsorship and social media, his

projects have an old-world appeal. As he

puts it, he’s more inclined to ice-climb

to a BASE jump exit in the Alps than to

double back-flip off a 50m crane. And

he loves attempting new projects,

opening undiscovered routes, being the

first. It’s an explorer’s mentality.

“My dad was a paratrooper; I grew up

seeing pictures of him parachuting in Kenya

in the ’70s and ice-climbing Mont Blanc,”

Howell says. His mother, meanwhile, was

a flight attendant. “She took me on longhaul

flights when I was a toddler, stashing

me in the crew quarters,” he laughs.

At school, he was restless and struggled

to concentrate, traits he thinks are par for

the course with adventurous types: “We’ve

all got stories of not wanting to conform

as kids, not liking to be told what to do.”

So why spend eight years in the Royal

Marines? It provided the chance to travel,

he says, and to develop mental aptitude

in demanding situations, including a stint

in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province,

training Afghan forces to fight insurgents.

Howell uses laser range-finding binoculars and

his smartphone to calculate the trigonometry

of his flight path. He needs to be sure that his

trajectory will clear power lines located further

down the mountain

The next morning, a thick pall of grey mist

hangs low as we emerge from our hotel.

It doesn’t look good for Howell’s flight

today, and the forecast is for cloud all

week. By contrast, the streets are awash

with colour. It’s market day, and

everywhere there are traders representing

the various ethnic groups that populate

the mountains: Hmong, Dao, Nung, Tay.

The tribes wear homespun outfits: hemp

stained with batik motifs, the men in

berets – a legacy of six decades of French

rule. There’s a Hmong village right under

Howell’s flight path, and I wonder what

they’ll think when he whizzes over their

heads. We buy a machete, gear up and

head out on our rented mopeds.

While the other two bushwhack up to

the exit, I head towards a skywalk right

beneath the face to try to capture the

launch from below. But the cloud isn’t

lifting. We chat via walkie-talkie – they’ve

found the exit, an outcrop no more than

a foot wide. Howell clears away brush,

unphased by the gut-wrenching drop on

all sides; when not adventuring, he works

as a rope access technician, dangling

precariously from skyscrapers and bridges.

But there’s zero visibility. All day,

fog drifts across the mountain, lifting

tantalisingly only to descend moments

later. Howell can’t fly blind: it’s an

unknown route with power lines below.

At 5pm, we call it and they head down.

Howell has logged more than 600 BASE

jumps, half of them wingsuit flights.

Around his 300th, he had an accident. He

was with a group at Beachy Head in East

Sussex when he attempted a barrel roll,

a move he wasn’t that familiar with. His

chute got tangled and he hit the cliff twice,

almost fatally snagging the canopy on

a rock. He hit the ground hard and was

lucky to escape serious injury.

“I learnt an important lesson that day

about getting caught up in the group

mentality and being complacent. Since

then, there have been loads of times when

I’ve walked away from an exit if I didn’t like

the conditions, even though others have

been jumping all day without a problem.”

Though a more experienced skydiver

and wingsuit pilot, Kalisiewicz isn’t

unscathed either. At Christmas 2017,

Howell proposed to her on South Africa’s

Table Mountain before a wingsuit BASE

jump. In wingsuit flying, speed is crucial

for lift; pilots can achieve glide ratios

(forward vs downward movement) of 3:1.

But slow down too much and you can


Having spent a full day at the exit

point waiting for the fog to lift,

Howell launches himself from Vách

dá Trang, dropping vertically down

the 300m cliff face before picking up

enough speed for forward momentum


Wingsuit BASE jumping

Minutes pass.

“Three… two…

one… see ya.”

And he’s gone

stall. “If you go into a proximity line [flying

close to the floor or walls] without enough

speed, you can’t get out of it,” Howell says.

The couple lost performance because

they were trying to fly together. They

opened their chutes earlier than planned

and, instead of landing on a rugby pitch,

hit uneven turf studded with tree stumps.

“I landed first and then I saw Ewa tumble.

She’d hit a stump that was sheared to a

point like a shark’s fin. It scalped her shin

to the bone.” His military training kicked

in. Keeping his injured partner calm,

Howell carried her and all the gear to

their car before heading to hospital.

Last year was a bad one for BASE, with

32 recorded deaths. One was a friend of

Kalisiewicz. Others were guys Howell had

jumped with. Though deaths are recorded

in some detail, BASE jumps are not, so it’s

impossible to get an accurate fatality rate.

What’s certain is that it increased with

the advent of wingsuit BASE jumping. It’s

arguably the most dangerous sport there

is. Howell is matter of fact about it; he’s

confident in his personal margin for error.

The next morning, he sits despondent

at the viewpoint. Vách đá Trăng’s entire

face is shrouded in mist, impervious to

advances. Time is running out and Howell

begins discussing other options. He scouts

a nearby peak for a possible BASE jump

exit into the gorge below, but the face isn’t

sheer enough. As he slogs back to the road,

Vách đá Trăng hoves into view again. He

whoops abruptly. The fog has lifted and

the summit is visible. He’s got a window.

Howell stands on a lone jut of rock, his

rope held loosely in one hand, a void in

front of him. His suit and BASE rig, about

the size of a child’s backpack, seem

absurdly flimsy, but his face is as fixed as

the mountains. “Call my dad if anything

goes wrong.” Then he’s quiet. Minutes

pass. “Three… two… one… See ya.” And

he’s gone. There’s a flapping sound as his

pockets fill with air, then silence… until

he reappears, skimming the shoulder of

an adjacent peak. Thirty seconds later, his

canopy flares and opens above the river.

Roars of triumph rebound off the ravine.

We meet Howell again as he clambers

back up to the road. He’s with an elderly

Hmong couple who are laughing with

delight, making flying gestures. Aside

from us, they, their neighbours and some

farmyard animals are the only ones who

witnessed this monumental event.

Finally, when Vách đá Trăng retreats

for good behind its veil of cloud, meaning

no more Promethean flights of fancy, we

pack up and prepare for the long trip home.















Terms and Conditions apply.


Your guide to gear born with purpose, engineered

to achieve, and built with style



The 6,000-fathom

diving watch

Omega’s Seamaster Planet

Ocean Ultra Deep Professional

When explorer Victor Vescovo

descended into the deepest point

of the Earth’s oceans in April this

year, he needed a watch that could

withstand depths of 11,000m and

pressures more than 1,000 times

greater than at the ocean’s surface.

Who better to build this timepiece

than the makers of the first watch

to land on the Moon…



Victor Vescovo knows a

thing or two about daring

exploits. The 53-year-old

Texan is an former naval

officer, aviator and submarine

test pilot. He’s completed the

Explorers’ Grand Slam – scaling

the highest peaks on all seven

continents, and skiing to both

Poles – and in April this year he

descended to the deepest seabed

on Earth: the Challenger Deep

in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana

Trench. And he did it four times.

At 10,994m below sea level,

the floor of the Challenger Deep

is more than 2km deeper than

Everest is tall, with an atmospheric

pressure more than 1,000 times

greater than at the surface. “It’s

an incredibly hostile place,” says

Vescovo. “No submarine had ever

gone to the bottom more than

once. I wondered what it’d take

to construct a submersible that

could do it repeatedly and reliably.”

The answer is around $35million

(£28m) – the cost of his two-seater

submersible, DSV Limiting Factor.

Vescovo self-funded its

construction for his Five Deeps

Expedition, a mission to reach

the deepest points of each of

the five oceans. “I wasn’t even

considering sponsorships.

I wanted total control,” says the

multimillionaire, who’s also a

successful Wall Street trader. But

when Swiss watchmaker Omega

saw that he was wearing one of its

Ocean Seamaster watches on his

first dive into the Puerto Rican

Trench in the Atlantic, it wanted

in. The company’s plan: to build

a watch to withstand the same

external pressures as Limiting

Factor. To do so, it used offcuts of

the vessel’s Grade 5 titanium hull.

Three watches were sent

down to the Challenger Deep with

Vescovo: two strapped to the

robot arms of Limiting Factor and

another attached to one of his

three detachable landers. As he

reached the record-breaking

depth of 10,928m, Vescovo gazed

upon terrain never before seen

by human eyes. “People think

the bottom of the trenches are

barren moonscapes, but within

10 minutes I saw a transparent

holothurian – a sea cucumber

– undulating gently on the sea

floor; 16,000 pounds per square

inch of pressure, just above

freezing, and here was life.”

Twelve hours after Vescovo

began his descent, Limiting Factor

broke the surface, its hull intact

and ready for three more dives

the following week. “I would die in

that submersible if it had not been

built perfectly – pressure will find

a weak point,” he says. “It’s the

same for the watches.” All three

survived their mission in pristine

condition (see opposite).

For once, Vescovo was happy

to accept sponsorship. “Omega is

keeping two of the watches,” he

says, smiling. “I’m keeping one.”




Building the

ultimate diver‘s


Omega’s Ultra Deep:

an innovative design

that borrows from the

durability of a ship’s hull

and the biology of one

of the ocean’s most

graceful creatures

Sea level





Blue whale


RMS Titanic

(final resting

place) 3,800m

Omega has a long history of

building precision diver’s watches,

starting in 1932 with the world’s

first ever, the Omega Marine,

which used a leather disc as a

hermetic seal and was dropped

73m to the bed of Lake Geneva.

Today’s regular Seamaster Planet

Ocean watches are capable of

withstanding depths of up to

600m, but at 100m deeper than

even a blue whale can endure,

only a diver wearing a US Navy

atmospheric ‘hardsuit’ would

push that limit. However, to build

a watch capable of withstanding

a staggering 11,000m, Omega

had to throw out everything that

had gone before, and create a

new concept inspired by none

other than Vescovo’s own vessel.

The connection between the

crystal glass and the case is

copied from Limiting Factor’s

viewport, which uses a conical

design to spread and minimise

the stress on its surface. The

case is cut from a block of the

Grade 5 titanium used to make

the ship’s hull, and the strap lugs

– an area of potential weakness

on any watch – are modelled on

the cephalic lobes of a manta ray,

creating an open design that can

endure huge degrees of traction.

Incredibly, the watch is only

28mm thick – perfectly wearable

on a human wrist. The wrist the

watch was designed for, however,

is a robotic one, so the strap is

made from tough polyamide with

Velcro fastenings, similar to

those on the Apollo astronauts’

space suits.

To comply with diver’s watch

standards, a safety margin of 25

per cent had to be added to the

Ultra Deep’s depth capabilities,

so at Triton Submarine’s HQ in

Barcelona it was tested to – and

withstood – depths of 15,000m.

When Vescovo emerged from

his first Challenger Deep dive, he

discovered one of the detachable

landers – the one with the watch

attached – had failed to return

to the vessel; it was still on the

bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Vescovo had to decide whether

to leave the watch and the lander

in the abyss for ever. He chose

to rescue it.

Almost three days passed

before conditions were suitable

for a second dive. When the Ultra

Deep was finally retrieved and

checked on the surface, it was

working perfectly, having lost

only a second of accuracy, making

it eligible for Master Chronometer

certification – the highest

standard any mechanical watch

can achieve at any pressure.



Clockwise from top

left: Vescovo; his

submersible, DSV

Limiting Factor,

during an earlier Five

Deeps dive in the

Southern Ocean; the

Omega Seamaster

Planet Ocean Ultra

Deep Professional; a

maquette of the watch

on the robot arm





Ceramic rim





rotating bezel


crystal glass

Grade 5

titanium case,

with gripped







‘Manta ray’ lugs




Half bike, half beast

Identiti AKA

For more than two decades, UK-based bike-maker Identiti has been concocting fiendish

rides with names such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (that’s two bikes, not one with a split

personality). The outwardly respectable AKA really does hide an inner monster; its frame

employs long, low, slack, progressive geometry and a suspension-free ‘hard-tailed’ rear.

Head into the woods at night and howl it under the moon.


World‘s greatest

Game Boy

Nintendo Switch Lite

Japanese gaming giants Nintendo

returned to glory in 2017 with their

ingenious Switch console and its

blistering games library (mostly

ported from the less successful Wii

U). This lighter, cheaper version

loses the TV output and detachable

controllers (and thus the motion

controls and two-player option),

but is still the best on-the-go games

machine around.


Superstar sound

Kygo A4/300

If the 660-million-plus YouTube

views of the video for his single

Firestone are any indication,

Norwegian DJ and music producer

Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll has a knack

for making tunes. He’s equally adept

at producing headphones, as these

wireless cans demonstrate: clear,

bass-leaning audio; minimalistic

Scandinavian design; and a battery

that lasts 16 hours.






These boots were

made for ripping

Vans Surf Boot Hi

Founded in 1966 by the Van Doren brothers

and best known for its timeless skate shoes,

Californian company Vans has now turned its

talents to a different kind of boarding. This coldwater

boot is made from liquid-rubber-dipped

neoprene that insulates while maintaining board

feel beneath your tootsies. Riffing on Vans’

‘waffle’ sole, the super-sticky underside has

grippy crosshatching, meaning you can forgo

nipple-chafing surfwax and protect your pinkies

from sharp seabed rocks and razor reefs. And the

boot features the brand’s signature chequerboard

motif and skate logo. Because, after all, surfing

is just skating the sea.



From top:


swim shorts

VOLCOM V Dye Stoney


300 SPECIES Gelato

Geometrico Bondistyle



Thunderball 007

Exclusive Edition

Bulldog shorts




From top:

VOLCOM Simply Solid

one-piece swimsuit

BODY GLOVE Bombshell

Holly one-piece swimsuit

PROTEST Peppercorn

surf bikini

TIDE + SEEK Aqua Marble

one-piece swimsuit


I know what

you wore

last summer

Probably something a bit like you

see here, considering the Met Office

declared summer 2018 the UK’s joint

hottest on record (tied with 2006,

2003 and 1976). Don’t get caught

unprepared this time around – go for

this scorchio-ready swimwear.




Where’s your

head at?

MET Parachute MCR

The human cranium is a masterful but fragile piece of organic engineering. This bike helmet

is just as ingeniously crafted, but tougher. The chinbar is magnetically attached – twist the

releases and it pops off, turning a full-face enduro and downhill helmet into an open-face for

better ventilation on long rides. Not that it’s lacking airflow, with 21 vents front and rear.

Inside is a Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) that reduces deadly rotational

forces during impact, and a Boa Fit System with dials to snugly lock the headgear in place.

The adjustable visor fits goggles underneath and is flexible for added shock absorption.

Designed by brainiacs to protect your brains.




Augment your eyes

Focals by North smartglasses


We’ve long been promised spectacles with a

digital display, but early efforts have proven

less practical than pulling out your phone

– and they lack the style of regular specs.

These frames are smart in every sense and

deliver messages, notifications and map

directions to the holographic lenses via your

phone’s Bluetooth. Control comes from a

button-and-joystick ring worn on the finger,

or by asking Alexa. But take note: getting a

pair involves a bespoke sizing at one of North’s

two showrooms (Brooklyn or Toronto), then

a final fitting eight weeks later.








The credit card


The titanium Apple Card

The credit card is so embedded

in our psyche, we barely question

its design, but that’s what Apple

did for the physical counterpart

to its new digital payment service.

Ditching the forge-able signature

and CVV on the rear, and numbers

on the front, it features only what’s

needed for swipe or contactless

payment – chip, magnetic strip,

owner’s name – and withdrawals

at an ATM. Not currently available

outside the US, the card is meant

only as a flashy substitute for the

app. Cut from a single piece of

titanium, it is nonetheless a thing

of beauty.




1. Apple logo

2. Symmetrical

‘six-pill’ chip

3. With no card

number, each

payment generates

a one-off

virtual number


4. Card issuer’s


5. Magnetic strip

6. Titanium is

tougher, more flexible

and 40 per cent

lighter than plastic


7. A CNC (Computer

Numerical Control)

cutting tool carves

out space for the chip

8. Apple’s logo is laseretched

twice to create

a V-shaped groove

that reflects light





The next issue is out on Tuesday 13th August with London Evening Standard.

Also available across the UK at airports, gyms, hotels, universities and selected retail stores.




Get it. Do it. See it.


If fitness gains are your

goal, says farm gym

pioneer Tom Kemp, you

reap what you sow



How new AR spin-off

game Minecraft Earth

will change the way we

view our environment



Our pick of this

month’s essential

gigs, shows and

sporting events




There’s only one way to

get the perfect close-up

of Kenya’s cheetahs, lions

and other mighty beasts.

A photo-safari veteran

puts us in the picture…




Do it

The photographer and his crew get into position beneath an acacia tree for the next dream shot




Gazelles giving birth, an epic elephant parade, lions peeing

on you – on a photo safari, you can experience all this and

more. Wildlife snapper Graeme Purdy takes us there…

Ican barely breathe. A male lion

has just run past our car on

the opposite side to where I’m

standing, and only now is the

realisation starting to kick in. It’s

pitch black and we’re 75m from

camp on the edge of the Maasai

Mara, using the headlights to view

a pack of shrieking hyenas devour

a dead wildebeest… at least until

the lion arrives to spoil their feast.

When my shaking has subsided,

I lift my camera, but through the

bluster of the wind I hear the thud

of paws. Thrump… thrump…

There’s no roar or warning growl

Purdy has 16 years’ experience of safari photography in Kenya






Before you pack your camera, here are

a few things you should know about one

of Kenya’s largest game reserves…

Cheetah mothers and their cubs are welcome guests on Purdy’s excursions



Maasai Mara

The Maasai Mara covers around 1,510km 2 and forms

the northern quarter of the Serengeti ecosystem.

It is home to many endangered species, including

the African elephant, African lion and black rhino.

All vehicles are open-sided, so there’s nothing between the snappers and the animals


as another male thunders by –

down my side of the car this time.

He’s just 2m from me and I feel the

breeze as he runs past. “Don’t

worry,” I say to the person next to

me. “They’re only interested in the

kill, they’re not interested in you.”

In my 16 years of safari in

Kenya, I’ve learnt that for the most

part, the big cats – of which the

Maasai Mara has just about the

highest density on the planet –

aren’t a danger to humans. It’s

the buffalo (notoriously grumpy)

and elephants (unpredictable)

you need to be careful around.

But the whole point of being

here is to get up close and personal

with these animals. I’ve been a

professional wildlife photographer

Once, a lion walked

up and sprayed pee

over us. He showed

us who was boss

for decades, and in the past I’ve

taken guests on photo safaris.

Now, I’m opening them up to the

public, teaching people how to

take pictures of wild animals in

a high-energy environment.

I run two week-long trips in

November, at the start of the rainy

season. Not only does this provide

dramatic, stormy skies, but also

the animals are more active when



1 shilling = 100 cents

£1 = 128 shillings


Naona chui I see a leopard


tutafute tembo

Wapi mtoto

wa simba?

Let’s search

for elephants

Where’s the

baby lion?


1. The Maasai Mara is near the equator,

so it receives around 12 hours of daylight

2. It sits at an altitude of more than 1,500m

above sea level.

3. The first part of its name comes from its

inhabitants – the Maasai people – and Mara

means ‘spotted’ (as in ‘spotted land’) in

Maa, the Maasai language

4. Wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of

the area. Their numbers are in the millions



Do it





Purdy shares professional tips and

wisdom from his many years of shooting

wild animals in the Maasai Mara



1. “I use a Canon EOS

5DSR with a range of

lenses. My favourite is

a 300mm lens, because

the wide angle suits my

photographic style.”

2. “You can actually do

a pretty good job with

nothing more than an

iPhone camera. I use

Moment clip-on lenses

that transform the view

into wide-angle, telephoto

or anamorphic video.”

3. “Bring twice as many

memory cards as you

think you’ll need. I’ve never

met anyone who has gone

on a first-time safari and

brought too many memory

cards. On my first safari

I took 12,000 photos.

Now I know what to look

for, I take a lot less.”

Purdy says there are no pre-requisites for safari

participants: “Enthusiasm is all you need”



“A flock of 70 vultures can completely strip an animal

carcass in just 90 minutes. If the animal has died of

natural causes, the only way in for a vulture is

through the eye or the bum.”


There are more muscles in an elephant’s trunk than

in our entire body. But babies less than a few months

old can’t control their trunk, so it wobbles and shakes

when they run.


The hippo was once regarded as the most

dangerous animal in Africa, because people used

waterways for transport, but generally one won’t

attack you. Just don’t get in its way.”

Kenya’s glorious sunsets provide ample opportunities for that once-in-a-lifetime shot

it’s a bit cooler. Groups of guests

from all over the world make the

45-minute flight from Wilson

Airport in Nairobi to the Maasai

Mara, and we start shooting as

soon as they land.

Our camp has no fence around

it, so animals are free to come and

go as they please. You’re always

walked to and from the tent by a

guide, and there’s usually someone

lurking with a spear, just in case.

Each morning, we’re out in

the Land Rover 40 minutes before

sunrise. All the vehicles have been

customised for photography and

are completely open with the sides

and roof cut away. There’s nothing

between you and the animals, and

you never know how they’ll react.

Once, a male lion walked straight

up to the car and sprayed pee over

us. He showed us who was boss.

Just 10 minutes before the

sun comes up, a great wall of

20 elephants suddenly appears

through the fine morning mist.

All is completely still as they wade

silently through the grass like

something out of Jurassic Park.

The pre-dawn light makes for

an epic photo, but we have only

seconds to capture it. Things

change fast here, so you need

to react quickly.

About an hour before sunset, when

the light is best, we find a cheetah

hunting Thomson’s gazelles. It

doesn’t matter how many nature

documentaries you see, it’s just

unworldly to see a cheetah run

at full pace in real life. We’re all

rooting for her, right up until she

makes the kill. Everyone in the

car wells up. Nature isn’t Disney;

everyone is just trying to survive.

When we head over the hill,

metres from where the cheetah has

just cut the gazelle population, we

see that a new addition has been

born. The gazelles are grazing

with some impala, and this tiny

baby wobbles over to a huge male

and looks at him as if to say, “Are

you my mummy?” The impala

drops its head and nudges the

young gazelle so that it faces its

mother. It’s just priceless.

Immersing yourself in the

wilderness is almost spiritual. After

36 hours in the Mara, you won’t

know what day it is. I’m always

supercharged with optimism when

I awake, knowing so much will

have happened during the night,

and my eyes will be falling out of

my head with excitement about

what I might find.

To join Purdy on safari, go to purdy.





Do it


Tractor Tom: Kemp is convinced of the benefits of the farm workout. “Anyone willing

to burn up energy outdoors can give it that extra 10 per cent,” he says




Brought up on a farm, Briton Tom Kemp came up with

a barnstorming idea for a new workout regime

One’s origins and the recipe

for success rarely coincide

as they have for Tom Kemp.

The personal trainer was raised on

a 2.43km 2 farm in Stansted, Essex.

“My life played out almost entirely

in the open air. There was always

something going on,” he says.

Exercising at the gym didn’t

appeal to Kemp while growing up,

which is how he came to create

his own form of circuit training

on his parents’ farm – there was

plenty of heavy equipment, after

all. Much of the stuff in a farmyard

is ideally suited to Kemp’s hybrid

of strongman, bodybuilding,

calisthenics and cardio. He

launched Farm Fitness in 2016.

Within only a year, the concept was

being feted by fitness experts as one

of the world’s best gym workouts.

Professionals including Olympic

canoeing gold-medallist Joe

Clarke and rugby league champions

Wigan Warriors have trained

at Kemp’s farm, lifting sacks of

grain, pushing and pulling huge

tractor tyres from A to B, and

rattling long metal chains.

“You don’t need highly

complex equipment or intricate

training plans to be fit,” explains

Kemp, 26. Back to basics is his

motto; simple exercises to reap

maximum yield. But you must

slog until you can slog no more.

“You don’t need

a whole load of


equipment to

burn up a whole

load of energy”

Tom Kemp, founder

of Farm Fitness




Had enough of

sweating it out in

the weights room?

Fitness farmer Tom

Kemp tells us how you

can easily turn your

garden into a gym


Anything you can lay your

hands on will do, whether

it’s a sandbag, a six-pack

of water bottles or just

a heavily laden rucksack.

Be creative!


Raise the weight from the

floor to above your head

five times. Next, walk 25m

forwards and then back

to where you started

while carrying the weight

in your arms. Do this

30 times and then end

with 10 burpees.


Perform as many sets

as you can manage in

15 minutes, and also

squeeze in a 100m sprint

between sets.

Tyring work: Kemp leads daily bootcamp sessions at his farm




Do it





Minecraft may only look like a simple game with Lego-style graphics,

but it’s a powerful tool capable of creating a better reality







A biochemist, writer

and Professor

of Science


at the University of

Hull, Lorch has used

Minecraft in his

teaching to build

models of molecules.

He has consulted

with Microsoft to

create a permanent

mod that adds

chemistry to

the game.

It may seem surprising that

Minecraft is the world’s bestselling

game, but, having

shifted more than 176 million

copies, its pixelated graphics

and vague, roaming gameplay

– chopping trees, building

houses and hitting zombies –

clearly dig deep into the human

psyche. Now, the augmentedreality

smartphone version,

Minecraft Earth, has brought

that blocky world into our own.

In truth, it merged with our

reality long ago. The game’s

free-form building-block

mechanics have been used to

mine cryptocurrencies, and

in 2013 Google created a mod

called qCraft that introduced

quantum physics with “blocks

that exhibit superposition,

quantum entanglement and

observer dependency”. Its

potential is limitless, says

Minecraft expert Professor

Mark Lorch.


A great example of how

Minecraft is able to

democratise complex

projects is the Block

by Block Foundation

( This

UN-backed project holds

workshops for residents,

where they use Minecraftmodelled


streets to design their

own improvements –

from children lighting

their walk home, to locals

creating Kosovo’s first

skate park. “If you build

a very accessible 3D

Minecraft simulation,

Minecraft Earth lets players

collaborate on tasks using AR

people can dive in and

start to work together,”

says Lorch. “It removes

the technological and

knowledge barrier, and

all potential risks.”


Lorch has used the game

to create MolCraft –

a virtual museum of

biochemistry, housing

3D models of molecules.

“One of the great things

about Minecraft is that

it’s easily modded and a

good way of visualising 3D

structures,” he says. “It

can do things that other

Other people’s digital work on Minecraft Earth

can be seen through your smartphone screen

molecular visualisation

software can’t – you can

fly around the molecules.

I ran biochemistry

tutorials hosted within

a Minecraft server.”


You may think you’ve

made it in the game

when you build your

first elevator-equipped

pyramid, but such

projects pale beside

the British Geological

Society’s topographical

Minecraft map of Great

Britain. “They created all

of the strata beneath the

map, too,” says Lorch.

“You can go to any point

and burrow down through

the topsoil to see the

limestone or whatever

is there. This opens up

high-level survey data to

a whole group of people.”



“Microsoft has Project

Malmo, a platform for AI

experimentation that

bolts onto Minecraft,”

says Lorch. Building a

robot and sending it out

into the real world, only

for it to tumble into the

first pond it comes

across, is an expensive

way to train its brain.

Minecraft provides an

off-the-shelf, easily

customised simulation in

which to set an AI goals.

The AIs can observe what

you do and learn the rules

about how to do that

themselves – it’s close to

a real-world problem.”


Minecraft is a versatile

open-world sandbox, but

it can reach out of the

virtual. “Minecraft can

spit stuff back into the

real world,” says Lorch.

There are mods in

Minecraft that allow you

to save your constructs in

formats that 3D printers

can read. So you can

design in Minecraft and

then print it. There’s also

a CAD [Computer-Aided

Design] program that

talks to Minecraft so you

can design stuff and then

drop it into the game.”



Do it

7to 8 September

Wheels and Fins

Joss Bay in Kent offers some fine surfing.

The only thing that could make the vibe

any more enjoyable is wrapping a two-day

festival around the coastline and filling it

with live music stages, an international

film showcase, a skateboarding

championship, and paddleboarding and

yoga sessions at the beach. Possibly the

most chilled festival you’ll ever sunbathe,

swim, surf and skate at.

Broadstairs, Kent;


to 15 September


One of the toughest downhill MTB races just doubled down on its

roughneck reputation, running for two days in a row for the first

time in its six-year history. The brain-and-brawnchild of (possibly

sadistic) pro rider Dan Atheron, this woodland course in the

Welsh hills features gargantuan jumps, drops and a signature

16m road-gap leap. For last year’s event, eventually won by his

younger brother Gee (also a first), Dan dug out even longer leaps.

Find out what fiendish plans he’s formulated this time around.


Being Human

This permanent exhibition

explores what it means to be

a Homo sapiens living today.

Divided into four distinct themes

– genetics, minds and bodies,

infection, and environmental

breakdown – it features creations

from worldwide artists, alongside

a gene-splicing kit, and works

from wheelchair design activism

campaign The Accessible Icon

Project. Wellcome Collection,


Dinas Mawddwy, Gwynedd, Wales;

5 13 31

to 15 September

Africa Utopia

This festival celebrates the

amazing influence the culture

of this great continent has had

on every facet of society –

from music, art and fashion, to

sexuality, society and gender.

Live performances, exhibits,

workshops, speakers, black

cinema, a marketplace and even a

fashion show are among the fun,

powerful and thought-provoking

events filling this weekend.

Southbank Centre, London;


Jewel of

the Empire

Always fancied a trip on the

Orient Express, but could never

afford it? Here’s a close second:

an immersive experience aboard

a fictional train where a murder

may occur. What is certain to

happen is a four-course meal

created by 2018 MasterChef:

The Professionals champion

Laurence Henry. Catch the train

before it departs for good.

Pedley St Station, London;



August / September


August to 14 September


22 August

In Conversation

with Spice

The Jamaican dancehall star, aka Grace

Hamilton, earned her stripes in the early

noughties, but took off after featuring on

Vybz Kartel’s explicit single Romping Shop.

Last year, she joined VH1’s TV series Love &

Hip Hop: Atlanta and released her mixtape

Captured, which went top of the Billboard

Reggae Albums chart. In an interview with

BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Sian Anderson, she’ll

discuss reality TV, sexism in the music

industry, and how Grace Hamilton differs

from her bigger, bolder Spice persona.

Subterania, London

Caribbean queen:

dancehall star Spice

has plenty to say

28 August

Object Blue:

Figure Beside Me

The Tokyo-born, Beijing-raised, neo-

Londoner’s music sounds as if it was

made to be played at The Snake Pit, the

fictional nightclub in the sci-fi classic

Blade Runner. Her tunes are futuristic

and primal at the same time, containing

elements of techno, avant-garde and videogame

sound design. To transform her

experimental club music into a one-off,

360° live performance for the ears and

the eyes, Blue teams up with visual artist

Natalia Podgorska.

Saint James Hatcham Church, London

Visionary: Object Blue will bring her music to life

6 September

Coded Language

As the writer William S Burroughs famously

said, “Language is a virus from outer space,”

constantly spreading, morphing, and at

times uncontrollable. A prime example is

Multicultural London English (MLE), one of

its most vibrant forms, born from creativity

and migration, and influenced by the city.

Alongside live music and DJs, artists such

as grime icon Wretch 32, producer Steel

Banglez and poet Bridget Minamore debate

how language constitutes our identity.

The British Library, London

10 September

Normal Not Novelty:

Hyperdub 15 Take Over

Fifteen years ago, Steve Goodman, aka

Kode9, turned his music blog Hyperdub

into a record label. Instrumental in the

evolution of dubstep, the label gave the

music world one of its most celebrated

producers, Burial. Hyperdub has also

excelled as a home to innovative young

female artists. Here, label veteran Cooly G,

new signing Loraine James and rapper

Lady Lykez lead free workshops for femaleidentifying


Red Bull Studios, London

14 September

Aphex Twin

One of the most influential techno

musicians of the ’90s, Richard D James,

aka Aphex Twin, stepped back from the

spotlight in the early noughties, only to

return in 2014 with the album Syro. For his

first London show in two years, he performs

on a custom-built stage featuring lasers

and 306 LED panels with visuals from longterm

Aphex collaborators Weirdcore. The

only catch? The show sold out in minutes.

But it will be live-streamed on

Printworks, London

For more details on Red Bull Music

Festival London, go to



See it

August / September




For high-octane off-road

motor-racing In Wisconsin,

mountain-biking heroics

in the Appalachians and

championship rallying

through German vineyards,

make a date with Red Bull

TV this month…


September LIVE



Nestled in the woodlands of Wisconsin, Crandon

International Off-Road Raceway is the ‘holy grail’ of

motorsport venues. This purpose-built facility is the best

in the world and has long attracted large crowds to its

short-course off-road races. Experience all the excitement

of the fourth annual World Cup event on Red Bull TV.

American off-road ace

Bryce Menzies is a

veteran at Crandon




Red Bull TV is a global digital

entertainment destination

featuring programming that

is beyond the ordinary and is

available anytime, anywhere.

Go online at,

download the app, or

connect via your Smart TV.

To find out more,


6to 8 September LIVE



Snowshoe in the Appalachian Mountains of West

Virginia makes its MTB World Cup debut as the

2019 championship comes to a close. Find out who

makes the winners’ podium and who misses out.


to 25 August LIVE


Witness high-adrenalin action through the vineyards

of Germany’s Mosel region. As the first real tarmac

rally of the season, the Rallye Deutschland involves

major set-up changes for the cars. Can Ott Tänak

and Martin Järveoja make it three wins in a row?



Do it

Red Bull Soapbox

The four Red Bull Soapbox judges (including

Patrick Ladbury, pictured far right)






On July 7, some of the

craziest, coolest and (on

occasion) most well-crafted

motorless racers ever seen

hurtled down the Red Bull

Soapbox track at London’s

Alexandra Palace. Here, one

of the prestigious judges,

Patrick Ladbury of Great

Northern Rail, the official

travel partner of this year’s

race, lists his pick of the crop


“Having taken part in six Red Bull Soapbox races,

you’d think that this team would know the secret

to winning, but their rocket broke in two before it

had even left the start ramp. It was a launch-pad

disaster that nonetheless impressed all four

judges, even though the team didn’t finish.

‘Houston, they had a problem!’”


The winners! Apparently these guys make gas

masks for a living – hence the name – but I can’t

help wondering if they should quit and make

soapboxes full-time. They get extra points for

their zombie attack theme, too. As they neared

the finish, they must have smelt victory! Oh wait,

no, they couldn’t.”


“Drinking champagne from your racing boot –

it’s an Aussie thing according to Formula One

driver Daniel Ricciardo. Unfortunately, Team

Shuey didn’t get the pleasure of that victory

celebration, as they were pretty slow. Still, they

finished in one piece, so you could say it wasn’t

completely sole-destroying (sorry, I had to).”

Racers pass through

the Great Northern

Rail train track


“I certainly won’t be booking flights with this

airline any time soon. This was the best crash

of the day: a complete nose dive, a flip, and

complete and utter destruction of their aircraft.

But luckily there were no injuries, apart from

the pilots’ moustaches falling off. More Wrong

than Wright brothers.”


The youth of today probably didn’t get the

vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon reference, but

I remember watching Top Cat as a boy as I ate

my Weetabix in front of the TV on a Saturday

morning. I was impressed by this team’s speed,

and I have to give them full marks for driving

almost blind in those huge masks.”

Watch highlights from the race on Dave ( and from September 7 on Red Bull TV;





The Red

Bulletin is

published in seven

countries. This is the

cover of September’s

French edition,

featuring American

flat-track rider

Shayna Texter…

For more stories

beyond the ordinary,

go to:

The Red Bulletin UK.

ABC certified distribution

154,346 (Jan-Dec 2018)



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Deputy Editor-in-Chief

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Deputy Head of Photo

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Managing Editor

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Take small waves to the next level


he Puddle Jumper HP is a souped-up,

slimmed-down and refined surfboard.

Quick and playful, it’s easy to paddle and ride,

yet still allows for more quick, radical turns

than other models in the Puddle Jumper series.

Featuring a pulled-in nose with the wide point

brought back, and a narrower, pulled-in tail block,

it’s easy on the eye and sleek and refined under

the arm. Its smooth foiled lines are deceptive,

hiding its significant volume and built-in speed to

spare. Stand on the tail of this board and simply

go to town; up and down, round and round – in

small surf, it feels as if you have a motor. “If you’re

one of the thousands of surfers who have enjoyed

the Puddle Jumper series,” says surfboard shaper

Matt Biolos, “the Puddle Jumper HP allows you to

take your small-wave surfing to the next level.”

Find out more at


Action highlight

Blades of glory

Helicopters are 10-a-penny in the skies of NYC, but even the most stubborn of jaws

will have dropped at the sight of aerobatics pilot Aaron Fitzgerald’s practice flips,

barrel rolls and nose dives. But don’t try this in just any ’copter – the Red Bull chopper

has a hingeless rotor that’s made for the job. See the video at

The next

issue of


is out on

September 10









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