The Red Bulletin November 2019 (UK)



NOVEMBER 2019, £3.50





10 years of

bike trials

and triumphs



Freediving beneath Arctic ice floes



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Whoever said “Good things come to those

who wait” hasn’t met the stars of this month’s

The Red Bulletin. There’s trail-riding superstar

Danny MacAskill (page 56), who, a decade ago,

worked in an Edinburgh bike shop and dreamt

of making a huge gap jump onto the roof of the

store next door. Two years earlier, Anna von

Boetticher (page 30) tried diving without an air

tank. Today, she’s our cover star, freediving

beneath icebergs. Strongman Mike McCastle

(page 40) reprogrammed his own survival

mechanism to motivate himself to help others.

Japanese band DYGL (page 48) wanted to emulate

their western idols; in the process they’ve found

themselves at war with the hypocrisy of their

homeland’s music industry. Meanwhile, Michael

Kiwanuka (page 26) kickstarted his music career

by walking out on Kanye, and actor Linda

Hamilton (page 24) is battling Terminators and

Hollywood ageism at a youthful 63 years old.




The Pulitzer Prize-nominated

journalist has met many

surprising characters in her

career, but none quite like

strongman Mike McCastle.

“Before I sat down with Mike,

I had a picture in my mind that

turned out to be completely

wrong,” she says. “I don’t

think I’ve met someone so

different from what his list

of achievements would

suggest.” Page 40


For the Edinburgh-based

writer, interviewing

Danny MacAskill was an

achievement unlocked. “I’ve

been a follower since 2009,

watching him ride his bike

along railings in The Meadows

without impaling himself,” he

says. “Ten years later, it was a

few hundred yards from that

railing that we chatted. They

say don’t meet your heroes,

but if that hero is Danny,

you’re safe.” Page 56

For photographer Tobias Friedrich, shooting in Greenland’s

fjords wasn’t easy: “It was -2°C, so Anna [von Boetticher] only

had 15-20 minutes in such an extreme environment.” Page 30








The power of 10:

Danny MacAskill

talks us through

his decade of

spectacular trials

and YouTube hits


November 2019


08 Fantasy island: psychedelic

paragliding in Bali

10 Ahead of the curve: shadow

skating in Singapore

11 Photo finish: the climbers who

wouldn’t be beaten

12 Perpetual ocean: an encounter

with one of Hawaii’s fiercest waves

15 Can you dig it: Metronomy’s

Joseph Mount shares his four

favourite garden-themed tracks

16 Coffee break: the man who makes

surfboards from takeaway cups

18 Fly by night: check into Tokyo’s

flight-simulator hotel room

20 Balanced view: expert tips from

German slackliner Lukas Irmler

22 Bring the noise: the ‘museum’

conserving sounds of the past

24 Linda Hamilton

Terminator’s Sarah Connor on

reprising her most iconic role

26 Michael Kiwanuka

The singer-songwriter whose

route to success wasn’t Yeezy

28 Beauden Barrett

Back in black: home truths from

the New Zealand rugby ace

30 Freediving

Fjord escort: beneath the ice

with diver Anna von Boetticher

40 Mike McCastle

America’s very own Hercules


Rocking Japan to its foundations

56 Danny MacAskill

The Scottish MTB rider revisits

his career highlights to date

70 Pressure drop: American

skydiver Tom Noonan and the

Mount Everest freefall that

became a labour of love

80 Meet Erwan Le Corre, the French

physical trainer whose fitness

regime takes you back to nature

81 In the world of gaming, the

FIFA franchise is a colossus.

We explore how the football

title grew from meagre-budget

minnow to league leader

82 Unmissable dates for your


83 This month’s highlights on

Red Bull TV

85 Equipment: watches for every

terrain, plus the hiking, biking

and grooming kit you’ll want

to be using this month

98 Bird’s-eye biking: freeriding

with a drone in France




the lıght


“A trippy full moon in Bali” is

how surf coach Ivan Fominykh

describes this amazing shot of him

paragliding through the air near

Mount Agung, the island’s active

volcano. While it appears to have

captured a psychedelic night-time

light show, the image was actually

achieved thanks to a combination

of clever photography and

specialist equipment. “I took this

shot using an LED light strap,” says

photographer Serge Shakuto. “It

was shot with a 20-second-long

exposure and one strobe light with

a wireless remote.”

Instagram: @shakuto







Shot from above by drone, this

photo was taken in Singapore

during a session with members

of the country’s tight local skate

scene. The image, which uses

shadow play and the natural lines

of the park, is just one in a

collection snapped by photographer

Ebrahim Adam and shortlisted

for Red Bull Illume’s Instagram

community vote in June. “Stoked

that three of my images have

been selected,” Adam wrote in

his Instagram post.

Instagram: @ebra_cadabra





When climbers Guy Robertson

and Greg Boswell attempted the

summer route at Bidean nam Bian,

near Glen Coe in Scotland, in 2017,

they hadn’t anticipated failure, but

that’s how the day ended. Returning

to the location later that year to

complete the climb, they took along

photographer Hamish Frost to

record their triumph. This shot went

on to win Red Bull Illume’s Best of

Instagram category this June.

“It’s awesome for Scottish winter

climbing to get more exposure on

a worldwide stage,” says Frost.

“It’s bold, hard, technical climbing

in unforgiving conditions, and often

it goes without much fanfare.”

Instagram: @hamishfrost






on the


Ask someone to imagine surfing in

Hawaii and they’ll most likely think of

blue skies, clear waters, and dudes

throwing the shaka sign. But, as this

image shows, that’s not always the

true picture. The dramatic shot was

taken by Ryan ‘Chachi’ Craig, who

captions it “a tale of trying to wrangle

the biggest catch, on the windiest

day, at a notoriously moody and

dangerous spot, Pe’ahi. [Hawaiian

surfer] Nathan Florence trying to

read a turbulent ocean while also

trying to avoid being blown away into

the great blue ocean. What a day”.

Instagram: @chachfiles




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out in

the green


When he’s not writing indie-pop

anthems, you’ll find Metronomy’s

Joseph Mount in his garden. Here,

he picks four horticultural tracks

Formed in 1999, Metronomy have

created their own idiosyncratic

synth-pop style over the years,

influenced by everything from

’60s psych-rock and electronica

to Prince and NERD. The

British band regularly feature in

music magazines’ best-of-the

year lists, and their albums have

gone top 10 in France as well as

in the UK. For their sixth album,

Metronomy Forever, founder

Joseph Mount found inspiration

in his own backyard. “Gardening

is something I’ve become very

involved in,” says the 37-year-old

songwriter, and this passion has

had an impact on his personal

playlist. Here are four of his

green-fingered favourites…

Metronomy Forever is out now;


Talking Heads

Pull Up The Roots (1983)

“It’s a pun, isn’t it? It’s about

pulling up the roots when you’re

gardening. It’s what you’ve got

to do with, like, potatoes. In

gardening, I’m sort of the muscle,

and Mariam, my girlfriend, is the

more creative gardener. So I do

things like rotovate, which is

turning the soil. I get rid of weeds,

do big destructive work. That’s

my speciality.”

The Kinks

The Village Green Preservation

Society (1968)

“Gardening is about seeing yourself,

seeing the human cycle and the

seasons and things like that. This is

a good track to play when you’re

literally getting ready to garden. It

gets you in the mood to grab your

trowel and put on your gloves. It

also reminds you about the futility

of what you’re doing, which is

essentially trying to fight nature.”

Stevie Wonder

Come Back As A Flower (1979)

“This is about wanting to come

back as a flower when you die.

Which is a nice idea, but one thing

I’ve learnt is that growing flowers

is actually one of the least

gratifying things. It’s an incredibly

laborious task, because you’re

always having to split them and

reseed stuff. It’s a super-involved

type of gardening, so I don’t really

do that. I destroy things.”

Miles Davis

Concierto De Aranjuez (Adagio)


“As a teenage boy, I’d have breakfast

at 11am on weekends. I’d be listening

to some Miles [Davis] and watch my

parents in the garden. I couldn’t

really understand what they were

doing, but this track is 16 minutes

long, so it’s a good one to get you

into some kind of zone. Like, if you

have a long task – weeding, that kind

of thing – it’s nice. Give it a try.”


Clockwise from left:

Nolan takes his

surfboard back to its

birthplace for coffee;

the board before

shaping; fin detail; the

Vissla contest logo





New Hampshire surfer Korey Nolan

is bringing attention to throwaway

culture through his boards made

from recycled coffee cups

As lovers of the ocean, most

surfers are defenders of the

environment. The boards and

equipment they use, however,

are far less eco-conscious, made

from non-recyclable materials

with a large carbon footprint.

One surfer fighting back against

environmentally unfriendly waste

is Korey Nolan, 32, a shaper from

New Hampshire who has created

a board from more than 700

recycled Dunkin’ Donuts cups.

Nolan’s board was inspired by

the profusion of discarded coffee

cups he saw in his local area.

“I wanted to make what people

throw away daily more apparent,

to make them question it,” he

says. “I collected a thousand

Styrofoam cups in less than 10

months, just from family and

friends. They started saying that

I’d made them realise how much

take-out coffee they bought.”

The surfboard was created

by compressing the cups in a

mould, which were then set with

bamboo and bio-based epoxy.

Last October, it won second

place in a challenge, hosted

by Californian brand Vissla, to

make a ride-able piece of surf

equipment from garbage or

recycled materials.

But Nolan doesn’t want his

board’s success to encourage

the continued use of Styrofoam

by companies. “If you start using

these items as source material

for boards, you’re still creating a

second-hand demand. Styrofoam

has been around for almost 80

years and every piece ever made

is still out there, because it

doesn’t biodegrade. I want my

board to raise awareness of that.”

Instagram: @koreytnolan









SYNC allows you to control the light with

a remote switch and to make custom

programs in the Exposure SYNC App,

additionally both helmet and handlebar

lights can be simultaneously controlled

with a single remote via Bluetooth

connectivity. App is available in both

iOS and Android platforms.

The Superior Cockpit Room at the Haneda Excel: go to sleep in Tokyo and wake up in, er… Tokyo

When touching down after a long

flight, the last thing most people

want to think about is having

to board another aeroplane. But

that’s clearly not the case for

every traveller. Which is why the

Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu has

just created a guest room that

allows visitors to continue their

flight experience.

Named the ‘Superior Cockpit

Room’, the new space is fitted

with a flight simulator that

mimics a Boeing 737-800 flight

from Tokyo to Osaka’s Itami

Airport. Also on hand is an

instructor with extensive

experience of piloting Boeing

planes, so guests can learn to

fly like a pro.

There is some meaning

behind this madness: the hotel

is connected to Tokyo’s Haneda

International Airport and boasts

a view of two of the main

runways from most of its rooms,

so it’s already a favourite

stopover for flight enthusiasts.

“We wanted to create

something very ‘airport hotel’,”

says a representative for the

Haneda Excel. “Under the

guidance of a former captain

who actually has a lot of flight

experience, you can experience

the operation of the aeroplane.”

A night in the twin-bedded

room costs 25,300 yen (£195)

per night. However, guests

cannot simply book in and

play pilot all night long: the

90-minute flight simulation

costs an extra 30,000 yen

(£230) on top of the standard

room rate and must only be

controlled with an instructor

present at all times. Also,

guests are strictly forbidden

from entering the simulator

unsupervised or touching its

handles at any other point

during their stay.

If you fancy a turn in the

simulator at the Haneda Excel,

you’d better act fast: the room

has been entirely booked up

for its first two months, and

there are only a few upcoming

vacancies remaining.


The ultimate

flying visit

Check into the Japanese hotel with a lifesize

Boeing flight simulator in one of its rooms







“It comes down to a

tolerance of frustration.

You’ll fail a lot before

you succeed”



Picking up

the slack

Before you set foot on a slackline,

read and digest these tips from

Germany’s world-record breaker

Irmler walked his first

slackline in 2006 and

has gone on to break

two Guinness World

Records and set various

highline standards


Slacklining is very simple

and, at the same time,

immensely hard. The

sport may merely involve

walking from one end of a

length of flat webbing to

the other, but only a small

percentage of people

have mastered it. One

of these is Lukas Irmler.

“In the beginning,

slacklining didn’t feel

at all possible to me,”

says the 31-year-old

German. “But I kept

practising and practising

and I started to make

progress. After crossing

my first little slackline

and looking back at it,

I was amazed at how

I’d been able to make

something that seemed

impossible possible.”

Irmler has now walked

some of the world’s

most impressive and

intimidating slacklines

and highlines, most

notably this August

when he set the record

for the longest highline

walk ever: 2,000m at

Ville d’Asbestos in

Quebec, Canada.

“It was a long-standing

dream of mine to have

that pure record,” Irmler

explains. “If you keep

pushing yourself to the

outer limits of the sport,

you push the sport with

you. That was a really

special moment for me.”

Here, Irmler shares

five of his top slacklining

tips. “I think [success

in the sport] comes

down to a tolerance of

frustration,” he says.

“You will fail a lot before

you succeed. You just

have to be passionate

and persistent enough

to keep on going and

continue to believe.”

1. Take it easy

“Start on a short, low

slackline and practise

until you can get across

without falling.”

2. Ditch the shoes

“Going barefoot will

mean you get a much

better feeling for the

line itself.”

3. Face forward

“Place your feet

forward in the direction

of the line, not facing

outwards. This way,

you’ll be facing the line

and the anchor.”

4. Check your poise

“Maintain a little bit of

a bend in your knees

and ensure that you

keep your arms up high

throughout. People

often forget to use

them for balance.”

5. Keep your focus

“Remain focused on

one point at the very

end of the slackline.

Many people make

the mistake of looking

down at their feet.”


Above: exhibits range from an 8mm film projector to a manual typewriter. Below left: Chun (left) and Derksen


Blasts from

the past

These once-commonplace sounds have

largely disappeared from our lives. But,

thanks to an online archive, all is not lost

A corded telephone, the handle

to wind down a car window, the

first Nintendo Entertainment

System games console – their

working noises were known to

you, but your children and/or

younger friends have probably

never heard them. It’s almost

as if they’ve been lost in time.

But, for Daniel Chun and Jan

Derksen, the German founders

of audiovisual communication

agency Chunderksen, the silence

has grown too loud, so they have

set up a “museum of sounds

threatened with extinction”.

Conserve the Sound is an

online audio treasury for our

ears, which showcases objects in

danger of disappearing from our

aural memories. “These days,

the visual dominates and sound

seems to play a secondary role,”

explains Derksen. “We wanted to

change that. Normally people

collect paintings, illustrations,

classic designs or sculptures and

curate them in an exhibition or

museum. But collecting sounds

is rare. We were fascinated by

the idea of creating a multimedia

space or a museum of sounds

threatened with extinction.”

Ninety-nine per cent of the

objects and sounds in this

growing interactive collection of

audio memories (free of charge

to everyone) were sourced and

recorded by the duo themselves;

the rest have been contributed.

“You can send us sounds

you’ve recorded yourself,” says

Derksen. “Just attach them to an

email, or go to the site’s upload

section. There, you’ll find the

information you need on how to

get the right picture of the object

and best record its sound.”

Conserve the sounds dearest

to you and they’ll be available to

our collective memory for all

eternity. Or, at least, for as long

as the website exists…





Linda Hamilton

Age against

the machine

At 63 years old, the Terminator star is

back, fighting killer robots from the future

and tired attitudes from the past

Words TOM GUISE Photography JOHN RUSSO

To prepare for the role of Sarah

Connor in 1991 sci-fi thriller

Terminator 2: Judgment Day,

Linda Hamilton enlisted an Israeli

ex-commando to train her in martial

arts and weapons handling. “I learnt

to load clips, change mags, verify kills

– it was vicious stuff,” she said of the

experience. Working out six days

a week, she would run 12km and

bench-press 40kg. Co-star Arnold

Schwarzenegger described her

transformation as “extraordinary” –

more so because her regime began

just two weeks after she gave birth.

In the film, Connor defeats a

killing machine from the future. In

real life, Hamilton was battling an

enduring anachronism: the poor

portrayal of women in action movies.

She’s now returning to the role in

Terminator: Dark Fate to vanquish

another stubborn Hollywood monster:

a lack of action roles for older women.

“It’s nice that I’m seen as someone

who opened possibilities for women

in action films, but until this film

I never thought of myself as badass,”

the 63-year-old tells The Red Bulletin.

“I didn’t want to play me as I was,

I want to play me now. It was a

journey of discovering who I am today

and putting that on screen.” And

naturally, she’s doing it all while

pumping a shotgun with one arm.

the red bulletin: What does the

role of Sarah Connor mean to you,

and why return to her now?

linda hamilton: I can’t pretend it’s

not important to me – Sarah Connor

has been the identifying work in my

career – but back then it was just

another job. It’s only years later that it

became this iconic performance. I was

26 when I shot the first one. A lifetime

later I felt it’d be interesting to see

what time has done, who she is now

– more bitter, no longer significant to

the future in the way she knew she

was before. There were many things

for me to draw from, because I have

life experience mapped on my face.

The new film ignores the

instalments that followed T2.

Word has it you did, too…

They approached me for the third

one. I read it, but there was nothing

new to say. I wanted to like the films,

but they failed to create characters

people could connect with. It was

because Jim [Cameron, writer/

director of the first two films and

producer of this one] was back at

the helm that I even considered it.

There’s a story that you refused

some lines of dialogue in this film…

That was misleading, because it wasn’t

me versus Tim [Miller, the director],

it was just juvenile dialogue. They

created this artificial rivalry between

these two women [Hamilton’s Connor

and Mackenzie Davis’ Grace] and it

sounded like they were in middle

school. I was like, “It diminishes these

characters. I’m not gonna say it.”

I have an investment in not trivialising

Sarah Connor – I’ve had a relationship

with her for 35 years. I care that the

movie is good, and that’s what I spent

every day trying to do.

You proved that in T2. Do women

approach you about your physical

transformation in that film?

Definitely. They’re like, “My mother

wanted your arms. She lost 60lb to

look like you.” So much attention was

paid to how I looked, but that was just

a small part of what I did as an actor.

It might have even got in my way. I’d

meet with directors who’d say, “You’ve

never played a part like this before –

one that’s normal.” I didn’t want to

play the strong woman after that.

But you hit the gym pretty hard

again for this film…

It was more time-consuming than

on T2. You think you’ll work as hard

and get the same result, but that

doesn’t happen at my age – you need

hormones to put muscle on [Hamilton

took hormone supplements to prepare

for this role, suffering mood swings

and blood-pressure spikes]. I worked

out with an amazing trainer, Mackie

Shilstone, to strip the fat from my

muscles. I gave up carbs, just ate meat

and vegetables, did Pilates, weights

– we focused on the body in motion.

The look is different, but still a

warrior at this age.

Did you consider calling Arnie?

At 72, he’s also working out at

a different stage of life…

And at the top of his game. We haven’t

remained in touch much since he

became Governor. You don’t just go,

“Get the Governor on the line.” So,

no, we didn’t consult Arnold. I didn’t

see him until he showed up on set.

Do you think audiences will accept

you as an older action star?

What’s compelling is the authenticity

of the character. I might not look the

same, but I have so much more to say.

We’re obsessed with youth and beauty

but I want to embrace everything I’ve

got going on: wisdom and strength

that doesn’t mean body strength.

A real woman doing amazing things.

What’s next for Sarah Connor and

Linda Hamilton?

I never think about what else I can do.

Even in Judgment Day, creating this

character was an accidental miracle.

Jim wanted me to butch my hair up

while escaping the mental hospital.

I didn’t think we needed that, so

I just threw it in a ponytail. People

embraced that because I didn’t turn

into a guy to play the role; they

embraced Sarah Connor’s feminine

ideal of strength. We don’t have to

look like men to be strong.

Terminator: Dark Fate is in cinemas

from October 25; Twitter: @Terminator


“I didn’t want

to play me

as I was.

I want to

play me now”


“I was like,


How did he

even hear

one of my



Michael Kiwanuka

“I’m glad I said

no to Kanye”

How walking out on one of music’s top producers

helped the soulful singer-songwriter keep his feet

on the ground and his career on the right track…


It’s safe to say that you’re destined

for greatness when Adele asks you

to support her on tour before you’ve

even released an album. And when

folky London-Ugandan singersongwriter

Michael Kiwanuka’s

debut, Home Again, came out the

year after he joined the awardwinning

singer on her 2011 Adele

Live tour, it reached number four in

the UK album chart and went gold.

His second album, 2016’s Love &

Hate – produced by Danger Mouse –

outperformed its successor, topping

the UK album chart and affirming

Kiwanuka’s reputation as one of the

world’s most sought-after young

soul voices. Another superstar who

discovered Kiwanuka’s talent early

on was Kanye West, who invited him

into the studio to record together.

As he prepares for the release of

his eponymous third album, the

32-year-old reminisces about that

Kanye moment, and reveals why

he still believes that cancelling the

session was the right decision for

his fledgling career…

the red bulletin: Kanye West

is famous for collaborating with

the world’s hottest and most

talented musicians. How did it

feel when he invited you to go into

the studio with him?

michael kiwanuka: The whole

thing was utterly crazy, man.

Photography OLIVIA ROSE

Kanye West, the mightiest figure

in music, invites me to Hawaii…

and I didn’t really understand why.

I didn’t even have my first album out,

and I was only just learning the tricks

of the trade. I was like, “What? How

did he even hear one of my songs?”

I was scared. I couldn’t believe that

he really wanted to work with me.

All I could do was try to second-guess

how he wanted me to be.

His invitation didn’t feel like

a confidence boost?

No, not for me. I arrived at his

studio laden with self-doubt and

disbelief. And perhaps the craziest

thing of all was that he was being

super nice the whole time. He let

me sit in his main room while he

was making music. He was so

quiet and concentrated, and he

worked constantly, almost 24 hours

[a day] – I hardly ever saw him

sleep. He had this confidence

radiating off him, and he always

told me that I could do anything

I wanted to do if I just was being

myself. He actually said that.

So, what happened?

I didn’t believe a single word. I was

positively convinced that I had to

become another person, because

I couldn’t see that he wanted me

the way I was. I went home, even

left my guitar there.

To know that someone that talented

can hear something special in my

music is utterly surreal.

Do you think that in life you

sometimes have to sacrifice

a big opportunity for an even

larger goal?

Well, you never know what would

have happened. But yes, I guess

it can be good to miss out on

something. In the end, everything

got me to the point where I am now,

and I couldn’t be happier. So, in

that sense, yeah, I’m glad I walked

out on Kanye West.

At the time, did it feel like you’d

failed in some way?

Yes, but that’s fine. People who have

always been good at things, and

who have got through life without

any difficulties at all, really struggle

when they fail for the first time,

because they’re just not used to the

feeling. Even Kanye West has failed

a lot of times. Failing early on is

the best way to learn. It’s not exactly

fun, but it’s essential.

Your debut album, Home Again,

was a breakthrough hit, and the

follow-up, Love & Hate, topped

the album chart. With your third,

Kiwanuka, ready for release,

how do you define success?

Ultimately, it’s about personal

satisfaction; a contentment with

what I am doing. I’m able to do what

I love for a living: getting up in the

morning and making music.

And winning a major award –

a Grammy, for instance – isn’t

part of the equation?

Awards are like landmarks: they

keep you on this journey. A Grammy

will never really solve any real issues,

but it can make you keep going.

Kiwanuka is released on October 25;

Why was it so difficult to believe

what he told you?

I think the invitation came too

early in my career. I learnt a lot

from it, though, and I’m glad it

happened that way. Who knows

if it would have got to my head?

Still, it was a great experience.


Beauden Barrett


the myth

The New Zealand rugby star can fend off

tough challenges on the pitch, but how

about misconceptions about his team?


The All Blacks have won more Rugby

World Cups than any other national

team and, as reigning champs, were

favourites again as the competition

kicked off in Japan on September 20.

They are a team with a near mythical

reputation for victory. Which makes

player Beauden Barrett a virtual

unicorn. The 28-year-old fly-half and

fullback was core to the Kiwis’ 2015

victory, was voted World Rugby

Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017,

and is fourth on the All Blacks pointscoring

chart in test matches. Now

he’s here to unravel that legend and

dispel a few of the myths surrounding

his own formidable team.

myth 1: To be in the All Blacks, you

need to be the size of the Hulk.

beauden barrett: I weigh 92kg –

size doesn’t matter. Being big doesn’t

mean you’re the boss. Every position

requires a different physique or skill

set: some guys have to be strong to

push in the scrum; others need to

be explosive and jump high to catch

balls in line-outs, or do a lot of

kicking and running. I have to be fast

and powerful. Everyone knows their

role within the team, but there’s no

hierarchy due to size. You learn to

respect the elders and those more

experienced than yourself.

myth 2: All Blacks can only play

for a local club team and not

overseas rivals.

That’s almost entirely true. You

certainly won’t see players in the

UK or Europe also playing for the

All Blacks. There have been a few

exceptions where it’s like a little

sabbatical, playing in Japan for a

short time. But I can’t recall a New

Zealand rugby player returning

from Europe to be an All Black – it

doesn’t happen. Once you’re gone,

you’re gone for good.

myth 3: The All Blacks are just

about unbeatable.

No team is guaranteed a quarterfinal,

because there are so many

variables. There are a number of

teams who can potentially win [the

World Cup]. This shows the growth

of a lot of countries. It’s interesting

watching the Six Nations and seeing

Wales finish the way they did [they

won]. I know the Japanese are

developing very quickly. They’re very

well coached and will be dark horses.

Our focus is on one game at a time,

and then the pool games.

myth 4: Success has made the

All Blacks arrogant.

You don’t just get selected on pure

form or talent; it’s important to have

good values, too. If you’re a good

person, you’ll be a good All Black,

because when it comes to team

culture there is no place in this team

for dickheads.

time. Every opposition will respond

differently: some will smile, some

look scared. I’ve faced the haka

and it is intimidating – it sends a

shiver down your spine. Because

we understand the meaning of it,

it’s quite emotional.

myth 6: No other nation is allowed

to do the haka.

Oh, look, it’s up to the opposition

what they decide to do. We see it as

a sign that they’re up for a challenge.

But when we see them do it and they

don’t understand the meaning, we

find that it can be disrespectful.

myth 7: You practise the haka

every time you train.

At a low intensity we do it once a

week, the new guys maybe a little bit

more. You can’t lose connection with

it or forget its meaning. It’s important

not to take it for granted, because

we’re in front of millions of people

and we’re going out to win, so we

have to do it well.

myth 8: The All Blacks possess

a powerful secret, one that helps

you be the best.

It’s not one thing, it’s a whole lot of

things: hard work, high expectations

and the discipline to live those every

day and enjoy it. If you’re really

enjoying something, you can

challenge yourself. If you’re not

enjoying it, you’re not going to push

yourself to the limits when you’re

training, when you’re playing. You

don’t want to make it fake.

myth 9: The black jersey has

special powers. You once said that

when you first put it on, you felt

like Superman.

I mean, there’s no time like the first.

That was certainly the most powerful

but, yes, every time I put it on I take

a moment to gather my thoughts,

reflect and realise what I’m about to

do, because it’s a special time.

myth 5: The haka is a technique to

gain a read on the opposition.

It’s about us and what we bring.

It’s about how well connected we are

and how powerful we feel at the


”You don’t

get picked on

pure talent.

You need

good values”




Beneath a frozen fjord in eastern Greenland

exists an underwater realm with a sky made

of icebergs. For some it spells terror, but

German freediver ANNA VON BOETTICHER

sees it as therapy





Von Boetticher gently

touches an iceberg at

a depth of 12m. Down

here, it’s -2°C. Above

the surface, it’s -27°C.


Anna von Boetticher can

hold her breath for six

minutes and 12 seconds

– longer than anyone else

in her native Germany.

But when the 49-year-old

isn’t underwater, she can

barely catch her breath

as the words gush out in unbridled

enthusiasm for freediving, a passion she

only discovered 12 years ago. Since then,

she has set an impressive 33 diving

records in her homeland, as well as one

world record, and earned three world

championship bronze medals. But for

Von Boetticher the appeal doesn’t come

from titles or trophies as much as it

does from diving in unusual locations.

That’s what she was doing in Greenland

this year, plunging into a frozen fjord

with diving partner and photographer

Tobias Friedrich.

the red bulletin: You could dive

anywhere and yet you chose an icecold

location. Why?

anna von boetticher: I’d just been

through a turbulent time and needed

peace of mind, and the best place

for me to find that is in the extremes

of nature. It was in the minimal world

of Greenland that I was forced to

expose myself mentally and physically;

everything else stood still.

Your base camp was in Tasiilaq –

a place engulfed in ice for half the

year. What challenges did you face?

The main one was keeping warm when

the outside temperature is -27°C. It’s

better to freedive on an empty stomach,

but I knew that wouldn’t work if I was

standing in the cold for seven hours and

didn’t want to freeze. I had to eat an

extraordinary amount of high-energy food:

peanut butter, porridge, sugar. I wore

layer upon layer of clothing and made

precise estimates of how long I could stay

in the water. It was at the very limit of

the demands you can make on yourself.

condition are you in? What are the

external factors and how do you react

to them? Only then can you make an

objective decision not born from

feelings or ego. Having that sort of

control is one of the secrets to safe and

successful freediving.

How do you push yourself further

from there?

It takes great self-awareness of what’s

happening inside your body. Freediving

requires you to resist the natural urge

to breathe – do I really have to breathe

now or is it a false alarm? You realise

you can override an instinct and do a lot

more than you’d have thought. So the

next time you’ll face a new situation

with greater self-belief.

Do you ever panic when you’re

deep underwater?

I get scared, but I’ve never panicked.

I always react calmly to any problem

and set the fear aside for later. Anyone

can learn this: you just need to expose

yourself to new things. This way, you

learn to deal with the feeling of unease

we all experience, then proceed in spite

of it. Anyone who deliberately exposes

themselves to stressful situations will

eventually acquire greater peace.

Is there any part of your sport that

still surprises you?

Experiencing the underwater world is

intense, beautiful and different every

time. It’s hard to compare it to anything

else. As humans we don’t belong in it,

and yet we can adapt to a sufficient

enough extent to be able to spend time

there. That never ceases to fascinate me.

Instagram: @freediveanna

How do you know when you’ve hit

those limits?

You’ve got to be honest with yourself.

Of course I want to go a metre deeper,

and I do get annoyed when I don’t do

better than last time, but what physical



“In Greenland, I was

forced to expose

myself mentally and




On the way down, it isn’t

long before icebergs

and floes block the view

above. This isn’t only

psychologically unpleasant,

it also impedes use of the

usual safety rope










Pictured left: the ice near Tasiilaq, with

a main triangular hole in the centre and

three smaller holes – emergency exits

for the divers – fanned out above it. When

Von Boetticher lost her bearings at one

point, one of these exits saved her life.

A good tip for Greenland: get undressed

at the last possible moment

Von Boetticher defrosts her

frozen feet with hot water

She has to move fast – the ice hole

constantly freezes over




Von Boetticher lights her way through the

underwater canyon. The gorge in the fjord

near Tasiilaq is about 20m long and far

from the ice hole. It’s a risky move requiring

all her experience and mental strength




With his unorthodox techniques,

Mike McCastle has trained

people to unlock their full

potential, including the first

person to cross Antarctica

solo and unaided… and himself.

His own record-breaking feats,

inspired by the 12 Labours of

Hercules, are mind-boggling

journeys to the outer limits of

mental and physical strength




Breathtaking feats: using

his unique training,

McCastle, 32, has set

multiple world records,

including flipping

a 113kg tyre a total

distance of 21km

Gentle giant:

McCastle brings

a philosophical

approach to his

strongman tasks

Mike McCastle

If there’s one thing

that winds up Mike McCastle,

it’s when people say stuff

like, “You’re insane, dude,”

or, “That shit’s crazy!”

don’t see it that

way,” the 32-year-old

strongman says calmly.

He’s responding to the

question of whether

it was crazy to try to


break the record for the

most pull-ups in 24 hours, even though

it put him in hospital. Or whether it was

crazy that he set out to pull a two-tonne

truck for 35km through Death Valley, or

to repeatedly climb a 7m rope until he’d

ascended the height of Mount Everest.

He definitely didn’t think it was crazy

when a skinny-ass stranger named Colin

O’Brady asked for training to trek solo

across Antarctica, dragging a sled stocked

with more than twice his weight in food

and gear. Never mind that this task took

the life of British explorer Henry Worsley

in 2016 and was long thought impossible.

From the get-go, McCastle knew each

of these endeavours would bring extreme

suffering. They’re part of a mission the

1.9m tall, 102kg Las Vegas resident calls

the Twelve Labors Project – a homage to

the 12 Labours of Hercules, the ultimate

hero of Greco-Roman mythology. The

question is: why in the world would

anyone put themselves through all this?

“I’d heard stories about people doing

great things when another person’s life is

on the line,” McCastle says. “I wanted to

test how much I’d be willing to suffer

doing things for others.”

Sacrifice is ingrained in US military

service, and McCastle went into the

Navy after high school, spending the

next 11 years as an air traffic controller.

He also served as a mental and physical

conditioning trainer in a programme

created by the Navy SEALs after 9/11 to

help address a vexing problem: as many

as 80 per cent of trainees drop out before

earning their SEAL Trident. The physical

training is notoriously tough, but these

recruits are the fittest of the fit and they

really want to become SEALs, so why

were so many dropping out?

The reason is biological. In moments

of fear and stress, the area of the brain

called the amygdala takes over. Part of the

function of the amygdala – dubbed the

‘lizard brain’ due to its primitive nature – is

to identify threatening situations and get

you out. Physiologically, your body reacts

similarly whether you’re facing down a

tiger or engaging in high-intensity training:

your heart rate spikes, you get tunnel

vision and hearing loss; your conscious

brain, laser-focused on becoming a Navy

SEAL, shuts down. The lizard brain

doesn’t care about goals, it’s a survival

response. “It happens in a fraction of

a second and gives you no room for

conscious thought,” McCastle says.


Moments later, the quitter’s heart rate

slows down and it hits them: they’ve just

tossed away their dreams. The realisation

is devastating enough for the Navy to be

concerned about the individual’s wellbeing.

McCastle’s programme introduces

to potential candidates the mental and

physical tools used by SEALs in high-stress

moments. One of these is to focus not on

pain, but on the reason they wanted to

become a SEAL in the first place: to serve.

Back in 2012, McCastle himself

was accepted into SEAL training.

His chances of success seemed

high. Each year, when the Navy

set physical assessments, he always came

top. He’d already learnt the lessons of the

lizard. He also had years of experience in

air traffic control, where you learn to

manage stress; if you let day-to-day

worries distract you in that control tower,

people could die. McCastle was a master

at compartmentalising, at being laserfocused

on the task at hand. He calls it a

‘flow state’: “Your peripheral vision opens,

Time trials: McCastle’s training

challenges include tests of strength,

endurance and mental focus

your mind becomes clear and your words

become more succinct, because your brain

cuts the fat. And you’re very calm.”

Less than two weeks into the training,

McCastle was part of a formation running

in the sand alongside Lake Michigan.

Ahead there was a divot. “Twenty guys

in front of me jumped into this divot and

kept going,” he recalls. “I jumped down

and both of my knees blew out.” He

continued the exercise. His goal, after all,

was to become a SEAL. That afternoon,

his knees were like cantaloupes. He went

to a pool training session and, for the first

time in his life, his mind could not control

his body. Pain shot through his swollen

Around 1,200

pull-ups into his

challenge, the skin

started ripping

off his hands

legs. “I almost drowned,” he says. “They

had to pull me out.” He had torn his right

meniscus and left ACL, and seemingly, in

one bad leap, destroyed his SEAL career.

McCastle went into a deep depression.

At the time, he saw himself as a highperformance

athlete. “The problem with

attaching yourself to one identity,” he

says, “is the second it gets taken away,

what do you have left? You’re nothing.”

He returned to air traffic control duties

and was able to re-enter that flow state,

but inside he was raw. McCastle gained

20kg and started drinking to selfmedicate.

Without his strength, he was

worthless. He had been the guy in charge

of fitness assessments on the base, and

now what? He realised he needed a goal.

In December 2013, McCastle set out

on a 50K run in aid of children’s cancer

research. He made it harder by wearing an

18kg vest to symbolise the weight of a child

fighting cancer. The run was physically

gruelling, but mentally, McCastle says, “It

felt great. It wasn’t really about me and it

opened the door. I was able to push myself

beyond what I thought I was capable of.”

Later, he learnt a veteran had posted

a record for the most pull-ups in 24 hours,

so he set his sights on breaking it. At the

time, McCastle couldn’t even perform 10

successive pull-ups, but if he had a goal

and a big enough reason, he thought it

was possible. He devoted his effort to an

organisation for wounded veterans.

On a July morning in 2014, he went

to a public park and got to work. Small

crowds came and went; day turned to

night. Around 1,200 pull-ups in, the skin

started ripping off his hands. A buddy

flushed the wounds, packed them with

chalk, and he kept going. His bicep

tendons began to rupture. He kept going.

His urine started to look like “uh, you

know, Irish whiskey”. He kept going.

Seventeen hours in, at rep 3,202, he was

simply unable to grip the bar. He’d missed

the record by around 800 pull-ups.

McCastle was hospitalised with the

life-threatening condition rhabdomyolysis,

caused by muscles that are so taxed they

begin to release toxins. His spectacular

failure made national headlines. McCastle

told himself he was a quitter, a fake. He

was ashamed. How could he tell Navy

sailors they had to do callisthenics when

he’d put his own damn self in the hospital?

“My world was crushed,” he says.

On McCastle’s second day in hospital, a

teenage boy knocked on his door. The boy

was facing life-or-death surgery and used


Squat goals: each of McCastle’s

tasks is dedicated to raising awareness

of a specific cause, including Parkinson’s

disease and wounded veterans

“Find meaning

in everything you

do,” his father

would say

a wheelchair, but he came in with a huge

smile, wanting to shake the older man’s

hand. “He didn’t care that I didn’t break the

record,” McCastle recalls. “He just wanted

to tell me how inspired he was by the effort

I gave for a cause. Even at my lowest low,

I could still positively impact someone.”

The boy, who held no records, had

inspired him. McCastle re-examined the

pull-up task, why he’d done it and why

he kept going. “I was doing it to raise

awareness for wounded vets,” he says, “but

if you peel away the layers, I was trying to

regain an identity I’d lost. That’s a very

selfish reason to do anything, because it

was dangerous.” It was the wrong ‘why’.

In classical mythology, Hercules is

a demigod who kills his wife and

children after Hera, queen of the gods,

drives him mad. As penance, Hercules

serves King Eurystheus for 12 years,

performing a series of difficult feats –

the 12 Labours. McCastle saw the story

as a journey of self-discovery, pushing

through struggle to get closer to your

core identity. It wasn’t strength that kept

Hercules going, it was resolve.

A handshake from a kid in the hospital

had given McCastle an idea: he would do

his own 12 Labours, each dedicated to a

cause. The point wasn’t to break records,

but to focus on something outside himself

and raise awareness about an issue.

Maybe McCastle could inspire someone

to run a 5K, to keep going in the face of

illness, to overcome self-doubt. “In my

interpretation, Hercules is the story of

every human being on the planet,” he says.

The run and the pull-up challenge

became Labours one and two. For the third,

he decided to flip a 113kg tyre for 21km

to raise money for the Wounded Warrior

Project. The tyre symbolised the physical

and mental burden these men and

women carry. He trained for six months.

The day before the event, he was faced

with another test: his sister called to say

their father had passed away. Raymond

McCastle had suffered from Parkinson’s

disease for years, so his death wasn’t

entirely unexpected, but it was still a blow

to the family. It would have been entirely

reasonable to postpone the event – that’s

how the lizard is sometimes: reasonable –

but McCastle thought about what his dad

would say: “These are your plans, your

aspirations, son.” So, at 4am on a cold, wet

December morning in 2014, McCastle faced

the tyre. Dig under the rubber, deadlift the

tyre, push it over. Dig. Lift. Push.

All-time high: for the

Twelve Labors Project,

he climbed a rope for

27 hours, equivalent

to the height of Everest

If you were standing there watching in

the cold, you might marvel at how a man

could lift 113kg more than 1,000 times

and still keep going. But you would think,

“Well, he is a beast, after all.” What you

wouldn’t see is what’s going on in his head

– the same thing going on in your head

when undertaking a big challenge: fear,

doubt, self-flagellation. Painful memories

started flooding in. Of growing up in a

very challenging household. About being

mercilessly bullied. Dig. Lift. Push.

McCastle thought about his dad: stoic,

robust, a Louisiana-born African-American,

an Air Force veteran who managed a sodacan

factory. He saw how Parkinson’s had

robbed him of his strength, his voice, even

his ravenous mind. Dig. Lift. Push. He

pictured his mum, a Filipino immigrant

who was so driven that she joined the Air

Force in her forties, with two kids.

After his parents separated, a teenage

McCastle helped care for his dad, making

sure he was shaved, fed, bathed. He

remembered finding him on the floor, his

blood sugar dangerously low because he

couldn’t put food to mouth. In a panic,

McCastle quit the basketball team to

prevent a reoccurrence, and afterwards

he felt nothing but shame. He thought

about how he later left his dad to join the

Navy. Quitter, he told himself. Loser.

Dig. Lift. Push. As the physical pain and

mental anguish washed over him, the layers

began to peel back. Raymond McCastle

was a man of few words, interested more

in ideas than in possessions. McCastle

recalls his dad reading to him as a child:

The Dialogues of Plato, Viktor Frankl’s

Man’s Search for Meaning, Nietzsche.

“Find meaning in everything you do,”

his father would say. It’s how, and why,

we are able to push through challenges:

because we’re serving something larger.

As he continued, the tyre got lighter.

The Parkinson’s? Struggles growing up?

There wasn’t a damn thing he could do

about them today. “I was letting go of

things I didn’t need to hold onto,” he says.

Ten hours in, he’d set what is considered

to be his first world record (there was no

certifying body present). He ate a huge

steak, dragged himself home and slept.

From here, McCastle was possessed by

his Twelve Labors Project. In May 2015,

for 27 hours, he climbed enough rope to

reach the height of Everest, to raise money

for Parkinson’s research. In September

2015, he reattempted the pull-up record,

again dedicating it to wounded veterans.

Wearing a 14kg pack, he did 5,804 pull-ups


Mike McCastle

without major injury. The following May,

he rented a truck, loaded it with 19 gallons

of drinking water and set out for Death

Valley to raise awareness of veteran

suicide. At the time, an estimated 22

veterans were taking their own life each

day; some were his friends. His plan was

to strap a harness to his chest, rig a tether

and pull the vehicle for 22 miles (39km).

“I took it as an opportunity to look

inward,” McCastle says. Hours went by

and the thermometer went up. Every cell

in his body was screaming for him to quit.

Every so often, he would look up and see

a stranger’s taillights in the distance. After

19 hours, he reached his goal.

By 2018, McCastle was physically

drained and ready for a new kind

of challenge. While going to school

to study psychology and working as a

trainer in Portland, Oregon, he received

an email asking for a consultation. Some

guy named Colin O’Brady. You may

recognise the name thanks to his recordsetting

54-day crossing of Antarctica –

Natural talent:

McCastle trains in the

forest for his ascent

of Mount Whitney

“In my view,

Hercules is the

story of every

human being

on the planet”

The Impossible First” – but back when he

met McCastle, he wasn’t so well-known.

O’Brady knew McCastle was the coach

he needed “within two minutes of looking

into each other’s eyes”, he recalls. The

programme McCastle devised had three

components: strength, endurance and

mental focus. The last turned out to be “the

difference between success and failure”,

says O’Brady. For example, McCastle would

make him hold a plank with his hands

submerged in ice and then do a wall squat

with his feet in buckets of ice. Meanwhile

he’d have to put together a Lego set, or tie

dozens of knots, or solve maths problems.

Then, with frozen feet, came a balance

test, an agility test, and so on. McCastle

would note all of O’Brady’s errors.

The main focus was just to control his

breathing,” McCastle explains. Controlling

your breath means controlling your mind,

and in moments of high stress it can be the

difference between life and death. Like

when you’re pitching a tent in 130km winds

and -20°C, when your brain is rattled and

your fine motor function is slowed by

frozen hands. If O’Brady practised these

tasks, getting into that flow state, he could

prolong the time it took for the lizard brain

to kick in. “When I got to Antarctica,” says

O’Brady, “I realised this guy was a genius.”

A few times a week, McCastle heads to

Portland’s Forest Park, one of the largest

urban forests in the US. In the cool, misty

air, beneath a canopy of moss-covered

trees that soar more than 60m, he feels

at home. As the trail starts to climb, he

pauses again and again to cinch up the

pack tugging on his shoulders with 40kg

of sand. He’s training for his next labour:

climbing Mount Whitney, the highest

summit on the US mainland, with a 70kg

barbell. Why? Parkinson’s. The barbell

symbolises the weight that sufferers carry

as they struggle through the disease.

McCastle knows the disease well. He

knows that, as time passes, everything

about these people’s lives becomes smaller.

Tremors make hands unsteady, brain

function slows; eventually, patients become

disoriented, confused. He spends every

Tuesday morning teaching a specialised

fitness class that includes stability,

strength and mental challenges. Stand on

one leg with a weight in your hand. Count

out loud as you slam a medicine ball. Row

500m while solving simple maths problems.

Hold a PVC pipe like a sword a metre from

a small plate hanging from a bar. Now aim

that pipe through the hole in the plate.

McCastle has thought a lot about what

it means to pursue your fullest potential.

He’s considered the lessons he learnt, not

only from his labours, but from his dad,

his mum, O’Brady, and now from these

sixtysomethings focusing everything they

have on a PVC pipe and a target. Research

has shown that high-intensity exercise

combined with cognitive tasks helps slow

Parkinson’s symptoms. These things will

also help a man walk across Antarctica.

And so, every Tuesday, as he puts his

Parkinson’s students through their drills,

McCastle is filled with gratitude. “I tell

them, ‘You really are changing the world.’”


Get up,



DYGL have been dubbed

Tokyo’s hottest new

band, and they count

members of The Strokes

among their fan base.

But it’s more than their

massive melodies and

effervescent guitar riffs

that make them stand

out. The quartet are the

voice of a new generation

in Japan who are tired of

their country’s corrupt

entertainment moguls

and culture of obedience


Photography ERIN UEMURA


Let yourself go: DYGL

guitarist Yosuke

Shimonaka leads by

example during his

band’s gig in Yonago



Top: DYGL fans queue

up to get their CDs

signed after the band

perform in Okayama

What’s different about

the crowds in Japan?”

Nobuki Akiyama thinks

for a moment. The

musician is crouching,

sandwiched between

speakers and instrument

flight cases. “In cities like London, our

fans dance and sing along, but people in

Tokyo are shy and polite; they don’t want

to bother anyone. At our shows, they are

so quiet I can’t even tell if they liked the

gig. I check the reactions on Twitter

afterwards to make sure they enjoyed it,”

he says with a smile. “You’ll see for

yourself.” He points to the wall of the

small green room. The space behind it

is packed with fans waiting for Akiyama

and his bandmates to go on stage.

Akiyama, 27, is the frontman of DYGL

– pronounced Dayglow – lauded to be one

of Japan’s best young bands. Their 2017

debut album, Say Goodbye to Memory

Den, was produced by one of the quartet’s

early supporters, The Strokes’ guitarist

Albert Hammond Jr, and praised by music

magazine NME as a “riotous trip through

indie, rock ’n’ roll and punk”. In July,

DYGL released the follow-up, Songs of

Innocence & Experience, recorded in the

band’s adopted hometown of London and

mastered at every music fan’s pilgrimage

site, Abbey Road Studios.

Back in Tokyo this summer, the band

toured 300-capacity venues to hone the

new songs live in front of small audiences

before taking to one of the main stages

at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival. The Red

Bulletin met up with them at Okayama’s

Pepperland venue, which opened in

1974 and has played host to a who’s who

of underground music over the decades.

The DYGL gig sold out instantly, fans

packed in like sardines.

Defying Akiyama’s predictions, when

the band start the show it doesn’t take

long for the crowd to come out of their

shell. During the fourth song of the set

(and the new album’s first single), Spit

it Out, fists start pumping the air, and

fans dance and mosh enthusiastically.

Akiyama is visibly delighted. With their

catchy guitar riffs and singalong choruses,

DYGL’s songs defy you to stand still, and

this – encouraging fans to overcome their

inhibitions – is part of a bigger plan that

began almost a decade ago.

Back then, Akiyama was obsessed with

UK guitar music, from early Beatles to

groups such as The Libertines. He wanted

to play this type of music himself, but

there weren’t many indie-rock role

models for a teenager from Tokyo. “There

were so many bands I was into, but almost

all of them were white,” he says, “apart

from Bloc Party and a few other indie

acts that had people of colour.”

It was the success of French rock band

Phoenix that finally encouraged him to

start DYGL with his college friends Kohei

Kamoto (drums), Yotaro Kachi (bass)

and Yosuke Shimonaka (guitar) in 2012.

“Phoenix got really big in the US; people

didn’t seem to mind their accents,” says

Akiyama. Like Phoenix, DYGL decided to

sing in English, something that made them


The band – (left to right)

Nobuki Akiyama, Yosuke

Shimonaka, Yotaro Kachi

and Kohei Kamoto – met

at university in 2011

“People in Japan

label us as ‘the band

that sings in English’”

DYGL – pictured on

stage at Pepperland in

Okayama – released

their second album in

July to much acclaim

Pepperland boss Iseo

Nose, 72, has advice

for DYGL: “You’re on

the right path, remain

true to yourselves”



“Those in power

don’t care about

the impact of

music. All they

want is control”

outsiders in their own country – “People

label us as ‘the band that sings in English’”

– as well as abroad. Yet the decision was

vindicated. “A cultural paradigm shift

happened around that time: people began

to look over the rim of the teacup and be

more open to minority culture.”

Thanks to the likes of YouTube and

Soundcloud, music lovers now have more

opportunities to discover new sounds

for themselves, and, importantly, have

wider access to music outside the Anglo-

American canon, which explains the

recent success of Korean pop music

in the US charts, a phenomenon that

would have been hard to imagine

15 years ago. People are seeking artists

who feel new and different. And since

being able to gain attention and stand out

are invaluable assets for any musician in

the 21st century, the time seems right for

a Japanese band playing fresher Britpop

than any British act right now.

Akiyama is quick, however, to state

that DYGL’s musical direction is not some

calculated marketing strategy. “Tokyo is

far from the traditional epicentres of

pop culture, like London and New York,

so it feels natural for us to receive foreign

music without bias, and to freely pick

and choose elements from all genres

and countries.” When asked about the

Japanese elements in DYGL’s music, he

replies like a shot: the melodies. “Music

from foreign bands who break through

in Japan is very melodic. The Japanese

don’t speak much English, so they

connect with the melodies, not with the

lyrics,” he says. “I think that’s also why

people here embrace our songs so much.”

Although Akiyama stresses that

DYGL aren’t an explicitly political

band and that many of their songs

are about love and friendship, it’s

their more socially aware material that

has gained them the most attention,

especially abroad, since few Japanese

bands grant Western listeners such an

intriguing insight. Take the song Don’t

You Wanna Dance in This Heaven?,

which tackles Japan’s repressive history,

specifically the country’s archaic fueihō

law. Introduced in 1948 to regulate the

sex industry, the law prohibited people

from dancing after midnight at many

venues, but this went largely unenforced

until 2010, when authorities found a

reason to crack down on nightlife and

revived it. The law was revised in 2016,

but it remains symbolic of politics in

Japan, says Akiyama: if you strip people

of their right to dance, you strip them of

their freedom of expression. “It shows

that the people in power don’t care about

the cultural impact of modern music –

all they want is to control people.”

This tends to be a systemic problem

in Japan, as Akiyama points out. In one

recent scandal, it transpired that several



Classic tracks:

downtime in a toy shop

before a gig in Yonago,

where the dressing room

awaits (below)

prominent TV comedians had performed

at parties held by an organised-crime

syndicate. This led to the comics’ sacking

by their talent agency, Yoshimoto Kogyo,

Japan’s largest entertainment group.

However, the comedians subsequently

claimed the agency grossly underpays

its artists and had also warned them not

to speak to the media about its alleged

ties to organised crime. Another talent

agency has been accused of conspiring

to keep three former members of the

boy band SMAP off the air because they

had left its management.

The entertainment business is

controlled by these agencies,” Akiyama

says. “As an artist, you’re at their mercy.

The big problem is that nobody

challenges them. People are too polite

“People are too

polite to speak

their mind, which

is dangerous”

to speak their mind, which can be really

dangerous.” As a rock band scoring

international success outside this talentagency

system, DYGL see themselves

as able to address such problems.

“Politeness, which is deeply rooted in

our society, isn’t necessarily a bad thing,”

Akiyama continues, “but in these modern

times, when the world is seeming to go

backwards, it’s the wrong moment to not

want to bother someone.”

In the aftermath of the Fukushima

nuclear disaster, big protests in Japan

seemed like an overdue awakening of

a politically apathetic population. But,

eight years on, this hunger for protest

and change has dwindled again. A few

days prior to our interview, the voter

turnout in Japan’s Upper House election

fell below 50 per cent, the second lowest

since World War II. Akiyama is keen to

bring up the issue at tonight’s gig. “Now

we’ve lived in cities like London and New

York, we see Japan’s politics in a new

light,” he says. “Overseas, it’s normal to

discuss politics and voice opinions. Here,

that doesn’t happen a lot.”

At the concert, just before playing

Don’t You Wanna Dance in This Heaven?,

Akiyama makes a heartfelt, humorous

plea to the fans, encouraging them to

speak their minds. “It’s not about the

country, it’s about individuals, it’s about

you,” he finishes. “So say something

if you have something to say. Let yourself

go!” Three minutes later, guitarist

Shimonaka’s T-shirt is off and he’s diving

into the crowd as Akiyama shouts and

lays into his strings. As a role model,

you should always lead by example.








In 2009, 23-year-old Scottish cyclist DANNY MACASKILL released Inspired Bicycles

– a five-and-a-half-minute film on YouTube that contained “probably the best

collection of street trials riding [the mountain-bike discipline of manoeuvring across

obstacles without a rider’s feet touching the floor] ever seen”. The film, which has had

more than 39 million views to date, transformed MacAskill into a global superstar.

Here, he looks back at his greatest moments of the decade that followed…

Interviewed by STU KENNY



Imaginate (2013)

I’d made a few films outdoors, but for Imaginate

I wanted to try something different: to recreate my

childhood bedroom floor and ride these giant toys.

We had a £4million Formula One car and a real tank.

The loop-the-loop was Hot Wheels-esque and I’d

never attempted one – they’re disorientating, and if

you watch anyone try on the internet, it always ends

badly. I’d been off my bike for a year after my back

operation, so my riding wasn’t where it needed to be.

Each morning, I’d go into the warehouse, do eight

flip step-downs onto a giant Dandy comic and build

up to the loop. Eventually I got it dialled.

“We went all-out

when we filmed

Inspired Bicycles”

Danny MacAskill

Inspired Bicycles (2009)

This [opposite page] is me launching

off the roof of Macdonald Cycles in

Edinburgh, where I worked from 2006

to 2009. Every day, I’d stand across

the road with my lunch and look at the

gap between the bike shop and the

copy shop. When [director] Dave

Sowerby and I started filming Inspired

Bicycles, I set my sights on bigger and

bigger goals. This gap was one of

those. Before I tried it, I gapped the

curb below – that’s the way I eye up

gaps sometimes. The first time I tried,

I overcooked it and landed on my back

on the roof. You can’t overshoot it too

much or you’ll fall onto the rails below.

It was so satisfying when we did it;

one of the standout moments of the

film. Good bang for your buck!

Dave is such a good filmmaker, so

with Inspired Bicycles I felt I had this

big opportunity. We went all-out with

it: the riding was new, and the way he

filmed and edited it to that music [The

Funeral by Band of Horses]… This tree

[above] in The Meadows in Edinburgh

is quite famous among BMXers, and

I dreamt of doing a flare off it for

Inspired Bicycles. In this picture, I’m

actually doing a tap, which is quite

an easy trick. I used to do this in the

dark on my way home.


Danny MacAskill

Way Back Home (2010)

I signed with Red Bull at the end of 2009, and the idea

for this film came up during one of our first meetings.

I’m from rural Scotland – the Isle of Skye – so locating

man-made concrete in my homeland appealed to me.

In this shot [above], I’m at the foundations of an old

railroad track on the Isle of Raasay.

I remember being a bit disappointed by Way Back

Home at the time. I had ridiculously high aspirations

because of the bar I’d set for myself with Inspired

Bicycles; I even had a plan to jump 140ft [43m] off the

Skye Bridge and into the sea. Dave and I worked so

hard to film some of the crazier ideas, driving 18,000

miles [29,000km] in six months to get to locations

when the sun was right. Looking back, I’m really pleased

with the film. This shot [below] sums it up: we’ve got

wheelbarrows, and there’s a microwaveable meal in

the oven. That was our life back then.

The Olympic Torch (2012)

This was a slow year for me. I had a back operation on

a disc I’d torn in 2009, so it was more of a planning

year. One of the cool things that came out of it, though,

was getting involved in the Olympic Torch relay. I was

intending to do a big bike part with [film director] Danny

Boyle in the opening ceremony, but sadly it fell through

because of my health. However, getting to carry the torch

outside Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum was cool. It

was me, the actor James McAvoy and the curler Rhona

Martin. I remember it being quite random, riding my bike

in this white suit with a flaming torch. I practised outside

my flat with a pump beforehand to see if I could do any

tricks. I did a couple of manuals in the end.



Epecuén (2014)

This film has a sad story. There was a town on the

edge of this salt lake in Argentina, and in the late ’70s

it had a long drought. Villa Epecuén was reliant on

the tourism the lake attracted, so a canal was built,

connecting it to other lakes at higher elevations. But

then, when the rains returned years later, the town

was flooded. I wanted to make a film that was sensitive

to the residents. The town was eerie, but so beautiful.

All the walls are covered in a layer of salt, which makes

the landscape quite uniform. You never knew how

good the structures would be – you could stand on a

huge block of concrete and it’d snap in half – so it was

probably one of the most dangerous films I’ve made.

“Epecuén was

probably one

of the most

dangerous films

I’ve made”

d ann y ma c ask ill

SIGNA T U RE s t amp 7


Danny MacAskill

The Ridge (2014)

My friend Stu Thomson, from Cut Media, and

I decided we’d make a little mountain-bike film

on the Cuillin [mountain range] on the Isle of

Skye. I hadn’t spent that much time there,

because it’s so severe you need a proper

guide. The first day was a 23-hour shift. Drone

technology wasn’t what it is today – we had

these massive, heavy batteries. Apart from

burning serious calories, it was one of the

easiest projects I’ve filmed. Compared with

technical trials riding, this was so within my

comfort zone and just a lot of fun: rowing,

chasing seals, a couple of more technical

tricks like the front flip over the fence. The

success of The Ridge was as much of a shock

as Inspired Bicycles was: it got about 20

million views in a month, and half of it is me

bloody rowing a boat!

The feeling

I had was

that I was

only going

to clear the

rocks by a

tiny fraction”


Cascadia (2015)

This [above] is me doing a front flip off some scaffolding we built in El Roque in Gran Canaria. I’d wanted to do a rooftop

video for a while. We walked around Las Palmas and El Roque, knocking door to door, asking if we could look at people’s

rooftops. It’s such a chilled country they were like, “Sure, come in!” Next thing we’d be on their roof. This was the final

shot. I was actually overly confident about the set-up, because I’m not really scared of water compared with the risks

you take on concrete. And it was only 60ft [18m] – I could belly-flop and I still wouldn’t die. But when I turned up, the

run-up wasn’t very big and the rocks carried on under the water. The feeling I had was that I was only going to clear the

rocks by a tiny fraction. It was quite a stress, but I sent it and it was maybe the most cushty banger I’ve done. As soon

as I went off the lip, I felt total relief.


Danny MacAskill

Wee Day Out (2016)

Wee Day Out was a film I’d

wanted to make for a long time.

The Ridge opened up this whole

new world of mountain biking for

me, but this time, rather than

relying on scenery, I really wanted

to up the technical difficulty of

the riding. The cool thing about

riding a mountain bike is that

people’s perceptions of what

you can do on it, compared

with a trials bike, are a lot lower.

I wanted to take my trials-riding

skills and put them on a mountain

bike – like one of my heroes,

Chris Akrigg, had done.

When I worked in Bothy Bikes

[in Aviemore, Scotland, in 2003

– his first job], this steam train

used to go past my house every

day. So this [above] was a trick

where I would gap from the

railway platform onto the line.

I thought the probability of it

working was very, very low, but

I actually landed it in an hour and

a half – about 100 goes – which

is pretty good for me.

The grind on the log [right]

I probably tried 150 times on the

first day and didn’t come close.

We ended up trying that for

another three days. My friend

started rubbing the log down

with Vaseline, because it was

getting so grippy. Skateboarders

have their wax, so we started

lubing up this log. My pedals,

shoes, grips and gloves were

covered in Vaseline. We went

up there on the fourth day,

and then, on the last day, in

the last bit of light, I landed the

trick. Then I ended up doing it

four times in a row.

Jumping on a moving hay

bale and rolling down a field

was yet another ‘real good’ idea

I had – again, it was a four-day

one. We got the local farmer to

combine three hay bales into

one big one so it would be heavy

enough to keep rolling with me

on top. It took about 400 goes.

Two of my friends would have

to push the 450kg hay bale to

get it rolling before I jumped

on, then three friends – to whom

I owe a lot – would have to try

to catch it halfway down the

hill. Every single time. It was

madness, basically.

“I probably tried the grind on

the log 150 times on the first

day and didn’t come close”



Photo: Tomás Montes








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Danny MacAskill

Kilimanjaro: Mountain of Greatness (2018)

Hans Rey is one of my heroes in

riding, almost a mentor – he’s

been there and done it all. So

when he asked me to join him

in summiting Mount Kenya and

Kilimanjaro in one trip, I jumped

at the chance. I’d had a lot of

bike time that summer, having

just filmed Wee Day Out, but

I wouldn’t say I was particularly

fit. That said, I was about to

climb Kilimanjaro with a 51-yearold

who has a passion for whisky

and beer, so I thought I’d be fine

fitness-wise. It ended up being

a hell of a trip. We made a quick

ascent on Mount Kenya, and I’d

come straight from sea level and

never done anything at altitude

before. I got altitude sickness

and had to be helicoptered off.

The next day, we travelled

through to Tanzania to the foot

of Kilimanjaro and, the day

after, started making our way

up. My body fared a lot better

up there. That final climb with

the bike on my back is one of

the hardest things I’ve ever done

– nobody normally carries that

weight at that altitude. Type-two

fun – I think that’s what people

call it. But the beauty of lugging

your bikes up there is getting

to descend 5,000m back down

to base camp.

“This is me doing

a 180 between

some rails on ‘The

Bridge to Nowhere’”

Seaside Trials (2019)

This is a film I made for one of my new partners, Adidas. We had

quite a short time-frame, so I went to a place near Dunbar in

Scotland that I’d scouted for Way Back Home. It’s known as ‘The

Bridge to Nowhere’ and it crosses a river, taking you to a beach

[and at high tide the bridge is cut off on both sides]. I waded out in

my bare feet and took my bike to get some cool shots. We filmed

between Dunbar Harbour and Glen Coe so that we could have

a contrast between mountain bike and trials. This [right] is me

doing a 180 between some rails. Very easy riding – although it was

very windy – but it made for a cool and unusual shot.

My process hasn’t changed that much in the past 10 years.

Scouting is an important part of making the films – not wasting your

time on things that won’t make it in. But I’m still as ambitious as

ever, trying to come up with tricks that are really out there and that

you’ve never seen anyone else do. Going through the process of

trying to make them work in the way that you hoped is a lot of fun.

It’s been an amazing 10 years and I’ve got enough ideas written

down in my books to last another 50 years.





Get it. Do it. See it.


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get your hands on




Record-breaking skydiver

Tom Noonan tells us why

leaping from 7,000m past

the Himalayan mountains

is the true summit of his

freefall experience




Do it

Drop kicks: the exhilarating leap from the helicopter marks the pinnacle of the Everest Skydive




Freefalling is not for the faint of heart. But doing it in

sight of the world’s highest mountain is another adventure

altogether, says record-breaking skydiver Tom Noonan

The instant I jump out of

the chopper at 23,000ft

[7,000m], I’m hurtling

towards the ground at 210kph.

A freefall has a certain frequency

to it – a hum that’s reminiscent of

a hairdryer – but I have a helmet

on, so it’s not loud enough to cause

physical damage. The dive lasts

45 seconds, but perhaps the most

extraordinary aspect of this

particular jump is that I’m actually

in freefall beside the planet’s

highest mountains. The point of

reference is unlike anything else

in the world; as I fall through the

Instructor Tom Noonan has skydived in more than 40 countries






Nepal is a trekking and hiking paradise, but

the Roof of the World has much more to offer,

including ‘mad honey’ and a tooth fairy

The chopper ferries the jumpers up to a summit-equalling height of 7,000m



Mt Everest


The average daytime temperature during November’s

Everest Skydive is around 15°C. Rainfall is low then,

too, making it the best month to visit Nepal.


Trekkers’ paradise: the village of Namche Bazaar sits at an altitude of 3,440m

sky, the topography of the

Himalaya seems to swallow me.

Once the parachute opens, my

speed slows to about 25kph and

I’m level with Mount Everest for

the next six minutes, not more

than a couple of kilometres away.

A quiet descent near one of the

most awesome forces of nature

on earth is humbling and lifechanging.

It’s an incredible

feeling to be able to experience

something that so few people ever

have the opportunity to try. Yet

it always feels good to land on

the ground safely at Syangboche

Airstrip, 3,780m above sea level,

where the temperature is balmy.

As a tandem-skydive instructor,

I’ve completed roughly 8,000

“As I fall through the

sky, the Himalayan

topography seems

to swallow me”

dives in more than 40 countries in

seven continents. I’ve dived into a

sinkhole in Belize, onto Antarctic

and Arctic ice sheets, and over the

pyramids of Giza – remote locations

are my speciality. But, as the

operational manager, organising

the annual trip to Nepal for Everest

Skydive is a labour of love. For

11 months, I work hard on the

logistics from my office in Florida.


Several exotic animals inhabit the Himalaya, says Tom

Noonan, but some are more visible than others...


There’s a belief the yeti is still out there, but no one has seen

him recently. There are yeti bones in one of the temples.”


“Snow leopards are rare. I’m thankful I’ve not seen one, as

I don’t want to bump into one in the middle of the night.”


“Massive yet beautiful and docile, yaks do the heavy lifting,

carrying all the stuff that people can’t.”


There’s plenty to do in Kathmandu


In a part of town that’s home to many dentists is a chunk of

Bangemudha tree covered in coins. These are offerings from

orthodontically poor locals to Vaishya Dev, god of toothache.


Procured in the Kathmandu Valley, this rhododendronenhanced

liquid gold is known locally as ‘mad honey’ on

account of its hallucinogenic qualities. It’s also used to relieve

stress and is said to have Viagra-like properties.


Try this surprisingly delicate cheese, which has a mild, milky

flavour and strong herbal notes, at local farmers’ markets.



Do it




The music that forms the soundtrack to

the skydive, and the pointers everyone

needs to understand to safely negotiate

the descent


Since you can’t hear speech during freefall, your

instructor will communicate through the use of hand

signals. The first is the most important of all.

Permission to land: Syangboche Airstrip is also the drop zone for Everest Skydive


Immediately deploy

your parachute


Push your pelvis towards

the earth


Bring your shoulders

together in a W position


Observe your heading:

read your altimeter


Tom Noonan on the music he and his co-divers listen to

as they prepare to jump from a helicopter at 7,000m


“One time, we were listening to Jamiroquai and half our

group started line-dancing. Any time you put something

on that people can jam to, that’s cool.”


The mountains are a very spiritual place, full of

awesome energy, so we listen to a lot of local Nepali

music and Buddhist mantras.”


The Western world is full of noise. There’s almost

no noise in the Himalaya. To be around such quiet and

calm is unlike anything in the world for me. The wind is

the loudest thing you hear. It’s incredible.”

The reward is in going back to

Nepal every year to see friends and

live part of my life in the Himalaya.

I’ve been doing it since 2008.

Every November or May,

depending on the weather, my

team and I take between five and

10 travellers on an extraordinary

adventure from Kathmandu to the

Himalaya. We fly to Kathmandu,

explore the city for a couple of

days and then take a short plane

ride to Lukla, the gateway to

Everest. We then spend three days

trekking through valleys and

mountains, climbing higher each

day. We do these treks so we can

acclimatise to the altitude. If we

just flew in and tried to make

a dive, we might get hypoxia –

a lack of oxygen that makes you

feel punch-drunk – so we need

to reduce that possibility.

The first-time divers have

already committed to a week of

adventure and exhaustion on the

ground, so the skydives are the

cherry on top of the experience.

Personally, I’ve made more jumps

than I could ever have hoped for.

In 2009, myself and two

colleagues set the world record

for the highest parachute landing

when we landed sport parachutes

at 17,192ft (5,240m).

You never forget the first time you

see Mount Everest. In my case, it

happened as I turned the corner

of a teahouse above Namche

Bazaar: as I looked unobstructed

across a 10km-long valley, Everest

stared back at me.

The locals on the Nepali side,

the farmers and Sherpas, believe

the mountains are goddesses

who protect them. The area is

very spiritual. I refer to the energy

there as The Force, as in Star

Wars, and there is something that

resonates at a higher frequency.

Before each expedition, we have

a religious ceremony called a

puja, where a lama [priest]

blesses our equipment.

Before I became a full-time

skydiver in 2006, at the age of 32,

I worked in pensions at a bank in

Boston. But my hero was always

Indiana Jones for the way he gets

into trouble in foreign places,

having fun, living life to the full

and then returning home to a

real-world job for a few weeks.

I still have an office I go back to,

and a classroom that I teach in.

But it’s the people of Nepal I’m

most grateful for. Their purity of

thought and mind makes me want

to be a better version of myself.





One beautiful Alpine town combines the best of both city and slopes. Here’s how to explore it all



The slopes of Kitzsteinhorn

Kaprun are extremely

popular with freeskiers



Saalbach and its three

neighbouring villages

combine to make

a skier’s paradise


The crowd pleaser

A snowsports mecca that pulls out all the stops

Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm

Leogang Fieberbrunn is – as its

impressive full name suggests

– a whole lot of ski resort; one

that’s frequented by the world’s

best skiers and snowboarders.

To break down that name,

Hinterglemm is in the same

valley as Saalbach, and Leogang

and Fieberbrunn are next door.

Their combined 270km of pisted

ski runs make the Skicircus one

of the biggest resorts in Europe.

As you’d expect, with such

a large piste map comes a

remarkable range of riding.

Beginner or intermediate skiers

have access to a variety of route

options from most of the 70 lifts.

If you’re an expert, there are

long, challenging black runs –

not least the 12er KOGEL, which

spans 3.6km on gradients of up

to 72 per cent and has been used

as an FIS World Cup route.

Knee-deep off-piste is in no

short supply, either. As well as

the Lycra-clad racers, the world’s

best freeriders come to the

Skicircus to compete in the

Freeride World Tour. They’re

next scheduled to drop from the

Wildseeloder in Fieberbrunn in

March 2020.

The Skicircus is worldrenowned

for freeriding, worldclass

for racing, and it has the

tour stops to prove it.



Ski Austria

Resort fact box

Distance to airport:

Salzburg Airport – 90km

Elevation: 1,003m to 2,100m

Total piste distance:


Longest run:

7.5km – Jausernabfahrt slope


Difficulty: 140km blue (52%),

112km red (41%), 18km (7%)

black runs

Number of lifts: 70

Ticket alliance

Skicircus Saalbach


Leogang Fieberbrunn,

Schmittenhöhe in

Zell am See, and

Kitzsteinhorn Kaprun


Zell am See-Kaprun

Glacier, mountains and lake

A picturesque winter wonderland that packs a powdery punch

The small urban city of Zell am

See has much to offer, including

great shopping and a beautiful

lake with a lovely promenade.

The lake, which often freezes

in winter, is a picture-perfect

foreground for views of the

mountains behind. But also Zell

– and specifically the nearby

glacier of Kitzsteinhorn – boasts

some of the Alps’ best freeriding.

The pisted skiing in Zell itself

has many tree runs. It’s mostly

an intermediate paradise, but

there are 19km of black runs,

too. A short bus ride to Kaprun

gives you access to the

Kitzsteinhorn glacier, complete

with another 61km and a snowsure

guarantee (the ski season

lasts seven months here).

On a powder day, it’s all

about that glacier. The resort’s

‘Freeride XXL’ signposting

system will point you to the

powder lines, whether it’s fluffy

runs, big cliffs or natural pipes

you’re after. Also, two new

cable cars – the K-ONNECTION

Kaprun Kitzsteinhorn and

zellamseeXpress Schmittenhöhe

– have improved links in the area,

paving the way for one of the

biggest ski resorts in the Alps.

Resort fact box

Distance to airport:

Salzburg Airport – 80km

Elevation: 768m to 3,029m

Total piste distance: 138km

Longest run: 7km –

down Maiskogel mountain

from the top

Difficulty: 56km blue (41%),

54km red (39%), 28km black

runs (20%)

Number of lifts: 51

Ticket alliance

Skicircus Saalbach


Leogang Fieberbrunn,

Schmittenhöhe in

Zell am See, and

Kitzsteinhorn Kaprun



Ski Austria


From picture-perfect

vistas to first-class

skiing, Zell am See-

Kaprun has it all



Sunshine and

powder lines

Bordering Italy and Slovenia, this

resort in southernmost Austria

clocks up around 100 hours more

sun in winter than most resorts

further north. But that doesn’t mean

a lack of snow. There’s almost

350km of pisted ski runs between

these four biggest resorts

Bad Kleinkirchheim

This family-friendly

resort has 103km of

slopes, 75 per cent of

which are intermediate.

That said, hometown

Olympic gold medallist

Franz Klammer also has

a World Cup black slope

on the mountain. It’s a

beast of a piste. And you

can explore it with the

man himself, if you don’t

mind an early start. On

selected dates, Klammer

guides skiers around the

mountain from sunrise

until 9.30am.


1,100m to 2,055m

Total piste distance:



18km blue (17%),

77km red (75%),

8km black runs (8%),

plus 5km ski routes

Number of lifts: 24

Großglockner Heiligenblut

Not the biggest ski resort in

the world, but it does boast

Austria’s biggest mountain.

The pointed peak of the

3,798m-high Großglockner

dominates the skyline, just

one of the reasons this resort

is so photogenic. Another is

the 1,500 hectare Freeride

Arena in the area. Come for

the stunning photographs,

stay for the excellent skiing.

Elevation: 1,300m to 2,900m

Total piste distance: 55km

Difficulty: 20km blue (36%),

34km red (62%), 1km black runs

(2%), plus 10.4km ski routes

Number of lifts: 12;



Ski Austria


This is a rarity: a ski resort

with its own microclimate.

Channels from the Adriatic

dump powder on the

mountain, giving Nassfeld a

reputation as the “snow hole

of Carinthia”. Since it’s such

a big area and relatively

quiet, you don’t even have to

rise early to guarantee fresh

tracks. At 110km (plus the

off-piste), there’s no lack of

mountain. Ski from Austria

to Italy and back in a day!


600m to 2,000m

Total piste distance:



30km blue (27%),

69km red (63%),

11km black runs (10%)

Number of lifts: 30


Snow-secure at 2,220m, this

resort between Salzburg

and Carinthia offers riding for

every level. There’s 10km for

beginners, 40km of reds, and

also an impressive 20km of

challenging black pistes. It’s

well worth spending a couple of

days off the skis, too – the area

boasts stunning snowshoe

routes and torchlit hiking.


1,640m to 2,220m

Total piste distance: 70km


10km blue (14%),

40km red (57%),

20 black runs (29%)

Number of lifts: 16


Do it


Bark to basics: Le Corre

preaches universal

fitness without all the

technical frills




Three signature moves

to help you master the

MovNat concept




Your body wasn’t built to sit around all day. Erwan Le Corre

will help you rediscover its full potential – naturally

According to Erwan Le Corre,

the way we humans move

in our everyday lives is

unnatural and even downright

inhumane. “We sit in the office

for hours at a time,” says the

French-born sportsman and

physical trainer, “then we might

go to the gym once in a while

after work. And that’s all we do.”

The human musculoskeletal

system is built for much more

frequent and varied exertion,

however, and if it doesn’t get this,

it becomes sick. So Le Corre has

come up with a fitness regime

comprising all the elements we

couldn’t get enough of as kids:

balancing, jumping, climbing,

crawling, running, throwing,

swimming, diving etc. Performed

either indoors or outdoors, these

play-like exercises help to improve

coordination, balance, strength

and precision skills.

The basis of Le Corre’s MovNat

(Natural Movement) concept is

La Méthode Naturelle, a training

technique developed by French

naval officer Georges Hébert

in the early 19th century and

which also gave rise to parkour.

The aim of MovNat isn’t to

make you quicker or fitter,” says

Le Corre, 48. “We want you to

rediscover ancient patterns of

movement.” The rest, including

your increased self-confidence,

will take care of itself.



movement in

your daily

routine will make

you stronger,

healthier and


Erwan Le Corre


Instead of hanging from the bar

by your hands, haul yourself up

so your forearms rest on top of

it, hands touching. For one rep,

lift yourself with your elbows

until your chest reaches the

bar. This method limits your

range of motion and increases

the efficiency of the exercise.


Start like an underarm pull-up,

but instead of stopping when

your chin reaches the bar, pull

yourself up until your upper

body is completely above it and

you’re supported by your arms.


Holding onto the bar with both

hands, lift yourself and hook

one leg over the top. Kick out

your other leg as high and

straight as possible, then swing

it downwards. Push with your

arms at the same time and the

momentum will lift the whole of

your upper body above the bar.

To see the exercises, go to:

Le Corre’s book, The Practice

of Natural Movement: Reclaim

Power, Health and Freedom,

is out now

Nature boy: Le Corre has been compared to a modern-day Tarzan




Do it





Built to be the ultimate football game,

FIFA now shapes the sport itself

Launched on a shoestring

budget in 1993 with a

licence purchased for a song

from football’s governing body,

FIFA has become the world’s

best-selling sports game, with

more than 280 million copies

sold. The goal has always been

to translate football – in all its

elegance and complexity – into

video-game form, but FIFA has

transcended that ambition by

influencing the beautiful game

itself. It’s now where clubs scout

new signings, brands hustle for

enviable licensing deals, and

pro footballers discover – to their

delight or dismay – how they

rank on the leaderboard. FIFA

expert Simon Parkin explains…


Before each year’s FIFA launch, the

game’s creator EA releases a list

of the top 100 players, as ranked

by 9,000 data reviewers, who distil

the performance of 18,000-odd

pro footballers into 34 personal

attributes. Such is the clout of the

list that scouts have been known to

use these stats to identify emerging

talent. In this year’s iteration of the

game, FIFA 20, Lionel Messi, Cristiano

Ronaldo, Neymar Jr and Eden Hazard

take the top spots with ratings of 94,

93, 92 and 91 respectively. But for

others the results can be painful:

Rio Ferdinand joked he’d “tear down”

EA’s offices after he was only rated

65 for passing in FIFA 17.

the striker’s run-up in FIFA. “It was just

like playing against him on PlayStation,”

Amelia said. “It was very strange.”


EA aggressively secures licences for

clubs, players, stadia, and commentators’

voice-overs. What the games firm pays

is a secret (it’s rumoured to be in nine

figures), but sometimes it’s not enough.

This year, EA lost the rights to Juventus,

so resorted to calling them ‘Piemonte

Calcio’ in the game. However, the player

likenesses remain: appearing in FIFA is

about more than money for a footballer;

it’s a status symbol. For FIFA: Road to

World Cup ’98, David Beckham’s

appearance on the cover “was a piece in

the puzzle that led him to be the most

marketable footballer on the planet”,

Andy Bell, founder of sports talent

agency Soap Box London, said in 2015.






The games critic

for The Observer

newspaper has

covered video

games and their

culture for 15

years. His book

A Game of Birds

and Wolves, out

in November,

tells the story of

a group of women

who developed

a game during

WWII to help the

Allies outwit

German U-boats.


Such is FIFA’s cachet, it doesn’t have to

actively seek big-name endorsement.

NBA star LeBron James Instagrammed

a photo of his sons playing it, with the

caption, “Game is fresh to death!” And

Justin Bieber tweeted at rapper Drake,

“I’m getting nice at FIFA. Be prepared.”

Indeed, the game creates interest in

the real sport. In 2014, an ESPN poll

found that 34 per cent of Americans

became soccer fans after playing FIFA.

“Nowadays,” says FIFA’s creative

director Matt Prior, “people come

to football through our game.”


“Until FIFA is indistinguishable from

football in real life, we’ll always have

more to do,” says Prior. It’s a quest

that generates heated Reddit debates

with every launch. “Some like it simbased,

others want huge scorelines,”

he adds. In FIFA 20, there’s a focus on

‘football intelligence’ with enhanced

natural AI behaviour and ball physics,

plus a street football mode, Volta. Will

people like it? Time will tell. At games

conference E3 in 2013, whoops of

delight greeted the announcement of a

‘never before possible’ feature: players

could now turn their neck to head the

ball at a greater-than-90° angle.

FIFA 20 is out now on PS4, Xbox One,

Nintendo Switch and PC;

Unplayable but playable:

Borussia Dortmund and

England superstar Jadon

Sancho in FIFA 20 form




Footballing pros have been known

to use FIFA to prepare for real-life

matches. Everton forward Alex Iwobi

said that, when he was starting out,

if a player he’d never played against

was on the other team, he’d “look at

his name and try to remember how

good he was on FIFA”. After saving a

penalty from AC Milan’s Ronaldinho in

2008, Italian goalkeeper Marco Amelia

claimed he’d familiarised himself with



Do it



to 10 November


Regular readers of The Red Bulletin will know EVE from our November

2018 feature on the all-women, punk-rock, pro-wrestling organisation.

The self-proclaimed ‘Riot Grrrls of Wrestling’ deliver all the action and

theatrics you’d expect from the best in big-league brawling, but with

a feminist message of inclusion – that women of any age can get crazy

in the ring and enjoy themselves. And, you know, guys can spectate.

This two-day, four-event fight series will see combatants from around

the world battle to reach the Sunday final. And if you’re a girl who just

wants to have fun (and dreams of the GLOW life), organisers Emily and

Dann Read run training sessions at the EVE Academy in Bethnal Green.

Resistance Gallery, Bethnal Green, London;

Thrilling EVE:

riot grrrls just

wanna have fun


to 29 October

Roundhouse Rising


Camden’s Roundhouse has a long history of giving

fresh talent a platform; at its opening concert in

October 1966, two promising bands were on the bill:

Soft Machine and Pink Floyd. For the past nine years,

with partners such as Gilles Peterson’s talent discovery

agency and BBC Music Introducing, the venue has

dedicated an annual festival to the cause. This year,

artists such as grime MC Big Zuu and art-pop act

Æ MAK will follow in the footsteps of former Rising

alumni like Little Simz by playing the intimate Sackler

Space, while hip-hop avant-gardist GAIKA headlines

the main stage with a 10-piece jazz ensemble.

Camden Roundhouse, London;

Rising stars:


14 28 31

to 27 October

Rebel Vision


Moon Tour

Picture the immersive experience

of Secret Cinema, but applied to

recreating iconic concerts. Rebel

Vision (aka former music moguls

Andy Cuthbert and Tom Clarke)

deliver this using theatrics, SFX and

cinematics – here, they present

The Rolling Stones’ 2016 Havana

Moon gig in Cuba. There’s even a

merchandise stand selling actual

tour memorabilia from the day.

Various cities around the UK;

Oct to 23 Nov

Reel Rock

Film Tour

Enjoy a movie with a good

cliffhanger? That’s what you get

at this nationwide film festival:

the best of the year’s climbing

and adventure features, including

four world premieres. One of

these tells the story of two pairs

of freeclimbing titans – Alex

Honnold and Tommy Caldwell,

and Jim Reynolds and Brad

Gobright – going head-to-head to

claim the speed record for scaling

El Capitan’s famous Nose route.

Various UK cities;

Oct to 10 Nov

Sonica Glasgow

Is it art? Music? Audio-visual

mumbo jumbo? Or a higher

sensory experience that

transcends mere categorisation

to challenge our concepts of

reality? You may be none the wiser

after witnessing these incredible

sound-and-image performances

from as far afield as Slovenia

and Argentina. It all kicks off

with Aether, an immersive threedimensional

light matrix sonically

conducted by electronic musician

and scientist Max Cooper.

Across Glasgow;



See it

October / November





The world’s top freeriders,

breakdancers and enduro

racers all have their eye

on top prizes this month.

Watch the action from

these unmissable events

and more on Red Bull TV…




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,



This will be Virgin’s

second year hosting

Red Bull Rampage

October LIVE



Twenty-one members of the freeride mountain-biking elite

will gather in Virgin, Utah, for the 14th edition of the sport’s

biggest and most intense contest. Riders including last

year’s winner, Canada’s Brett Rheeder, will work with their

two-person build crews to shape and perfect their ultimate

lines down the mountain. Their goal: to ride them to victory.

9November LIVE



For the first time ever, Mumbai plays host to the

ultimate breakdance challenge. See B-Boys and

B-Girls from across the planet go head-to-head in the

Indian city, competing for the Red Bull BC One crown.

2to 3 November LIVE


The 2019 World Enduro Super Series comes to a

climax with the incredibly popular GetzenRodeo.

Last year, 12,000 spectators travelled to Drebach in

Germany and saw homegrown rider Mani Lettenbichler

take first place. Don’t miss this year’s finale.



Your guide to gear born with purpose, engineered

to achieve, and built with style


The right stuff

Hamilton X-01



The best timepieces

for every terrain

The watch you see here is a

vision of the future, but its

creation is steeped in history.

In 1968, American filmmaker

Stanley Kubrick released his

science-fiction epic 2001: A

Space Odyssey. It caused a stir,

and not for all the right reasons.

At the film’s New York premiere,

lead actor Keir Dullea witnessed

around 250 people walking

out, including Hollywood star

Rock Hudson, who apparently

exclaimed, “What is this

bullshit?” But within months



Coated in a molecule-thin film

of condensed vapour (PVD –

physical vapour deposition),

the Khaki BeLOWZERO proves

a perfect choice of watch for

a Martian explorer.

But Scott’s 2015 film The Martian

hews closer, particularly in its

adherence to hard scientific

accuracy. For Matt Damon’s

stranded astronaut, Mark Watney,

a watch capable of surviving the

Red Planet’s harsh environment

was needed. Hamilton’s Khaki

BeLOWZERO, with its black PVDcoated

stainless steel case, is

corrosion-resistant and capable

of withstanding depths of 1,000m

– although the latter feature is

perhaps less important on Mars.

there were other reports – of

people on psychotropic drugs

coming just to watch the ending.

At a San Francisco theatre,

someone ran through the screen

screaming, “It’s God!” More than

50 years later, and almost two

decades past the film’s dateline,

2001 remains an impressively

prescient prediction of the future.

This is due in part to Kubrick’s

meticulous attention to detail.

A perfectionist, the director

personally commissioned every

aspect of the film’s design, from

the first on-screen instance of

office cubicles, to the cutlery for

the deep-space meals, and the

wristwatches the astronauts wore.

For the latter, Kubrick sought

out watchmaker Hamilton and its

in-house designer, John Bergey.

The result was the X-01. However,

the timepiece is barely visible in

the finished film, and prohibitive

costs meant a commercial model

didn’t see the light of day until

2006, when Hamilton released

a commemorative edition –

The seconds hand

has a morse-code

message spelling

out ‘Eureka’

limited to 2001 pieces, of course

– built from titanium and sapphire

crystal glass, with a magnetic

wand hidden in the clasp that

calibrates the three smaller dials.

The watch, like the film,

would inspire others to dream

of the future. It led Bergey to

create the Pulsar Time Computer,

the world’s first all-electronic

digital watch, in 1972. And for

two other science-fiction

filmmakers it would again lead

to collaborations with Hamilton.

British director Ridley Scott is as

profound a futurist as Kubrick,

although the dystopian vision of

1982’s Blade Runner and the

industrial aesthetic of 1979 horror

classic Alien are the antithesis of

2001’s clean, pure minimalism.

The Khaki Field Murph Auto

was designed specifically for

the film Interstellar. The

movie’s prop watch was

modified so the filmmakers

could control the movement of

the seconds hand in-camera.

Christopher Nolan’s love of

Kubrick’s work is well-documented.

Last year, the British writer/

director struck new 70mm prints

of 2001 from its original negative

so the film could be watched in

the same ‘unrestored’ form as

on its debut. But there’s no

better demonstration of Nolan’s

reverence than Interstellar. His

2014 space epic pays homage to

2001 in so many ways – from the

themes of outer space and inner

self, to robot designs referencing

the monolith, to the tripped-out

multidimensional ending.

But the parallels went one step

further when Nolan commissioned

Hamilton to create a unique watch

for the movie; one that Matthew

McConaughey’s character,

Cooper, leaves on Earth with his

daughter, Murph. Like the X-01,

the watch wasn’t commercially

available at the time of the film’s

debut, but this year Hamilton

released the Hamilton Khaki

Field Murph Auto, the first 2,555

pieces of which came in a jewel

box designed by Interstellar’s

production designer, Nathan

Crowley, to resemble the

‘tesseract’ from the film’s

ending. Also, the seconds hand

features a morse-code message

spelling out the word ‘Eureka’.

It’s a detail Kubrick would

doubtless have approved of.



The Super-LumiNova

photoluminescent pigment

on the dial is 10 times

brighter than previous

phosphorescent paints and,

no, it isn't radioactive.


Finding lumo

Octon Black Watch

Swedish brand Octon donates

10 per cent of all proceeds to

Sea Legacy, an environmental

charity that works to protect

endangered ocean life including

the shortfin mako shark. All

Octon watches are designed

in Stockholm, and this glowing

Aurora Green and black model

– which comes with a choice of

stainless steel bracelet or olivegreen

Zulu fabric strap – has

hands and indexes coated with

black Swiss Super-LumiNova,

which glows 60 per cent longer

than standard lume.




Dust buster

Shinola Runwell Sport

Chrono Black Blizzard

The Detroit-based

Shinola company

takes its name from

the famous and nowdefunct


shoe-polish brand.

Built from strong, lightweight

titanium, this durable chronograph

is a homage to the tough people

who survived the harsh Dust Bowl

era of 1930s America, its name a

reference to the ravaging storms

of this dark era. The timepiece also

comes with a leatherbound book

filled with newspaper clippings

and photos detailing brutal events

of the day.





TAG Heuer Monaco

Fourth Limited Edition


Made famous by Steve McQueen

in the 1971 car-racing movie

Le Mans, the Monaco celebrates

its 50th birthday this year. The

watchmaker has really pulled

out all the stops for this golden

anniversary, creating five

special versions of the iconic

square-shaped timepiece, each

one inspired by a different

decade, starting from 1969.

Behold then, the newly

released fourth instalment of this

chaptered tribute: a handsome

black iteration with arresting

red and orange accents inspired

by the early 2000s.

The stainless steel watch is

presented on a perforated

black calfskin strap that has been

designed to resemble a vintage

steering wheel and is punctuated

with crisp white stitching – a

little detail that watch geeks will

surely appreciate, since they

complement the batons on the

watch face. The caseback is

engraved with the Monaco Heuer

logo as well as the inscriptions

‘1999-2009 Special Edition’ and

‘One of 169’.

Inside the case, the sense

of history is kept alive thanks

to TAG Heuer’s famous Calibre 11,

a modern version of the

automatic-winding chronograph

movement that made its debut

in the original 1969 Monaco.

McQueen's Monaco gets a

whopping 15 minutes of screen

time in Le Mans. His Heuerlogoed

racesuit was a copy of

one originally worn by his stunt

driver, real-life racer Jo Siffert.



Battle ready

Hamilton Khaki Pilot

Pioneer Mechanical

In a further homage to the

’70s (when its predecessor

the Hamilton W10 was

produced), the black dial is

textured to recall camera or

binocular cases of the time.

You may be surprised to learn

that Hamilton, the famous

American watchmaker, supplied

timepieces to the British Armed

Forces in the 1970s. The most

popular was the Hamilton W10

from 1973, which is today

reborn in the hand-wound Khaki

Pilot Pioneer Mechanical with

80-hour power reserve. The

military redux watch – which

comes with a brown leather or

grey NATO strap – stays faithful

to its forerunner with a curved

tonneau case, faded black dial

with beige accents, and cool

mismatched hands: swordshaped

for hours, pencil-shaped

for minutes.




New kit for peak performance


Working class

Filson CCF Work Vest

A lot of rugged workwear is designed to look good; Filson’s gear is built for honest-to-God manual labour – it just looks good

because it’s the real deal. The Seattle-based company’s CCF Workwear range is built for construction workers, loggers and

farmers – folks who aren’t afraid to get their hands and clothes dirty. This vest is made from heavy, tightly woven duck canvas,

triple-stitched and reinforced with rivets at the stress points.






Arcade Guide Slim belt

Never underestimate the importance of a good belt: when

engaging in high-impact sports such as skateboarding,

snowboarding and climbing, it can mean the difference

between a great session and a bad spill. Arcade makes

belts reimagined for action sports – they’re water-resistant,

heavy-duty, and designed specifically for snow pants, hiking

and hybrid climbing trousers. Keep your kecks and your

head held high.




Compact toiletries

Stay fresh on the fly.

Shower in a Can

(shower-in-a-can. packs 20 body

washes into a flightfriendly

100ml bottle,

absorbing dirt and

grease in a foam that

requires no towel.

Solid Cologne


is a wax aftershave

that comes in eight

fragrances and was

conceived by the

Ancient Egyptians

(minus the tin).

The Matador Pocket

Blanket (matadorup.

com) can be carried

on your person

and folds out to seat

up to four people.


Wild style

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker GTX

A high-end technical off-road

shoe with style that’s made

for the streets. Featuring an

insanely grippy sole for all

terrains and weather conditions,

an energy-returning insole,

a snug sock-like interior and

abrasion-resistant exterior

reinforcements, this lightweight

boot can take on the toughest

of trails and the slickest of cities.



Strong look

Saint Unbreakable Stretch Jeans

As a motorcycle clothing brand, Saint

has its priorities right: protection is

uppermost, but, damn, it had better look

good, too. The company’s ‘Unbreakable

Stretch Jeans’ are stitched from the

world’s strongest fibre, Dyneema,

a high-molecular-weight material that’s

500 per cent tougher than regular denim

and 15 times more abrasion resistant than

carbon steel; the military has even used

it to armour helicopters and stop bullets.

Spinning this scientific sorcery into its

denim fabric, Saint has created the world’s

first single-layer bike-wear protection

that’s also stretchy and light, and looks

pretty good on a pair of legs.




Jersey scores

Nike League of Legends kit

Esports is growing in recognition

as a legitimate sport by the day,

and there’s perhaps no greater

measure of this than the world's

biggest sports brand creating

the kits for one of its major

leagues. The shirts you see here

are Nike x LPL team uniforms

– bespoke jerseys created for

the 16 clubs in China's League

of Legends Pro League. Each

has a chevron motif on the chest

referencing the most common

map in the game: Summoner’s Rift.

But within that chevron and

throughout each shirt are details

specific to each team and their ingame

skins, from dragon scales

on the black-and-gold Royal Never

Give Up kit to the Cyber Formula

thruster patterns on the sleeves of

Edward Gaming’s dark red jersey.

And, just like on a pro football kit,

there’s also a small gold star

above the team badge on Invictus

Gaming’s white shirt, signifying

their victory in 2018’s League of

Legends World Championship.

All the kits will feature in the 2020

LoL season.



A bit off

the top

Closca Helmet Loop

If you want to stay protected,

wearing a bike helmet is

just a smart idea, and this

collapsible concept makes

the decision smarter.

Spanish studio Closca’s

Helmet Loop is made from

three concentric components

that fold into each other

in a second, reducing its

size by 45 per cent for easy

stowing. It’s aerodynamic,

light and durable when

expanded, and the gap between

the parts delivers air flow

when riding and dissipates

shock via micro-movements

on impact. But perhaps the

most amazing fact about

this ingenious helmet is

that its design is based on

the architecture of the

Guggenheim Museum in

New York.


Best of

both bags

Dakine Wndr Cinch Pack 21L

Ever imagined what a hybrid of a

backpack and tote bag would look

like? No need, you’re looking at it.

The Wndr Cinch Pack features all

the practical functionality of the

former – including side pockets

and a laptop compartment – with

the top-loading accessibility of

the latter. Next stop: breeding

one that also has the features of

a suitcase.





The Red

Bulletin is

published in seven

countries. This is the

cover of November’s

US edition, featuring

Atlanta rapper/singer

Yung Baby Tate…

For more stories

beyond the ordinary,

go to:

The Red Bulletin UK.

ABC certified distribution

154,346 (Jan-Dec 2018)



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The next issue is out on Tuesday 8th October with London Evening Standard.

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



Action highlight

Bron free

Freerider Kilian Bron feels totally at home in the French mountain-bike/ski resort

of La Clusaz. It was here on ‘The Trace’, the trail he helped to create, that Bron

shot the film Follow Me with fellow Frenchman and drone pilot Tomz FPV. Here, the

rider pulls off a beautiful road gap, captured by photographer Dom Daher.

Instagram: @redbullfrance

The next

issue of


is out on

November 12







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