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The Red Bulletin September 2020 (UK)

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<strong>UK</strong> EDITION<br />

SEPTEMBER <strong>2020</strong>, £3.50<br />

BEYOND THE ORDINARY<br />

SUBSCRIBE: GETREDBULLETIN.COM<br />

CARNIVAL<br />

STATE OF<br />

MIND<br />

How Notting Hill<br />

Carnival became<br />

much more than<br />

a street party


MANY PATHS. ONE TRAIL.<br />

MQM FLEX 2<br />

MERRELL.COM<br />

@MERRELLEU


Editor’s letter<br />

WORKS IN<br />

PROGRESS<br />

CONTRIBUTORS<br />

THIS ISSUE<br />

How to navigate testing times and, at the same<br />

time, find positive outcomes is a challenge we’re<br />

all facing right now to some extent. And it’s one<br />

that many of the stars of this month’s issue of<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Red</strong> <strong>Bulletin</strong> are managing to rise to.<br />

News that the physical celebration of London’s<br />

Notting Hill Carnival (page 30), the biggest event<br />

of its kind in Europe, was to be cancelled this<br />

year for the first time left many crestfallen. But,<br />

as our cover feature shows, Carnival is a lot more<br />

than a street party: it’s a state of mind that those<br />

at its heart carry into everyday life. Not only<br />

have the organisers created something uplifting<br />

with their digital offering for <strong>2020</strong>, it’s estimated<br />

that more people than ever will attend this year,<br />

sampling Carnival culture from their homes.<br />

Photographer Pablo Allison (page 42) had a lifechanging<br />

experience in the unexpected setting<br />

of a Mexican freight train. <strong>The</strong> British artist<br />

says that, despite being imprisoned and held<br />

at gunpoint, riding on top of these fast-moving<br />

trains to document the journeys of thousands<br />

of migrants is making him a better person.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n there’s the group of the women pushing<br />

back against economic and social restrictions in<br />

Athens as they rediscover the city together on<br />

roller skates (page 48), offering each other support,<br />

solidarity and, most important of all, fun.<br />

And Canadian cave-diver Jill Heinerth<br />

(page 56) knowingly enters difficult waters on<br />

her deep dives into barely accessible caves. But,<br />

she says, the thrill of discovering the unknown<br />

makes the risks well worthwhile.<br />

We hope you enjoy the issue.<br />

CHIIZII<br />

“My relationship with Notting<br />

Hill Carnival has always been<br />

one of joy, freedom and<br />

celebration,” says the<br />

London-born visual artist<br />

and designer, who illustrated<br />

our cover and feature on<br />

Carnival. “Incorporating<br />

imagery and producing<br />

illustrations that are true<br />

to its Caribbean origin and<br />

Black British progression<br />

was not debatable.” Page 30<br />

ALEX KING<br />

<strong>The</strong> British journalist and<br />

documentary filmmaker<br />

moved to Athens in 2017.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re he met female rollerskate<br />

crew Chicks in Bowls,<br />

who became the subject of<br />

a short film, and a feature in<br />

this month’s issue. “I wanted<br />

to show Athens in a way<br />

outsiders haven’t seen it<br />

before,” says King. “<strong>The</strong><br />

result is thanks to the girls.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y really pushed hard and<br />

gave everything!” Page 48<br />

CHIIZII (COVER ARTWORK) SEYE ISIKALU, ALAMY (COVER)<br />

04 THE RED BULLETIN


CONTENTS<br />

<strong>September</strong> <strong>2020</strong><br />

6 Canyon fire: good times in the<br />

birthplace of freestyle MTB<br />

8 Subway surfer: skateboarding the<br />

escalators of Frankfurt’s U-Bahn<br />

10 Rust and play: the WWII wreck<br />

that’s a magnet for Cuban surfers<br />

12 Slack jaws: how one man and his<br />

highwire stunned an Italian village<br />

15 Comedy gold: musician and<br />

stand-up comic Reggie Watts<br />

on what makes him laugh<br />

17 Making music: the machine that<br />

lets you cut and play your own<br />

vinyl records at home<br />

18 <strong>The</strong> Z-Triton: is it a tricycle, or<br />

a boat? Answer: both – and you<br />

can have a kip in it, too<br />

20 Chain reaction: love it or hate it,<br />

there’s no ignoring the divisive<br />

ebike named the Babymaker<br />

MARK LEAVER<br />

22 Jehnny Beth<br />

Talking fears and fantasies with<br />

the multitalented Savages star<br />

24 Gaika<br />

<strong>The</strong> electronic musician who’s<br />

changing the world for the better<br />

26 Jasmin Paris<br />

Snow, exhaustion, pregnancy<br />

– nothing stops this ultrarunner<br />

30 Notting Hill Carnival<br />

Six decades on, it remains<br />

a celebration like no other<br />

42 Pablo Allison<br />

Highlighting the plight of Mexican<br />

migrants in film and graffiti paint<br />

48 CIB Athens<br />

We tear up tarmac with the<br />

all-woman roller-skate crew<br />

56 Jill Heinerth<br />

A deep dive into the Canadian<br />

explorer’s underwater world<br />

68 Fabio Wibmer<br />

From motocross prodigy to<br />

YouTube bike-trick sensation<br />

79 Four months, 10 countries,<br />

more than 11,000km, in<br />

temperatures of 35°C upwards:<br />

the epic continent-crossing<br />

bike adventure known as the<br />

Tour d’Afrique is a punishing<br />

but unmissable experience<br />

83 Graphic statement: a stack of<br />

skateboards inspired by street art<br />

84 Flash point: how strobe therapy<br />

is supercharging the training<br />

and performance of athletes<br />

85 Worth the weight: are you ready<br />

for the smart kettlebell?<br />

86 Rock the block: sound-system<br />

tech for the ultimate house party<br />

48<br />

Greece-ing the wheels: meet the women roller skaters who<br />

are reclaiming the streets and skateparks of Athens<br />

88 Drive time: watches that belong<br />

behind the wheel<br />

89 Glare free: this summer’s most<br />

desirable sunglasses<br />

90 Taking control: all you need<br />

for gaming on the go<br />

91 Game of life: lessons in stoicism<br />

from <strong>The</strong> Last of Us, Part II<br />

94 Essential dates for your calendar<br />

98 Leaps and bounds: parkour<br />

shenanigans in Panama<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 05


STEPHEN SHANNON/RED BULL ILLUME<br />

FARWELL CANYON,<br />

BC, CANADA<br />

Canny<br />

valley<br />

Shooting in Farwell Canyon – a location<br />

he describes as “the birthplace of freeride<br />

mountain biking” – has been a longtime<br />

ambition for British Columbia native Steve<br />

Shannon. Following several failed attempts,<br />

the photographer finally realised his wish<br />

in April last year, accompanied by local<br />

shredder and bike mechanic Cory ‘Coco’<br />

Brunelle. “Hiking out to the top of the line<br />

pre-dawn, we were greeted by a beautiful<br />

sunrise over the Chilcotin River,” he says.<br />

“Having grown up nearby, Coco is very<br />

comfortable riding down the chutes of<br />

Farwell, letting out a little style as he<br />

hurtles to the bottom.”<br />

steveshannonphoto.com<br />

07


FRANKFURT,<br />

GERMANY<br />

One step<br />

beyond<br />

This stunning image, shot prelockdown<br />

by Robert Garo on<br />

Frankfurt’s U-Bahn system, required<br />

patience from both the Croatiaborn<br />

photographer and his subject,<br />

local skater Milan Hruska. “My friend<br />

Milan works just around the corner<br />

[from the station],” says Garo, who is<br />

also based in the German city, “so we<br />

made arrangements to do the shoot.<br />

But we’d underestimated how much<br />

traffic there is during the normal<br />

evening rush hour. In the end, we had<br />

to wait a few hours, until we were<br />

almost alone, to get the final picture.”<br />

robertgaro.net


ROBERT GARO/RED BULL ILLUME<br />

09


WILL SAUNDERS/RED BULL ILLUME<br />

BARACOA, CUBA<br />

Wreck<br />

star<br />

Utah-based photographer Will<br />

Saunders had been documenting a<br />

crew of surfers and skaters in Cuba<br />

for a fortnight when they took him<br />

to one of their favourite spots.<br />

“I couldn’t believe it,” Saunders says<br />

of the rusted wreck. “This place felt<br />

like a spot out of Tony Hawk’s Pro<br />

Skater. We spent the entire morning<br />

making images of this unique wave<br />

and surfing until the swell was gone.<br />

<strong>The</strong> game of this wave is to try to<br />

surf under the bow of the boat while<br />

dragging your hand along its hull<br />

– without getting tetanus. Yojany<br />

[Pérez, the surfer pictured] made<br />

it look too easy.”<br />

willsaundersphoto.com<br />

11


MATTEO PAVANA/RED BULL ILLUME


CASTELMEZZANO,<br />

ITALY<br />

Crossed<br />

lines<br />

Regarded to be one of the<br />

most beautiful villages in Italy,<br />

Castelmezzano in the southern<br />

province of Potenza is a magnet<br />

for tourists. But here was a sight<br />

that neither visitors nor locals<br />

had expected to see: slackliner<br />

Benjamin Kofler walking high above<br />

the rooftops. “Even with the general<br />

noise, I could hear the comments of<br />

the crowd gathered in the Piazza<br />

Emilio Caizzo,” reports Italian<br />

photographer Matteo Pavana, who<br />

took this shot. “One lady at the edge<br />

of the square cried, ‘Oh my God,<br />

I can’t watch those crazy freaks!’”<br />

theverticaleye.com<br />

13


Copyright © <strong>2020</strong> MNA, Inc. All rights reserved.<br />

THE TRACK DOESN’T<br />

MAKE ITSELF FAMOUS.<br />

WHAT ARE YOU BUILDING FOR?<br />

150 years of engineering progress. Check it out at www.BFGoodrichTires.com/150years .


REGGIE WATTS<br />

Playing<br />

for<br />

laughs<br />

<strong>The</strong> versatile US musician<br />

and comic gives his pick<br />

of comedy’s innovators,<br />

past and present<br />

He may be best known as James<br />

Corden’s bandleader on <strong>The</strong> Late<br />

Late Show, but US musician and<br />

comedian Reggie Watts is an allround<br />

entertainer. <strong>The</strong> 48-year-old<br />

made his name performing<br />

experimental stand-up – check out<br />

his 2016 surrealist Netflix special<br />

Spatial – before diversifying into<br />

everything from voice work for<br />

Star Wars: <strong>The</strong> Rise of Skywalker<br />

to launching his own app,<br />

WattsApp, where fans can watch<br />

exclusive content and buy his<br />

unwanted tech gear. On a musical<br />

note, in February this year Watts<br />

and dance producer John Tejada<br />

released a second album of soulful<br />

electronica as Wajatta. Here, Watts<br />

(pictured on the right, with Tejada)<br />

salutes the comedians who broke<br />

new ground and, crucially,<br />

continue to make him laugh…<br />

reggiewatts.com<br />

George Carlin<br />

Class Clown (1972)<br />

Eddie Murphy<br />

Raw (1987)<br />

Whitmer Thomas<br />

<strong>The</strong> Golden One (<strong>2020</strong>)<br />

Eddie Murphy<br />

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)<br />

THE1POINT8 PIERS MARTIN<br />

“Carlin was a philosopher<br />

comedian. His monologue<br />

Seven Words You Can Never<br />

Say on Television showed me<br />

there are other ways to think<br />

about things. A word is a word,<br />

but how is it said and what’s<br />

the context, what’s its origin?<br />

He gave me deeper realisation.<br />

His message is deep in my<br />

operating system.”<br />

“Eddie Murphy invented the<br />

rock-star comedian. When he<br />

came onstage in the all-leather<br />

outfit, to people screaming like<br />

[he was] <strong>The</strong> Beatles, that was<br />

incredible. I heard the cassette<br />

of Raw before I saw the video –<br />

I was 15, on an orchestra trip in<br />

Montana. I loved it because he<br />

was speaking freely and using<br />

a lot of profanity.”<br />

“I tend to avoid books and<br />

comedy specials, because I’m<br />

an improviser and I don’t want<br />

to accidentally use an idea.<br />

But I did catch this HBO special<br />

by Whitmer Thomas. He talks<br />

about mental health issues<br />

and is a very earnest open<br />

book, so it’s comedy but also<br />

drenched in melancholia. He’s<br />

raw and honest, and I like that.”<br />

“That whole [early-’80s] period<br />

for Murphy – Trading Places,<br />

Coming to America, 48 Hours<br />

– was insane, but Beverly<br />

Hills Cop is a perfect movie.<br />

I remember watching the<br />

opening action sequence and<br />

laughing and losing my mind.<br />

He was so cool in his dope<br />

sunglasses and those tight<br />

’80s jeans that fit perfectly.”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 15


WIIINGS FOR<br />

YOUR SUMMER.<br />

WITH THE TASTE OF WATERMELON.<br />

VITALIZES BODY AND MIND.


Go, cut<br />

creator, go:<br />

the mini<br />

dubplate is<br />

finally an<br />

achievable<br />

dream<br />

GAKKEN, PENTAGRAM LOU BOYD<br />

When Yuri Suzuki was a highschool<br />

student in ’90s Tokyo,<br />

he was obsessed with two<br />

things: punk music and vinyl.<br />

“Making a machine to create<br />

my own records was always a<br />

dream for me,” the 40-year-old<br />

Japanese sound artist says.<br />

“As a student, I tried to mend<br />

old cutting machines from junk<br />

sales, but they didn’t work.”<br />

Three decades on, he has<br />

realised his dream, inventing<br />

a device that can cut and play<br />

homemade records.<br />

Suzuki’s Instant Record<br />

Cutting Machine – created<br />

in collaboration with Gakken,<br />

a maker of educational toys<br />

– features two arms: one for<br />

scoring grooves into the vinyl,<br />

the other for playback. “You use<br />

your phone’s headphone jack<br />

to connect via USB,” he says.<br />

“It’s quite a primitive process:<br />

the audio becomes information<br />

in the form of vibrations, and<br />

the stylus engraves this into the<br />

vinyl. This project isn’t about<br />

making super hi-fi equipment;<br />

it sounds DIY and lo-fi.”<br />

Some people are also using it<br />

to create new music. “<strong>The</strong>re’s<br />

a DJ who records breaks with<br />

the machine during live sets,”<br />

says Suzuki. “He quickly cuts<br />

them onto a 5in [13cm] record,<br />

which he then uses in his set,<br />

so the record maker is almost<br />

a musical instrument.” Others<br />

have used different surfaces:<br />

“One thing I wasn’t expecting<br />

was people cutting tracks onto<br />

CDs. I’m sure all families have a<br />

bunch of old CDs they don’t use<br />

any more – now they can turn<br />

them into unique 5in records.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> death of vinyl has long<br />

been touted, but with each year<br />

interest seems to grow. “As a<br />

teenager, I was always making<br />

mixtapes for my friends,” says<br />

Suzuki. “It’s that feeling that<br />

makes people still love vinyl.<br />

Sending an online song doesn’t<br />

feel valuable, but a physical<br />

record you need to place the<br />

needle on – especially one<br />

you’ve made yourself – that<br />

still feels quite special.”<br />

yurisuzuki.com/design-studio/<br />

easyrecordmaker<br />

RECORD-CUTTING MACHINE<br />

Vinyl fantasy<br />

Digital streaming killed the homemade<br />

mixtape. But one audio buff has revived the<br />

personal touch with his latest invention<br />

Stylus icon: Suzuki and his IRCM (as we like to call it)<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 17


<strong>The</strong> Z-Triton:<br />

imagine the<br />

Transformers<br />

movies<br />

remade on a<br />

tight budget<br />

Z-TRITON<br />

Floating an idea<br />

Applying the tiny-home concept to adventure travel, this amphibious<br />

tricycle/caravan could be the answer to self-distancing holidays<br />

A few years ago, when Latvian<br />

urban designer Aigars Lauzis<br />

conceived the Z-Triton – a mix<br />

of boat, electric tricycle and<br />

adventure van – the idea of<br />

travelling in a self-contained<br />

mini-cabin would have<br />

appeared odd to most people.<br />

But fast-forward to <strong>2020</strong>, and<br />

as the global pandemic stalls<br />

the world’s travel plans, Lauzis’<br />

invention seems prescient.<br />

<strong>The</strong> concept came to Lauzis<br />

during a four-year, 30,000km<br />

cycling trip from London to<br />

Tokyo as he pondered how to<br />

recreate his journey as a family<br />

experience. “I came up with<br />

the idea for an amphibious tiny<br />

home that is completely solarpowered<br />

and electric,” he says.<br />

“You can cycle, sail and be fully<br />

immersed in nature, with a little<br />

camper to sleep in.”<br />

Cabin<br />

fever: all<br />

the thrills<br />

of cycling<br />

around the<br />

world and<br />

sleeping<br />

under the<br />

stars, but<br />

without the<br />

tent pegs<br />

It may look like an big toy boat,<br />

but the Z-Triton squeezes in a<br />

lot of technology. <strong>The</strong> trike can<br />

navigate terrain at 40kph, and<br />

it turns into a motorboat for<br />

freshwater sailing. <strong>The</strong> cabin<br />

has its own lights, heating, and<br />

cooking facilities. Out front,<br />

there’s room for one passenger<br />

while the other cycles, with an<br />

extra seat available for pets.<br />

This is far from Lauzis’ first<br />

‘big idea’; previous projects<br />

include a trailer that becomes a<br />

narrow boat, and the Z-Bioloo –<br />

an outdoor toilet that composts<br />

human waste to feed a lavender<br />

bed on its roof, then funnels<br />

the fragrant floral air back in<br />

as a natural air freshener.<br />

Lauzis hopes the Z-Triton will<br />

inspire a new trend in humanpowered<br />

adventure travel.<br />

“While it is electrically assisted,<br />

you burn your own battery,” he<br />

says, “I want to be fit and power<br />

my adventures with my own<br />

energy – to create something<br />

fun and a bit crazy that could<br />

tackle world problems.”<br />

zeltini.com<br />

AIGARS LAUZIS, GATIS PRIEDNIEKS-MELNACIS LOU BOYD<br />

18 THE RED BULLETIN


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will dazzle your followers. Engineered Design never looked more bling!<br />

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Go green:<br />

there are<br />

two models<br />

– the PRO<br />

(pictured)<br />

has higher<br />

specs<br />

BABYMAKER<br />

<strong>The</strong> Marmite bike<br />

Some cyclists adore it, others absolutely despise it. Why is this<br />

crowdfunded ebike attracting so much love and hate online?<br />

American. “<strong>The</strong>y inspired us to<br />

make something that was fast<br />

but would also make people<br />

go, ‘Whoa, what is that? I want<br />

it.’” And fast it is. With a 250w<br />

motor and a top speed of 40kph,<br />

the Babymaker is technically<br />

classified as a moped in the <strong>UK</strong><br />

and Europe, so it requires a<br />

driving licence, road tax and<br />

insurance for road-legal riding.<br />

Meanwhile, the bike<br />

industry dismissed Rast and<br />

Leaviss’ design, mocking<br />

the lack of a spec sheet or<br />

geometry chart. Other parts of<br />

the internet took offence at its<br />

name, but the duo say this was<br />

merely a means of grabbing<br />

maximum attention. It got just<br />

that, in the form of increased<br />

financial backing. “Any industry<br />

is going to be resistant to<br />

change,” says Rast, “especially<br />

when there’s money involved<br />

and it gets redistributed from<br />

the guys selling $10,000 road<br />

bikes to Pete and Rob and their<br />

crazy $1,000 ebike.”<br />

With fundraising closed,<br />

the bikes will start shipping in<br />

December. Rast is confident<br />

people will be as in love with<br />

the bike as he is. “<strong>The</strong> problem<br />

with the cycling industry is,<br />

it’s so niche that it’s no longer<br />

approachable for the average<br />

person,” he says. “You’re not<br />

going to put the Babymaker<br />

in the Tour de France. We’re<br />

just here to have some fun.”<br />

flx.bike<br />

Rarely has a cycling product<br />

divided opinion as sharply as<br />

the Babymaker, from San<br />

Diego-based startup FLX Bike.<br />

<strong>The</strong> brightly coloured ebike<br />

concept raised more than<br />

£10 million on IndieGoGo –<br />

the largest amount on the<br />

crowdfunding platform this<br />

year so far – but before the<br />

first prototypes had even<br />

shipped, it had received a lot of<br />

negative feedback from inside<br />

and outside the bike industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Babymaker is the<br />

brainchild of Rob Rast and<br />

Peter Leaviss, who met by<br />

chance while sofa-surfing in<br />

China. “I was a college dropout<br />

who bought a one-way ticket in<br />

2009 to learn about life,” says<br />

Rast. “I got a message from<br />

this British guy who wanted to<br />

rent my room out. Peter shows<br />

up at 2am and we hit it off.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> pair bonded over their<br />

joint love of “bikes, speed and<br />

adventure”, resulting in the<br />

concept for a new type of ebike<br />

that harnesses the power of an<br />

engine in something as sleek as<br />

a city single-speed. “We were<br />

seeing all these little electric<br />

scooters around,” says the<br />

Baby fathers: Rob Rast (left) and Peter Leaviss of FLX Bike<br />

STEALINGLIGHT PRODUCTIONS LOU BOYD<br />

20 THE RED BULLETIN


Jehnny Beth<br />

Renaissance<br />

woman<br />

<strong>The</strong> multitalented Savages singer says she<br />

likes doing the wrong thing. Judging by her<br />

latest work, that impulse is steering her right<br />

Words MARCEL ANDERS<br />

Photography XAVIER ARIAS<br />

Jehnny Beth, best known as the<br />

frontwoman of <strong>UK</strong> post-punk band<br />

Savages, is sitting at her home in<br />

Paris mid-lockdown, pondering<br />

positives of the new normal. “Maybe<br />

we need to reset our priorities,” she<br />

says. “This might make us realise we<br />

need to slow down a bit.”<br />

It’s hard to imagine Beth – real<br />

name Camille Berthomier – slowing<br />

down. <strong>The</strong> 35-year-old is a social<br />

animal, which she attributes to<br />

mingling with creative types – her<br />

parents were theatre directors – at<br />

the family home in Poitiers, western<br />

France, during her youth. It’s partly<br />

why she now hosts Echoes, a chat<br />

show on the European TV network<br />

ARTE, for which she’s interviewed the<br />

likes of Primal Scream and IDLES.<br />

“I love it,” she says. “I always feel<br />

inspired after talking to other artists<br />

about what they do.”<br />

Beth also hosts a radio show on<br />

Beats 1; acts in arthouse movies;<br />

plays in another band, John & Jehn;<br />

runs her own label; released her<br />

debut solo album, To Love Is To Live,<br />

in June; and has just published<br />

a collection of erotic short stories,<br />

titled C.A.L.M: Crimes Against Love<br />

Memories. Here, she talks about<br />

the challenge of change, her love<br />

of risk-taking, and why we should<br />

all embrace our fantasies…<br />

the red bulletin: You have a lot<br />

of projects on the go. How many<br />

outlets does Jehnny Beth need?<br />

jehnny beth: I think it’s all down<br />

to curiosity. When people come with<br />

a project unlike anything I’ve done<br />

before, I think, “Why not?” I have<br />

no idea if I’m up to the task, but I’m<br />

going to do everything I can to make<br />

it work. Sometimes you do things<br />

that are a bit out of character, but<br />

I feel that the world is a little bit<br />

more accepting of that nowadays.<br />

You recently released your solo<br />

debut. What prompted that?<br />

It was time for me to take a risk. I<br />

didn’t want to be the kind of singer<br />

who is enslaved to a band. I wanted<br />

to see what I was worth on my own.<br />

It felt like a risk, and I was definitely<br />

advised that it might be, but that’s<br />

something I’ve often heard during<br />

my career. I like the sensation of<br />

starting from scratch, of doing the<br />

wrong thing – it’s kind of exciting.<br />

<strong>The</strong> album focuses on your fears<br />

and insecurities. Was it difficult<br />

turning the spotlight on yourself?<br />

If I was going to make a personal<br />

record, I had to commit to showing<br />

every part of myself, even those<br />

I was most ashamed of. “If you’re<br />

going to try, go all the way” – that’s<br />

the [Charles] Bukowski line, isn’t it?<br />

That doesn’t mean there was no<br />

resistance; I think every human<br />

being fights against change initially.<br />

But I don’t want to make art or<br />

music that isn’t going to change me.<br />

Was that also the allure of your<br />

music chat show, Echoes?<br />

[Talking to other musicians] is<br />

something I do anyway; if I like a<br />

new artist, I’ll write to them and say,<br />

“Hey, I love what you’re doing.”<br />

When I started Savages, artists like<br />

Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye [both<br />

US punk icons] and PJ Harvey<br />

would come and talk to me. <strong>The</strong>ir<br />

generosity influenced me – having<br />

that openness to just tap someone<br />

on the shoulder and say, “Hey, I’m<br />

here, I see you, I see what you’re<br />

doing, and I have questions.”<br />

What inspired your new collection<br />

of erotic short stories?<br />

I’m interested in the subject of<br />

sexuality, and in fantasies and the<br />

part that imagination plays in them.<br />

It all started when Johnny Hostile<br />

[Beth’s longtime partner and<br />

producer] and I moved to Paris<br />

three years ago. He picked up<br />

photography as a new medium and<br />

took pictures of me and friends.<br />

<strong>The</strong> images deal with the subject of<br />

sexuality and the liberation of the<br />

body. Suddenly, I realised people<br />

are free to speak and share and talk<br />

about their fantasies, and I thought<br />

that was kind of a goldmine for<br />

writing. Not that it’s a new subject<br />

– erotic literature is enormous.<br />

What were you hoping to add to<br />

the genre?<br />

I think young people are very<br />

interested in finding new modes of<br />

loving. All I’m trying to do is observe<br />

and offer alternatives to family, to<br />

monogamy, to this generational<br />

inheritance that creates a form of<br />

imprisonment. If we want to talk<br />

about women’s liberation, we have<br />

to talk about the liberation of the<br />

couple, of the relationship – I think<br />

they go hand in hand.<br />

So we should explore our fantasies?<br />

Why not? I don’t think there’s a<br />

reason to oppress them – that’s<br />

definitely not healthy. I believe it’s<br />

better to be creative with them.<br />

Ever considered becoming more<br />

of a writer than a performer?<br />

I definitely feel that I want to write<br />

more. I’ve got another idea for a<br />

book. I don’t know if it will get me<br />

anywhere, but you have to try.<br />

Which goes back to taking risks…<br />

Yeah. You’ve just got to make the<br />

most of life. Enjoy it to the fullest.<br />

Jehnny Beth’s book C.A.L.M: Crimes<br />

Against Love Memories is out now;<br />

jehnnybeth.com<br />

22 THE RED BULLETIN


”I don’t want<br />

to make art<br />

or music that<br />

isn’t going to<br />

change me”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 23


Gaika<br />

Power is in<br />

our hands<br />

Gaika is a visionary musician and activist on<br />

a mission to make the world better. Here, the<br />

Londoner reveals how we all can take part<br />

Words FLORIAN OBKIRCHER<br />

For Gaika Tavares, life and art are<br />

intrinsically linked. Some musicians<br />

provide the listener with a lighthearted<br />

escape from the world’s<br />

turmoil; the South-London based<br />

artist, director and political activist<br />

known simply as Gaika, does the<br />

opposite. With futuristic tunes<br />

that blend dancehall, rap and<br />

experimental R&B, Gaika processes<br />

his observations and experiences<br />

as a Black man living in the <strong>UK</strong>.<br />

This approach has earned the<br />

30-year-old a reputation as electronic<br />

music’s dark prophet. On Blasphemer,<br />

a song from his 2015 debut mixtape,<br />

the son of Jamaican and Grenadian<br />

parents repeats the line “I can’t<br />

breathe”, a sentence that gained<br />

tragic notoriety after the killing of<br />

American George Floyd in May this<br />

year. In his 2017 short story <strong>The</strong><br />

Spectacular Empire, Gaika envisions<br />

cities shaken by demonstrations and<br />

civil unrest over police brutality.<br />

However, on Seguridad, the<br />

follow-up to his critically acclaimed<br />

2018 debut album Basic Volume,<br />

optimism prevails. Gaika sees the<br />

current situation as an opportunity<br />

to make the world a fairer place.<br />

the red bulletin: Do you think<br />

the perception of your music as<br />

dark and apocalyptic is fair?<br />

gaika: I get frustrated when people<br />

view my work that way. I don’t think<br />

my songs are negative. I focus on the<br />

future, like, “OK, what can we do<br />

now?” We’re at a juncture where we<br />

decide what happens in this new<br />

version of the world. And that starts<br />

with the people. That starts with<br />

mutual aid, with looking at our<br />

neighbours, our friends and family<br />

and believing we have collective<br />

power. I’ve always felt that we can<br />

change things for the better.<br />

Your recent Nine Nights project<br />

[a series of live-streamed events<br />

in aid of Black-focused charities]<br />

seems a good example…<br />

I don’t believe that charity is the<br />

answer, but at the same time I have<br />

to ask the question: what are the<br />

real fruits of my labour, and who<br />

does it benefit? All the money that<br />

comes from people who want to<br />

listen to my songs, where does it<br />

end up? It ends up on the wrist of<br />

some hedge-fund guy. Let’s get real,<br />

that’s what happens in music. And<br />

I believe our creative labour should<br />

be used to benefit artists and the<br />

communities they’ve come from.<br />

But don’t you need the likes of<br />

Spotify to increase your audience<br />

and spread this message further?<br />

I was signed to [renowned electronic<br />

music label] Warp Records, and<br />

they made their business rely on<br />

Spotify. I didn’t agree with that, so<br />

I’m no longer signed to Warp. It’s<br />

that simple. Yes, I want to be heard<br />

by a lot of people, but what’s more<br />

important to me is actually being<br />

able to make a valuable contribution<br />

to our society. I speak through<br />

platforms like <strong>Red</strong> Bull because<br />

I think it’s important that my<br />

message gets heard, but at the same<br />

time I’m doing things in my life to<br />

balance that. In that way, in some<br />

sense we hold these entities to<br />

account. I focus on the positive<br />

bits I can do, rather than thinking,<br />

“Oh, it’s hopeless.”<br />

What if artists feel they’re too<br />

small to have an influence?<br />

I don’t believe market forces are<br />

sacred. It’s only human beings who<br />

make the decisions in these big<br />

companies. If we can influence those<br />

decisions, we’ve got our part to play.<br />

Ultimately, we have the power –<br />

we’re the ones who make the songs<br />

that the people like. It’s just about<br />

whether you do the harder thing<br />

or [you’re happy] to live in this<br />

bubble of materialism and non-stop<br />

hedonism. I don’t want to stand in<br />

judgement of people, but for me<br />

it’s not a difficult decision.<br />

Can music can be a positive force<br />

for change in the current climate?<br />

I don’t think it’s the only way, but it<br />

has a part to play. I mean, what are<br />

we doing? This coronavirus thing,<br />

it showed we’re not invincible. Like,<br />

humanity can get into situations<br />

of danger. So, are we going to live<br />

together, or will we continue to<br />

exploit the earth and motor towards<br />

extinction? And those of us who are<br />

good at communicating – artists,<br />

musicians – what are we trying to<br />

say? What do we do with the wealth<br />

that music generates? I think music<br />

is definitely part of this moment.<br />

How can consumers of music<br />

make a difference?<br />

I don’t aim to preach, but it comes<br />

down to this: where you spend your<br />

money has an impact. If you spend<br />

your money with people who are<br />

engaged in conscious business, we<br />

can force bigger companies to do<br />

the same and stop destroying the<br />

natural environment or tolerating<br />

racism. We’ve always been told we’ll<br />

never be able to compete with big<br />

businesses, but I don’t think that’s<br />

true. People pay attention, they look<br />

at a company’s behaviour, and they<br />

decide if they want to support them<br />

with their money. That is power,<br />

and we need to make use of it.<br />

Gaika’s latest album, Seguridad,<br />

is out now on NAAFI, the label run<br />

by the socially active Mexican DJ<br />

collective of the same name;<br />

naafi.bandcamp.com<br />

EMMANUEL S<br />

24 THE RED BULLETIN


“I’ve always<br />

felt that we<br />

can change<br />

things for<br />

the better”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 25


Jasmin Paris<br />

Tough mother<br />

<strong>The</strong> British ultrarunning champion on how<br />

having a child gave her the motivation to win<br />

Words FLORIAN OBKIRCHER<br />

of mud; you see animals like foxes<br />

and birds, too. I really like running<br />

up a hill with the challenge of<br />

reaching the top, the feeling of<br />

acceleration, of running along<br />

a ridge and it stretching in all<br />

directions. And then there’s the<br />

sunrise. I find it hard to imagine<br />

a situation better than that.<br />

In January last year, British runner<br />

Jasmin Paris became the first<br />

woman to win the Spine Race, a<br />

gruelling 431km ultramarathon<br />

along the Pennine Way – crossing<br />

the hills known as “the backbone of<br />

England” – from the Peak District<br />

to just inside the Scottish border.<br />

She completed the course in 83<br />

hours and 12 minutes, smashing the<br />

previous men’s record by more than<br />

12 hours and beating her nearest<br />

male rival by 15 hours. It was one<br />

of the best moments of her life, but<br />

not the greatest – that would be<br />

giving birth to her daughter, Rowan,<br />

just over a year earlier. Paris spent<br />

her rest stops at aid stations along<br />

the route, expressing milk for her<br />

then 13-month-old child.<br />

Amazingly, the 36-year-old<br />

doesn’t consider herself a<br />

professional athlete, despite having<br />

achieved a number of race records<br />

in her career, winning the British<br />

Fell Running Championship in 2015<br />

and 2018, and taking the crown<br />

in the Sky Extreme category of<br />

the 2016 Skyrunner World Series.<br />

“I have a talent for endurance and<br />

long-distance running, but I’m a<br />

normal person with a full-time job,”<br />

says Paris, who works as a vet at the<br />

University of Edinburgh. “I just do<br />

the thing I love, alongside work,<br />

and with a child running around.<br />

I eat normal food, and I drink<br />

alcohol when I’m not pregnant.”<br />

To compete in the Spine Race,<br />

she had to take a week off from her<br />

PhD in veterinary science. And yet,<br />

it’s the narrative of Paris as a new<br />

mother besting men at their own<br />

game that grabbed the headlines.<br />

Her victory in the Spine Race came<br />

in a year that saw a number of<br />

women triumph in previously<br />

male-dominated ultra-disciplines<br />

– among them, German cyclist<br />

Fiona Kolbinger, who won the<br />

Transcontinental Race through<br />

Europe (4,000km in just over<br />

10 days), and US swimmer Sarah<br />

Thomas, who became the first<br />

person to swim the English Channel<br />

four times non-stop (215km in<br />

around 54 hours).<br />

Paris has plenty to say on why<br />

women are more than capable of<br />

beating men in sport, and how<br />

her motherhood may even be an<br />

advantage. As for her position as<br />

a role model for sporting mothers,<br />

she’s unfazed by it all. “I’m not<br />

bothered about being a celebrity,<br />

but people find it helpful,” she says.<br />

“Running just makes me happy, and<br />

having that time for myself makes<br />

it easier to cope with the challenges<br />

of work and having a small child.”<br />

the red bulletin: When did your<br />

passion for running begin?<br />

jasmin paris: I’ve always been into<br />

hill walking, and the differences<br />

between that and trail running<br />

aren’t huge. I discovered it when<br />

I was working in Glossop in the<br />

Peak District [in 2008] as a way<br />

of getting onto the hills quicker.<br />

Within an hour, I could be on the<br />

hill and back again before breakfast.<br />

That’s pretty special. Ultrarunning<br />

was a natural progression, but trail<br />

running is what I love.<br />

What is it about the hills that<br />

draws you to them?<br />

Mountains give me a sense of<br />

perspective – there’s a timelessness<br />

that makes all the things we worry<br />

about seem irrelevant. You’re<br />

running in your own world, with the<br />

smell of rain, the mist, the sloshing<br />

Did starting a family change all<br />

of that for you?<br />

I competed in a hill race 10 days<br />

before the birth, and I ran the park<br />

run three days before. I ran the day<br />

I went into labour, too. It’s my way<br />

of life and it makes me feel good<br />

about myself. It was just natural<br />

that I came back to running<br />

afterwards. <strong>The</strong> post-birth recovery<br />

was fairly quick, then I was back<br />

into it. I started gently jogging four<br />

weeks after Rowan was born.<br />

You’ve said it’s important to<br />

have something else in your life<br />

besides being a parent…<br />

Being a mum is the best thing that’s<br />

ever happened to me, but having<br />

something I’m passionate about<br />

makes me a better mum. Sometimes<br />

I look at the way our society works,<br />

with parents spending their whole<br />

life driving their kids from one place<br />

to the next. That’s great, because<br />

they’re encouraging the child, but<br />

I’m not sure it’s the best example for<br />

the child to feel that’s the way the<br />

world works – that everything just<br />

revolves around them. It’s good for<br />

them to see their parents enjoying<br />

their own lives, because that’s what<br />

you want for them, too – to grow up<br />

being passionate about something<br />

they want to be.<br />

What was the toughest moment<br />

of the Spine Race for you?<br />

My main worry on the start line<br />

wasn’t my physical fitness, or breast<br />

milk, it was leaving my daughter for<br />

that length of time. <strong>The</strong> first night<br />

was the hardest, because I already<br />

felt tired and still had more than<br />

200 miles [320km] to run to see<br />

Rowan. You’d think you’d get more<br />

and more tired, but on the last day<br />

I knew I was leading the race and<br />

I’d see my daughter that evening. It<br />

was actually an advantage, because<br />

it kept me moving.<br />

SKYLINE SCOTLAND/NO LIMITS PHOTOGRAPHY<br />

26 THE RED BULLETIN


“<strong>The</strong> real<br />

heroes are<br />

the runners<br />

at the back<br />

of the field”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 27


“Having<br />

this passion<br />

makes me a<br />

better mum”<br />

Unstoppable: inclement weather is<br />

like water off an ultrarunner’s back<br />

for an athlete such as Paris, pictured<br />

here en route to her record-breaking<br />

triumph in last year’s Spine Race;<br />

(below left) Paris poses with her<br />

very muddy tools of the trade;<br />

(below right) competing in the<br />

2018 Glen Coe Skyline race, where<br />

she took second place<br />

28 THE RED BULLETIN


Jasmin Paris<br />

MICK KENYON, PETE AYLWARD, JAMES KIRBY<br />

What’s it like in those moments of<br />

absolute exhaustion?<br />

I was hallucinating. Shapes morph and<br />

change. In a way, it was an interesting<br />

distraction. When I was getting close to<br />

the very end, it looked like there were<br />

people at the side of the road. It was<br />

only trees, but your mind starts<br />

showing you things you want to see.<br />

Your main rival, Spanish runner<br />

and 2013 men’s champion Eugeni<br />

Roselló Solé, quit just 6km from the<br />

finish. What would have been going<br />

through his mind?<br />

When you’re trying to win a race like<br />

the Spine, sometimes you overstep the<br />

mark. Eugene was chasing me all<br />

through the night before, and I think<br />

he pushed himself to the limit. I was<br />

wearing every item of clothing I had<br />

– six layers, three pairs of leggings –<br />

but it’s difficult to stay warm when<br />

you’re not moving fast. He had less<br />

gear than me. That’s part of your<br />

decision-making – how much weight<br />

you’re carrying, how fast you’re moving<br />

– and ultimately it didn’t pay off [for<br />

him]. That night, it started snowing<br />

and the temperature was way below<br />

zero. If you’re getting too cold and<br />

you’re moving too slowly, it’s a vicious<br />

circle. I’m just glad he was rescued and<br />

safe in the end.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s been a lot of talk about<br />

women outperforming men in ultra<br />

events. What’s your take?<br />

I get this question a lot. I’m not a<br />

scientist. I mean, I am a scientist, but<br />

this is not my area of studies. I’ve found<br />

that the longer the race, the more<br />

competitive I can be with men. If you’re<br />

running a short race, it comes down<br />

to strength and aerobics. With long<br />

distances, stamina is obviously<br />

important, but 50 per cent of it is in<br />

your head – in a 24-hour race, you’ll go<br />

through bad stretches, but it’s about<br />

learning that you’ll come out the other<br />

side feeling better again. It’s meditative.<br />

In my experience, the women who turn<br />

up at long races, even if they’re just 10<br />

per cent of the field, are usually better<br />

prepared. <strong>The</strong>y’re less likely to have<br />

this macho attitude of “how hard can<br />

it be?” At the Dragon’s Back Race in<br />

Wales, I was told that if you’re a man<br />

you have a 50 per cent chance of<br />

finishing; if you’re a woman, you have<br />

a 90 per cent chance.<br />

How can we change sport so more<br />

women get involved?<br />

At races, especially the bigger ones,<br />

a readjustment in terms of gender<br />

equality is due. <strong>The</strong>re needs to be<br />

equal prize money and equal trophies<br />

for women. It doesn’t matter if there<br />

are fewer women taking part – that’s<br />

not an excuse. It has to start with<br />

everything being made equal, then<br />

more women will join.<br />

Your success in the Spine Race drew<br />

attention to mothers in sport…<br />

I’ve had so much positive feedback<br />

from people telling me their own<br />

personal stories and how they’ve<br />

been inspired, including lots of mums,<br />

some of them in breastfeeding groups.<br />

It’s just this message about women,<br />

about mothers, doing sport. I do my<br />

best to support that. Like with This<br />

Mum Runs, a volunteer-led company<br />

dedicated to getting more women out<br />

running. It is a real problem – a lot<br />

of women think they can’t do sports,<br />

and some have issues with their body<br />

image. I hope that people like me will<br />

help to change that, so this movement<br />

is aimed at getting mums running<br />

together as a social thing. Regardless<br />

of your gender, sport shouldn’t be<br />

about being good – it should be about<br />

taking part and enjoying it. Sport<br />

in schools shouldn’t be about the<br />

competitive element.<br />

Who inspires you?<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are certainly some women<br />

I admire a lot. [British fell runner]<br />

Helene Diamantides raised the profile<br />

of women in the early days of the<br />

sport. And [Scottish skyrunner]<br />

Angela Mudge. But they didn’t make<br />

me start running – that came from the<br />

love of it. It sounds corny, but I feel<br />

more inspired by the people at the<br />

back of the field. <strong>The</strong>y generally run<br />

twice as long as those at the front.<br />

I’d finish in eight or nine hours and<br />

have time to rest, eat, relax and sleep;<br />

they’re running 16-18 hours a day<br />

with six hours to eat, sleep, change<br />

clothes and set off again. <strong>The</strong>y don’t<br />

have the promise of winning and<br />

fame, and the aid stations are<br />

depleted of the best food by the time<br />

they reach them, yet the spirit they<br />

show… <strong>The</strong>y’re the real heroes. I get<br />

most of my motivation from them.<br />

Twitter: @JasminKParis<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 29


AND THE<br />

BEAT<br />

GOES ON<br />

In the six decades of its existence,<br />

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL has faced challenges<br />

from many quarters. But this annual celebration<br />

of Caribbean culture has prevailed. This year,<br />

although the traditional live event has been put<br />

on hold, the story continues…<br />

Words GEORGIA CHAMBERS<br />

Artwork CHIIZII<br />

FLORIAN OBKIRCHER (ADDITIONAL WORDS)<br />

30 THE RED BULLETIN


Notting Hill Carnival<br />

“Carnival is a<br />

reminder that<br />

it’s possible<br />

for people to<br />

be together<br />

and unite”<br />

his summer has been a quiet one<br />

for fans of live music because of the<br />

pandemic. But there is one festival<br />

that has, in its rich history, often<br />

managed to find opportunity when<br />

faced with setbacks. When, in 1959,<br />

activist Claudia Jones staged the<br />

celebration of Caribbean culture<br />

that would become the Notting Hill<br />

Carnival, it was a reaction to race<br />

riots in the neighbourhood, a call<br />

for peace and unity within the local<br />

community. Over the past six<br />

decades, the event has grown far<br />

beyond anything Jones could have<br />

imagined. Carnival is now the world’s<br />

second-biggest street festival, with<br />

40,000 volunteers and more than<br />

a million visitors each year, adding<br />

£93 million to the <strong>UK</strong> economy.<br />

In <strong>2020</strong>, the live event has been<br />

cancelled, but Carnival is far from<br />

over. Organisers are busy creating<br />

its first digital edition, where, over<br />

August Bank Holiday weekend, mas<br />

bands, steel bands, sound systems,<br />

dancers and DJs will be streamed<br />

live to the world, giving millions<br />

a deeper insight into what Carnival<br />

culture is all about. Because Notting<br />

Hill Carnival has always been more<br />

than a street party; it’s a living<br />

history. Here, eight people involved in<br />

different aspects of Carnival explain<br />

how it has helped to shape their lives.<br />

nhcarnival.org<br />

MATTHEW<br />

PHILLIP<br />

CHIEF EXECUTIVE<br />

OFFICER, NOTTING<br />

HILL CARNIVAL<br />

Matthew Phillip doesn’t<br />

remember his first Carnival.<br />

At the age of just two years<br />

old, he witnessed the<br />

festivities from his buggy.<br />

Such an early introduction<br />

isn’t surprising when you<br />

learn that he’s the son of<br />

Notting Hill Carnival veteran<br />

Clive Phillip (see page 35).<br />

Matthew’s first Carnival<br />

memories are as an eightyear-old.<br />

“I would wear a<br />

costume and sit on a float as<br />

it went around the parade,”<br />

he remembers. “Rather than<br />

there being a set route, the<br />

band would be based on All<br />

Saints Road. <strong>The</strong>re would be<br />

music playing, and when the<br />

steel band felt like it they’d<br />

get on the float. <strong>The</strong>re were<br />

no trucks pulling the floats<br />

– people would push them.<br />

It was ultimately very<br />

environmentally friendly!”<br />

Needless to say, presentday<br />

Carnival is a very<br />

different affair, with more<br />

than a million visitors each<br />

year (making it second only<br />

to Rio in the big league of<br />

street festivals) and more than<br />

25,000 performers, 15,000<br />

handmade costumes, 250<br />

food stalls, 70 bands and 35<br />

sound systems. And Matthew<br />

is the man who makes the<br />

spectacle happen. <strong>The</strong><br />

48-year-old is humble when<br />

32 THE RED BULLETIN


discussing his role, however.<br />

“I try to make sure everyone’s<br />

voices are heard, to steer the<br />

event in a way that everyone<br />

can buy into and feel that<br />

they’re part of it,” he says. “If<br />

there was somebody leading<br />

and saying, ‘OK, this is what<br />

we’re going to do,’ that<br />

wouldn’t be what Carnival<br />

represents. Carnival has<br />

grown organically.”<br />

Notting Hill Carnival has<br />

deep roots in London and<br />

beyond. As a reaction to<br />

the Notting Hill race riots<br />

the previous year, in 1959<br />

Trinidadian journalist and<br />

human-rights activist Claudia<br />

Jones staged an indoor<br />

Caribbean Carnival at<br />

London’s St Pancras Town<br />

Hall. Seven years later,<br />

community activist Rhaune<br />

Laslett took the idea<br />

outdoors and created the<br />

first Notting Hill Carnival,<br />

which was attended by 500<br />

people. <strong>The</strong> aim of the event,<br />

originally organised for<br />

children, was to promote<br />

integration and cultural<br />

exchange through the<br />

involvement of local residents<br />

who had emigrated to the<br />

area from the West Indies.<br />

It’s this 54-year legacy that<br />

has made the cancellation<br />

of the <strong>2020</strong> Carnival – the<br />

first in its history, as a<br />

consequence of COVID-19<br />

restrictions – all the more<br />

painful. “If you’d asked me a<br />

year ago, I would have said<br />

there was nothing that could<br />

ever cancel Carnival,” says<br />

Matthew. “But in the interests<br />

of safety, and particularly<br />

the way [COVID-19] has<br />

been affecting the Black<br />

community, there was<br />

nothing else we could do.<br />

It wouldn’t have been wise<br />

to continue.”<br />

Rather than accept defeat,<br />

however, Matthew and his<br />

team decided to turn this<br />

difficult situation into a new<br />

opportunity – the chance to<br />

take Notting Hill Carnival<br />

global for the very first time.<br />

At the time of our interview,<br />

Matthew and a crew of<br />

around 30 directors, camera<br />

operators and others are<br />

preparing to shoot the trailer<br />

for what will be Carnival’s<br />

first digital edition. “We plan<br />

to show people around the<br />

world what Carnival is about,<br />

and what it has to offer, in<br />

more detail than you’d be<br />

able to see if you came in<br />

person. You’ll be able to see<br />

performances and also get an<br />

understanding of the history<br />

behind the costumes, the<br />

steel pan and the artists.”<br />

For Matthew, giving<br />

people an insight into<br />

Carnival’s roots and processes<br />

is an integral part of his work<br />

towards greater tolerance and<br />

an anti-racist society. “Recent<br />

events have shown that<br />

actually we haven’t come as<br />

far as we would hope,” he<br />

says. “Racism today is much<br />

more subtle; it’s behind<br />

closed doors, it’s systemic.<br />

Carnival is a reminder that all<br />

this diversity can exist in the<br />

same space and we can be at<br />

ease with each other; that it<br />

is possible for people to be<br />

together and unite, no matter<br />

the colour of their skin.”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 33


“I love telling<br />

stories with my<br />

costumes”<br />

CLARY<br />

SALANDY<br />

COSTUME DESIGNER,<br />

MAHOGANY CARNIVAL ARTS<br />

Clary Salandy came to England from<br />

Trinidad as a child. It had always been<br />

her intention to study music, but when<br />

then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher<br />

raised university fees for overseas students,<br />

art was the less expensive option.<br />

“I applied to do theatre design at<br />

the Wimbledon School of Art,” Clary<br />

remembers. “In my interview, they asked<br />

me, ‘You don’t know anything about<br />

theatre – why are you applying?’ So<br />

I said, ‘I’m from Trinidad and we do<br />

this street theatre thing.’ I was able to<br />

turn that interview into a discussion<br />

on Carnival, and they took me on.”<br />

Today, Clary is one of the <strong>UK</strong>’s most<br />

accomplished costume designers. She<br />

has taught at the renowned London art<br />

school Central St Martins and created<br />

costumes for prestigious events including<br />

the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012<br />

and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It all<br />

began with a passion for Carnival. In<br />

1989, she formed Mahogany, a Carnival<br />

arts organisation that became known<br />

for its spectacular costumes, some of<br />

them 15ft high. Mahogany lends its<br />

talents to events worldwide, but there<br />

will always be a special place for<br />

Notting Hill Carnival because of its<br />

importance to the community.<br />

“A lot of people who started with us in<br />

1989 are still with us, and their children<br />

are doing it now, too,” says Clary. “That’s<br />

what we want: a culture that has a<br />

future, and where these skills and values<br />

get passed on and on. That’s really<br />

important because it, too, is a tradition<br />

in African oral history – you take the<br />

tradition and you pass it on – so we hold<br />

true to that. So, anybody who comes in,<br />

their family must come in, too.”<br />

In Trinidad in the late 18th century,<br />

slaves were banned from joining in the<br />

celebrations of the European settlers, so<br />

created their own version of Carnival –<br />

Canboulay – in defiance. Homage is<br />

paid to this history throughout Clary’s<br />

costume designs. “If you were a slave<br />

and put on a costume for Carnival, you<br />

wouldn’t just be dancing,” she says. “You’d<br />

be looking back and commemorating.<br />

You’re standing your ground for what<br />

happened to you – it’s a protest. Carnival<br />

is an art form that has been handed<br />

down to us from that horrible journey<br />

where people died to enable us to be free<br />

and walk on the street.” With the<br />

Carnival outfits she makes, Clary says,<br />

people commemorate their ancestors’<br />

struggle in a similar way to those who<br />

wear the remembrance poppy.<br />

“I love telling important stories with<br />

my costumes, so the passion is there,”<br />

she says. “Whatever I intend to do, I’m<br />

going to do it well. Carnival is a loud<br />

voice for the Black community, because<br />

there really isn’t anything so big and<br />

recognised as a Black art form. All those<br />

things channelled me into becoming<br />

this Carnival woman.”<br />

STEPHEN RAMDEEN, ROBBIE JOSEPH/PANPODIUM<br />

34 THE RED BULLETIN


Notting Hill Carnival<br />

CLIVE<br />

‘MASHUP’<br />

PHILLIP<br />

COMMUNITY ACTIVIST,<br />

FOUNDER, MANGROVE<br />

STEELBAND<br />

When Clive ‘Mashup’ Phillip<br />

came to the <strong>UK</strong> from Trinidad<br />

in 1961, Notting Hill was very<br />

different from how it is today.<br />

Like many in the Windrush<br />

generation, the then 19-yearold<br />

had answered the call<br />

from the British government<br />

for help in rebuilding the<br />

country. But those who<br />

arrived in search of a new life<br />

were greeted with signs that<br />

read, ‘No dogs, no Blacks, no<br />

Irish,’ and were forced to live<br />

in almost slum-like conditions.<br />

In 1958, a mob of around<br />

400 White people, inflamed<br />

by right-wing groups, chased<br />

Black residents through the<br />

streets and attacked their<br />

houses in what would<br />

become known as the Notting<br />

Hill race riots. “Notting Hill<br />

was a bombsite,” remembers<br />

Clive, now 78. “Race relations<br />

in the area were terrible.”<br />

At the time, he was<br />

residing on All Saints Road,<br />

opposite the now infamous<br />

Mangrove restaurant, a hub<br />

for local Caribbeans that was<br />

also frequented by famous<br />

faces including Bob Marley<br />

and Marvin Gaye. “It wasn’t<br />

just a building, it was a<br />

community,” says Clive. “<strong>The</strong><br />

police were determined to<br />

terrorise Black people. This is<br />

when we stood up and fought.<br />

We started doing things like<br />

building homes for our elders<br />

and supporting ex-offenders<br />

leaving prison. What the police<br />

didn’t realise was that they<br />

were making us stronger.”<br />

In 1980, this activism<br />

led Clive to start Mangrove<br />

Steelband. “To me, it was<br />

something for the youths,<br />

to keep them out of trouble,<br />

because a lot of youth clubs<br />

were closing down,” he says<br />

of the band, now a big name<br />

in their field. “<strong>The</strong>y enjoyed<br />

playing pan because it gave<br />

them confidence.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> steel drum (or pan)<br />

has long been a symbol of<br />

defiance. In 1877, enslaved<br />

Trinidadians were banned by<br />

the British from playing hand<br />

drums, so turned to beating<br />

bamboo tubes. <strong>The</strong>n, after<br />

“What the<br />

police didn’t<br />

realise is<br />

that they<br />

were<br />

making us<br />

stronger”<br />

WWII, the island was awash<br />

with oil drums that had been<br />

left behind by the US forces,<br />

so the Trinidadians began<br />

experimenting with these.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> development of the steel<br />

pan began in different stages,”<br />

explains Clive. “First one<br />

note, two, three, then scales.”<br />

Mangrove Steelband<br />

are now synonymous with<br />

Notting Hill Carnival, but<br />

their longevity has not come<br />

without struggle. Clive recalls<br />

police in the ’70s and ’80s<br />

making repeated attempts to<br />

scupper their involvement.<br />

“One year, they’re blocking<br />

the roads and won’t let us<br />

pass, so [steel bands] Ebony<br />

and Eclipse decide that if they<br />

don’t let Mangrove [through],<br />

nothing will move. Eventually<br />

the police said we could join.<br />

We could hear people say,<br />

‘Mangrove is coming!’”<br />

Carnival became an excuse<br />

for the targeting of Black<br />

people by the authorities. In<br />

1976, with tensions high due<br />

to the ‘sus’ law – police could<br />

stop, search and even arrest<br />

any person they suspected of<br />

criminal intent – there were<br />

clashes between police and<br />

some in the Black community.<br />

Anticipating trouble, as many<br />

as 3,000 officers had turned<br />

up to Carnival – 10 times the<br />

usual number. “Carnival was<br />

like a battlefield,” Clive says.<br />

“We were playing on All Saints<br />

Road when a fight started on<br />

Portobello Road. <strong>The</strong> police<br />

came, smashed everything up.”<br />

Despite an unfair portrayal<br />

in the media as a hotspot for<br />

crime, today’s Carnival has<br />

around the same number of<br />

arrests per 10,000 people as<br />

Glastonbury, which is often<br />

praised for its low offence<br />

rate. For Clive, it’s important<br />

to remember the past. “A lot<br />

of people don’t know the<br />

history of Carnival or slavery,”<br />

he says, “so it’s important<br />

that people understand why<br />

they’re attending Carnival<br />

– to learn and experience<br />

culture, not just to party.”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 35


Notting Hill Carnival<br />

JAMES WATKINS/BBC<br />

“Carnival<br />

boosts your<br />

confidence”<br />

CARMEN<br />

LONDON<br />

DJ, DISYA JENERATION<br />

SOUND SYSTEM<br />

Many of us remember our first club night<br />

as a transformative moment, a feeling<br />

of entering a forbidden world. But for<br />

Carmen London it was more than that.<br />

When she entered the Union Club in<br />

Vauxhall, south London, at the age of<br />

18, it was life-altering for two reasons.<br />

Firstly, she had never been in a crowd<br />

of LGBT people of colour before – “I was<br />

like, ‘Wow, I never knew that there are<br />

others like me’” – and secondly, as she<br />

watched the DJ controlling the crowd,<br />

she found her purpose in life.<br />

Carmen was raised on a broad diet<br />

of musical styles by her Jamaican parents<br />

– from reggae to country – so the south<br />

Londoner quickly appreciated that there<br />

are hidden gems in every genre. This<br />

turned her into a music collector very<br />

early on, so by the time she witnessed<br />

the DJ at the Union Club, Carmen was<br />

ready. Within a year she had played<br />

LGBT events in London, soon followed<br />

by club bookings across Europe.<br />

And yet, when she was asked by a<br />

fellow DJ to play Notting Hill Carnival<br />

in 2015, despite all her experience it<br />

didn’t feel like just another gig. “For<br />

a DJ, playing at Carnival is one of your<br />

big goals,” says the 32-year-old. “It was<br />

like a dream come true.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> sound system she was asked<br />

to play for, Disya Jeneration, is one<br />

of Carnival’s biggest, entertaining<br />

thousands of dancers on a tightly packed<br />

Powis Terrace with a mix of hip hop,<br />

house, dancehall and more. “It can be<br />

scary at first,” she says of her first time.<br />

“It’s so different from a nightclub gig;<br />

the crowd is huge, and a lot of people<br />

don’t know who you are, so you need to<br />

read the crowd, find out what they like<br />

and keep the energy level high.”<br />

Disya Jeneration is run by Carnival<br />

board director Linett Kamala, who, in the<br />

early ’80s, became one of the first female<br />

DJs to play at Carnival and has subsequently<br />

provided a platform for others like her.<br />

“Linett has been a mentor to me,” Carmen<br />

says. “When she passed me the baton<br />

[to help curate the sound system’s DJ<br />

line-up], it was a big deal.”<br />

Through her work with Disya<br />

Jeneration, scouting for up-and-coming<br />

DJs has become an important part of<br />

Carmen’s life. Being given the chance to<br />

DJ at Carnival was a career-defining<br />

moment for her, so she wants to provide<br />

other young people with the same<br />

opportunity. “A Carnival gig is great for<br />

your CV,” she says, “but, most important<br />

of all, it boosts your confidence. And that<br />

helps you in all areas of life.”<br />

This August Bank Holiday weekend,<br />

Carmen and her sound system crew will<br />

evoke Carnival vibes from their homes<br />

via livestreaming. As a radio presenter<br />

– Carmen hosts shows on BBC Radio 1Xtra<br />

and Pulse88 Radio – the idea of DJing<br />

in a studio is something she’s used to.<br />

“I’ll miss all the people screaming and<br />

shouting,” she says. “But we’ll give the<br />

crowd the same music and the same<br />

energy we always do.”<br />

HASAN<br />

DE FOUR<br />

CHEF, PURE LIME<br />

CHOCOLATE MAS<br />

“For the past 15 years, I’ve<br />

looked after the catering for<br />

Pure Lime Chocolate Mas,”<br />

says Hasan De Four. “I<br />

remember when it started,<br />

with 20 people coming out<br />

covered in chocolate, everyone<br />

was like, ‘What is that about?’<br />

But it was something that was<br />

missing in the <strong>UK</strong> Carnival<br />

scene: there was no J’ouvert.”<br />

J’ouvert is a Carnival<br />

tradition in Hasan’s home of<br />

Trinidad that dates back to the<br />

emancipation from slavery of<br />

the Caribbean islands in 1838.<br />

Before the ‘Pretty Mas’ where<br />

dancers parade in feathers<br />

and sequins, revellers daub<br />

themselves in oil, paint and<br />

mud – the ‘Dirty Mas’. Of<br />

course, being a chef, Hasan<br />

prefers chocolate; the 43-yearold<br />

is open to progress as well<br />

as respectful of tradition.<br />

In 1995, an 18-year-old<br />

Hasan came to London to live<br />

with his mother and his<br />

grandparents – members of<br />

the Windrush generation who<br />

arrived from the Caribbean<br />

between the late ’40s and<br />

early ’70s. “I got here the<br />

week before Carnival,” he<br />

says. “It was different to the<br />

Carnival at home. [Veteran<br />

hip-hop DJ Tim] Westwood<br />

was playing! I headed to the<br />

Trini float to get my soca on<br />

– that was my introduction.”<br />

Hasan found his passion<br />

in catering and championing<br />

Caribbean food. “I was like,<br />

‘Why isn’t our food recognised?’<br />

People say London is the<br />

original melting pot, but we’ve<br />

been doing it longer. Our<br />

food comes from the native<br />

Arawaks; from the British,<br />

Spanish and Portuguese<br />

colonists; from African slaves;<br />

from Chinese and Indian<br />

labourers – it’s a real fusion.”<br />

Opportunities soon came<br />

Hasan’s way, including a stint<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 37


Notting Hill Carnival<br />

as Gary Rhodes’ sous chef<br />

on TV, and the launch of<br />

Singapore’s first Caribbean<br />

restaurant, Lime House. “On<br />

the first day, we mirrored<br />

Notting Hill,” he says. “We<br />

called it Lime Hill. But because<br />

we were new, we didn’t get to<br />

block any streets.” He also<br />

pitched cuisine to <strong>UK</strong> clubs<br />

and festivals. “I was like,<br />

‘Why don’t you have food<br />

inside the parties?’ <strong>The</strong>y were<br />

like, ‘Sure, go ahead.’”<br />

And then there’s Carnival.<br />

“I cater more than 2,400<br />

meals,” Hasan says. “Breakfast<br />

is fried eggs, dumplings,<br />

saltfish, plantain; callaloo<br />

[a thick stew made with<br />

spinach-like greens] for the<br />

vegans. Lunchtime is pelau<br />

– Trini chicken, peas and<br />

“Food and<br />

culture are<br />

like bread<br />

and butter”<br />

veg in one pot – soaking up<br />

the fuel intake for Carnival<br />

weekend. Trini corn soup,<br />

that’s the reviver,” he laughs.<br />

<strong>The</strong> chef says his favourite<br />

moment is shortly before the<br />

revellers arrive. “On the Friday,<br />

I leave the kitchen, walk<br />

through Ladbroke Grove, and<br />

feel the change in the air.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’re dropping the barriers,<br />

the steel pan is testing. It’s<br />

the last Bank Holiday of the<br />

year, and you know that the<br />

following week it’ll get cold.<br />

It’s the last celebration before<br />

we go into that dreary time.”<br />

This year, things may be<br />

different for Carnival, but Hasan<br />

is excited by the potential.<br />

“We’re doing cooking sessions,”<br />

he says. “People can go to this<br />

one spot and be educated by<br />

myself or a mixologist doing<br />

rum punch. And it’ll be<br />

broadcast internationally.<br />

“It’s going to be different<br />

but still fun. You can still<br />

enjoy your own space, turn<br />

your music up, and invite<br />

your neighbours to eat some<br />

jerk chicken. Let’s create our<br />

own vibe in-house.”<br />

MIKEY<br />

DREAD<br />

SELECTOR, CHANNEL<br />

ONE SOUND SYSTEM<br />

Some people learn how to<br />

operate a sound system –<br />

others, like sound-system<br />

veteran Mikey Dread, inherit<br />

it. “From the youngest age,<br />

we’ve always known sound<br />

systems; it’s basically in the<br />

blood. That’s how we<br />

started,” he says, recounting<br />

his father arriving in the <strong>UK</strong><br />

from Jamaica in the late ’50s<br />

with a sound system in tow.<br />

Having taken over the<br />

running of their dad’s set-up in<br />

1979, Mikey and his brother<br />

Jah T began performing at<br />

local venues and adopted the<br />

name Channel One. In 1983,<br />

the siblings pitched up at a<br />

spot on Acklam Road and<br />

played their first Notting Hill<br />

Carnival – and they’ve been<br />

bringing reggae and roots<br />

rhythms to listeners young<br />

and old ever since.<br />

“We go to Carnival for<br />

the people,” says Mikey. “It’s<br />

great to see old faces you’ve<br />

known for 25 years, as well<br />

as new faces just enjoying<br />

the vibe. We don’t play any<br />

music that incites violence or<br />

negativity – that’s not what<br />

people come to Channel<br />

One’s Carnival for. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

come for spiritual healing.<br />

A lot of people could have<br />

been experiencing problems<br />

during that week, and they<br />

will come to Carnival and<br />

dance for a couple of days<br />

and go back a better person.<br />

That’s what reggae and roots<br />

music is all about.”<br />

GETTY IMAGES<br />

38 THE RED BULLETIN


“<strong>The</strong>y<br />

come<br />

for<br />

spiritual<br />

healing”


Channel One is now one of<br />

the <strong>UK</strong>’s best-known reggae<br />

sound systems, with a loyal<br />

fan base, but Mikey and his<br />

brother have walked a long<br />

and arduous road to reach<br />

this level of success.<br />

“In the ’70s and ’80s, a lot<br />

of venues wouldn’t let us<br />

take our sound system in,<br />

so we ended up in backstreet<br />

community centres and things<br />

like that,” he says. “We’ve<br />

gone through all this fight to<br />

pave the way for younger<br />

sound systems.”<br />

Mikey’s experience echoes<br />

history. When the sound<br />

system arrived in England<br />

from the Caribbean in the<br />

’50s, they often had to be<br />

set up in basements and old<br />

warehouses, away from<br />

Britain’s more mainstream<br />

pubs and social spaces which,<br />

for many Caribbean people,<br />

could feel like a hostile<br />

environment. <strong>The</strong> sound<br />

system created a more<br />

welcoming space. For Mikey,<br />

honouring this history is<br />

important: “Black people have<br />

taken a lot of shit throughout<br />

the years. That’s why I keep<br />

the sound system going – it’s a<br />

Black entity, it’s a Black unit.”<br />

Mikey and Jah T don’t<br />

plan on turning down the<br />

volume any time soon. In a<br />

time when you can buy huge<br />

sound systems that are almost<br />

ready-made, in their eyes<br />

it has become even more<br />

crucial to pass on traditions<br />

– and part of sound-system<br />

culture is building the set-up<br />

from scratch.<br />

“If you really love sound<br />

systems and reggae, you’re<br />

in it for the long haul,” says<br />

Mikey. “<strong>The</strong> music itself is<br />

very important in my family’s<br />

life, because that’s what we’ve<br />

grown up with. Pops isn’t here<br />

any more, but my mother is,<br />

and she was the backbone of<br />

our family when it comes to<br />

music. So it’s very important<br />

that we keep it together and<br />

people know we’re trying to<br />

keep it going.”<br />

RHONA EZUMA<br />

DANCER, PARAISO SCHOOL<br />

OF SAMBA<br />

On a typical Monday during Carnival,<br />

more than 70 bands parade the streets<br />

of Notting Hill, with in excess of 25,000<br />

dancers in flamboyant costumes<br />

decorated with feathers and tassels. As a<br />

roadside spectator, you’re lucky to catch<br />

10 minutes of each band. So what you<br />

don’t get to see is that many dancers are<br />

moving to the Carnival rhythms for six<br />

hours a day.<br />

“It’s very long, but some Carnivals<br />

are more gruelling than others,” says<br />

30-year-old fashion stylist and THIIIRD<br />

magazine editor Rhona Ezuma, recalling<br />

the intense summer heat of last year’s<br />

“Carnival is<br />

a space to<br />

celebrate<br />

your body”<br />

event. “Despite the weather, I feel it’s my<br />

responsibility to push joy out there!”<br />

Rhona first started parading with<br />

the Paraiso School of Samba in 2015.<br />

A big inspiration for her was seeing the<br />

confidence of the women participating<br />

in the first Carnival she attended, at<br />

the age of 15. This was one of the things<br />

that made her fall in love with it.<br />

“Carnival is a place where you can be<br />

the largest woman or the smallest, show<br />

as much as you want or as little as you<br />

want,” she says. “And no one is telling<br />

you that you can’t be who you are.”<br />

What’s so special about Carnival,<br />

Rhona says, is that it creates a safe space<br />

for Black women’s bodies in particular,<br />

which have historically been subject<br />

to scrutiny. “Even today, when having<br />

a big bum and big lips is in fashion, these<br />

are features that Black women were<br />

previously ridiculed for. And now, in the<br />

mainstream, they’re celebrated more on<br />

White women than on Black women.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> freedom and confidence Rhona<br />

and many revellers feel at Carnival is<br />

intrinsically linked to dancing. “At<br />

Carnival, I make use of my hips, the bits<br />

that move and jiggle,” she says. “That’s<br />

DINITA MOORE<br />

40 THE RED BULLETIN


Notting Hill Carnival<br />

what makes it such a powerful space for<br />

women to celebrate their bodies.”<br />

Samba has influenced Rhona’s work<br />

beyond the dance moves. Although it’s<br />

known today as a Brazilian brand of<br />

dance, the roots of samba can be found<br />

in the semba, a style that originated<br />

in Angola, south-west Africa. When<br />

Portuguese slave traders transported<br />

Angolans to the state of Bahia in northeast<br />

Brazil in the early 17th century, the<br />

slaves maintained this tradition. With<br />

the abolition of slavery in Brazil in the<br />

late 19th century, those who had been<br />

freed settled in the favelas of Rio de<br />

Janeiro, where they developed their<br />

own form of samba. “Being around those<br />

stories has inspired certain headpieces<br />

and accessories I’ve made,” Rhona says.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s a recognition of those stories<br />

in the garments I create.”<br />

On a personal level, the sense of<br />

achievement Rhona feels post-Carnival<br />

lives on long after the floats have passed.<br />

“I’m knackered by the end of it, but that<br />

same feeling of ‘Wow, this is what I’ve<br />

done…’ lives on,” she says. “I think I’ve<br />

learnt to treasure that a lot more. I think<br />

that’s made me a more secure person.”<br />

LEONE<br />

BUNCOMBE<br />

PRODUCTION<br />

MANAGER, MANGROVE<br />

MAS BAND<br />

Leone Buncombe designs<br />

and creates more than 200<br />

costumes for Carnival each<br />

year, but on the big day you’ll<br />

find her in jeans and a T-shirt.<br />

“It’s funny,” she says. “I’ve<br />

never been the kind to dress<br />

up. When I was younger, I’d go<br />

to Carnival with my mum, who<br />

was a seamstress. She wasn’t<br />

a costume person either.”<br />

However, as production<br />

manager for Mangrove Mas<br />

Band (short for masquerade<br />

band), one of Carnival’s most<br />

historic costume troupes,<br />

the 36-year-old is passionate<br />

about her creations. “It’s<br />

the spectacle of costume,<br />

starting with an idea, going<br />

through the design process<br />

and creating something<br />

“We try to<br />

get young<br />

people into<br />

creative<br />

industries.<br />

Carnival<br />

is a great<br />

route in”<br />

unexpected,” she says. “You<br />

can go anywhere with it.<br />

Creating costumes for<br />

Mangrove Mas Band is a<br />

year-round job – work starts<br />

almost as soon as Carnival<br />

finishes. “It’s like, ‘We’ve<br />

finished. What are we doing<br />

next year?’” says Leone with<br />

a smile. “In July and August,<br />

it’s all hands on deck. You<br />

have 15 people a night at the<br />

mas camp, all volunteers<br />

working until the early hours.<br />

Around 200 costumes equals<br />

tens of thousands of gems,<br />

hundreds of metres of fabric,<br />

and at least 1,000 glue sticks.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> community effort is<br />

part of the appeal for Leone,<br />

who has been with the mas<br />

band for 14 years. “If you<br />

don’t have community, it<br />

becomes a lonely world,”<br />

she says. “Carnival has taught<br />

me to ‘free up’, as we call it –<br />

not to take life too seriously.<br />

You walk into the mas camp<br />

and there’s music playing,<br />

people giggling and catching<br />

up. It doesn’t feel like work.”<br />

In her day job, Leone<br />

is service manager for the<br />

Rugby Portobello Trust,<br />

a charity that helps young<br />

people find education and<br />

employment. “It’s about<br />

getting people through doors<br />

they might not be able to<br />

walk through themselves.<br />

We have a creative arts<br />

project called Amplify, which<br />

Mangrove is attached to. We<br />

try to get young people into<br />

creative industries, and<br />

Carnival is a great route in.”<br />

Leone and her team are<br />

making 15 ‘utopia’-themed<br />

costumes for a catwalk show<br />

that will be part of this year’s<br />

digital offering. She believes<br />

that being online will help<br />

spread a deeper knowledge<br />

of Carnival. “You’ll be able<br />

to see every element for<br />

what it is, and get a better<br />

understanding of the history.<br />

You couldn’t usually see it<br />

all on foot in a day. It’ll give<br />

people a chance to see the<br />

bigger picture.”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 41


Taming the beast<br />

During his work on the Mexican migrant trail,<br />

photographer and graffiti artist PABLO ALLISON<br />

has been imprisoned, robbed and held at<br />

gunpoint. But he’s never considered quitting<br />

Words RUTH McLEOD<br />

Photography PABLO ALLISON<br />

Chasing a dream: (from top, left to right) migrants risk a ride on top of a lorry en route from Oaxaca<br />

to Veracruz; a mural painted by Allison in Shoreditch, east London; after 15 days of travelling across<br />

southern Mexico, many board a freight train in Oaxaca; a tribute to the ‘Brave Migrants’; riding atop<br />

‘<strong>The</strong> Beast’ after more than four weeks crossing central America to northern Mexico; tyres, plastic,<br />

wood and anything else flammable is burnt for warmth at night; a graffitied message of hope; David<br />

from Guatemala, stranded in the state of Sonora with the aim of reaching the Mexico-US border


43


“Graffiti has been<br />

a great educator for<br />

me. I’ve never seen<br />

it as destructive”


Pablo Allison<br />

Writ large: the message in Allison’s graffiti and his photography is clear – love conquers fear<br />

GEORGE MARSHALL<br />

I<br />

t’s midnight, and Pablo Allison<br />

is clinging to the top of a fastmoving<br />

freight train as it speeds<br />

south through the Mexican<br />

desert. Heavy rain batters his body;<br />

it’s freezing cold. <strong>The</strong> train shakes as it<br />

rushes noisily on at 100kph, meaning<br />

Allison can barely adjust his grip during<br />

what will be a 10-hour journey, for fear<br />

of falling off into the darkness.<br />

Travelling illegally on this industrial<br />

network is fraught with dangers – it’s<br />

also common for these vast trains to<br />

derail, or for criminal gangs to come<br />

aboard – but it’s still the safest of the few<br />

travel options open to migrants moving<br />

across Mexico. And photographer and<br />

graffiti artist Allison has been doing<br />

these trips with them for more than<br />

three years now, to document and better<br />

understand the experiences of some of<br />

the tens of thousands of migrants who<br />

pass through the country every year<br />

on their way to the United States.<br />

Allison began riding these trains in 2016<br />

with the aim of shooting the inaccessible<br />

landscapes along Mexico’s private train<br />

routes. “But I realised I couldn’t turn my<br />

lens away from the migrants I met,” he<br />

says. “I’m fascinated by the perseverance,<br />

the strength, how people do these<br />

extraordinarily difficult journeys. <strong>The</strong><br />

motivation people have to escape, to<br />

seek a better life, is astonishing.”<br />

Most migrants Allison meets are<br />

escaping poverty, violence or both.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are men, women, children, young<br />

and old, from all sorts of backgrounds<br />

and situations, from all over the world,<br />

battling the odds and often treacherous<br />

conditions to make a new life. “People<br />

come from as far as Iraq, Syria, Iran<br />

Bangladesh, and find themselves in<br />

South America,” he says. “<strong>The</strong>n they<br />

embark on a journey through various<br />

countries, cross the notorious lawless<br />

jungle of north-west Colombia, the<br />

Darién Gap, and then somehow get to<br />

Panama. Once they get to Mexico, they<br />

still have so much to do… Those of us<br />

living moderately comfortable lives<br />

should learn from these people, rather<br />

than demonising or criminalising them.”<br />

When Allison meets <strong>The</strong> <strong>Red</strong><br />

<strong>Bulletin</strong>, he’s far from Mexico.<br />

It’s a rainy February day in<br />

Hastings on England’s south<br />

coast, and Allison – dressed in a red<br />

T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan<br />

‘FUCK TRUMP’ – is in the <strong>UK</strong> to run a<br />

workshop on migration at a street-art<br />

event and spray-paint a wall in town<br />

with a poem by a Guatemalan migrant<br />

he travelled with. In recent years, Allison<br />

has taught workshops in several countries,<br />

in art galleries and refugee centres,<br />

using his skills in both photography and<br />

graffiti to reach a range of audiences.<br />

A book of some of his photographic work<br />

comes out later this month. But Allison<br />

isn’t pushing a political agenda.<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 45


“I’m always careful not to be preachy<br />

about social or political issues,” he says.<br />

“Everyone has an idea of what migration<br />

means, and I don’t dictate. I show them<br />

my experience as I’ve documented it,<br />

and we have a conversation. This project<br />

is primarily about me understanding the<br />

complex reality of people who have to<br />

escape very difficult situations. <strong>The</strong> real<br />

objective has always been for me to<br />

become a better person.”<br />

Allison’s passion for this subject<br />

started when he was young. Born in<br />

Manchester, Allison moved with his<br />

family to Mexico – the birthplace of his<br />

mother – when he was three. Allison<br />

was curious, his parents liberal. “My<br />

mum’s only rules were that I couldn’t<br />

take drugs or join the Nazi party,” says<br />

Allison, now 38. So he started exploring<br />

’90s Mexico City. “At 16 or so, I’d take<br />

my parents’ camera and photograph<br />

graffiti. I’d go to train yards on the<br />

outskirts of the city to paint trains.<br />

I’d notice people travelling on the tops<br />

of these trains, which run between<br />

Mexico, the US and Canada.”<br />

Allison’s own journey has been<br />

anything but straightforward. He’s<br />

been imprisoned in both the <strong>UK</strong> and<br />

the US, and held at gunpoint in Mexico<br />

– distressing episodes that have informed<br />

and shaped his current work. “Having<br />

my liberty taken from me made me<br />

realise how important being creative is,”<br />

he says. “Art is freedom. I was free even<br />

then, because I was able to use my head.”<br />

Allison was first sent to prison in 2012,<br />

a decade after returning to the <strong>UK</strong> to<br />

discover the graffiti scene and study<br />

documentary photography. “London’s<br />

energy was inspiring,” he says. “Graffiti<br />

belongs to urban environments, and I was<br />

seriously into it. It’s the adrenalin, the<br />

rebelliousness, the creativity, the curiosity.<br />

Graffiti has been a great educator for me.<br />

I’ve never seen it as destructive.”<br />

But, in the run-up to the Olympic<br />

Games, London police were<br />

cleaning up. Allison was given<br />

a 19-month jail sentence – six of<br />

which would be served in HM Prison<br />

Wormwood Scrubs – for tagging trains.<br />

“I don’t see graffiti as a criminal act,”<br />

he says. “But I always knew that<br />

prosecution was possible. It was about<br />

completing the sentence so I could<br />

leave and start a new life.”<br />

While he was inside, Allison<br />

collaborated with his photographer<br />

sister, Roxana, on a creative project<br />

about the experience. He read, wrote<br />

and drew. “I just wanted to be locked in<br />

my cell,” he says. “I had so much to do.<br />

I didn’t want to waste time.”<br />

Allison says he left more serious,<br />

more solitary and less restless. He<br />

stopped doing graffiti. He ran a lot. He<br />

continued to work on projects around<br />

migration and identity, while working<br />

several different jobs in London,<br />

including roles at charities Amnesty<br />

International and Action Aid. His idea<br />

for the project in Mexico began to form.<br />

“I realised I wanted to go back,<br />

to apply my knowledge from those<br />

charities,” he says. “I was very motivated<br />

to start from scratch there.” In 2016,<br />

he moved back to Mexico City to begin<br />

photographing the landscapes visible<br />

to migrants when they travel by train,<br />

a single project he thought would be<br />

done within a year, but which has now<br />

morphed into two projects across three<br />

countries, which are still ongoing,<br />

almost four years later.<br />

Allison soon experienced first-hand<br />

the vulnerability of the people travelling<br />

these routes. “One train won’t take you<br />

from south to north,” he says. “You have<br />

to understand the route you’re taking,<br />

you have to get on and off. <strong>The</strong>se freight<br />

“We should celebrate migration and understand it not as<br />

a problem but as a phenomenon. Trump’s idea that they’re<br />

all criminals, it’s rubbish”<br />

Brave statement: a tribute to the Migrantes Valientes. <strong>The</strong> tombstones display the names of some of the migrants’ countries of birth<br />

46 THE RED BULLETIN


Pablo Allison<br />

GEORGE MARSHALL<br />

“People who embark on any journey<br />

as a means to survive appreciate life…<br />

they’re optimistic, resilient”<br />

trains carry thousands of dollars’ worth<br />

of goods to the US or Canada. Banditos<br />

regularly steal grain, TVs, whatever. So<br />

travelling this way is seriously risky.”<br />

He has witnessed violence, been<br />

robbed, and was almost killed two years<br />

ago by a criminal gang while travelling<br />

with two friends. “We were held at<br />

gunpoint on a train,” Allison says. “I<br />

prayed for my life. We were lucky to<br />

escape alive.” Yet he was back at work<br />

the next month, armed with his camera,<br />

travelling on foot and by train with<br />

a caravan of around 7,000 people.<br />

“Somehow, you brush it aside,’ he says.<br />

“After all, I’ve chosen to do this.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>n, last year, Allison’s resolve was<br />

tested again. After he was refused entry<br />

to Canada, US agents noticed Allison<br />

had overstayed the visa he’d been issued<br />

to attend an exhibition in New York a few<br />

months earlier. He was detained by US<br />

Immigration and Customs Enforcement,<br />

and imprisoned in Tacoma, Washington<br />

State. “I had no idea,” says Allison. “It<br />

was an admin error! But they locked me<br />

up. I ended up being in jail for almost a<br />

month – I believe because of my previous<br />

conviction. I’d done nothing wrong,<br />

but I was handcuffed, leg-cuffed. I wore<br />

a prison uniform. On the way to jail,<br />

I remember seeing these huge murals<br />

showing great American scenes like the<br />

Grand Canyon, which felt pretty ironic<br />

as those were the landscapes I’d wanted<br />

to photograph.”<br />

Allison threw himself into his writing<br />

and drawing. He got fellow inmates to<br />

pose for portraits. “Again, being creative<br />

was crucial in an environment like that,”<br />

he says. “Imagine, you wake up in a cell<br />

with 85 other people. You have two<br />

widescreen TVs showing CNN all day<br />

long in a confined environment. <strong>The</strong><br />

food’s terrible. You’re forced to go to<br />

sleep at 11pm. <strong>The</strong>n all through the<br />

night there’s noise.”<br />

But somehow Allison also managed<br />

to find positives thanks to the other<br />

inmates – mostly people classed as illegal<br />

immigrants, awaiting deportation. “We<br />

gave each other nicknames, joked about<br />

our situation,” he says. “I laughed so<br />

much. It was so much therapy to me.<br />

I realised that I didn’t need to be in<br />

Canada, I needed to be in that prison.<br />

That’s where the work I’ve been doing<br />

passionately for the last few years had<br />

to lead me, to the detention centre that<br />

I’d heard stories about from migrants.<br />

Before this, I’d always had the option to<br />

opt out, to go back home. When I was<br />

locked in that jail, I was treated like<br />

any other prisoner. That was the first<br />

moment I could feel like a non-privileged<br />

person working on this topic.”<br />

After Allison was cleared to leave, he<br />

waited in a holding cell. “Most people in<br />

there with me were being deported and<br />

losing everything they had; some were<br />

still wearing their work uniforms, others<br />

didn’t have their own clothes so were still<br />

wearing their prison uniform. But it was<br />

a party. We were still locked up, but it<br />

was a celebration of freedom.”<br />

Although, like most, Allison<br />

recently endured yet another<br />

unforeseen period of lockdown<br />

during the COVID-19 pandemic<br />

– the time was spent in Manchester<br />

with his sister – he’s back on the migrant<br />

trail in Mexico again. “People always<br />

try to escape bad conditions,” he says,<br />

“so migration doesn’t stop.” How does<br />

he see his projects ending? “<strong>The</strong> moment<br />

it doesn’t stimulate me, is the moment<br />

I’ll stop. But despite the dangers, it still<br />

makes me feel alive.<br />

“I’ve seen people find the strength<br />

to move forward. People who embark<br />

on any journey as a means to survive and<br />

live – and maybe a bit more than that,<br />

too – appreciate life. People are pretty<br />

optimistic, resilient and enthusiastic.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y crack jokes. I’m fascinated by that.<br />

We should celebrate migration and<br />

understand it not as a problem but as a<br />

phenomenon. Trump’s idea that they’re<br />

all criminals, it’s rubbish. <strong>The</strong>re will<br />

always be exceptions, but all the many,<br />

many people I’ve become friends with<br />

are hardworking people.”<br />

It’s this idea of positivity in the face<br />

of hardship that inspired the name of<br />

Allison’s forthcoming book, <strong>The</strong> Light<br />

of the Beast. “‘<strong>The</strong> Beast’ is a name that<br />

migrants have given the train over the<br />

years,” he says. “It’s dangerous, and<br />

there’s the roar of the engine. It’s like<br />

a huge monster that people have to<br />

jump on the back of. <strong>The</strong> light is the<br />

hope that it represents, too.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> Light of the Beast is out on<br />

<strong>September</strong> 2, published by Pavement<br />

Studio, and an exhibition of Allison’s<br />

work will be at Make Your Mark Gallery<br />

in Helsinki from <strong>September</strong> 2-30;<br />

pabloallison.co.uk<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 47


Ready<br />

to<br />

roll<br />

In the historic city of Athens, these young<br />

Greek women are reclaiming space, navigating<br />

uncertain futures and pushing for progress.<br />

And they’re doing it all on roller skates<br />

Words ALEX KING Photography MARK LEAVER


Suzana Bakatsia<br />

skates across the<br />

battered tarmac of<br />

the old Hellinikon<br />

Airport on the<br />

Athens coastline<br />

49


CIB Athens<br />

“A huge part of roller skating<br />

is about reclaiming space. It’s<br />

about feminism and being<br />

empowered as a woman”<br />

W hen you approach Athens’<br />

old Hellinikon Airport, sun-bleached road signs direct<br />

you towards Domestic Arrivals and International<br />

Departures. But nothing has taken off here in<br />

decades. Old planes sit eerily silent next to the<br />

perimeter fence, and the control tower gazes out over<br />

a runway with grass breaking through its cracks.<br />

This afternoon, a group of female roller skaters<br />

have found their way into the old departure lounge.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y cruise around, exploring its forgotten corners<br />

and slaloming between its battered pillars. As the<br />

sun begins to set over the runway outside, its rays<br />

stream in through the dirty glass windows and<br />

bathe them all in an otherworldly golden light.<br />

For many of these women, skating here has always<br />

been a dream. Some glide effortlessly around the<br />

space, jumping and spinning, while the other<br />

women freestyle, laughing and joking as their<br />

wheels kick up clouds of dust.<br />

As Athens tentatively emerges from a decade of<br />

economic chaos, young female roller skaters are<br />

fighting for space in their city. This generation of<br />

Greeks grew up with few opportunities, but that<br />

taught them a valuable lesson: if you want to follow<br />

your passion, you have to make it happen yourself.<br />

While support and infrastructure for young people<br />

fell victim to Greece’s historic economic crisis,<br />

Chicks in Bowls Athens are using roller skating to<br />

Nothing has taken off at Athens’ Hellinikon Airport since 2001. <strong>The</strong> site<br />

has sat empty for years, waiting to be redeveloped<br />

50 THE RED BULLETIN


(Left to right) Stefania<br />

Malama, Suzana<br />

Bakatsia and Sofia<br />

Argyraki skate through<br />

the airport’s empty<br />

terminal building


“Roller skating honestly<br />

helps us get out of what is,<br />

for most people, a really<br />

tough reality”<br />

52 THE RED BULLETIN


CIB Athens<br />

Below: the crew<br />

cruise and freestyle<br />

around the empty<br />

car park near<br />

the summit of<br />

Athens’ Mount<br />

Lycabettus, just<br />

before sunrise.<br />

Opposite page:<br />

(left to right)<br />

Suzana Bakatsia,<br />

Constantina Xafi<br />

and Lydia Panagou<br />

wait for the sunrise<br />

on top of Lycabettus<br />

after skating<br />

through the night<br />

create their own community, express themselves<br />

and forge a new relationship with their city. Day in,<br />

day out, they’re showing up at male-dominated<br />

skate spots, demanding respect and inclusion.<br />

“All skateparks here are male-dominated,<br />

however you look at it,” says Constantina Xafi, 28.<br />

“We all roll, and it’s OK for all of us. Whatever level<br />

you are and whatever type of person you are, you<br />

deserve space at the skatepark.” Xafi is one of the<br />

group’s driving forces. She works in theatre, founded<br />

her own screen-printing business, and volunteers as<br />

a teacher with Free Movement Skateboarding, who<br />

offer free skateboarding lessons to young Greeks<br />

and refugees. Xafi is working towards her dream of<br />

creating a skatepark full of bowls suitable for roller<br />

skaters but open to all. However, of all the types of<br />

rider who call skateparks home – on skateboards,<br />

BMXs, scooters or inline skates – roller skaters are<br />

almost always women. And building a strong<br />

community has been game-changing.<br />

“After I started roller skating, I began to imagine<br />

rad girls conquering the city on their skates,”<br />

remembers Chicks in Bowls Athens co-founder Sofia<br />

Argyraki, 31. In January 2015, Argyraki went to skate<br />

the now-demolished DIY BMX ramp in Vrilissia,<br />

a town in Athens’ northern suburbs, with friends<br />

Christina Rodopoulou and Akylina Palianopoulou.<br />

<strong>The</strong> trio spent the best part of the afternoon<br />

attacking the ramp together, encouraging each<br />

other to push harder. Stoked after their high-energy<br />

session, they created a group to encourage other<br />

women to share their passion for ramp skating.<br />

Today, Argyraki’s dream has come true: the group<br />

has grown to around 30-40 female roller skaters<br />

who link up regularly to skate their favourite parks<br />

and explore new corners of the city together.<br />

<strong>The</strong> ancient metropolis of Athens is no skater’s<br />

paradise; it’s a chaotically planned and densely<br />

packed city, scattered across many steep hills.<br />

It’s also home to numerous potholes and<br />

broken pavements, which are particularly hazardous<br />

for the small urethane wheels on roller skates.<br />

If you want to skate ramps in Athens, there aren’t<br />

many options; the city doesn’t have lavish municipal<br />

skateparks or an administration particularly tolerant<br />

of DIY spots. Some suburbs have small parks, but the<br />

best spots have been built by skaters themselves,<br />

whether it’s the sprawling DIY park in Galatsi or<br />

Athens’ only bowl, the experimental skate/art space<br />

Latraac in gritty Kerameikos. But, despite less-thanfavourable<br />

conditions, the city is home to an<br />

increasingly vibrant community of skateboarders,<br />

BMX riders and, most recently, roller skaters.<br />

“It’s nice to explore the city on skates, but it’s not<br />

ideal, not easy,” Xafi says. “Once you start hanging<br />

out with people and skating regularly, they tell you<br />

about new spots that are nice to skate, so you can go<br />

and check them out and discover new places.”<br />

Lydia Panagou, 23, who has become one of the<br />

group’s most accomplished skaters, agrees. “<strong>The</strong><br />

thing I like most about roller skating is that it brings<br />

me together with others,” she says. “We organise<br />

meet-ups, we have our music, and we travel around<br />

the city to our favourite spots. Each person moves<br />

and dresses however they feel. It’s important to be<br />

one with your skates: the style, the aesthetics, the<br />

rhythm. That comes out when there’s a harmony and<br />

you feel comfortable with yourself and the people<br />

around you. Your friends encourage and uplift you.”<br />

Panagou introduced her childhood friend Suzana<br />

Bakatsia, 22, and the pair now skate whenever they<br />

can. “I tried with Lydia’s skates and it was strange<br />

and unfamiliar at first, but then I really felt a rush<br />

of adrenalin,” Bakatsia says.<br />

Anyone can hit up Chicks in Bowls Athens on<br />

Instagram and join one of their regular skate sessions,<br />

from first-time skaters to visitors keen to find a local<br />

crew. “Having a community is really important,”<br />

says artist and architect Foteini Korre, 29. “Many<br />

spots are far away, which puts you off going alone.<br />

But when we travel and skate together, we help and<br />

support each other, and you feed off that energy.”<br />

Before she joined, Korre had grown increasingly<br />

intrigued by the roller-skating scene she saw<br />

emerging in Athens and around the world, but<br />

didn’t know how to find her way in. Eventually, she<br />

discovered Chicks in Bowls Athens on social media.<br />

Two years later, she looks back fondly on her first<br />

session, outside the Athens Conservatoire, a historic<br />

performing arts centre. Its long expanse of smooth<br />

marble, mercifully shaded from the beating sun, is<br />

where many Athenian skaters take their first steps<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 53


CIB Athens<br />

– or rolls. “I enjoyed falling over all the time and<br />

pushing myself,” Korre says. “I loved that I was doing<br />

new things with my body and I felt so supported by<br />

the girls. <strong>The</strong>re was a big sense of achievement.”<br />

Skating isn’t something Korre, or the other girls<br />

she knew, did during childhood. “My generation of<br />

girls didn’t have the opportunity to skateboard,” she<br />

says. “We were expected to play with dolls, or stay at<br />

home and do chores, while our brothers played in the<br />

streets. I started roller skating at 28, and I wish I had<br />

the chance when I was six. It’s hard when you realise<br />

in your twenties you want that wasted time back.”<br />

Male-dominated skateparks aren’t unique to<br />

Athens, of course. Around the world, huge<br />

efforts have been made in recent years to<br />

make skate culture more inclusive, but it<br />

remains largely a boys’ club. “To go into that space<br />

as a female when the majority of skaters are male<br />

creates this automatic divide,” says Chicks in Bowls<br />

founder Samara Buscovick, aka Lady Trample.<br />

“Whether it’s intentional or not, there’s a feeling<br />

that all eyes are on you. It can be really intimidating,<br />

especially if you’re new. <strong>The</strong> majority of interactions<br />

I’ve had in parks have actually been really positive,<br />

but there’s still a sense that you’re an alien in their<br />

space – you have to prove you belong.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> sprawling concrete jungle that is the Greek capital, as seen from<br />

the top of Mount Lycabettus<br />

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, and now<br />

based in Kremmling, Colorado, roller derby pro<br />

Lady Trample was introduced to bowl skating by her<br />

friend Michelle ‘Cutthroat’ Hayes back in November<br />

2012. It immediately became an addiction. During a<br />

group session a few weeks later, a friend exclaimed,<br />

“It’s so cool to see all these chicks in bowls!” – and<br />

the name stuck. Seven years after Trample began<br />

building this inclusive community, Chicks in Bowls<br />

(now CIB) has more than 300 chapters worldwide.<br />

“One of the beautiful things about CIB is<br />

connecting with your local chapter and not feeling<br />

so isolated on that journey,” says Trample. “A<br />

cultural shift has taken place; there’s now greater<br />

representation of both females and quad skaters in<br />

the parks – they have become safer spaces to enter.”<br />

Yet there is work still to be done, particularly in<br />

Greece, historically one of Europe’s most socially<br />

conservative countries, where patriarchal attitudes<br />

die hard. For the women of CIB Athens, there are<br />

sometimes frustrating reminders that the city is still<br />

playing catch-up. “Public space is mainly occupied<br />

by men, and that’s a fact,” Korre says. “You see it on<br />

the streets: if there’s only space on the sidewalk for<br />

one person, a man will just walk straight and you’re<br />

expected to move. It’s the legacy of women being<br />

shut in their homes for so many years with no rights.<br />

Women here were only given the vote in 1952.”<br />

Greece’s skateparks reflect the situation in wider<br />

society, which is moving slowly forward, but not fast<br />

enough for many. “I know I’m far from a pro skater,<br />

but some young men in the park have completely<br />

disrespected me,” Korre says with a sense of<br />

exasperation. “A huge part of roller skating is about<br />

reclaiming space. For me, that’s political on its own<br />

– it’s about feminism and being empowered as a<br />

woman. Most people in the skateparks are cool,<br />

but you sometimes have to deal with sexist and<br />

misogynistic behaviour. <strong>The</strong> more we show up<br />

where people skate, the more accepted we get. Now<br />

most have started facing it that we’re here to stay.”<br />

For the city’s young female skaters, there are so<br />

many more reasons why having an Athens chapter<br />

of CIB – and the community it helps to build – is so<br />

important. “<strong>The</strong> truth is that I love Greece, I love<br />

Athens, and I love the place where I’ve grown up,”<br />

Panagou says. “Somehow we’ve got used to living<br />

like this, but things are difficult for young people.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> Greek debt crisis erupted in late 2009 and<br />

became the worst economic disaster in European<br />

Union history. Young people were hit particularly<br />

hard, with youth unemployment peaking at more<br />

than 60 per cent. After years of austerity and cuts<br />

to spending, many of the services that young people<br />

rely upon – schools, universities, sports facilities<br />

– are in urgent need of repair and investment.<br />

Politicians have announced repeatedly that the<br />

crisis is over, yet Greek young people have seen little<br />

improvement in their prospects. Most available jobs,<br />

usually in tourism, are poorly paid. This leaves the<br />

likes of Panagou, who is about to finish her degree<br />

54 THE RED BULLETIN


Hellinikon’s dusty,<br />

long-neglected<br />

terminal building<br />

is a roller-skating<br />

playground for the<br />

CIB Athens crew<br />

– a place to hang<br />

out and try out new<br />

freestyle moves<br />

in Art <strong>The</strong>ory and the History of Art at the Athens<br />

School of Fine Arts, with an agonising choice: “It’s<br />

hard for anyone my age with hopes and dreams for<br />

the future. To find work in the arts, I’ll probably<br />

have to go abroad. But I’d love to find something<br />

to keep me in Greece and be part of the change.”<br />

With its economy so dependent on tourism,<br />

Greece is predicted to be severely affected by the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic. This city of seemingly endless<br />

summers has financial storm clouds circling over<br />

it once again. While Panagou tries to focus on<br />

finishing her studies and working out what she’ll do<br />

next, roller skating provides a much-needed release.<br />

“It’s not just studying – I feel stress and pressure<br />

from the city and the rhythm in which we live,” she<br />

says. “Roller skating helps me get away from all<br />

that. Going out with friends to do our thing, landing<br />

tricks, or just laughing and talking about random<br />

stuff – it all feels good. It honestly helps us get out<br />

of what is, for most people, a really tough reality.”<br />

“It’s important to be<br />

one with your skates:<br />

the style, the<br />

aesthetics, the rhythm”<br />

Xafi and fellow roller skater Eva Balasi, 30,<br />

have linked up for an evening session at the<br />

Vyronas mini ramp, nestled in the forest<br />

beneath Mount Hymettus. After burning<br />

through all their energy, they’re catching their<br />

breath at the foot of the big concrete ramp.<br />

“Most ramps in Athens are built for skateboarders<br />

and are tall, slippery and dangerous for quads, like<br />

this one,” says Balasi, who broke her shin in two<br />

places after falling here in March last year. Yet, even<br />

with a 34cm titanium rod in her bone marrow, two<br />

screws in her knee and two more in her ankle, the<br />

fashion photographer couldn’t stay off her skates –<br />

six weeks after the operation she was skating again,<br />

despite being told to rest for six months. “Skating is<br />

about falling,” Xafi adds, philosophically. “When you<br />

fall, you have to get up and stand back on your feet.”<br />

She continues, “For me, feminism is about<br />

spreading equality; I don’t see borders in roller<br />

skating. When you see boys and girls supporting<br />

each other, that’s where the magic happens. <strong>The</strong>re is<br />

no need to say who does and doesn’t belong to this<br />

place – everyone belongs to wherever the fuck they<br />

want to belong, wherever they feel free. In Greece,<br />

we don’t have the infrastructure or opportunities for<br />

young people. But that’s the beauty of DIY: we have<br />

streets and we can come together to build whatever<br />

we want. We can be the change we want to see.”<br />

Watch the CIB Athens crew in action in the short film<br />

Athena Skates at redbull.com<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 55


Beyond<br />

fear<br />

More people have walked on the Moon<br />

than have visited the underwater<br />

worlds explored by Canadian cave-diver<br />

JILL HEINERTH. What the 55-year-old<br />

does may be incredibly dangerous, but,<br />

she says, it’s also life-affirming<br />

Words ANDREAS WOLLINGER<br />

Photography JILL HEINERTH


<strong>The</strong> deepest desert<br />

Dan’s Cave, located deep beneath<br />

South Abaco in the northern Bahamas,<br />

is believed to be 350,000 years old.<br />

<strong>The</strong> underwater cavern is of particular<br />

interest to climate researchers, as<br />

deposits of sand blown by the wind from<br />

the Sahara and across the Atlantic have<br />

been found here. By researching the<br />

cave’s stalagmites, it’s been possible<br />

to determine when our planet has<br />

experienced periods of drought.<br />

57


Jill Heinerth<br />

Left: Heinerth at<br />

the Wookey Hole<br />

caves in Somerset.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>UK</strong>’s first-ever<br />

underwater cave<br />

dive took place<br />

there, in the cavern<br />

known as Swildon’s<br />

Hole, in 1934<br />

J ill Heinerth didn’t get<br />

to live her childhood dream of becoming<br />

an astronaut. Instead, the Torontonian has<br />

dedicated her life to exploring a different<br />

sort of alien landscape: the world of<br />

underwater caves. Heinerth gave up her<br />

day job as a graphic designer before she<br />

turned 30 so she could devote all of her<br />

time to exploring almost inaccessible and<br />

undiscovered environments. Now 55, she<br />

has dived the world’s longest, deepest and<br />

narrowest caves, including an iceberg in<br />

Antarctica – a list of achievements that will<br />

see her inducted into the International<br />

Scuba Diving Hall of Fame this year.<br />

It’s incredibly risky squeezing your way<br />

through narrow, pitch-black underwater<br />

caves. <strong>The</strong> slightest mistake could end up<br />

costing you the ultimate penalty – in an<br />

average year, as many as 20 cave divers lose<br />

their life. But Heinerth says the counter to<br />

that risk is exhilaration. “<strong>The</strong>re’s no greater<br />

thrill than diving at a spot where no one else<br />

has ever been,” she says. Heinerth admits<br />

that even with years of experience she still<br />

gets scared, “but you can’t let it take over,<br />

or else you’ll use up too much air”.<br />

So, how does she cope with high-risk<br />

situations? “Take a deep breath when you<br />

come face to face with danger,” Heinerth<br />

says. “<strong>The</strong>n take a step-by-step approach<br />

to what you need to do to survive.”<br />

To read more about Heinerth’s diving projects,<br />

visit intotheplanet.com<br />

SUUNTO <strong>UK</strong><br />

58 THE RED BULLETIN


Hidden wonderland<br />

Visiting this bizarre underwater<br />

landscape off Bermuda requires a<br />

special permit, as the cave has been<br />

out of bounds for 40 years on safety<br />

grounds. “I have always been utterly<br />

spellbound by the beauty,” Heinerth<br />

says. “I think this cave is one of the<br />

most amazing things I’ve ever seen.”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 59


Jill Heinerth<br />

Divine light<br />

A ray of sunlight penetrates<br />

the darkness of a cave in<br />

Mexico, bringing to mind the<br />

Mayan belief that these karst<br />

caves were home to the gods<br />

of the underworld. “I call this<br />

picture from Yucatán ‘Beam<br />

me up,’” laughs Heinerth.


Safety selfie<br />

Heinerth tests a<br />

rebreather – a device<br />

that recycles the<br />

diver’s air, enabling<br />

longer explorations.<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 61


Jill Heinerth<br />

Strange brew<br />

<strong>The</strong> waters of the Santa Fe<br />

River in northern Florida<br />

are stained this brownishred<br />

colour, which resembles<br />

tea, because of tannic acid<br />

released by decaying<br />

cypress trees.<br />

63


Jill Heinerth<br />

Tight squeeze<br />

Moments of claustrophobia such as<br />

this are par for the course for cave<br />

divers. To get through them, Heinerth<br />

says, you must “strike a balance<br />

between fear and self-belief”.<br />

Towing the line<br />

Heinerth’s dive partner secures the safety line<br />

at the entrance to the Devil’s Eye Spring in<br />

Florida. This is the only way to ascertain where<br />

you are, should dislodged silt suddenly reduce<br />

visibility to zero, which is pretty common.<br />

64 THE RED BULLETIN


Deep history<br />

This French ship was sunk<br />

by a German U-boat off Bell<br />

Island, Newfoundland, in<br />

November 1942. <strong>The</strong> wreckcum-artificial<br />

reef is now home<br />

to a plethora of marine life.


American underworld<br />

<strong>The</strong> Floridan aquifer is a network of<br />

underground channels that branch<br />

out in all directions and provide<br />

groundwater to 60 per cent of the<br />

state’s population. It also has a<br />

magnetic pull for fearless cave divers<br />

from all over the world. This is the<br />

entrance to the Sunshine State’s<br />

Orange Grove Sink Spring.


Jill Heinerth<br />

Call of the unknown<br />

In 2000, Heinerth had an accident<br />

in this cave – the Pit, far below the<br />

Mexican peninsula of Yucatán –<br />

that almost brought her career<br />

to an end. But the Canadian says<br />

that the thrill she gets from<br />

diving outweighs any risk.<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 67


PEAK<br />

PERFORMANCE<br />

Having started out alone in a field in rural Austria,<br />

FABIO WIBMER now entertains millions with bike<br />

skills that have to be seen to be believed. Here, the<br />

25-year-old discusses the secrets of his success<br />

Words ALEX LISETZ<br />

Photography HANNES BERGER


NON-CONTACT SPORT<br />

Cycling on the jetty at Austria’s Lake Hall statt is technically<br />

forbidden. Wibmer’s solution: no touching the ground<br />

69


Fabio Wibmer<br />

FLIPPING THE SCRIPT<br />

Wibmer is in complete harmony<br />

with his environment in this<br />

mountainous playground<br />

Overlooked by Patscherkofel<br />

mountain on a bright<br />

day in rural Tyrol, just a<br />

few kilometres from his<br />

Innsbruck home, Fabio<br />

Wibmer is about to start<br />

riding. And when the<br />

Austrian pro gets on his<br />

bike, the world watches. Most recently,<br />

the downhill and trials bike rider wowed<br />

millions online with his video Home Office,<br />

made in response to lockdown. In the<br />

film, he transforms his house in ways that<br />

few would imagine possible – jumping<br />

off his roof on his bike onto a mattress<br />

perched in a tree, netting a basketball<br />

with his back wheel, and binning a bag<br />

of rubbish using a homemade catapult.<br />

Wibmer’s tricks have a sense of humour.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’re also insanely difficult to pull off.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se sorts of unique moves are<br />

exactly what the 25-year-old has<br />

been training for almost all of his life.<br />

Wibmer, it would seem, has a more vivid<br />

imagination than most of us. And it<br />

makes the world his playground.<br />

“I look at the absolutely normal things<br />

around me from a different perspective,”<br />

the Austrian says. “I think of using them<br />

in ways that could be a good idea. And<br />

then I put those ideas into practice.”<br />

Wibmer makes it sound so simple, and<br />

for him, in some ways, it is. “You don’t<br />

need a budget or a chic location to make<br />

the most of your creativity,” he says.<br />

“Sometimes you even have better ideas<br />

when your opportunities are limited.”<br />

Simple, maybe. But not easy.<br />

<strong>The</strong> rider grew up in a mountain<br />

village in East Tyrol – not the greatest<br />

springboard to worldwide fame.<br />

“I love Oberpeischlach,” he says, “but<br />

there was absolutely nothing to do<br />

there. We didn’t as much as a piece of<br />

even ground. You could play football<br />

for five minutes and then the ball would<br />

roll off downhill.”<br />

Wibmer was six when he realised<br />

something important: a meadow and<br />

a fallen tree can actually offer hours of<br />

fun if you think creatively – and get<br />

yourself the right tools. A meadow can<br />

be a moto cross route, and a fallen tree<br />

can be part of a trial obstacle course.<br />

70 THE RED BULLETIN


“I look at totally<br />

normal things<br />

around me from<br />

a different<br />

perspective”


Diver<br />

BRANCHING OUT<br />

When planning his tricks,<br />

Wibmer looks to other disciplines,<br />

including skateboarding and<br />

parkour, for inspiration


Fabio Wibmer<br />

BALANCING ACT<br />

In his YouTube videos, the Austrian executes tricks<br />

that are not only audacious but also funny<br />

“If I can do a<br />

trick within<br />

30 seconds,<br />

I’m not<br />

interested”<br />

After a family day out at the Motocross<br />

World Championship in southern<br />

Austria, Wibmer and his cousin Gabriel<br />

begged their parents to buy them mini<br />

motocross bikes. From that moment,<br />

his uncle’s field went from being a bad<br />

football pitch to becoming the perfect<br />

motocross course. And the forest at the<br />

back of the house became an adventure<br />

playground with endless inspiration for<br />

daring stunts and heroic feats.<br />

STAY CURIOUS<br />

Fast-forward to today and Wibmer is<br />

now his home country’s most successful<br />

YouTuber, with more than five million<br />

subscribers; total views of his videos<br />

number somewhere in the hundreds of<br />

millions. His success is, of course, down<br />

to his ingenious skill on both trials and<br />

downhill bikes, but the extra element is<br />

creativity. Wibmer’s videos tell a story.<br />

His tricks are surprising and funny. To<br />

devise them, he says he thinks like his<br />

six-year-old self. He examines everyday<br />

objects from his surroundings and uses<br />

them to create unexpected ideas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> best example of this is Fabiolous<br />

Escape, the video that gave Wibmer his<br />

breakthrough five years ago. “Fabiolous<br />

Escape was originally my entry for a<br />

video competition where the aim was<br />

to film a sleek line in a single take,” he<br />

says. “I thought to myself, ‘Why not tell<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 73


Fabio Wibmer<br />

Wibmer’s<br />

guide<br />

to the<br />

perfect<br />

ride<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

1. POC helmet<br />

“It’s important to buy<br />

a quality helmet and<br />

find one that fits you<br />

well. I really trust in<br />

the protection I get<br />

from this one. If you<br />

do have a serious<br />

crash with a helmet,<br />

you need to get a<br />

replacement. I actually<br />

haven’t been through<br />

too many, which is<br />

either skill or luck!”<br />

2. Magura MT5<br />

brakes<br />

“Brakes are almost<br />

the most important<br />

part of my bike – I use<br />

them in almost every<br />

step I do. And when<br />

you’re standing<br />

somewhere 6m off<br />

the ground, you need<br />

to know that your<br />

brakes won’t let you<br />

down. If they did, it<br />

wouldn’t end well!”<br />

3. Canyon<br />

bike frame<br />

“This is the first trials<br />

bike from Canyon –<br />

it’s been specifically<br />

made for my riding.<br />

It’s a prototype, and<br />

we’re constantly<br />

making small changes.<br />

I’ve been riding it<br />

since the beginning<br />

of this year – it’s the<br />

bike I rode it in Home<br />

Office. I like to have<br />

it kind of short and<br />

compact, with a higher<br />

handlebar so that it’s<br />

easier to get your front<br />

wheel up.”<br />

4. Crankbrothers<br />

pedals<br />

“<strong>The</strong> pedals are where<br />

you and your bike meet.<br />

Having a good pedal<br />

with a lot of grip is<br />

really important. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

have nice pins that go<br />

into your shoe so you<br />

stick to your pedal and<br />

don’t slip.”<br />

5. Continental<br />

tyres<br />

“Tyres are the<br />

connecting point<br />

between you and the<br />

ground, so having<br />

a tyre with a lot of grip<br />

and resistance can<br />

make the difference<br />

between crashing and<br />

not. Danny MacAskill<br />

developed these tyres<br />

specifically for trials<br />

a few years ago, and<br />

they make a big<br />

difference to my<br />

riding as they’re<br />

a little bit wider and<br />

the grip is better.”<br />

a story, actually, and get the whole<br />

village involved?’”<br />

Wibmer’s ‘escape’ from the somewhat<br />

blundering village policemen takes him<br />

over rooftops and dining tables, and is<br />

peppered with front flips, drops, and<br />

a balancing act on his handlebars. <strong>The</strong><br />

result: he won the competition, and the<br />

video has now had more than 60 million<br />

views. “I take things that everyone knows<br />

and give them a new twist,” says the<br />

former sports marketing student on the<br />

success of his concept. “Like in [his 2017<br />

video] Urban Freeride Lives, where I leap<br />

down stairs. Anyone can imagine that<br />

– unlike with a ramp that has dimensions<br />

the viewer can’t gauge so easily.”<br />

“I watch skaters<br />

and try to repeat<br />

their moves”<br />

Ideas constantly pop into Wibmer’s<br />

head when he’s out and about: “I see<br />

a wall and think how I could ride on it<br />

or jump over it.” On one occasion, he<br />

was scouting for locations in the Malta<br />

Valley in Carinthia, a region in the<br />

Eastern Alps, when a 200m-high dam<br />

wall with a security rail on top caught<br />

his eye. “I saw the handrail and<br />

thought to myself that if that thing<br />

was only 10cm off the ground, I’d<br />

be able to ride along it, no problem.<br />

So then I just had to blank out the<br />

knowledge that there was a 200m<br />

drop next to me.”<br />

A couple of days later, secured with<br />

a rope, Wibmer cycled along the rail<br />

– the width of one of his wheels – from<br />

one end of the dam wall to the other,<br />

with the yawning abyss just to his left.<br />

“It was an indescribable feeling,” he<br />

says, “especially afterwards.” Mere<br />

mortals might want to have a can of<br />

deodorant close at hand after watching<br />

the YouTube video, titled Riding a Bike<br />

on a 200m High Rail.<br />

74 THE RED BULLETIN


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Fabio Wibmer<br />

SCREW UP<br />

But even for a rider so experienced<br />

in creating something from nothing,<br />

success isn’t guaranteed. Wibmer says<br />

many of his ideas end up going nowhere,<br />

“because in reality they didn’t turn out<br />

like I saw them in my head. Or they end<br />

up being totally lame, even though I’d<br />

imagined they were ingenious”.<br />

However, according to the Austrian,<br />

that doesn’t matter. Part of being truly<br />

creative is allowing for mistakes and<br />

potential humiliation, and being prepared<br />

to do stuff that might end up being<br />

useless. In fact, Wibmer says, it’s often<br />

the very ideas that seem the most<br />

hopeless that are most worth pursuing.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re are people who give up on<br />

a trick if they haven’t managed to pull it<br />

off after 30 goes,” he says. “If I can do a<br />

trick within 30 goes, I’m not interested.<br />

It can’t have been hard enough. I’m only<br />

excited by a trick if it takes me 200 or<br />

300 goes to do, like in the Home Office<br />

video where I flick a basketball into the<br />

basket with my rear wheel.”<br />

“Ideas and<br />

stress don’t<br />

mix. You have to<br />

find what helps<br />

you switch off”<br />

When tenacity alone isn’t enough,<br />

Wibmer still won’t give up. On those<br />

occasions, he falls back on his creativity<br />

to find a workaround that will help<br />

bring a good idea to fruition. “Once,<br />

when I was in the garage, a bike that I’d<br />

turned upside down for repair caught my<br />

eye,” he says. “I thought, ‘What would<br />

it be like to jump onto a bike in that<br />

position and create a mirror image?’”<br />

His first attempts left him battered<br />

and bruised. “<strong>The</strong>n I had the idea of<br />

fixing the lower bike to the spot and<br />

locking the brakes.” And the trick<br />

worked. You can see it now in the<br />

Home Office video, along with the<br />

basketball sequence.<br />

GET INSPIRED<br />

“I’ve always been inspired by what other<br />

people do,” says Wibmer, “and then<br />

I’ve made it my own.” This is what made<br />

a spring day in 2009 the most important<br />

of Wibmer’s life. <strong>The</strong> rider, then aged<br />

14, was searching the internet when<br />

he happened across Inspired Bicycles,<br />

a video by Scottish trials-bike titan<br />

Danny MacAskill. “I knew right away<br />

that I wanted to do something similar,”<br />

he says.<br />

Wibmer immediately switched his<br />

motocross bike for a trials bike and used<br />

MacAskill’s videos to teach himself<br />

tricks. He began to post videos of his<br />

progress, too, and gradually built up<br />

a community of his own. He first met<br />

his idol in 2012 at a <strong>Red</strong> Bull Wings<br />

Academy workshop. “I was so nervous<br />

I couldn’t speak,” says Wibmer. “He’s<br />

such a big inspiration.“<br />

<strong>The</strong>y stayed in touch, and MacAskill<br />

ended up making Wibmer an offer.<br />

MacAskill was looking for people to<br />

join him on a show tour, as part of his<br />

professional street trials team, Drop and<br />

Roll. Wibmer accepted. He’s now the<br />

youngest member of the team of four,<br />

who perform live across Europe, turning<br />

fans’ heads with flips of all kinds off<br />

ramps, down ladders and over bespoke<br />

obstacles. It’s all a far cry from the<br />

meadow in Oberpeischlach.<br />

FIND SOLUTIONS<br />

When it comes to seeking inspiration for<br />

his next challenge, Wibmer doesn’t limit<br />

himself to the bike community. Over the<br />

years, he’s learned the value of looking<br />

further afield. “I’m interested in how<br />

other communities or sports approach<br />

a problem,” he says. “Sometimes I<br />

watch skateboarders and try to repeat<br />

their moves. In Home Office, I jump off<br />

the roof and onto a tree, then slide<br />

down it sideways. I got that idea from<br />

parkour videos.”<br />

Once an idea is set, the Austrian gears<br />

up to test it out. “Ideas and stress don’t<br />

mix,” says Wibmer. “If you want to be<br />

creative, you need something to help you<br />

focus. You have to find the one thing that<br />

helps you switch off and come into your<br />

own.” Clearly, Wibmer has found his.<br />

Watch Fabio Wibmer’s videos, including<br />

Home Office, at youtube.com<br />

76 THE RED BULLETIN


spectral:on<br />

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Spectral:ON e-MTB exists to crush technical descents and nail<br />

fast turns. We could tell you all about the new carbon frame,<br />

fully-integrated battery, and modern, agile geometry. But to<br />

truly get it, you need to try it yourself. Test the Spectral:ON at<br />

selected events this spring. We’ll let the bike do the talking.<br />

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VENTURE<br />

Enhance, equip, and experience your best life<br />

ROAD TO<br />

DISCOVERY<br />

<strong>The</strong> Tour d’Afrique<br />

TDA GLOBAL CYCLING<br />

79


VENTURE<br />

Travel<br />

“You really get to<br />

know yourself like<br />

never before”<br />

Canadian PE teacher Jérôme<br />

Blais on the four-month<br />

11,000km Tour d’Afrique<br />

M<br />

y head was about to explode. Too<br />

much sun and not enough fluids.<br />

Everything was just dust, heat, sweat and<br />

exhaustion. It was a brutal day. But when<br />

I arrived at the camp, I saw it wasn’t just<br />

me who felt that way – it looked like a field<br />

hospital. All I could see were emaciated<br />

faces. <strong>The</strong> doctor was running from one<br />

tent to the other. Some of my colleagues<br />

were lying flat with drips in their arms.<br />

Hard to believe this was just a biking trip.<br />

That said, it did cover the whole of Africa,<br />

from Cairo to Cape Town, passing<br />

through 10 countries, multiple climatic<br />

zones and the Equator. And we were still<br />

in Sudan, only a fifth of the way through.<br />

Why was I doing this to myself? I had<br />

never been to Africa, so the trip seemed<br />

perfect, the ultimate challenge, one you’d<br />

remember your whole life. I teach PE, so<br />

I’m pretty fit. I’d also done several solo<br />

bike trips around North America, each<br />

lasting months at a time. But I wasn’t<br />

prepared for what awaited me here.<br />

<strong>The</strong> idea is very simple: you can cycle<br />

the whole way – more than 11,000km in<br />

four months (33 others just as crazy as<br />

me also went for that option) – or join for<br />

shorter stages. A truck transports the<br />

equipment, tents, spare parts and food,<br />

and we’re in the saddle, on set routes, for<br />

between 80-200km a day. A team from<br />

TDA Global Cycling, a company that<br />

developed out of an NGO for used bikes,<br />

came up with the idea. It used to be a<br />

race. Some of the participants still see it<br />

that way. But for most – me included –<br />

it’s not about times but the experience.<br />

<strong>The</strong> start of the tour, in Egypt, already felt<br />

odd. We set off in January [2019], so our<br />

bodies were in winter mode, but here we<br />

were, struggling our way through 35°C in<br />

the shade – except there wasn’t any on<br />

the road, sadly. Plus you’re riding as part<br />

of a military convoy. As a cyclist, you’re<br />

an object of curiosity on Egyptian roads,<br />

which isn’t an advantage when it comes<br />

<strong>The</strong> heat is on: Jérôme Blais in the saddle on the 2019 Tour D’Afrique<br />

to safety in traffic. So we were escorted<br />

by trucks and armed soldiers. It was<br />

a strange feeling: both oppressive and<br />

reassuring at the same time.<br />

Our experiences during the tour soon<br />

made us forget those moments. We saw<br />

the Sphinx in Egypt and cycled along the<br />

Nile to Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel,<br />

then into the Ethiopian Highlands, through<br />

lonely deserts in Kenya and Namibia,<br />

safari hotspots in Tanzania and Botswana,<br />

and finally arrived at Table Mountain in<br />

Cape Town. You travel much more slowly<br />

on a bike. You really earn these places.<br />

And the experience is so much more<br />

intense when they’re right there in front<br />

of you. You’re guaranteed goosebumps.<br />

But we had to work for it. I didn’t find the<br />

physical strain the greatest challenge –<br />

what’s much more difficult is having no<br />

control over your schedule. What I’m<br />

talking about here is gastrointestinal<br />

viruses. Everyone gets struck down,<br />

whether you like it or not. If you’re lucky,<br />

you’ll get hit on a day off. I wasn’t – we<br />

were mid-stage. If I’m riding on my own,<br />

I take a break and get well again. Luckily,<br />

the supply truck drove me part of the way.<br />

But we weren’t the only ones to suffer;<br />

our equipment did, too. Sand, dust, filth,<br />

never-ending dirt tracks – no bike can<br />

stick that for long. I didn’t get a flat until<br />

Malawi, more than 7,000km in, but after<br />

I’d had 11 more I stopped counting. I had<br />

80 THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE<br />

Travel<br />

TDA GLOBAL CYCLING FLORIAN STURM<br />

Scenic route: Blue Nile Gorge in the Ethiopian Highlands has dramatic views<br />

Lifesaver: the supply truck carries vital<br />

equipment, tents, spare parts and food<br />

Crossing the<br />

continent<br />

Start: Cairo, Egypt<br />

Finish: Cape Town, South Africa<br />

Official distance: 11,222km<br />

In existence since: 2003 (the first outing<br />

broke the Guinness record for the fastest<br />

crossing of Africa under one’s own steam)<br />

Countries traversed: Egypt, Sudan,<br />

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi,<br />

Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa<br />

Areas passed through: the banks of the<br />

Nile, the Ethiopian Highlands, Lake Malawi,<br />

the Victoria Falls, the Kalahari Desert<br />

Duration: 115 days (86 on the bike,<br />

25 rest days, four travel days)<br />

Price: US$17,400 (£13,800)<br />

Africa<br />

Cairo, Egypt<br />

Cape Town, South Africa<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 81


VENTURE<br />

Travel<br />

Riding out<br />

trouble<br />

Got a flat tyre in the<br />

Ethiopian Highlands, but<br />

no tools? All you need is<br />

a shoelace and a field<br />

1<br />

Remove the<br />

outer tyre and tube<br />

from the rim<br />

2<br />

Tie a shoelace tightly<br />

over and next to the spot<br />

with the puncture. Don’t<br />

go easy on the knots<br />

Head for the hills: the riders pass through Kenya, almost halfway into the tour<br />

the most problems in Namibia, as less<br />

than 10 per cent of the road network there<br />

is tarmac. At least I’m now an expert at<br />

patching up holes by the side of the road.<br />

<strong>The</strong> team spirit that comes about on a<br />

tour like this is great. When you’re on the<br />

bike, you may be fighting just for yourself<br />

against the heat, the potholes, the climbs<br />

and the headwind, but as soon as the<br />

others see you’re in difficulty and might<br />

even want to give up on that stage, they<br />

urge you on until you’re pedalling again.<br />

Some of your teammates become real<br />

friends as you sit around the campfire in<br />

the evenings; I’m still in touch with them.<br />

I had to fight against exhaustion, heat<br />

stroke, diarrhoea, and dips in motivation.<br />

But even if the tour really took it out of<br />

me, I never considered retiring. You really<br />

get to know yourself like never before. I’ve<br />

been much more relaxed and open in the<br />

way I live since the adventure came to an<br />

end. I’ve realised what a good life I have,<br />

and that many of our problems aren’t<br />

really problems at all. Pretty amazing<br />

what a bike tour like this can do to you.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next Tour d’Afrique runs from 15 Jan<br />

to 8 May 2021; tdaglobalcycling.com<br />

Stop and gape<br />

Make a detour to visit these three marvels<br />

City of the Dead<br />

(Cairo, Egypt)<br />

It is estimated that around<br />

half a million people live here<br />

among the graves, family<br />

mausoleums and lavishly<br />

decorated burial sites.<br />

Devil’s Pool<br />

(Livingstone, Zambia)<br />

A natural pool (pictured)<br />

with a stunningly good view<br />

on the edge of Victoria Falls,<br />

the world’s largest waterfall.<br />

Leper Tree<br />

(Liwonde, Malawi)<br />

A hollowed-out baobab that<br />

became a final resting place<br />

for lepers, who, as recently<br />

as the 1950s, couldn’t be<br />

buried in Malawi.<br />

3<br />

Fill the outer tyre<br />

with as much grass<br />

or as many leaves<br />

as you can before<br />

replacing the tube<br />

4<br />

Pump up the tyre<br />

and carefully continue<br />

on your way until you<br />

find a colleague with a<br />

professional repair kit.<br />

Items that Jérôme Blais<br />

advises you pack for the trip:<br />

Baby wipes<br />

Essential to combat sweat,<br />

sunscreen, and a lack of showers<br />

Stretcher bed<br />

Forget roll mats and air mattresses –<br />

they get soaked when heavy rain hits<br />

Clothes brush<br />

Being able to brush the filth from<br />

your clothes from time to time is<br />

surprisingly re-humanising<br />

CLICK PICTUREWORKS AFRICA LTD, ALAMY SASCHA BIERL<br />

82 THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE<br />

Equipment<br />

SKATE<br />

Artful<br />

dodgers<br />

<strong>The</strong> flipside of board design<br />

Design by US artist<br />

Tallboy (@tallboy666),<br />

whose work is influenced<br />

by legendary cartoonists<br />

Robert Crumb and<br />

S Clay Wilson<br />

Once, skateboards sported<br />

designs on top. <strong>The</strong>n came grip<br />

tape. But the art lives on below<br />

deck. Pioneers like VC Johnson<br />

for Powell-Peralta (‘Flame Face’<br />

1980s reissue, top left), and Jim<br />

Phillips, creator of Santa Cruz’s<br />

‘Screaming Hand’ (remixed<br />

bottom right), inspired future<br />

generations of inkers. Clockwise<br />

from top left: POWELL-PERALTA<br />

Claus Grabke board, powellperalta.com;<br />

BANZAI Speed<br />

Seal wheels and trucks,<br />

banzaiskate.com; SANTA CRUZ<br />

Winkowski Dope Planet VX and<br />

Echo Chamber Preissue boards,<br />

santacruzskateboards.eu;<br />

VANS Sk8-Hi shoes, vans.co.uk;<br />

KROOKED Zip Ziiiiiiinger board,<br />

blacksheepstore.co.uk; ARBOR<br />

Martillo Legacy board,<br />

arborcollective.com<br />

<strong>The</strong> Martillo<br />

(Spanish for<br />

hammer) is<br />

so-named because<br />

of its blunt tip.<br />

Arbor also makes<br />

a bullet-nosed<br />

Pistola and<br />

a spoon-tipped<br />

Cucharon<br />

TIM KENT<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 83


VENTURE<br />

Fitness<br />

IMPROVE<br />

In the<br />

mind’s eye<br />

Most glasses enhance your eyesight.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se exercise the brain<br />

In 2012, Carlin Isles earned<br />

himself the tag of “rugby’s<br />

fastest player”. <strong>The</strong> US star’s<br />

speed is undeniable: at the<br />

time, he could cover 20m<br />

0.22 seconds faster than<br />

Usain Bolt. But Isles sees it<br />

from a different perspective<br />

– for him, it seems the world<br />

has slowed down. And this is<br />

down to a technique he uses:<br />

strobe training.<br />

For this, athletes in<br />

training wear stroboscopic<br />

glasses with liquid-crystal<br />

lenses that flicker between<br />

transparency and opacity, as<br />

if under a strobe light. Being<br />

momentarily blinded might<br />

seem counterintuitive, but it<br />

actually exercises the senses,<br />

forcing the brain to work<br />

overtime to fill in the gaps in<br />

visual information, improving<br />

spacial awareness and<br />

reaction times. This ‘blindness’<br />

can be set to anything from<br />

100ms to more than a second;<br />

the longer the athlete is in the<br />

dark, the greater the brain is<br />

challenged. Studies show that<br />

it enhances peripheral vision,<br />

eliminates the dominance of<br />

one eye, and helps the inner<br />

ear track objects.<br />

An app is used to set the duration<br />

of the ‘blindness’ phases as well as<br />

the difficulty level of the session<br />

<strong>The</strong> technique can be traced<br />

back to basketball legend<br />

Michael Jordan’s time with<br />

the Chicago Bulls in the ’80s<br />

and ’90s, when he trained<br />

under strobe lighting to adjust<br />

to camera flashes on court.<br />

His mind, essentially, had to<br />

compensate for being blinded<br />

continually during a game.<br />

Today, this is a recognised<br />

sports science, and US firm<br />

Senaptec’s Strobe glasses<br />

are used by athletes in<br />

various disciplines, including<br />

the US shooting team and, of<br />

course, Isles, who wears them<br />

for 15 minutes several<br />

times a week. “My<br />

hand-eye coordination<br />

has greatly improved,”<br />

says the 30-year-old.<br />

“Neither the pace nor<br />

distractions bother me.<br />

It’s almost like the ball is<br />

approaching in slow motion.”<br />

senaptec.com<br />

“Now, it’s almost like<br />

the ball is approaching<br />

in slow motion”<br />

Carlin Isles, 30, rugby player<br />

Lightning<br />

responses<br />

Senaptec CEO Joe<br />

Bingold on how to<br />

improve coordination<br />

even without strobes<br />

FAST TURN<br />

“Turn your back on your<br />

partner and stand 5m<br />

apart. When your partner<br />

throws, they shout, ‘Go.’<br />

Only then do you turn and<br />

try to catch the ball.”<br />

UP THE ANTE<br />

“Make the exercise more<br />

difficult by reducing<br />

distance, using a smaller<br />

ball, or closing your eyes<br />

before turning around.”<br />

GOING SOLO<br />

“Mask one lens of your<br />

sunglasses or close one<br />

eye, then try some basic<br />

running drills.”<br />

Quick start: prior to taking up rugby in 2012, Ohio-born Isles was a<br />

talented track-and-field athlete with college records to his name<br />

MARV WATSON/RED BULL CONTENT POOL, SENAPTEC.COM FLORIAN STURM TOM MACKINGER<br />

84 THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE<br />

Equipment<br />

TRAIN<br />

<strong>The</strong> not-sodumb<br />

bell<br />

JaxJox KettlebellConnect<br />

<strong>The</strong> kettlebell is one of the<br />

earliest pieces of modern<br />

gym equipment – ancient<br />

societies including the<br />

Greeks are known to have<br />

used handled weights.<br />

Today’s version derives<br />

from the Russian girya,<br />

a block of cast-iron that<br />

was used to weigh crops in<br />

the 18th century and was<br />

subsequently toted by<br />

circus strongmen. Its<br />

design and methodology<br />

have remained much the<br />

same over the years: with<br />

the centre of gravity below<br />

the handle, exercises such<br />

as ‘the swing’ and ‘clean<br />

and jerk’ work the whole<br />

body, building usable<br />

strength. Now, this<br />

dumbest of bells has been<br />

given 21st-century smarts,<br />

connecting to your phone<br />

and loading six ‘bullet<br />

weights’ – from 5.5kg to<br />

19kg – from a stack in its<br />

charging station. All of<br />

which will prevent your<br />

home from becoming as<br />

cluttered as an Imperial<br />

Russian farm. jaxjox.com<br />

TIM KENT<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 85


VENTURE<br />

Equipment<br />

LISTEN<br />

Champion<br />

sound<br />

Our edit of the best<br />

house-party tech<br />

Virtual festivals, concerts<br />

inside video games, a digital<br />

carnival, professionally made<br />

cocktails delivered direct to<br />

your home – <strong>2020</strong> was the<br />

year the house party evolved<br />

to the next level. Though<br />

born of unhappy necessity,<br />

this situation has shown how<br />

resourceful we humans can<br />

be when looking for ways to<br />

share good times. Society<br />

may now be slowly emerging<br />

into the new normal, but the<br />

state-of-the-art house party is<br />

here to stay. Here’s what you<br />

need in your home set-up…<br />

Clockwise from left:<br />

FOCAL Aria 926 floorstanding<br />

speakers feature cones woven<br />

from flax for a natural sound<br />

and tight bass; focal.com. <strong>The</strong><br />

NAIM Uniti Star is a complete<br />

music centre that streams<br />

from services such as Spotify,<br />

wirelessly connects to your<br />

music player via AirPlay,<br />

Chromecast and Bluetooth,<br />

and has a CD drive to rip tunes<br />

or export them to the built-in<br />

hard drive; naimaudio.com.<br />

<strong>The</strong> PIONEER DDJ-800 pro DJ<br />

controller has jog controls, a<br />

mixer and performance pads<br />

in a club-style layout, plus a<br />

feedback reducer to prevent<br />

microphone ‘howl’ if the<br />

MC gets to close to the<br />

speakers; pioneerdj.com.<br />

<strong>The</strong> URBANISTA Brisbane<br />

Bluetooth speaker gives 10<br />

hours of play time; urbanista.<br />

com. SKULLCANDY Crusher<br />

noise-cancelling headphones<br />

(shown in black and deep red)<br />

offer a personalised audio<br />

set-up via an app; skullcandy.<br />

co.uk. URBANISTA London<br />

wireless earphones with<br />

active noise-cancelling allow<br />

you to filter out ambient<br />

noise; urbanista.com. <strong>The</strong><br />

PIONEER XDJ-RR all-in-one<br />

DJ system has an LCD screen<br />

for monitoring BPM and<br />

waveforms; pioneerdj.com.<br />

TIM KENT<br />

86 THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE<br />

Equipment<br />

LCD displays on the<br />

dials of the Pioneer DDJ-<br />

800 are customisable<br />

to show everything from<br />

BPMs to hot cues and<br />

loop points<br />

<strong>The</strong> aluminium/<br />

magnesium tweeter at the<br />

top of these Focal speakers<br />

is suspended in Poron – a<br />

memory foam that greatly<br />

reduces sound distortion<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 87


VENTURE<br />

Equipment<br />

Any decent driver’s watch<br />

should ideally feature a<br />

chronograph (stopwatch)<br />

and tachymeter (numeric<br />

bezel for calculating fuel<br />

use, distance and speed);<br />

some degree of motoring<br />

heritage is a plus, too.<br />

Crucially, it must look<br />

great when you’re gripping<br />

the wheel. From left:<br />

TISSOT Alpine On Board<br />

Automatic Chronograph,<br />

tissotwatches.com;<br />

BREMONT Jaguar MKII<br />

White, bremont.com;<br />

ZENITH Defy El Primero<br />

21, zenith-watches.com;<br />

ORIS Movember Edition<br />

2019, oris.ch<br />

WEAR<br />

Speed<br />

dials<br />

Your quick guide to<br />

identifying a good<br />

driver’s watch<br />

TIM KENT<br />

88 THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE<br />

Equipment<br />

PROTECT<br />

Shades of<br />

greatness<br />

Sunglasses that are fun glasses<br />

TIM KENT<br />

From prehistoric times,<br />

Arctic tribes have worn<br />

slitted walrus ivory over<br />

their eyes to block out<br />

the sun. Emperor Nero<br />

would watch gladiatorial<br />

battles through cutemerald<br />

lenses. Today’s<br />

shades are more hightech<br />

and easier to<br />

obtain. Clockwise from<br />

top: DRAGON Renew<br />

shades with Lumalens,<br />

dragonalliance.com;<br />

SPECT EYEWEAR Fly<br />

Mirrored shades,<br />

specteyewear.com;<br />

RAY-BAN Nomad shades,<br />

ray-ban.com; MELON<br />

OPTICS Layback shades,<br />

melonoptics.com;<br />

OAKLEY Frogskins 35th<br />

Anniversary shades<br />

with Prizm lenses,<br />

oakley.com; SPEKTRUM<br />

Anjan Black shades,<br />

spektrumsports.com<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 89


VENTURE<br />

Equipment<br />

<strong>The</strong> Razer Blade 15 is<br />

the world’s smallest<br />

gaming laptop – as<br />

thin as 18mm, and just<br />

over 2kg in weight<br />

PLAY<br />

Open-world<br />

adventure<br />

Engage in pro-level gaming on the go<br />

Whether you’re taking part in<br />

manoeuvres in Call of Duty:<br />

Warzone’s fictitious city of<br />

Verdansk or swimming around<br />

Battle Royale Island in Fortnite,<br />

it’s possible to traverse the<br />

vast real world at the same<br />

time. Clockwise from top left:<br />

HYPERX Cloud Earbuds<br />

gaming headphones with mic,<br />

hyperxgaming.com; RAZER<br />

Blade 15 gaming laptop, razer.<br />

com; ASUS ROG Strix Impact II<br />

mouse and ROG Ranger BP3703<br />

modular gaming backpack,<br />

asus.com; OMNICHARGE Omni<br />

20+ charger, omnicharge.co;<br />

HYPERX Cloud Flight S<br />

wireless gaming headset,<br />

hyperxgaming.com; NINTENDO<br />

Switch Lite, nintendo.co.uk<br />

TIM KENT<br />

90 THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE<br />

Gaming<br />

CONTEMPLATE<br />

<strong>The</strong> logical<br />

approach<br />

Video games often help us escape<br />

reality, but here’s one that might<br />

enable us to see it more clearly<br />

SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT MATT RAY<br />

To say <strong>2020</strong> has been a tough<br />

year is an understatement, but<br />

video gaming has provided<br />

some light relief, with even<br />

the World Health Organisation<br />

– which previously warned<br />

against gaming addiction –<br />

recommending it as a way of<br />

coping with lockdown.<br />

One of the year’s biggest<br />

games, <strong>The</strong> Last of Us Part II,<br />

is all about coping when<br />

everything goes to hell. In this<br />

survival-horror adventure,<br />

set in a post-pandemic world,<br />

main character Ellie must<br />

demonstrate calm, resilience<br />

and self-reliance – qualities<br />

we might all learn from, and<br />

key traits of the philosophy<br />

known as stoicism.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> core idea is that your<br />

wellbeing is dependent on your<br />

mental state, your character,”<br />

says stoic philosopher John<br />

Sellars. Rather than worrying<br />

about external factors beyond<br />

your control, develop a clearer<br />

perception of what is within<br />

your power to affect, and take<br />

rational actions based on this.<br />

In short, it’s not all doom and<br />

gloom. Here are five stoic<br />

lessons from the game that<br />

you can apply to your own<br />

everyday challenges…<br />

Don’t buy into fear<br />

One of the enduring images<br />

from early lockdown is of<br />

panic-buying. <strong>The</strong> Last of Us<br />

Part II takes this to its logical<br />

conclusion as survivors battle<br />

not only zombies, known as<br />

‘the infected’, but each other.<br />

“How much stuff were people<br />

buying that they didn’t need?”<br />

asks Sellars. “It’s an immediate<br />

emotional response, rather<br />

than one that’s been thought<br />

Strings of life: stoicism is one of the many traits that Ellie depends upon in <strong>The</strong> Last of Us Part II<br />

through. None of that external<br />

stuff directly contributes to<br />

our happiness. Slow down,<br />

adopt a wider perspective.”<br />

Keep calm, carry on<br />

A common trope in postapocalyptic<br />

games is the<br />

resilient survivor drawing on<br />

an internal well of courage.<br />

This, says Sellars, is stoic.<br />

“[Roman Emperor] Marcus<br />

Aurelius, in his Meditations,<br />

describes his ‘inner citadel’ –<br />

that bit inside his control that<br />

nothing can damage unless he<br />

lets it in. If you judge a situation<br />

to be terrible, it will generate<br />

fear, and that can result in bad<br />

judgements.” Instead, realise<br />

that while you cannot control<br />

the circumstances, you are<br />

in charge of your response.<br />

Stay positive<br />

Pulling through seemingly<br />

unsurvivable situations<br />

requires optimism. “[Roman<br />

stoic philosopher] Seneca<br />

the Younger said, ‘Disaster is<br />

virtue’s opportunity.’ Some<br />

people step up, like Captain<br />

Tom [Moore, the British WWII<br />

Army veteran who raised £32<br />

million for charity] and people<br />

clapping for the NHS or<br />

looking out for vulnerable<br />

neighbours. In adverse<br />

circumstances, you discover<br />

what people are really like.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are always positives.”<br />

See the bigger picture<br />

In <strong>The</strong> Last of Us Part II,<br />

Ellie is estranged from the<br />

protagonist of the original<br />

John Sellars<br />

A philosophy lecturer at Royal<br />

Holloway, University of London, and<br />

research fellow at King’s College<br />

London, Sellars has written widely<br />

on stoicism. His book Lessons in<br />

Stoicism is out in paperback on<br />

October 1. johnsellars.org.uk<br />

2013 game, her father figure<br />

Joel, which is something that<br />

many family groups can<br />

relate to after recent months.<br />

Stoicism, however, views our<br />

interconnectivity on a much<br />

grander scale. “<strong>The</strong>re’s a<br />

concept of cosmopolitanism<br />

– that everyone is a fellow<br />

citizen of a single, global<br />

community,” says Sellars.<br />

“It downplays trivial<br />

differences [such as tribalism<br />

or nationality] and focuses<br />

instead on the fact that we<br />

are all social human beings<br />

with shared rationality.”<br />

Appreciate life<br />

Unlike most video games,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Last of Us Part II delivers<br />

an empathetic view of death,<br />

even of your adversaries.<br />

“That we constantly reflect<br />

on our own mortality is<br />

important,” says Sellars. “Part<br />

of that is just being realistic,<br />

but it’s also to stress the value<br />

of our own time. We only have<br />

a limited amount – the more<br />

we understand that, the better<br />

we can prioritise the things<br />

that are most important.”<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 91


10 ISSUES<br />

getredbulletin.com<br />

£20<br />

BEYOND THE ORDINARY<br />

<strong>The</strong> next issue is out on Tuesday 8 <strong>September</strong> with London Evening Standard.<br />

Also available across the <strong>UK</strong> at airports, universities, and selected supermarkets and retail stores.<br />

Read more at theredbulletin.com<br />

TYRONE BRADLEY/RED BULL CONTENT POOL


VENTURE<br />

Calendar<br />

13<br />

August to 19 <strong>September</strong><br />

DRIFT MASTERS EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP<br />

<strong>The</strong> sporting calendar was sent into a spin earlier this year – but, for one returning competition,<br />

spinning is what its athletes are relishing coming back to. Drift racing involves drivers precisely<br />

manoeuvring around custom-built circuits by over-steering and counter-steering at speed round<br />

the turns. Since the launch of the European Championship in 2014, the series has rapidly grown<br />

in scale and popularity to become today’s multi-region European race schedule. <strong>The</strong>se three<br />

livestreamed weekends see the doyens of drift head to Bikernieki Circuit in Latvia (Aug 14-15),<br />

PS Racing Center in Austria (Sep 5-6) and Mondello Park in Ireland (Sep 19-20). redbull.com<br />

11<br />

August to 6 <strong>September</strong><br />

WAVELENGTH<br />

DRIVE-IN CINEMA<br />

Every August, the Boardmasters<br />

sport and music festival is staged<br />

on the cliff-tops at Watergate Bay in<br />

Cornwall. Following the cancellation<br />

of this year’s event, however, the site<br />

will instead host a series of classic<br />

movies. <strong>The</strong>re’s surfing in the line-up,<br />

in the form of 1991’s Keanu-vs-Swayze<br />

action epic Point Break and 1995’s<br />

Blue Juice, as well as skate classics<br />

Dogtown and Z-Boys and Back to the<br />

Future. wavelengthmag.com<br />

11<br />

August to<br />

9 October<br />

BREATH IS<br />

INVISIBLE<br />

June 14 was the threeyear<br />

anniversary of the<br />

Grenfell Tower fire.<br />

Three weeks later, the<br />

works of artist Khadija<br />

Saye, who died in the<br />

fire, were exhibited<br />

less than a mile away.<br />

This public art project,<br />

which aims to address<br />

social injustice,<br />

continues with pieces<br />

created by artists<br />

Martyn Ware, Zachary<br />

Eastwood-Bloom<br />

and Joy Gregory in<br />

collaboration with<br />

the local community.<br />

236 Westbourne<br />

Grove, London;<br />

breathisinvisible.com<br />

9<br />

to 15 <strong>September</strong><br />

OPEN CITY<br />

DOCUMENTARY<br />

FESTIVAL<br />

Last year, more than<br />

5,000 people attended<br />

this annual curation of<br />

some of the best works<br />

in documentary and<br />

non-fiction filmmaking.<br />

This year, the event<br />

will be a digital edition,<br />

with the 24 selected<br />

films available as<br />

video-on-demand,<br />

including pre-recorded<br />

Q&A sessions, and a<br />

web-based tour of the<br />

popular Expanded<br />

Realities audio-visual<br />

art installations.<br />

opencitylondon.com<br />

94 THE RED BULLETIN


VENTURE<br />

Calendar<br />

11<br />

11<br />

August onwards<br />

AROUND<br />

THE WORLD<br />

JORDAN BUTTERS/DMEC/RED BULL CONTENT POOL, ALAMY, TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA,<br />

DEAN TREML/RED BULL CONTENT POOL, CHRISTIAN PONDELLA/RED BULL CONTENT POOL<br />

August to<br />

24 January<br />

TOYIN OJIH<br />

ODUTOLA<br />

Odutola is a Nigerian-<br />

American artist whose<br />

work – created with<br />

drawing materials<br />

and, most famously,<br />

black pen ink – has<br />

drawn acclaim for<br />

challenging notions<br />

of skin colour and<br />

‘Blackness’ in society.<br />

Her latest exhibition, A<br />

Countervailing <strong>The</strong>ory,<br />

is an imagined ancient<br />

myth set in a surreal<br />

landscape inspired by<br />

the unique geology of<br />

Nigeria’s Plateau State<br />

and told in 40 drawings<br />

created in pastel,<br />

chalk and charcoal.<br />

Accompanied by a<br />

soundscape from<br />

music producer Peter<br />

Adjaye (aka AJ Kwame)<br />

and a publication from<br />

author Zadie Smith,<br />

it was set to debut at<br />

the Barbican in March,<br />

but then lockdown<br />

took effect. Now, we<br />

can examine the work<br />

– unfurled across the<br />

90m gallery space of<br />

<strong>The</strong> Curve – through<br />

the lens of a year that<br />

has reframed our<br />

perceptions of society,<br />

racial identity and<br />

cultural mythology.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Barbican, London;<br />

barbican.org.uk<br />

In recent years, the popularity<br />

of freestyle football – the<br />

balletic art of ball control<br />

through tricks, dance and<br />

acrobatics – has exploded in<br />

popularity. This documentary<br />

showcases the dexterous sport<br />

in dazzling detail, following<br />

10 freestylers from different<br />

cultures and backgrounds as<br />

they independently set off on<br />

a journey that could bring<br />

them all together at a single<br />

destination – the <strong>Red</strong> Bull<br />

Street Style World Final in<br />

Miami, Florida – where only<br />

one can claim the sport’s<br />

most coveted title: World<br />

Champion. It’s a tale full of<br />

emotion, adventure and,<br />

most important of all, epic<br />

freestyle tricks. redbull.com<br />

9<strong>September</strong><br />

THE LAST<br />

ASCENT<br />

Canadian Will Gadd is one<br />

of the world’s greatest ice<br />

climbers, but it’s a pursuit<br />

of diminishing returns. In<br />

2015, he scaled Mount<br />

Kilimanjaro only to find the<br />

ice structures he’d seen in<br />

photographs had shrunk.<br />

Between 1912 and 2011,<br />

85 per cent of glacial ice on<br />

the mountain in Tanzania<br />

had melted, with all of it<br />

predicted to disappear by<br />

<strong>2020</strong>. This documentary<br />

follows Gadd’s emotional<br />

return to Kilimanjaro’s<br />

peak, one made all the<br />

more deadly by the ice’s<br />

rapid melt. redbull.com<br />

THE RED BULLETIN 95


Imprint<br />

GLOBAL TEAM<br />

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BULLETIN<br />

WORLDWIDE<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Red</strong> <strong>Bulletin</strong><br />

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the cover of our Swiss<br />

issue for <strong>September</strong>,<br />

which features cyclocross<br />

and cross-country<br />

mountain bike rider<br />

Lars Forster…<br />

For more stories<br />

beyond the ordinary,<br />

go to: redbulletin.com<br />

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96 THE RED BULLETIN


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while rejecting external noise. It’s<br />

bendable to the optimal position at a<br />

player’s mouth, and fully removable<br />

for regular headphone use.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Razer BlackShark V2 headset<br />

connects to games controllers via a<br />

standard 3.5mm jack and includes a<br />

USB Sound Card for PCs. This audio<br />

enhancer includes in-line controls<br />

such as Mic Boost, Voice Gate,<br />

Volume Normalization, Mic Equalizer<br />

and Ambient Noise <strong>Red</strong>uction, to<br />

carry vital commands clearly across<br />

noisy battle arenas. <strong>The</strong>se are, in<br />

short, the only headphones that<br />

pro gamers need to be the best.<br />

razer.com/blackshark-v2<br />

RAZER’S<br />

EDGE<br />

<strong>The</strong> BlackShark<br />

V2 headset<br />

delivers accurate<br />

positional audio<br />

thanks to Razer’s<br />

co-development<br />

of the THX Spatial<br />

Audio app, which<br />

creates a 3D<br />

soundfield from<br />

the two TriForce<br />

Titanium 50mm<br />

audio drivers.<br />

razer.com/thxspatial-audio


Action highlight<br />

All flip, no flop<br />

In case you couldn’t tell, Dimitris Kyrsanidis loves the beach. “<strong>The</strong> San Blas<br />

islands [in Panama] were one of a kind,” says the <strong>The</strong>ssaloniki-born freerunner.<br />

This parkour project, shot on the tropical coast of central America in February<br />

this year, was titled From the Office to the After Office. Fortunately, Kyrsanidis’<br />

line of business doesn’t require a suit. Watch him in action at redbull.com.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next<br />

issue of<br />

THE RED BULLETIN<br />

is out on<br />

<strong>September</strong> 8<br />

EDUARDO VASQUEZ/RED BULL CONTENT POOL<br />

98 THE RED BULLETIN


<strong>2020</strong><br />

READY TO JOIN<br />

THE CHARGE?<br />

OTL<br />

<strong>The</strong> aston martin red bull racing<br />

official teamline <strong>2020</strong> has LANDED.<br />

available worldwide now at<br />

redbullsop.com / redbullshopus.com<br />

and in the red bull world stores in<br />

salzburg and graz.

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