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DECEMBER 2021, £3.50




BMX renegade

BAS KEEP’s vertical

assault on urban

buildings and

the laws of physics











Editor’s letter





“I witnessed some of the

craziest gaps done on a

BMX,” says the Peckhambased

photographer, who

documented the production

of More Walls for our cover

story. High praise from a man

who has been shooting bike

action for a decade, runs his

own BMX magazine (Endless),

and happily calls Bas Keep

a close friend. “Shooting him

is always easy.” Page 30


The American author and

explorer has journeyed to

some of Earth’s deadliest

regions writing for, among

others, Outside magazine

and National Geographic. His

experience makes his take on

climber Marc-André Leclerc

all the more insightful. “Live

in the world of alpinism and

you, or someone close to you,

will die,” he says. “Michelle

Kuipers deeply understood

her son’s passion.” Page 46



“A lot of us think of the things we’d like to do, but we hold back.

What would you do if you were able to overcome the things

you’re afraid of?” says Michelle Kuipers, mother of climber

extraordinaire Marc-André Leclerc (page 46). Few will ever

successfully tap into that courage. Some examples, however,

can be found within the pages of this month’s The Red Bulletin.

Cover star Bas Keep (page 30) is one of the world’s most daring

BMXers, but it took most of his life to realise his greatest trick,

as seen in his new film, More Walls. On the way, he discovered

something more vital: fatherhood. Jazz composer Cassie Kinoshi

(page 40) uses her music to speak out on issues of diversity in

Britain, but what matters most is that she’s in control of her own

narrative. Photographer Andrew Eisebo (page 58) wants to show

a side of his home city – Lagos, Nigeria – that’s rarely seen in the

media; not of crime, congestion or poverty, but of celebration.

Elsewhere, Louise Vardeman (page 26) pushed herself to the

brink, cycling the route of the Tour de France in the hope it

would pave the way for a women’s event – she succeeded on

both counts. And smalltown boy Kofi McCalla (page 28) followed

his dream of entering the hallowed halls of the fashion world

and advising Drake on what to wear. Enjoy the issue!

Canadian climber Marc-André Leclerc sleeps beneath the stars. For his

unique and amazing story, as shown in the film The Alpinist, see page 46



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December 2021


Stepping out :

inside the Lagos

party scene


8 Gallery: whitewater wizardry in

Idaho, USA; balletic freediving

in French Polynesia; skiing the

perfect line in the Alps, and

conquering boulder ambitions

in Switzerland

15 Playlist: Music super-producer

Jack Antonoff on the pursuit

of rock/pop perfection

16 Neighbourhood Skate Club: the

skating collective creating a safe

space for board-riding women

18 Radiooooo: the ultra-cool music

player that transports you across

continents – and back in time

21 Quiet Parks International:

protecting the planet’s peaceful

places from noise pollution

22 Letters to the Future: messages

of hope crafted from recycled

waste and age-old wisdom

24 Jesse Marsch

The world-class football coach who

finds comfort in chaos

26 Louise Vardeman

A tour de force in women’s cycling

28 Kofi McCalla

Vlogging streetwear to the masses

30 Bas Keep

An urban masterclass in riding

walls and flipping fear on its head

from the ‘Brian Cox of BMX’

40 Cassie Kinoshi

The multitalented jazz composer

takes us on a voyage of exploration

46 Marc-André Leclerc

How the young Canadian changed

the face of alpinism – albeit at a cost

58 Lagos High Life

Whether rich or poor, partying hard

is a way of life in the Nigerian city

71 Two boards are better than one:

why splitboarding should be your

next snow adventure

77 Canned heat: headphones to covet

78 Inside edge: the Wahoo Kickr Bike

could revolutionise your ride

79 Current account: training tips from

a rising star in slalom canoeing

80 Flash pack: commute in style

82 Bak to the future: innovations in

adventure gear from Vollebak

87 Goggle jocks: the best ski eyewear

88 Pitch perfect: how to master the

latest FIFA release

89 Play to win: next-level gaming kit

90 Let it go: the benefits of showing

forgiveness, and how to get there

93 Essential dates for your calendar

98 Outdoors wisdom from Semi-Rad



White lies

“Nothing brings me more joy than nailing a

shot,” says John Webster. And while this

night action shot might look spontaneous,

the US photographer carefully planned it,

positioning a strobe in the Jacob’s Ladder

rapid on North Fork Payette River, to capture

kayaker Hayden Voorhees in the darkness.

The results speak for themselves: Webster,

like all of this month’s Gallery images, won a

semi-final spot in global photography contest

Red Bull Illume. Instagram: @johnjwebster






The biodiverse waters of French

Polynesia are teeming with aquatic

wildlife: more than 1,000 species

of fish, 11 types of dolphin, the

humpback whale… and the lesserspotted

Marianne Aventurier.

As captured in this image by

her husband, photographer Alex

Voyer, the French freediver can

easily match her dorsal-finned

counterparts for poise and grace

beneath the surface.

Instagram: @alexvoyer_fisheye




air line

Virgin snow is to a freeskier what

freshly laid cement is to a naughty

child: irresistible. “I know this spot

well,” says Alban Guerry-Suire, the

man who shot this exhilarating act

of environmental destruction, “but

we never had the chance to ride it

without any tracks. The clouds were

moving quickly, so I told [Anthony

Robert, the skier] to get ready for my

signal. After 10 minutes… “Go!” He

lost speed on the flat part, but he

managed to catch some air. It was

perfect.” Instagram: @_stonecat





“Working with Giani [Clement, the

38-year-old Swiss climber, last August]

during his first ascent projecting on the

‘Stil vor Talent’ [Style over Talent] line,

I quickly realised that the beauty and

logic of line was striking,” says German

photographer Hannes Tell. The location

of the complex route (difficulty rating:

8C/+) is south-eastern Switzerland, in

the bouldering paradise known as Magic

Wood. For this image, Tell conjured up a

composite of 20 shots tracking the climb

at dawn. Spellbinding. hannestell.de







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The world’s hottest music

producer reveals four

songs in rock history he

wishes he’d produced

When music artists such as

Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Lorde

and St Vincent feel like they want

to sonically break the mould, they

call Jack Antonoff. The 37-year-old

New Jerseyite earned his stripes

as guitarist/drummer in indie-pop

band Fun – biggest hit: 2011’s

multi-million-selling single We Are

Young – before making his name

as an innovative producer. The

predominance of percussive

tunes with acoustic guitars and

big choruses in the pop charts

is testimony to his influence. To

celebrate the recent release of

Take the Sadness Out of Saturday

Night – his third album as synthpop

act Bleachers – Antonoff picks

four tunes that sound perfect to

his ears. bleachersmusic.com


The Waterboys

The Whole of the Moon (1985)

“One of the most perfect

songs ever written. But that

aside, the production of it

carries so much joy; it’s so

alive and bouncy. I would never

have thought those sounds

would match the yearning

and near-rage of [the song’s

protagonist], who just can’t

get what someone else has

– but, against all the odds,

they do. It’s the hallmark of

amazing production: ‘How the

fuck does this work?’”


At My Most Beautiful (1998)

“This is a pure love song

talking about counting

someone’s eyelashes. The

hook is: ‘I found a way to

make you smile’ – such a

simple lyric. And there are

these chamber Beach Boys

elements: tubular bells and

timpani. All the magic of

falling in love is wrapped

up in there. How the fuck

they did that I’ll never know,

but they really bottled up

that feeling.”

Fiona Apple

Limp (1999)

“This is from her When the

Pawn… album, produced by

[US singer/songwriter] Jon

Brion. There’s no better drum

sound and no better playing

– it’s [legendary Californian

session drummer] Matt

Chamberlain. The outfit that

the song is being held in, the

darkness and rage and all of

the percussion… I think there

are two kits at one point, and

they’re panned all crazy. It’s

just a masterclass.”

The Mountain Goats

San Bernardino (2008)

“There are these pizzicato

strings and then the occasional

long swells. It’s the most

genius backdrop to [frontman]

John Darnielle telling the story.

I love it because it makes me

think, ‘Jesus Christ, who

thought of that?’ And I’m good

at the craft. But we’re all trying

something way bigger than

that to capture a feeling that’s

theoretically uncapturable

unless some of this weird

magic happens.”






Meet the all-woman skate crew packing

out an east London park and creating

more space for female board-riders

When skater Sky Brown

won bronze in the inaugural

Olympic women’s park

skateboarding final in August

this year, it was a watershed

moment. Not only was the

13-year-old Britain’s youngestever

Olympic medallist and

the youngest pro in her sport

worldwide, but her achievement

issued a clear message to

the as-yet-uninformed: yes,

women do skate.

This would hardly be news

if you’ve ever strolled through

Victoria Park, east London.

On any given day you’ll see

Kick start:

Lyndsay McLaren

(far left) builds

confidence in

female skaters

a crew of around 40 women

weaving across the tarmac

on their decks. This is the

Neighbourhood Skate Club,

an all-female skateboarding

collective founded by marketing

director Lyndsay McLaren.

The 33-year-old began

teaching one-to-one skate

lessons in her local park in

April this year. “There was a

huge demand from women

who wanted to learn but felt

intimidated by skateparks,”

McLaren explains. But over

time she spotted an increasing

number of female beginners

skating on their own. “It’s

hard to make friends in your

twenties, thirties and forties,”

she continues. “So I wanted

to start a community of likeminded

women from different

backgrounds who all want to

learn.” And so the club was

formed. The motto: empowering

women through voice,

movement and skateboarding.

McLaren first discovered the

sport after moving to Miami

for university in 2008. But it

was only when she relocated

to New York City that she

found the skateboarding

community for the first time.

“It took over my world. Before

I knew it, my whole friendship

group was skateboarders,”

she recalls. She began entering

competitions and spent the

next two years zipping across

the US, supported by sponsors

including helmet brand Bern.

After moving back to the

UK, it took McLaren a while

to find her tribe again, but

now it’s bigger than ever. The

Neighbourhood Skate Club’s

free workshops and gatherings

draw all levels of skater, from

total beginners to experienced

riders, and the most recent

event ended with a few laps of

the park as one giant crew. “It

was a head-turner,” McLaren

says. “I’m used to negative

experiences while skating –

being catcalled, or people

telling me to watch out – so it

was amazing to see such big

smiles on everyone’s faces.”

McLaren is determined to

create a safe space for women

skaters and other marginalised

groups in what remains a maledominated

sport. Removing

the skatepark setting was key

to making the club more

accessible. “You don’t have to

learn tricks to be a skateboarder.

There’s a simple joy that comes

from just cruising around. With

such a big group of women it’s

really empowering.”

This is a crucial part of the

Neighbourhood Skate Club:

it builds confidence on the

board and beyond. “I want

women to take the lessons

they learn from skateboarding

– the feeling of strength and

sense of self – and apply

that to their day jobs,” says

McLaren, “whether that’s

using their voice to stand up

for themselves or remembering

that it’s OK to take up space.”





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Radiooooo heads: Moreau (seated), Ferst (centre) and their jet-setting, time-travelling entourage


Time stream

Every song is a product of its time and place.

This music player wants to transport you there

In 2012, Benjamin Moreau was

sitting in his father’s newly

purchased 1960s sports car.

Admiring the vintage interior

– leatherette seats, Bakelite

wheel – the Parisian visual

artist and DJ was, he says,

“transported to another time”.

Then he turned the dial on the

radio and was confronted by

“some abominable commercial

techno music”. It shattered his

idyll but spawned an idea: what

if we could easily access music

from any era, from anywhere

on the planet? What if we had

a music discovery system that

selected tunes from across time

and space instead of by trend,

genre or algorithm? That vision

became Radiooooo.

Accessed via a website or

app, Radiooooo’s interactive

map – hand-drawn by

Passport to tune-isia: Radiooooo

co-founder Ferst works on her

musical map of discovery

co-founder Noemi Ferst, a

visual artist, sound curator, and

Moreau’s partner – is stacked

with hundreds of thousands of

songs. Users choose a location

and any decade dating back to

the start of the 20th century,

then press play. Initially, Moreau,

Ferst and a group of close

friends drew from their own

music collections; they had

been commissioned to create

a musical identity for the global

Le Baron group of nightclubs

so already had “a large and

eclectic collection”, he says.

“We began by digging all

this random and forgotten

music,” says Moreau. “Once

we’d put all that in, we started

calling friends from different

countries, then their parents

began contributing music, too.

Finally, we opened it up to

anyone. It’s become this huge

multicultural, multi-generational

project.” Today, around 1,500

people from across the world

submit records each month.

The project’s gestation has

its own timeline of discovery.

In 2013, the team attempted to

launch it through crowdfunding

site Indiegogo, but with little

success. Radiooooo finally

saw the light of day in 2016,

but lockdown provided the

opportunity for a revamp. The

map now features curated

elements such as themed

‘islands’ of music, and there’s

a ‘taxi journey’ function that

lets you chart a journey across

the globe and enjoy a playlist

of tracks en route.

“The idea is to push people

to share their culture and their

knowledge while engaging

their curiosity about what’s

happening close to them,” says

Moreau. “I’m a French guy, but

I know American music better

than Spanish or Swedish, and

they’re my neighbours.”

So, where to explore first?

Modern Mexican techno is an

untapped genre, Moreau says,

or Korean disco from the ’70s.

“Our musical time machine is

a way to make radio a cool mix

of history and science fiction.

You’re travelling through time

and space and understanding

the story behind all the music

that you uncover.”






The world is undergoing an

extinction-level event. It’s

happening all around you right

now. Stop and listen. Can you

hear it? Beyond the rumble

of traffic, the hum of your

refrigerator, the notifications

from your phone… there’s a

distinct lack of quiet. We’ve

become so accustomed to the

constant cacophony of daily

life, we don’t even notice it.

Silence is endangered,

and the situation is inflicting

massive harm on humankind.

According to the World Health

Organisation, noise pollution

not only damages hearing and

affects sleep, but it increases

the risk of cardiovascular

disease, hypertension, and

cognitive impairment.

“We need quiet for our

physical health and to connect

with people and the world

around us,” explains Matt

Mikkelsen, a sound recordist

and documentary filmmaker

from Ithaca, New York.

Mikkelsen was focused on a

career as a drummer when, in

2012, he met Gordon Hempton,

an acoustic ecologist who has

spent the past four decades

recording the rapidly vanishing

sounds of the natural world. He

instantly became an advocate

for protecting nature’s

soundscapes and spent the

next four years working on a

documentary about Hempton

and his work – 2017’s awardwinning

Being Hear. In 2018,

Hempton founded Quiet Parks

International (QPI), a nonprofit

dedicated to identifying

and preserving Earth’s last

remaining noiseless spaces.

Today, Mikkelsen, 28, is its

Executive Director of Wilderness

Quiet Parks. He and his team

study the levels of humanmade

noise around the globe,

identifying quiet places and

working to protect them.

Those spaces that meet the

organisation’s standards are

presented with a QPI Award

and offered assistance in

areas including maintenance,

park guidelines, management

Noise annoys: Quiet

Parks advocate Matt

Mikkelsen is helping

to protect the planet

from sound pollution

practice, and support for

indigenous communities.

It’s not only humans who

benefit from quiet spaces,

either. “Wildlife is just as busy

communicating as we are,” says

Mikkelsen, “and noise pollution

prohibits their ability to do that

effectively. For example, owls

hunt mainly by hearing mice

100m away. Even a small

amount of noise pollution

halves their feeding ground.”

QPI began its work in

pristine wild spaces such as

the Zabalo River in Ecuador,

but soon ascertained that

quiet places need to be more

accessible. In July this year, it

named London’s Hampstead

Heath the first Urban Quiet

Park in Europe. These spots

aren’t devoid of urban sounds,

but birds tweeting and leaves

rustling make them a haven for

city dwellers. “You shouldn’t

have to book an expeditionlevel

backpacking trip to be

able to find quiet. Quiet brings

a lot of joy. It gives space to

listen, think and feel.”

The non-profit plans to spread

its message across the globe

in 2022 with parks in Canada,

Poland, Namibia, Sweden and

beyond. Mikkelsen hopes the

impact will be felt by all, and he

believes that creating protected

quiet spaces will also help

tackle other problems such as

ocean-plastic and air pollution.

“When you find a quiet place,

it’s a good indicator for the

overall health of an ecosystem,”

he says. “By preventing noise,

we’re preventing all those

other sources of pollution from

having an impact, too.”




Enjoy the


Amid the constant chatter about

environmental crises, one team of

ecologists believes we should all shut

up a bit – it could save the world



The neverending


Single-use plastic takes up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfill.

The perfect material, then, to make a book for future generations…

If you could write a letter to

your descendants 100 years

from now, what would you

say? This is a question that

Kumkum Fernando pondered

after watching the 2016

documentary A Plastic Ocean.

“There was a part where

the narrator said that every

piece of plastic ever made

still exists on this planet,”

says the 36-year-old, Sri

Lanka-born creative director.

“A plastic bag I use will still be

there when my great-greatgreat-grandson

is born.”

With this in mind,

Fernando came up with the

idea of creating a book filled

with letters of advice from

his friends to their far-future

family. It would be made

entirely from recycled plastic,

preserving their messages

for the next 1,000 years.

Working in association with

business partner Indraneel

Guha – with whom he

co-founded the Vietnambased

creative agency

Ki Saigon – and local ecoconscious

food franchise

Pizza 4P’s, Fernando

cooked up a plan.

Over the next four

months, letters flooded in

– 327 in total, from 22

countries as far afield as

France, Israel, Mongolia

and Brazil, written by staff,

friends of friends, even

Fernando’s mum. “Most

people wrote about very

personal experiences,”

Fernando says. “Some

revealed secrets, others

shared regrets. The common

theme was that they wished

for a happier tomorrow for

their loved ones.”

No wasted words: each letter was

individually hand-printed onto the

page, then these were hand-bound

One of Fernando’s

favourites came from

Heewon Moon in Korea.

“She wrote a beautiful

letter addressed to her

‘soul daughter’. She said

that if you’re in trouble

right now, just know that

everything will be OK –

this will pass.”

While the letters

express optimism and

hope, the physical book is

a reminder that single-use

plastic never goes away.

According to the United

Nations Environment

Programme, 79 per cent

of all plastic waste ever

produced has ended up

in landfill or the natural

environment. This book is

one way of recycling it into

something useful, while

highlighting its lasting

footprint on the planet.

Each letter was printed

onto a recycled plastic page

made from bags, bubble

wrap and cellophane found

on the streets of Ho Chi Minh

City. Silkscreen printing

was used to preserve the

handwriting of each author.

The book is a thing of

beauty, a kaleidoscopic

time capsule “where each

page is an artwork in

itself”, says Fernando.

Plans are underway

to display Letters to the

Future as an art exhibit in

Ho Chi Minh City. However,

such has been the global

attention, its creators

want to launch a travelling

exhibition and collect more

letters for future editions.

Fernando hopes that

the book will make others

think about their plastic

consumption. “It was

actually a self-realisation

exercise for me. Some of

the plastic we used for

the book came from my

house. Now, when I buy

something, I remember

that it will have a life of its

own long after I’ve gone.”




Jesse Marsch

Kicking up

a storm

The US-born head coach of German

Bundesliga team RB Leipzig explains why

he welcomes chaos in his life



Jesse Marsch is an extraordinary

football coach, and not only because

he’s from Wisconsin, USA – a place

where ‘soccer’ has a lot less history

than sports such as basketball and

ice hockey. The recently appointed

head coach of German Bundesliga

team RB Leipzig began his career as

a player in Major League Soccer after

graduating from Ivy League college

Princeton with a history degree. He

spent 14 seasons in MLS, winning

three league titles, before being hired

as assistant US national team coach in

2010. Following a spell with Montréal

Impact, arguably his biggest break

came in 2015 when he took charge

of MLS side New York Red Bulls. In

his first season the team enjoyed a

club-record 18 victories, and Marsch

was named MLS Coach of the Year.

Then in 2018, he took a giant leap

into the unknown. Moving to Europe,

Marsch spent a year as assistant to

Ralf Rangnick at RB Leipzig before

stepping up to the head role at Red

Bull Salzburg. The team won two

Austrian Bundesliga titles during

his reign and earned acclaim with

their attractive style of play in the

Champions League. But in June this

year the head coach’s job at Leipzig

– runners-up last season in the

German Bundesliga – came calling.

Now he faces his biggest challenge

yet. But the 47-year-old American

has built a reputation for stepping

outside his comfort zone, even

learning French to coach at Montréal,

and German at Leipzig. Here,

Marsch reveals how he embraces

chaos and copes with the druck…

the red bulletin: How does it

feel to return to RB Leipzig?

jesse marsch: Great. I wasn’t just

assistant coach to Ralf Rangnick for

a year; as New York Red Bulls coach

I often came to Leipzig. I know the

club set-up and the people. I have a

picture in my mind of how I can take

the next step forward with the team.

You’re known for thriving in

unpredictable situations…

My head never works faster than

when there’s chaos all around. When

things are hectic and confusing, you

have to come up with new solutions.

But I also understand that a lot of

people here in Germany like having

everything under control – a perfect

schedule, all tasks clearly delegated.

How do you square that circle?

By finding a balance that suits

everyone. And by instilling a mindset

that we’re constantly learning. Every

match has unpredictable aspects.

The player has to understand every

situation while being able to react to

it physically, at full speed and power.

Has that been the case in your

own career – chaos, then clarity?

I’ve learned a lot when times are

tough. At Salzburg we had to realise

that winning doesn’t always mean

progress. Everyone had to take on

board that complex situations offer

opportunities for self-development.

Do you mean losing matches?

In February 2020, the media were

reporting we were mid-crisis. We’d

won only one of our last six games

and we were out of the Europa

League, but that set a process in

motion. I began to understand how

Austrian football functioned in the

winter; the ideas needed to win games

on bad pitches in bad weather.

Have you developed a European

way of seeing things?

Before I could speak German, I was at

a game in Wolfsburg with [then team

coordinator at RB Leipzig] Jochen

Schneider. I watched an interview with

a player and they used the word druck

about 15 times, and so did the coach.

So I asked Jochen what it meant.

“Pressure,” he said. “As in going in hard

in football?” I asked. “No, in society,”

he replied. “Everyone feels they must

be a success.” Pressure is relative. If

you come to the ground and only talk

about pressure, you can’t play football

or be the coach with a clear head.

You travelled the world for six

months after your first coaching

gig. How did that help?

I realised that more than 99 per cent

of people have zero interest in Major

League Soccer. They don’t care.

People have totally different pressure

– life pressure, not football pressure.

The journey taught me to set the idea

of pressure and success to one side.

What have been some unexpected

sources of coaching inspiration?

When I was still at college I’d speak to

coaches in other sports. I learned a lot

from rowing. Rowers are out on the

water at 5am; they take things beyond

the limit. When they cross the line, all

eight rowers literally collapse. I want a

football team with the same mentality.

How are you instilling togetherness

at RB Leipzig?

Speaking German, for a start. It would

be easier for me to speak English – most

of the players are better at English than

German – but we’re a German team,

so everyone has to adapt. My German

is good enough to be understood.

Does a sense of humour help, too?

Fallibility means being able to laugh

at yourself. There are times when

we’re fully focused on our work, but

we should always have fun and laugh

with and at each other. Yes, a sense

of humour definitely helps.



“My head

never works

faster than

when there’s



Louise Vardeman

Long road to


In 2019, she cycled the Tour de France ahead of male

competitors to protest about the exclusion of women.

Now, the Brit is seeing change in her sport


Louise Vardeman knows how to

push through hard times. When the

43-year-old from Marlow, Bucks,

first took up cycling six years ago,

it was because she had to give up

long-distance running; the cartilage

in her hip was destroyed. It was a

low point. She’d been in a marriage

that was falling apart, with two kids,

diagnosed depression and shattered

confidence. After “getting to rock

bottom”, Vardeman finally decided to

leave her husband. She channelled

her pain into riding. Two years later,

she was performing at a high-enough

level to represent Britain in the Gran

Fondo World Championships.

That winter, Vardeman saw

a call-out online from a group of

French women who, for the last

four years, had been riding the

Tour de France route a day ahead

of the male competitors. Their aim

was to raise awareness of inequality

in cycling – the Tour de France was

still a men’s-only event. For women,

only a one-day competition had been

allocated, with just one-hundredth

of the prize money available.

Vardeman contacted the group,

and this led to her co-founding

an international branch, The

InternationElles. In 2019, they met

for the first time in Brussels, at the

start of the Tour de France route,

and set off. The 3,500km journey

was gruelling, but the women

persevered, attracting global press,

from the BBC’s Breakfast show to

The New York Times. And at the

finish point, on the Champs-Élysées

in Paris, Vardeman’s boyfriend was

waiting with a marriage proposal.

The pandemic prevented The

InternationElles from repeating

their feat in 2020, but in May this

year it was announced that an

official eight-day women’s Tour de

France will follow the men’s race

in July 2022. Vardeman is not

expecting to ride in the event itself

– she’s an amateur cyclist with a day

job in events management – but she

took part in the 25-hour Red Bull

Timelaps event at the end of October

and is aiming to compete again in

the Gran Fondo next year.

The campaigning was never

intended for her own benefit, she

says, but to inspire a younger

generation: “I hate the idea that

someone might think, ‘I’m a girl,

therefore I can’t do that.’”

the red bulletin: Were there

moments on the Tour de France

route where you hit a wall?

louise vardeman: About three

weeks in, I had a lot of doubt.

I hadn’t slept well, and I started

crying at the top of one ascent.

I had to play music on a speaker to

take my mind off the voices in my

head telling me to go home. As we

approached [alpine mountain pass

Col du] Galibier, I became

overwhelmed. I needed the toilet,

and I was feeling too hot, but I kept

pedalling until I literally just fell

sideways onto the floor. I thought,

“I’m done, I can’t do this any more.”

I couldn’t even unclip my feet from

the pedals. But I realised that I’d

never forgive myself if I got in the

van on the 18th stage out of 21.

If it took all day to do this next bit,

so be it. When we got to the bottom

of Galibier, I felt like something

was pushing me. I just felt strong,

and I ascended the whole thing

without any problem. At the top,

we climbed the sign and took

photographs. It was just incredible

– I’d conquered a mountain.

Do you have the same

determination when it comes to

tackling inequality in cycling?

Yes. Cycling is so traditional,

especially in France. It’s so white

and male-dominated. It doesn’t

help that bikes are so expensive and

cycling clubs are not very inclusive.

There are so many barriers. That

spurs me on.

What other projects have you

been working on?

We did a lot of campaigning about

[the disparities in] prize money last

year, because there’s a big gap there.

For the Strade Bianche [a road race

in Tuscany] in 2021, the men’s prize

pot [for the top five riders] was

€31,600, whereas the equivalent for

women was €6,298. So we launched

a crowdfunding campaign with The

Cyclists’ Alliance and a fan named

Cem Tanyeri. We raised just under

€27,000, which took the women’s

prize pot above that of the men’s.

The pros couldn’t believe it.

Have your cycling experiences

given you greater confidence in

other areas of life?

I wish they did. I lack confidence

with every single thing I do. I want

other people to know that

[competing] doesn’t come naturally

to me. It’s hard, but it’s so worth it.

What advice do you have for others

wanting to make a big change?

You only live once, and if you’re

not happy, you’re wasting your

time. When it comes to making a

difference, you can’t think about

changing the whole world, but little

changes add up. You have no idea

of the ripple effect you have. And

even if you only change one person’s

life, that’s so important.




“I hate the

idea someone

might think, ‘I’m

a girl, so I can’t

do that’”


Kofi McCalla

The art of

styling it out

The fashion world is famously impenetrable, but this

YouTuber went from making videos in his bedroom

to waltzing into its inner circle


Photography LOUIS FRY

Walk around central London dressed

smartly enough and there’s a chance

you’ll be approached by Kofi McCalla.

He might even ask what you’re

wearing. Don’t be affronted, you’re

in prestigious company. Bella Hadid,

Usher and even infamously frosty

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour

have all been hit-and-run by the

British vlogger – the latter two at a

Balmain show at Paris Fashion Week

last year, where Wintour responded

to his probing with a curt “No”.

But McCalla is the fashion world’s

chancer, creating content through

risk and gamble, and begging others

for forgiveness over permission as

he quizzes them on a handheld

camera for his YouTube channel, The

Unknown Vlogs. What began as a

teenage hobby in 2014 has amassed

more than 120 million views and

made McCalla a leading voice in

the streetwear market – a fashion

subculture that mixes the skate

and sportswear aesthetic with highend

independent brands.

“Streetwear is a community and a

form of escapism,” McCalla explains.

“When I first started, there was no

documentation of streetwear on the

internet. Most of the world doesn’t

get it. I decided to fill that space,

explain it to everyone.”

From revealing first drops of

street brands such as Supreme to

tracking thrift-shop trends in Tokyo

and hitting runway shows for Prada,

McCalla’s videos make the scene

accessible and easy to understand.

In his newest video series, What Are

People Wearing Today, he interviews

style-conscious types on the street,

right across the UK. “I show how the

community celebrates products and

designers, as well as how everyday

people make their own style.”

This has earned him a following

as diverse as those he approaches. In

2019, Canadian rapper Drake DM-ed

McCalla to ask if he could appear in

an episode – something the vlogger

describes as a “Whoa! WTF?!

moment”. But then, McCalla has a

knack for looking past the image,

labels and price tags, and finding

the individual beneath.

the red bulletin: What made

you start filming streetwear?

kofi mccalla: Growing up, I lived

in a town that was closed-minded.

I’d visit the Supreme store in London

and go home like, “Boom, check out

these clothes,” but no one got it.

That’s why I first posted online –

I found an audience on YouTube

that was just getting into streetwear

and wanted to know more.

It takes some courage to approach

the likes of Anna Wintour…

When you have a passion project,

you just want to show the world

“this is my baby”. At that show in

Paris, I wasn’t thinking about what

Anna Wintour would think of me;

I was thinking that I had this

amazing chance to tell her about

my channel and feature her in my

video. I’m always thinking, “I’ve

made it in here, I need to make the

most of it.” Creating content has

been my life since 2014, and it’s

always been escapism for me, but

now it’s something I live off. It’s my

job to run over and try.

Did anyone try to stop you filming?

Definitely. The whole Balmain team

were scared, and just before I walked

up to her everyone behind the camera

was telling me not to. But she’s still

human, and talking to people about

clothes is what I do, so I was just like,

“Anna Wintour. Oh, hey, what’s up?”

What was the inspiration for What

Are People Wearing Today?

Lockdown was tough for us all. As we

went back outside, I wanted to show

people connecting again. This video

series is as much about people as

about clothes. I wanted to give the

feeling that you [the viewer] are the

camera, finding out how people are

doing as well as what they’re wearing.

How do you pick the right person

to approach?

I try to feature people as diverse as

possible. I look at the colour palette

they’re wearing, the silhouette and

what kind of shapes they’ve made

with their clothes. Sometimes I

recognise a random low-key designer,

but once I approached a guy and he

turned out to be wearing almost all

Primark. It’s how you style it.

Where do you find the most

interesting people?

It’s a cliché, but Soho in London.

You can wear anything there and not

be judged. I’m heavily inspired by

Parisian fashion. Thrifting is big there.

Gen Z are thrifting the craziest clothes.

How are Gen Z changing fashion?

They’ve brought more awareness of

sustainability. Is it ethically made? Are

you using real leather or not? They’re

also buying more into people and less

into brands. I think there’ll be a point,

even with high-street brands, where

influencers become creative directors.

Tell us about that Drake DM…

He just messaged me out of the blue.

Of course I’m a fan, but when we met

I was more “Right, let’s get this done.”

He was the one telling my friends he’d

watched my videos. By that point I was

already working with Balmain, Dior…

I felt I was in a position I’d earned.

Watch McCalla’s YouTube channel

The Unknown Vlogs at youtube.com


“Just before

I went up to

Anna Wintour,


was telling

me not to”



down walls

Fear, stress, injury, boredom, random

Domino’s Pizza scooters, the sides

of buildings – these are the obstacles

BAS KEEP has learned not just

to overcome, but to ride to victory


Photography EISA BAKOS

Bas Keep filming

More Walls in

Selfridges car park,

Birmingham, in

September 2019


Bas Keep


hen Sebastian Keep was 11 years old,

he discovered an alien artefact near

his hometown of Hastings, East Sussex,

that would change the course of his life.

“I was riding an old-school Raleigh

Burner BMX, looking for hills to go down

as fast as I could, because that’s what we

thought BMX was about,” recalls the

38-year-old today. “Then my brother and

his friends stumbled across this thing

and rushed home to tell us about it, so

we went to check it out.”

What Keep saw blew his young mind:

“There was this metal structure like the

hull of a huge ship, tucked away in this

work yard in some country lanes. You’d

never find it, but it had been there more

than 30 years. At 11, I thought I knew

everything about the world, and yet this

thing felt like it had been kept from us.

Why didn’t we know about it? Why wasn’t

it on TV? It was like finding a UFO.”

Keep and his friends had unearthed

the Crowhurst Bowl. “This guy in the

village, Dennis, had built the ramp to

help out local kids who had nowhere to

skate,” he says. “Even without anyone

doing tricks on it, it was impressive.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a vert

ramp in the flesh, but this one was 10ft

[3m] tall. It was terrifying, vertical; you

couldn’t imagine people riding down it.”

He didn’t know it at the time, but

Sebastian ‘Bas’ Keep had begun a journey

to legendary status in BMX as one of its

greatest-ever all-round riders. But, back

in 1994, he recalls, “We didn’t even realise

people did backflips on bikes. At that age

I was bored, playing a lot of football and

annoying the trolley pushers at the local

Tesco. I needed something to dig my

teeth into. When we found the ramp, it

introduced me to something missing in

my life, and to people with a common

bond. These guys took us in and gave

encouragement, teaching us how to drop

into a ramp. The other neighbourhood

kids weren’t friendly like that.”


Keep at his practice warehouse.

“I like simple tricks done

well, high, and landed smooth”





Bas Keep

Anatomy of

the wall ride

“There’s a moment after

you jump when you suddenly

stop. It’s like being on a

rollercoaster – that feeling

in your stomach before it

drops.” To see Bas Keep

perform his signature realityfolding

jump-to-vert, it

seems almost effortless.

But like all magic tricks, the

complexity of what’s being

performed is hidden from

the audience by the magician

himself. Here, Keep breaks

down what’s going on inside

his head during each stage

of this jump…

1. The launch

“This is the moment where the

hard part is done – the decision

to let go of the fear. You can’t

see underneath the level – it’s

completely blind, so you look at

the wall ahead and trust. It’s

a massive mind game.”

2. The air

“In this moment you’ll know

instantly whether it’s going to

be a few glorious milliseconds

of flight, or to prepare for a

crash landing.”

3. The vert

“Once the flight has reached

its apex, you start to plan for

the landing by looking through

the bike frame to line it up with

the wall. You don’t want to be

too close to the wall, but you

really don’t want to miss it

completely and land hard on

the flat ground.”

4. Exit!

“A bittersweet moment of

relief and disappointment –

the job is done.”

Keep and his friends began spending every

spare moment at the bowl, and each

evening Dennis would drive them home.

“We’d all be hungry – we didn’t have any

money to buy food,” says Keep. “But he

helped us out. He helped us fix the ramp

and our bikes. He was a great guy.” Within

a year, Keep could pull off a backflip.

“That was unheard of in the scene back

then – a young kid doing a mature trick

like that. I gained instant notoriety.

Then, in the early 2000s, BMX blew up.”

It’s 8am on a chilly September morning

in 2019. Standing astride his BMX on

the second floor of Selfridges car park

in Birmingham, Bas Keep is staring at

a short ramp leading off the edge of the

storey. Beyond it is a gap barely wider than

the take-off, then a concrete pillar rising

from the level below. He’s in a trance,

gazing into a moment where the cars are

halted, chatter dies down, and the only

movement comes from the flutter of the

white-and-red barrier tape strung between

traffic cones. Then his tyres attack the

tarmac. He powers forward, committed.

“I want to put

my wheels places

where no one

has ever been”

The ramp sends Keep across the gap.

His bike seems to fold space as he spins

through 360°, simultaneously inverting

to face the floor. Both tyres hit the pillar

with a clap, rubber compressing into the

concrete as he hangs there for a heartbeat

before plummeting down the vert. At the

bottom of the pillar is another ramp meant

to launch Keep back out in the opposite

direction. But something has gone wrong.

Suddenly, Keep is not riding at all;

he’s a passenger. His bike piledrives him

into the lower level like a sack of wet

cement. From Mach 3 to standstill in an

instant. As Keep lies crumpled on his

side, the crew rush in, anxiety growing

with every second he remains motionless.

“Fuck, I didn’t see that coming,” he

says, pulling himself to his feet with

more alacrity than expected. At first he

looks dazed, but quickly his expression

sharpens back into focus. A quick roll of

the shoulders and a few strides around

the car park and you’d never believe

Keep was hugging the asphalt seconds

earlier. Soon he’s chatting with his crew

in subdued tones. He already knows

what went wrong. “Not getting the setup

close enough,” Keep explains. “It was

3ft higher than we thought, and it spat

me out. I was too tense, and there was

too much vert. That’s a lethal combo.”

If Keep’s assessment seems matter-offact,

well, he’s been here before. In 2017,

he dropped a guerrilla-style video, Walls,

on an unsuspecting public. It documented


“As a kid, I would

just huck stuff,”

says Keep. “That’s

why I’ve broken

so many bones”

Bas Keep

Keep slyly setting up makeshift ramps

around UK cities, then launching off

flyovers and overhead walkways to ride

down the sheer sides of buildings. No one

in or outside the bike world had seen

anything like it. Two years and almost

14 million views later, he’s working on

a sequel – taller buildings, wider gaps,

harder drops, More Walls. “People said

to me, ‘You can’t do that again – there’s

nothing else to do,’” reveals Keep. “I said,

“There’s so much more – lots of buildings

that haven’t been ridden down. I want to

put my wheels places no one’s ever been.”

This wasn’t the first time the bike

world decided that Keep had peaked. In

December 2011, he was given a lifetime

achievement award by Ride UK magazine

following a decade of victories at pro

BMX competitions; Keep was just 29. “It

was flattering, but a bit strange,” he says.

“In my acceptance speech, I said, ‘They’re

“Fear is normal.

You have to

understand that

you can use it”

just trying to get rid of me.’ The view is

that when you hit 30 it’s time to step down.

It’s a shame there’s that cultural attitude.

We’re not playing in the Champions

League, we’re expressing ourselves. It’s

a lifestyle sport. And I’m still here.”

Keep was 16 the first time he thought

of retiring: “I’d tell my friends, ‘I’m going

to give up this riding stuff and get a real

job.’ So I worked in a furniture factory

for few years, then a BMX distribution

centre. But I began getting invitations

to contests, so I decided to concentrate

on riding full-time. It was a dream

come true.” Then, in 2005, he become

a sponsored rider for Red Bull. “I turned

it down the first time,” Keep recalls. “I

didn’t really know who they were. Back

then, no one had drinks sponsors. Years

later, they asked me again. By then, I’d

been working alongside them putting

on BMX events and they’d gained more

respect in the scene. I was all up for it.”

Today, Keep is one of Red Bull’s

longest-standing athletes. “They’ve

gained the admiration of a lot of core

BMX riders because of how attentive

they’ve been to the sport,” he says.

“They’d come to us and say, ‘We want

to help you do the stuff you’ve always

wanted to do,’ and that’s so refreshing

to hear. As a BMX rider, you can get stuck

in your niche, but Red Bull told me to

look outside the box – to translate what

I’m doing to a wider audience.

“It’s a bit like Brian Cox, the scientist.

He translates what quantum theory and

the universe are about in a way that we

can understand. He makes it relatable to

us dummies. I wanted to show people

BMX. If you do a jump, it doesn’t look that

big, but if you put it next to something

people can relate to – a bus, in the city

centre, down an alleyway – the scale has

more impact. I couldn’t have come up

with this concept without Red Bull.”

The year after Keep was given his

lifetime achievement award, he attended a

Red Bull BMX contest at the Grand Palais

in Paris. It was the epiphany he needed.

“It must have been the most resources ever

put into a contest course,” he recalls.

“It was beautiful to look at. Nate Wessel,

a famous ramp builder, had been given

free rein to realise every idea he’d ever

had, so he built this ramp that jumped out,

then you rode underneath, back to where

you came from. That’s where I got the idea

for Walls. I said, ‘I’m going to take that

idea to city centres, jump off bridges, and

ride down buildings next to them. I knew

I could do the manoeuvre. The only thing

that would be difficult was getting ramps

to the spots without being caught.”

Keep and his crew have taken a break

from filming and returned to their

operations base – a draughty, graffititagged,

rat-infested warehouse in an

industrial park southeast of Birmingham’s

Chinese Quarter. Inside, creature comforts

are basic: seats ripped from a Transit van,

a monstrous Bluetooth speaker, sheet-


metal safety signs with legends such as

‘Every 2.5 minutes one person is killed

or injured falling at work’. Towering at

the far end is the most important piece

of furniture – a Walls-style jump-to-vert

platform with an adjustable ramp that

launches into a wooden wall. Duct tape

marks the wall about 5m up, representing

a crucial boundary. “Land above that line

and you’re dead,” says Keep, casually.

It’s here that riding intuition meets

ramp-building expertise, although Keep

admits it’s less of a science and more

a twisted kind of art. “None of us is good

at physics – we just work things out by

looking at tyre prints,” he explains.

This methodology may seem terrifyingly

freeform, but the operation of making

More Walls is positively militaristic

compared with the grassroots techniques

employed for its predecessor. “We wore

hi-vis jackets [for Walls] because people

don’t ask questions if you’ve got one on,”

says Keep of the 2017 film. “It worked

wonders. People didn’t even look at us.”

Nonetheless, the team would arrive

at a location at dawn and unpack the

ramps as quickly as possible. “You

couldn’t take a normal-sized ramp to

some of these places, so we had to scale

it down, make it lighter and thinner,”

Keep says. “But the sound of the drills

at 7am, oh my God, it was so loud.”

For the sequel, the rider and his team

have taken a more above-board approach.

“We’ve got council permissions,” he

explains. “A couple of hours to be at each

spot, everything done correctly. I prefer

it this way because there was more stress

before. When I did the Croydon gap,

there was a guy on a moped. No one had

thought to stop him; this is how guerrilla

we were. I was in the air and could see

him. As I slid down in front of him, he

stopped, looked at me and just carried

on. It’s nice to know I’m not going to

have any collisions with Domino’s Pizza

deliveries this time.”

Apart from filing council applications,

Keep has found other ways to manage his

stress. “I spoke to a sports psychologist,”

he admits. “Going into More Walls, I was

quite stressed by such a big challenge.

It’s something that all BMXers battle

with – that fear of doing something that

could hurt you.” A strict schedule locked

to permitted filming days didn’t help,

either. “‘On October 25, you’re going to

be jumping off that bridge, whether you

feel like it or not’ – that’s not how we ride

bikes. It’s like taking a penalty – the more


Bas Keep

“I like the

moody, grey

light,” says

Keep of

filming it all

in Britain

“At 16, I told my

friends, ‘I’m going

to give up riding

and get a real job’”

you think about where you’re going to

kick the ball, the more likely you’ll mess

it up. You’re not going with the flow. But

[the psychologist] told me fear is normal.

You have to understand that you can use

it. OK, I’m scared, but I’m also excited

and prepared. That helped a lot.”

It was also a process that helped Keep

when forces beyond his control – namely

lockdown measures caused by the

pandemic – halted filming for more than

a year. “I’m relaxed about it,” he says.

“You can’t waste energy worrying about

things you can’t change. I’d rather spend

five years getting it right than rushing it.”

The break in production also gave

Keep valuable downtime to appreciate

another crucial change to his life: the

birth of his son, Wilson, in 2018.

“Nothing teaches you more about yourself

than having a child,” he confesses. “It

makes you want to preserve yourself –

more so than I ever did. Now, I’m not

scared to say, ‘Guys, I’m not feeling this.’

Maybe it’s taken my mind off the

individual pursuit of my career. Or it

makes you enjoy your work more, because

you can have a mental break from it.”

Wilson has also provided Keep

with many moments of introspection.

“Suddenly your own childhood is back

in your psyche. You remember how you

were. Everything is new to him; the first

time he saw a police car, it was like,

‘Wow,’ and that makes it exciting for

me again. It makes you realise how

much you can love someone, and you

appreciate your own parents more,

too. I’ve come full circle.”

Riding out walls, landing them,

coming full circle – it’s more than just

a bike trick for Bas Keep. Today, he’s

still in touch with Dennis, the man

who opened up this world to him.

“We’re still friends,” says Keep, fondly.

“I think he’s 70 now.” Passing on what

he’s learned is important, too. In 2016,

Keep formed his own bike company,

Tall Order, to do just that. “We design

our products specifically for ramps and

transitions. It’s a niche within a niche,

because street riding is where the money

is, but I’ve never really been a street rider.

“Also, other companies predominantly

sponsor exceptional riders, but I wanted

to sponsor normal, relatable kids who

ride but just aren’t quite there yet. People

are surprised to see how supportive we

are of one another, and on the first day

I started riding I was surprised, too. But

that’s our community. If you started

riding BMX tomorrow, I’d support you

100 per cent, and then you’d teach your

friend to drop in. It’s exciting to see them

enjoy what you’ve been through.”

There’s no better example of that

ethos than a video Tall Order posted to

YouTube last year. It shows Keep meeting

a boy called Connor at a bike park. “He’s

a great kid, and he loved riding his bike,”

says Keep. “He also lives in one of the

most deprived areas in the country. He

was just having a good time riding, but it

was a crap bike, absolutely broken. Lots

of kids give up when their bikes break

like that – it’s difficult to fix them and

you need special tools. I saw him that

day and I was like, ’We’ve got to help him

out,’ so we gave him a bike. When we

asked what he’d do with the other bike,

he said, ‘I’m going to give it to my sister,

because she wants to start riding.’”

Today, the video has almost 3.5 million

views. “But I didn’t want people to

think that was the only reason we did it,”

Keep adds. “And I messaged his mum

on Facebook to say we hoped she didn’t

mind us giving him the bike.”

Back at Selfridges car park, the

More Walls crew have returned for

another attempt. Keep has been

riding the earlier impact out of his hip.

He comes back purposely out of breath,

as if riding helps exorcise the demons of

failures past. “You can’t have any doubt

in your head,” he says, steadfastly.

There’s barely a pause, then Keep hits

the ramp for a second time. His wheels

smash into the vert with the same

intensity, but he rides it out as if on rails.

A few more runs and you can see the

precision dialled into his big air – the

tyre marks on the vert are all grouped

within centimetres of each other, like

rifle shots on a range. “Once you’re

doing it, you’re fine,” Keep remarks.

“It’s like muscle memory.”

To watch Bas Keep’s More Walls,

scan the QR code




Award-winning composer, jazz

saxophonist and bandleader CASSIE

KINOSHI blends science fiction

and fantasy to construct music that

tells stories about modern society

and the experience of being a young

Black woman in Britain today




Space is the place:

Cassie Kinoshi is

taking jazz to as-yetunexplored


Cassie Kinoshi

“I will always go

against the urge to

be boxed into

any one discipline”

I’ve just woken up – I didn’t get back

from my gig until 3am this morning,”

laughs Cassie Kinoshi down the phone at

the start of our early Saturday interview.

“Sorry if I sound a bit out of it.” A busy

schedule is standard for the London-based

alto saxophonist, composer and arranger.

When Kinoshi isn’t touring with her

Mercury Prize-nominated 10-piece band

SEED Ensemble, or playing as a member

of the Afrobeat collective Kokoroko or

female-fronted sextet Nérija, she’s

composing and arranging scores for

orchestra, film, theatre and dance, or

creating installations for various festivals

and residences. Weekend lie-ins, it

seems, are not a regular occurrence.

This extraordinary work ethic has

already paid dividends. At just 28, Kinoshi

is among the UK’s most accomplished

musicians. Since graduating from

London’s Trinity Laban Conservatoire of

Music and Dance in 2015, she has enjoyed

astonishing success, including a British

Composer Award (Best Jazz Composition

for Large Ensemble) in 2018, and the

2019 Jazz FM Award for Breakthrough Act

of the Year. Alongside band-leading and

composing, Kinoshi also teaches young

musicians and supports projects that

promote music in the national curriculum.

Having grown up in the leafy

suburban Hertfordshire town of Welwyn

Garden City, Kinoshi moved to South

London a decade ago to study music,

with the aim of composing for film and

television. “I wanted to be exactly like

[American film and TV composer] Danny

Elfman – he was my hero,” she says.

Kinoshi portrays her 18-year-old self

as an enthusiastic and somewhat earnest

undergraduate; she cringes at the memory

of taking sheet music to a recital of

Prokofiev’s Cinderella Suites at the Royal

Albert Hall and reading along with the

performance. From there, her influences

grew more diverse, and soon she found

herself inspired by composers from many

different backgrounds and experiences.

“Someone who’s been really influential

to me is the classical composer Samuel

Coleridge-Taylor, who was half English

and half Sierra Leonean,” she says.

“I also became inspired by the way that

musicians such as Ornette Coleman

and Vijay Iyer have combined their jazz

and classical composition skills.”

Kinoshi’s musical expansion grew

further when she joined the jazz

organisation Tomorrow’s Warriors in her

first year at Trinity Laban, fell in love

with performing, and found her crowd.

“It was such a warm environment to

learn not just about jazz but how to put

yourself into your music; how to connect

with other people and love the music

you make,” she says. This led her to

playing in collectives alongside other

revered UK jazz contemporaries

including Nubya Garcia, Moses Boyd

and Sheila Maurice-Grey, and becoming

the bandleader of SEED Ensemble.

Whether she’s composing for a jazz

collective, a film score or an orchestral

project, what connects Kinoshi’s work is

the way in which it starts conversations

about society. Platforming and protest

has been an element of her music from

the very start – one of the first pieces

she ever composed in school, she recalls,

featured the inflammatory 1968 ‘Rivers

of Blood’ speech on immigration by

British Conservative politician Enoch

Powell. “It’s something I always wanted

to do in my work – to write about my

politics and my personal experience as

a black woman in the UK,” she says.

In her compositions for SEED

Ensemble, the message is more nuanced,

but even the creation of the band was

layered with meaning, with the intent

of celebrating the UK’s vibrant musical

diversity and planting ‘seeds’ of

awareness of underrepresented issues.

“Even though I grew up in a mostly white

area in Hertfordshire, my friendship

group was always different races and

socio-economic backgrounds,” Kinoshi

says. “SEED [Ensemble] is such a mix

of people, and that’s important to me,

because it presents lots of different

interpretations of jazz and improvised

music – and of life.”

The band’s 2019 eight-track debut

album, Driftglass – named after the 1971

collection of short stories by African-

American science-fiction writer Samuel

R Delany – won both commercial and

critical acclaim, along with a Mercury

Prize nomination. A mix of Kinoshi’s

original compositions and improvisation

from various ensemble members,

Driftglass explores modern-day issues

such as race, class and social policy

using themes from science fiction, space

exploration and fantasy.

“Science fiction has always been

a point of escape for me – reading it,

writing it, watching it, listening to

music influenced by it,” she says.

Delany’s words, therefore, seemed

a natural fit for Kinoshi. “I love how

beautiful a lot of his descriptions are,

and how abstract a lot of the themes

are while still being very real,” she says.

“I just thought [science fiction] was

the perfect medium and genre to



“Science fiction is the perfect

genre to express how I feel about

my own existence in the world…

that feeling of otherness”

“I’ve always wanted to include

my politics in my work, writing

about my personal experience as

a black woman in the UK

Cassie Kinoshi


Taking root: Kinoshi (centre) with fellow members of SEED Ensemble

express how I feel about my own

existence in the world. Science fiction

relates closely to feelings of otherness.”

Album tracks The Darkies, Afronaut

and Interplanetary Migration explore

themes of identity and belonging

through poetry and music, while W A K E

(For Grenfell) speaks of the 2017 Grenfell

Tower tragedy – where a fire broke out

in a West London block of flats, killing

72 people – through the words of poet

and Harlem Renaissance leader Langston

Hughes. “Tell all my mourners to mourn

in red,” the poem states within the track,

“’cause there ain’t no sense in my being

dead.” Did these inclusions on the album

start the conversations that Kinoshi had

hoped for? “On a small level, yes,” she

says. “I think that track has allowed the

issues around Grenfell and that whole

tragedy to still be talked about.”

Since its release, Driftglass has

widely been described by reviewers as

‘Afrofuturist’, the artistic style that

explores the intersection of African

diaspora culture and technology. Was

that a conscious stylistic choice, or a

label retroactively put onto her music?

“It’s definitely something that was

put on afterwards,” Kinoshi says. “It’s

something I’m still learning about

myself. I didn’t write it thinking, “This

is African futurism,” though I do see

how some of the tracks can be read

“I’m really inspired

by combining jazz

and classical

composition skills”

that way.” One of Kinoshi’s greatest

influences is Sun Ra, the visionary

1950s jazz composer and bandleader

considered by many to be one of the

pioneers of Afrofuturism. “But I feel

like the way he came by it was really

organic as well,” she argues. “It was

just how he felt about himself and his

music’s place in the universe. He also

didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’d better jump into

this concept of Afrofuturism.’”

Speaking on this weekend

morning, Kinoshi says that while

SEED Ensemble’s current tour is

at its tail end, the schedule isn’t

about to become any less hectic. Over

the next month she’s embarking on an

artist residency at the London Unwrapped

festival – a celebration of the past

400 years of London culture, where

she’ll present Echo, a sonic and visual

installation with artist Anne Verheij;

and an evening of new material with

members of SEED Ensemble and the

Aurora Orchestra. “There are quite

a few layers to it, compositionally and

musically,” she says. “I was approached

by the programme director, Helen

Wallace, to use the space to explore

different layers of my artistic practice.”

Filmed entirely with handheld

cameras, Echo will be an immersive

audio-visual triptych with London as its

main character. “It’s very personal,” says

Kinoshi. “It has a sort of nostalgia about

London, but it’s also a very personal

exploration of myself and on my own

journey in coming [to the capital] and

living and growing up here.” She laughs at

herself: “It all sounds a bit overwhelming,

so I hope people just find their own

interpretation. It is quite abstract.”

Kinoshi’s evening event with Aurora

Orchestra will be more traditional,

however, with new original compositions

performed by principal players from the

orchestra and Kinoshi’s own ensemble.

“I’m really inspired by combining jazz

and classical composition skills, and that

is the inspiration here,” she says. “I was

so happy when Aurora agreed to do it

with me – I’ve wanted to write for them

since university. They’re one of the most

open-minded orchestras I’ve ever seen.”

Will the coming year see Kinoshi

delving deeper into composition and

installation, or heading out on the road

now the world is open and live music is

back? She shrugs. “This year, I’ve put in

a lot of work that I hope will come to

fruition in 2022, on every front,” she

says. “I think the media will always try

to put an artist in a box, because it

makes them more palatable and easier

for audiences to understand, but I will

always go against the urge to be boxed

into any one discipline.”

This suggests more music of all kinds

from Kinoshi, as long as it platforms

diverse voices and speaks frankly about

society. “But I want the choice to always

write about whatever I want,” she says.

“Not just my politics and stuff like that.

If I wake up tomorrow and decide I just

want to write about cake next year, then

I’ll write about cake.”

Cassie Kinoshi’s artist residency at

London Unwrapped takes place throughout

November and December. Echo is being

presented on November 19 and 20;

Aurora Orchestra with Cassie Kinoshi

will be performing on November 27; and

Synthesis, her curated night with three

artists – Lunch Money Life, Joviale and

un.procedure – is on December 10;





Writer and climber Mark Jenkins

ponders the audacious exploits

and soulful purity of Canadian


whose story is told in the new

documentary The Alpinist


Mountain tension: Marc-André Leclerc, shown here

on Torre Egger in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field,

soloed dozens of groundbreaking routes

Higher calling: Leclerc, the

protagonist of The Alpinist, had

a deep thirst for experience that

matched his outsized talents



Marc-André Leclerc

Leclerc soloed Mount

Robson without telling

the filmmakers. “It

wouldn’t be a solo to

me if somebody was

there,” he later said


as well shoot yourself, because that’s when people

f you’re not young and

brash between the ages

of 17 and 24 you might

are young and brash.” So says Alan ‘Hevy Duty’

Stevenson – hula-hoop virtuoso, twinkle-eyed

raconteur, and unofficial mayor of the rock-climbing

community in Squamish, Canada – describing

Marc-André Leclerc’s exuberant passion for

climbing. “He belongs in a different era – the ’70s

or ’80s, when it was wild. He’s a man out of his

time.” These words capture the boundless joy and

mortal intensity of The Alpinist, a film about one

of the youngest, boldest and best of this breed in

mountain-climbing history.

In the opening scene, we witness Leclerc soloing

a vertical ridge of horrid rock and useless snow,

a delicate, deathly dance. As the camera pans out,

you realise the young climber is more than 1,000m

from the ground, and a nauseous feeling grips your

stomach. Alex Honnold, star of the Oscar-winning

film Free Solo and perhaps the most famous climber

in the world today, is narrating the scene: “This kid

Marc-André Leclerc. Canadian guy. Hardly anyone

has heard of him because he’s so under the radar.

He’s been doing all kinds of crazy alpine soloing.

He just goes out and climbs some of the most

difficult walls in the world. The most challenging

that anyone has ever climbed.”

In 2015, after Leclerc, then 22, made the first solo

ascent of the Corkscrew route on Cerro Torre in

the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, local climbing

legend Rolando Garibotti called it “an ascent of

earth-shifting proportions”. In the film, after Leclerc

solos Mount Robson, the holiest and scariest

mountain in the Canadian Rockies, veteran

expedition leader Jim Elzinga states that Leclerc

is “redefining what’s possible”. Canadian Barry

Blanchard, who pioneered extreme alpine routes

several decades ago, proclaims, “This is the

evolution of alpinism, and it’s happening right

now in our backyard with this young guy.”

Given Leclerc’s otherworldly ability and

equanimity in the face of death, The Alpinist could

easily have been yet another bad outdoor

documentary – headbanging punk rock laid over

some superbody with a chalk bag, pulling a roof.

No wonder mainstream film critics have largely

ignored the genre. For too long, documentaries

in this space have lacked character development,

history, a real narrative. They’ve lacked irony or

hypocrisy, doubt or nuance, betrayal, hatred or all

the other dark things that make us human.

I’ve waited 25 years for outdoor documentaries

to grow up. A handful have transcended the

genre’s action-focused limitations: Touching the

Void (the 2003 documentary of Joe Simpson’s

near-fatal descent of Siula Grande), even with the

reenactments; Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog’s 2005

film about US bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell),

which has the grizzliest audio of any documentary

ever; Meru (the 2015 chronicle of the first ascent of

the Himalayas’ Meru Peak via the Shark’s Fin route),

with the stunning cinematography of Renan Ozturk;

2018’s The Dawn Wall, a film that finally talks about

the honour of true friendship; and of course Free

Solo. These films laid the foundations for The

Alpinist, which plumbs the depths of a climber’s

craft and creative soul better than them all.




Hard act to follow: Leclerc became best known

for his audacious alpine ascents, but his skills

on rock were also off the charts

The Alpinist does what all great films do: it tells

a story. The story of a driven young man drawn

inexorably to climb immense, ice-plastered peaks.

Yes, we watch him solo unimaginable lines, ropeless

and as preternaturally calm as the clouds beneath

his boots, but we also see him as a dorky, gangly kid

enraptured by the outdoors. We see him lost and

loaded on acid, tripping into a world he barely

escapes (and only then because of his girlfriend).

We see his boyish visage covered in blood after a big

fall. We see him living in a stairwell like a proper

dirtbag. We see him shy and inarticulate under the

spotlight of nascent fame. Most importantly, we see

Leclerc through the voices of others: his girlfriend,

renowned climber Brette Harrington; his mother,

Michelle Kuipers; and a host of famous Canadian

alpinists. Even the greatest mountaineer of the

20th century, Reinhold Messner, has a few

portentous words: “Solo climbing on a high level

is an expression of art. Maybe half of the leading

solo climbers of all time died in the mountains.

This is tragic and it’s difficult to defend.” In The

Alpinist we get to know, if not fully understand, not

only a climber but a human being – his strengths,

weaknesses, desires and derangements.

One of the first things you learn about Leclerc

is that he’s deeply camera-shy and doesn’t

give a fuck about fame. He truly is a

throwback, as Hevy Duty says, to an earlier

age. Believe it or not, there was a time when top

climbers didn’t tell their followers what they had

for lunch. Pre-social media, you shared your stories

with your actual friends, preferably around a

campfire. On an expedition, you spent time with

your team discussing life, logistics and the weather.

On my last few big trips, my teammates, with the

modern magic of a satellite modem, spent their

evenings sending images of themselves that

masterfully massaged their public personas and

completely misrepresented their actual feelings.

Leclerc couldn’t give a shit. He’d solo something

heinous and not tell a soul.

His disregard for the media was problematic for

the film’s directors, Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen.

A perfect example is when Leclerc solos Mount

Robson without telling them. When they finally get

him on the phone, he explains, “It wouldn’t be a solo

to me if somebody was there.” It ain’t easy to make

a film about a man who doesn’t care what the world

thinks. He’s like an Olympian who performs in his

own gymnasium, without a single spectator, doing

moves no other human can.

If Leclerc’s cavalier attitude towards their film

frustrated Mortimer and Rosen, they also admired

him for his singularity of vision. “Marc was out there

every day since he was a teenager,” Mortimer says in

a phone interview. “To look at his climbing résumé,

you’d think he must be 75 years old. He can’t resist

the pull of the mountains. When a weather window

opens, he has to be out there. He was on a vision


Nature boy: The Alpinist shows Leclerc

the super-gifted climber, but also the dorky,

gangly kid enamoured with the outdoors


Marc-André Leclerc

“We were capturing

Marc-André when his

potential was becoming

his reality”


Gripping the moment: only a handful of elite climbers

can free-solo hard rock routes, but free-soloing alpine

routes is even tougher


Marc-André Leclerc

Leclerc did his solo

ascents ‘onsight’ – on

routes that he’d never

even sunk his ice axes

into before


Hitting his peak: Leclerc atop the famed

Northeast Buttress of Mount Slesse in

British Columbia

Marc-André Leclerc


“Some of the climbs

he did were changing

the face of alpinism”

quest. It was pure. He didn’t have time or interest

in thinking about the media or our film. We were

capturing Marc-André when his potential was

becoming his reality.”

Leclerc typically kept only three people in the

loop: his mum, sister Bridget, and Harrington.

They understood who he was and why. He’d

text them from the summit of one peak after

another just to let them know he was safe. “Some of

the climbs he did were changing the face of alpinism,”

says his mother. “He was enough of a climbing

historian to know that, but he had a total lack of

interest in being famous.”

Talking with Kuipers provides an insight into

how Leclerc became who he was. Growing up,

money was tight. “But it’s all about perception,”

she says. “There are an endless number of things

you can do without money; you just have to activate

your imagination.” Without a car, the family walked

everywhere. When it was raining and cold, Kuipers

would create a story that imagined the children as

intrepid explorers escaping someplace dangerous,

or on their way to rescue a friend.

Leclerc was a voracious reader, and from the

age of four he knew the tale of Edmund Hillary

and Tenzing Norgay’s pioneering 1953 summit of

Everest. “He had a fascination with mountains from

the beginning,” says Kuipers. Home-schooled from

third to sixth grade – “Marc-André would drive his

Strong hold: Leclerc on the south-west ridge of

Baby Munday Peak in British Columbia

sister crazy by talking in rhymes all day” – before

skipping seventh, Leclerc was intellectually and

physically precocious, but socially awkward. Aged

14, he worked in construction with his dad to pay

for his climbing gear. At 15, he screwed eyebolts

into the beams in his basement bedroom and began

hanging from his ice tools.

As a youth, Kuipers says, “he spent a lot of

uncomfortable nights out in the mountains, alone”.

He became competent in how to deal with difficult

situations. In the film, we see Leclerc trapped in a

snowstorm in Patagonia but keeping his head and

downclimbing to safety. We see him soloing the

stunning Stanley Headwall in the Canadian Rockies,

hanging precariously but precisely from his tools,

the picks hooked on mere millimetres of rock. His

sangfroid is spellbinding.

But then so is his love for his girlfriend. From the

earliest days of their relationship, Harrington and

Leclerc were inseparable. They lived in the stairwell

together, in the woods together; they climbed and

climbed and climbed. “Marc is interested in intense

experiences, living to the fullest,” Harrington says

laconically in the film. When I speak to her by phone,

she acknowledges that she was the same way, and

this mutual need for life in extremis explains, at least

in part, why they fell so deeply in love. “We matched

in intensity,” she says. “The most meaningful

experiences of my life are the climbs I’ve done in poor

weather, in extreme places. I like that sort of thing.”

Leclerc was the same. “He arrived in this world

enraged to be in the body of a helpless infant,” says

Kuipers. “He needed to start moving immediately. As

soon as he could crawl, we were both a lot happier.”

Notably, however, when Leclerc became a climber,

this wilful rambunctiousness didn’t translate into

a disregard for hazards like avalanches and icefalls.

Leclerc would study every aspect of a mountain to

determine the safest possible line. He would check

the weather incessantly, calculating the exact

number of hours before the next storm and how

many it would take him to get up and down. As he

says in the movie, “You can control what you’re

doing, but you can’t control what the mountain

does.” Kuipers recalls how one day Leclerc bicycled

to Mount Slesse, soloed it three times by three

different routes, but then called to get a ride home

because he didn’t want to cycle across a narrow

bridge during rush hour. “He was not a casual risktaker,”

she says. “He was very clear on how much

he disliked objective risk. Overhanging seracs, bad

weather – he preferred not to take those chances.”

Both Kuipers and Harrington feel the film does

an excellent job in capturing the irrepressible spirit

of Leclerc. Still, Harrington believes The Alpinist

doesn’t fully express his technical mastery. “Marc

put his whole life into rock climbing,” she says.

“More than 90 per cent of the time we were climbing

with a rope. Marc valued all aspects of climbing – aid

climbing, ice climbing, alpine climbing – and wanted

to be really well-balanced.” It wasn’t just about mixed


Marc-André Leclerc

In The Alpinist, we get to

know not only a climber

but a human being

“We matched in intensity,” says Brette Harrington,

shown here on a climb with her partner Leclerc

climbing or soloing: “Marc could climb 5.13 slab.”

Kuipers agrees. “Yes, Marc-André came into

climbing with a lot of natural skill, but to get to

where he did took years of single-minded

dedication. I remember him practising clipping

a carabiner over and over.” Leclerc practised his

craft hour after hour, week after week, year after

year. As he pulled off bolder ascents, people

expressed dismay at the juxtaposition of his age

and ability – most alpinists take decades to get that

good – but his mum wasn’t surprised. “What is it

that they say, 10,000 hours? Marc-André did that.”

This is self-evident watching him climb in The

Alpinist. Whether he’s rock climbing, ice climbing

or mixed climbing, Leclerc’s movements are

graceful and fluid. No jerky jumps, no too-long

reaches, no desperation. There’s an almost sloth-like

slowness, like a modern dancer performing a

difficult manoeuvre. (I remember a mentor of mine

telling me that to climb fast you must climb slow.)

Experience creates confidence; confidence creates

a calm mind; a calm mind creates a calm body; a

calm body is capable of astonishing climbing.

You can see Alex Honnold climbing with

this kind of self-possession in Free Solo, but

there is a deep chasm of difference: Honnold

is climbing on solid granite, whereas Leclerc

is on the most fickle of substances, ice and snow,

and beneath this fragile layer is the kitty litter they

call rock in the Canadian Rockies. If free-soloing

hard rock routes is only for a handful of the most

skilled climbers, free-soloing hard alpine routes –

with the constant risk of avalanche, serac collapse,

changing conditions, and little chance of retreat –

is in the welkin of the gods.

Furthermore, Leclerc did his solo ascents

‘onsight’ – on routes he’d never even sunk his ice

axes into before. Honnold practised the route

he soloed on El Capitan for Free Solo again and

again with a rope; Leclerc would show up below

a massive mountain face and set off into the

unknown. Would the ice be sticky and ‘thunker’

or hollow and treacherous? Would the snow be

‘styrofoam’ or bottomless mush? Nothing had been

practised, nothing was wired or dialled. Onsight

free-solo alpine climbing is the absolute tip of the

arrow in the variegated world of climbing. There’s

no margin of error, no net – there’s nothing but

you. Imagine you’re an archer and you must hit

the bullseye with every arrow or be executed.

This is onsight alpine free-soloing.

The casual viewer might see Leclerc as an

adrenalin junkie. This is the misconception of most

non-climbers. In truth, adrenalin is the enemy of

good climbing. If you’re frightened, your ‘reptilian’

amygdala – one of the most primitive parts of your

brain – takes control, and your cerebral cortex is

left out of the decision-making. This is when you

do stupid things. A large part of climbing is learning

to control your fear. The very best climbers shut off

their fear like flicking a light switch.

Right before the very end of the film – the actual

coda is a tragic plot twist best left unsaid here – as

we witness Leclerc pulling onto the summit of an

ice- encrusted tower, alone, we hear the voice of his

mother. “A lot of us live our lives thinking of the

things we’d like to do, or the adventures we’d like

to have, but we hold back,” she says with hope and

pride. “That’s what really stands out to me about

Marc-André’s journey. What is it that you would

do if you were able to overcome the things you see

as limitations, or the things you’re afraid of? What

would you do?”

The Alpinist leaves you dumbfounded by

Leclerc’s prowess and nerve – climbers will be

talking about this movie for years to come – but,

unlike other good outdoor films, this is not the

heart of the story. It is the portrait of an artist as

a young man. Like Stephen Dedalus, James Joyce’s

literary alter ego, Leclerc allows us to witness

an awakening – physically, intellectually and

emotionally – of the human spirit. Through ardour

and intensity, he becomes who he dreams of

becoming, right before our eyes.

The Alpinist is showing at cinemas nationwide and

available to stream later this year; thealpinistfilm.com




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The high life

Lagos, Africa’s most populous city, is home to almost 15 million

people. Among them are some of the biggest names of the

fast-growing music genre known as Afrobeats, making for a

party scene like no other. But for revellers in this Nigerian hub

the wealth gap is vast. From the gated compounds to the

shantytowns, photographer Andrew Esiebo has captured it all…

Words and photography ANDREW ESIEBO

“I attended this party in a neighbourhood called

Lagos Island. At the end of each year, they have

block parties playing loud, heavy music; they’re

full of energy but also tension, because everyone

wants a space in the crowd. Everyone is in groups

with their own tables, sitting with others from their

street. I try to be invisible to my subjects, but this

woman was posing in such a way that she wanted

to be seen. Her body language is empowered,

even though she’s not giving eye contact.”


Lagos high life

“Lagosians love to party hard”

Andrew Esiebo is internationally renowned

for his photography examining gender

politics, sport, culture and social struggles

within Africa. But the 43-year-old Lagosian

learnt his craft by capturing the people of

his hometown more than two decades ago.

“Lagos has been, and maybe still is, notorious for crime,” says

Esiebo. “When I see stories about the city, they focus on that,

or congestion and infrastructure. I rarely see the global media

highlighting the vibrant culture, tradition and nightlife.”

Esiebo was inspired to document Lagos’ parties after one

night at a DJ set in the city. “It made me aware of the power

of DJs and Afrobeats,” he says. “With the arrival of democracy

[in 1999, after decades of military rule], and as the economy

keeps booming, there’s more money in the hands of people.

One way to express this wealth is through parties – and

Lagosians love to party hard.” More than merely celebrating

Lagos’ nightlife, Esiebo’s photos show the effect of rapid urban

development on its people. “There’s a growing middle class

and more opportunities for young people, but the bid to

improve their lifestyle has led to a high level of inequality.

Some parts of Lagos feel like totally different cities. But

whether rich or poor, people want the same things. Even

a guy who has no money wants to buy champagne.”

Right: “We drink a lot of

champagne in Nigeria.

In 2016, Lagos was the world’s

second biggest consumer

of champagne after Paris. I see

people at parties holding

their champagne bottles till the

very end of the party, even

though they’re empty. This guy

with a big bottle is in Ikeja –

not really a poor neighbourhood,

but also not one of the richest.

In this VIP section, the more

expensive the bottle you bought,

the more privileged the space

they gave you. I find people do

this more often at working- and

middle-class parties because

it’s an aspirational act – they

want to be like the big guys. The

upscale parties actually don’t

consume as much.”

“This is the entrance to

the club/restaurant Spice

Route in the upscale area of

Victoria Island. I took this

photo because I loved the door

– it has this ethnic design, and

it showcases some of the city’s

aesthetic. I also wanted to

capture these doormen. It used

to be that only high-end clubs

had bouncers, but now I go to

places and find there’s always

someone at the gate. They’ve

become a more typical element

of parties across the city, and

I wanted to show that.”



“Jimmy’s Jump Off is an annual party

supporting hip hop music in Nigeria.

Before the explosion of Afrobeats, hip

hop and reggae were the most popular

styles of music here, and at that time hiphop

DJ Jimmy Jatt made his name. Now

he continues the spirit of the genre through

this party. This is a photo of DJ Nana. It’s

important to me because the DJ space in

Nigeria is very macho; there are not many

women at all – of the top DJs, there are no

more than four or five. I wanted to show

how women are breaking into that space.”

Lagos high life

“Felabration is a week-long festival

that celebrates the late Fela Kuti, founder

of Afrobeat [the West African music genre

born in the 1960s, not to be confused with

Afrobeats]. It takes place every year at

the New Afrika Shrine, a warehouse-like

music space set up by his son. It’s intense,

with thousands of people. Sometimes

you can’t even get in, so they put large

screens outside for people on the street.

Crowds are an important element of Lagos

life; everything we do is always in a mass

of people. To understand the true scale

and energy, whenever you look at a photo

of someone partying in Lagos you need

to remember that they’ll be part of a

much larger crowd.”


Lagos high life

“This is a picture of aspiration.

The guy’s T-shirt looks like a Versace,

but you can tell it’s a knock-off. Still,

he’s confident. On one hand, this

shot is talking about fashion – people

want to wear Versace, but it’s not

affordable, so the one way to feel like

you‘re wearing the label is by having

a fake. On the other hand, the guy’s gaze

and the way he’s holding his body have

a sense of connection, and there’s a

feeling of power emanating from him.”

“Cigars are not a common

commodity that you’d find on the

street, but people smoke them

because they aspire to be what they

see on TV and in hip hop. You see

Jay Z and others blunting the cigar,

and guys [in Lagos] like to reenact

it. I’m drawn to documenting this.

For me, this guy smoking the cigar

talks not only about consumption

at parties but also how people

reimagine themselves socially.”


Lagos high life

“This photo was taken at a party on Ilashe Island,

a neighbourhood that’s popular for beach houses.

A lot of luxury drinks companies sponsor high-end

parties, and this one was courtesy of [cognac maker]

Hennessy. It was called the All White ‘Privilege Party’

– you took a boat from the island, the theme was

privilege, and you had to dress all in white. It was not

a party for the poor people. I wanted to show the people

there; the dancing and the tensions between them.”



Lagos high life

“This was the earliest

stage of my work on

this project when

I was first trying my

hand at this theme.

These women at the

Jimmy’s Jump Off

party were twins, and

they looked like they

were wearing a party

uniform. The matching

clothes, the high shoes

— their style was so

unique. People in the

city will dress like

this, with bright

colours, patterns and

accessories, but I’d

never seen them

matching it before.”

“I don’t usually do wedding photography, but I wanted to explore these spaces for the project.

Nigerian weddings are huge and super over-the-top, and [the top photo] is a high-end example of this.

I love that it shows how people get into a state of ecstasy through music and dance. People wear

traditional clothing at weddings as well as to church. Some offices let you wear it to work on Fridays.

Nigeria is a multicultural society, and Friday is the day to express all our different cultural identities.

“Wedding parties in Nigeria are also known for people spraying money all over the dancefloor

[bottom photo]. They want to express that they’re rich and anyone who comes to the wedding can

do it. Annoyingly, the government are trying to enforce a new law to stop it – they say it’s abusing the

currency. This photo shows a small example compared with what a lot of people do at these parties.

Sometimes the whole dancefloor will be covered in money.”






Enhance, equip, and experience your best life



Sierra Nevada,






“Riding serious lines is an intimate

conversation with nature.

Being present, not having an ego

and accepting what the mountains

are saying is critical”

Jeremy Jones, US pro snowboarder

We live in a crowded world, but

with the power of your own

two feet – and a bit of knowledge

and creativity – it’s still possible

to walk upon untouched mountains,

without seeing any other person, and ride

the best snowboard lines of your life.

I knew by the age of 12 that I would

end up living in the mountains. Growing

up in New England, USA, I’d started

snowboarding at nine; by 16, in 1991,

I’d gone pro. After racing for a few years,

I switched to big mountain freeriding,

doing first descents of the steeps in

Alaska and beyond. Since then, I’ve been

in 50-plus movies on snowboarding.

Today, my home mountain range

is the Sierra Nevada on the US West

Coast, which I’ve explored for more than

a decade. The Sierra is in excess of

640km long and 100km wide, running

north to south, with more than a dozen

major drainages that you can easily

follow into the thick parts of the range.

And with a coastal snowpack that’s

less complex and usually safer than

in Colorado, Utah or Wyoming, it’s

a splitboarders’ paradise.

Splitboarding allows you to ‘split’

your snowboard in half and use it like

skis for climbing. This is faster and more

efficient than walking in snowshoes.

Add in a tent, a sleeping bag, and food for

a few days, and I can get deeper into the

mountain range, where there’s a vast

ocean of peaks that see little-to-no people

in winter. For me, it’s about getting past

the guidebook, and I’ve burned millions

of calories in the backcountry here.

What happens when I walk deep into

the mountains and set up a winter camp

is that I’m presented with what I call ‘the

wonderful problem’. I hit an objective I’ve

been dreaming of for years, only to stand

on top of the peak and see five more

dream lines. This is what the wonderful





A brief

history of


The splitboarding revolution

began in the 1990s when Utahbased

firm Voile released its

DIY Split Kit, which allowed

snowboarders to convert their

boards – by sawing them in

half. Since then, brands

including Burton and Jones

Snowboards have broken new

ground, joined by emerging

names such as Swiss maker

Korua. In 2020, Burton reported

that splitboards were selling

faster than regular boards as

lockdown restrictions

prompted increased interest

in the backcountry.

Splitboards have a reputation

for being heavier, stiffer, and

harder to ride on hard-packed

in-resort snow, but new

refinements are bringing allmountain

versions. Jones has

spent years testing and refining

‘The Solution’ splitboard. “The

board is evolving, but the goal

remains the same,” he says. “It

rides like a normal snowboard

that’s lightweight, but it’s

still stable and durable.”




problem means – the more you do here,

the bigger your hit list gets.

Splitboarding took over my life for

a variety of reasons. First and foremost,

I realised that we can only take

snowmobiles and helicopters to about

five per cent of the mountains. These

areas, as well as the areas you could hike

to from the resort’s lifts, have become

more crowded. If I wanted to get away

and ride new lines, I needed to discover

how to walk for long periods and live

deep in the mountains. This realisation

coincided with my awareness of the

effects of climate change on the

mountains, and how much CO2 I was

burning when I went snowboarding.

It’s the reason I started Jones

Snowboards. The better the product,

the further I can go. So when I improve

a design, it’s a huge quality-of-life

increase, because I spend so much of

my life with a splitboard attached to my

feet. This has unlocked so much new

terrain in my backyard. And when I’m

walking in the mountains, my mind is

awake – it’s pretty much where all my

ideas come from, which is why I always

carry a notebook in my pocket.

A key part of splitboarding is

transitioning between walk mode and

ride mode. When walking, we use skins

stuck to the bottom of the splitboard.

It’s important to align these when you

fit them, but also to keep them dry and

warm between uses, stashed in a

pocket, because if they get wet or frozen

they lose their adhesiveness. Glide by

sliding your feet forwards, rather than

lifting them up, and keep a constant

rhythm. It’s also surprising how warm

you get, so the mantra ‘Go bold, start

cold’ applies. Add a layer when you stop

to transition, but remove one when you

start moving again.

Alaska – the location of my latest

film, Mountain Revelations – has so

many peaks that look perfect for

snowboarding, but finding one that’s

safe to ride and walk up is tricky. When

hiking, I’m on the mountain for hours –

as opposed to minutes if you’re dropped

by helicopter – so I need to ensure

there’s not a big cornice or a serac that

can fall on me. Then I figure out if the

snow is stable. Having a clean outrun is

also critical. This means if you fall or get

swept away in an avalanche, you won’t

be pushed over a cliff or into a crevasse.

Riding serious lines is an intimate

conversation with nature. Being present,

not having an ego and accepting what

the mountains are saying is critical.

The Jones



“The Solution is like my

third kid,” says Jones.

“I put real energy into

freeride shapes that no

other company wanted

to at the time.” Stockist:


The split is closed

with a bridge that

eliminates the

need to drill bolts

through it. “This

makes for a way

tighter connection,”

explains Jones.

Jones recently reduced the

carbon footprint of his company’s

boards by almost a third: “We’re

constantly testing new materials

that have fewer impacts on the

environment. Our factory has

gone 100-per-cent solar.”




Steel edges carve the snow

better and give harder

bite when side-stepping

uphill, says Jones: “And

when the board is

connected, traction tech

gives added structure.”


Solid snowboards use 3D

contouring to ‘spoon’ the nose

for better performance, but

no splitboard has had that

until now. “It took five years,”

says Jones, “and at times I

questioned if it was possible.”

I read their subtle signs and understand

their moods, because splitboarding is

a zero-mistake game. The mountains

can change fast, and I need to be hyperpresent

to see those changes. Still, I’ve

experienced rolling down an unrideable,

rock-strewn face where I shouldn’t have,

which almost cost me my life. My mistake

that day was overconfidence – I was in

a rush and not present. Since then, I’ve

developed a backcountry mental checklist.

First, “mountains speak, and wise men

listen” is a [19th century US naturalist]

John Muir quote I live by. Am I present

enough to read the signs? Next [on the

checklist] is patience. Your agenda

needs to be thrown out the window – the

mountains don’t care that your only day

off is Saturday. I don’t say, “I’m going to

ride X,” rather that, “I’m going to look at

X”. I don’t become mentally attached to

a line until I’m dropping into it.

Look for reasons to back down, and

anticipate that the turnaround point

may be at the top of a line you just

spent hours hiking to. Late Norwegian

snowboard legend Tommen Bjerknæs

summed it up best: “Tomorrow is good,

too. Ride for tomorrow.”

Jeremy Jones is a US pro snowboarder

and the owner of Jones Snowboards;

jonessnowboards.com. He’s also the

founder of Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit

working to reduce the effects of

climate change; protectourwinters.org



Francisco Sierra







Riding the



Although the mountains are

a backcountry splitboarding

paradise, the best place to

learn may be in resorts

such as Mammoth Mountain

and Palisades Tahoe, which,

on average, get 10m of snow

per year. You can hire

mountain guides to take

you through the process of

walk mode and transitioning

into ride mode. Also, next

door to Palisades Tahoe is

Alpine Meadows, which is

known for its wide-open,

off-piste bowls. All these

resorts are accessible with

the Ikon Pass, which covers

a host of resorts across the

US and Europe.









The Compex Mini offers up

muscle stimulation and pain relief

in a pocket-sized package

New Year is traditionally followed

by a ‘new you’ and an annual

reboot of your workout routine.

Going to the gym is tough on

your muscles, though. From your

warm-up to your cooldown, you

stretch, strain, contract and

extend your body in ways that

you simply don’t do when sat

behind a desk in everyday life.

It’s understandable if you want

to push yourself during the limited

time you do have to work out,

maximising every minute to reach

your targets and goals as quickly

as possible. But for every extra

lift you do, or kilometre you run,

there’s an increased chance of

muscle tension, DOMS, and, at

worst, injuries from overtraining.

The Compex Mini solves all

these common problems and

more, enabling you to warm-up

more efficiently, train harder and

recover more quickly. The pocketsized

muscle stimulator is perfect

for use on the go, in the gym or

at home, and is clinically proven

to enhance your fitness – whether

you’re an all-out bodybuilder or a

lean-and-mean endurance athlete.

Muscle stimulation works

by sending safe electric pulses

to your muscle’s motor nerves,

creating low-level vibrations that

oxygenate the muscles, or

slightly more intense contractions

that usually take place when

performing cardio or weightbased

workouts. The strength

and intensity of the pulsations

determine the type of muscle

reaction, allowing the same bit of

kit to be used to simulate lifting

weights during a bodyweight-only

session, flush your muscles

of toxins post-workout, or give

you deep-tissue pain relief in

those extra-sore spots.

The Compex Mini’s small

stature makes it an ideal

bit of kit for those who slot their

workouts into an already jampacked

schedule. The system

is super-easy to control via an

accompanying smartphone app,

and there are six different modes

to choose from, which can be

modified and tweaked to suit your

abilities and training progress.

It comes complete with two

wireless stimulator pods, six snap

electrodes in varying sizes, long

and short snap lead wires and

a charging cable, all in an easy-totransport

carry case. If you’re

completely new to using a muscle

stimulator, the app also provides

guidance on electrode placement

for the best results.

For more information on the

Compex Mini, or to view

the full product range, visit





JBL Under Armour Project Rock wireless

noise-cancelling headphones, uk.jbl.com

EPOS H6PRO Open Acoustic Gaming Headset

with detachable mic, eposaudio.com

RAZER Opus X wireless headset with active

noise cancelling and internal mic, razer.com

SKULLCANDY Crusher Evo Sensory Bass

with Personal Sound, skullcandy.co.uk



Wall of sound

“If music be the food of love, play on,” said the Bard. Clearly he’d have appreciated

these professional headphones, whether gaming, training, or penning a sonnet





Rolling revolution

Indoor cycling is great for a home workout. In fact, the makers of this turbo

trainer claim it will give you results as good as – if not better – than your real bike

Turbo trainers have exploded

in popularity over the past

few years, but for dedicated

cyclists these machines raise

one question: how do they

compare with the real thing?

As far as the Wahoo Kickr

Bike is concerned, the

answer is: pretty damn well.

Upload your body

measurements, or a photo of

your bike, to the Wahoo app

and the Kickr’s five-contact-

point system will generate

the perfect fit. Likewise, gear

shifters can be matched to

your bike, or replicated from

brands including Shimano,

Campagnolo and SRAM.

Up- and downhill gradients

and riding resistance can be

automated via compatible

apps such as Zwift. And enjoy

the reassuring simulated

‘clunk’ when you’re shifting

gears. wahoofitness.com






It takes Evy Leibfarth

90 seconds to paddle a

slalom course. During that

time, she’ll thread through

gates, using her skills and

fitness to navigate whatever

the water throws her way.

“I paddle on whitewater six

days a week,” says the 17-yearold

US competitive canoeist.

“I love the adrenalin I get from

racing.” Her approach has paid

off; in 2019, she came fourth

in the ICF Canoe Slalom World

Championships in Spain and

won bronze in Slovenia – the

youngest woman to take a

medal at a World Cup event.

Then, in July this year, she

made history as the first US

female slalom canoeist to

compete at Olympic level, in

the women’s event debut at

the Tokyo Games.

Slalom canoeing is a mix

of skill, strength and daring in

which athletes must become

adept at reading the water.

“While we do paddle difficult

whitewater sections, so

much of it is technique,” says

Leibfarth, whose father is a

former US Team kayak racer

and instructor. As a young girl

growing up in North Carolina,

Leibfarth would sit on her

parents’ laps as they paddled

easy waters, and soon she had

her own boat; she entered her

first race at the age of six.

“I love the feeling, using the

water to carry you places,” she

says. “It’s not a sport where

you just have to be fast or be

strong; it takes core strength,

flexibility and technique.”

Here, the Olympian reveals

the training needed to develop

that perfect balance…

The acid test

“I often do two sessions on

the water each day. I get onehour

time slots and enter the

water about 30 minutes before

a session. To warm up, I usually

do four 10-second sprints and

a lot of turns – just circling

around and pivots. On the days

I’m doing a lactic workout, I’ll

do 60-second sprints, which

gets the lactic acid flowing

before my interval workout.”

Emulating exhaustion

“I simulate being really tired in

a race. Often in competitions

there will be difficult moves

at the bottom of the course

that I have to paddle when

I’m already tired. I do halfand

full-length efforts on the

practice course; also loops –

just paddling down and around

the course for about an hour

at an aerobic heart rate, which

for me is 155 to 165bpm.”


Rapid results

America’s first female Olympic slalom canoeist reveals

her training techniques for whitewater success

Out of the water

“I do three weight workouts

a week: weighted pull-ups, leg

lifts, that kind of thing. And I

take two [bodyweight training]

straps everywhere so I can do

‘T’s, Y’s and I’s’, creating those

letters with my hands. I also do

two weekly aerobic workouts:

a 45-minute ride or 20-to-

50-minute run, depending

on whether I’m working on

training or recovery.”

Crashing the foam

“I foam-roll my back and do

a lot of yoga for mobility. I’m

not super-great at it, but I’ll

pull up and try to follow a

class on YouTube. I stretch

every day. I love the seal

stretch, where you arch your

back to stretch it out. My

favourite stretch is one

where I lie down and bring

my knees up over my head.”





Clockwise from top left:


Packable Waterproof

Jacket in White Camo

(and packed jackets in

Black Camo, Ocean and

Yellow), macinasac.com;

RAZER Blade 15 gaming

laptop, razer.com;

APPLE iPhone 13 Pro in

Sierra Blue, apple.com;


Beoplay EQ adaptive


wireless earphones,

bang-olufsen.com; YETI

Rambler 36oz (1,065ml)

double-wall vacuum

stainless-steel bottle

with Chug Cap, yeti.com;

TOPL Series 1 Regular

12oz (354ml) reusable

coffee cup, toplcup.

com; MOLESKINE Smart

Writing Set (includes

Paper Tablet A5 Smart

Notebook, Smart Pen

with pen-tip ink refill,

USB cable, and Volant

XS Starter Journal),


APPLE iPhone 13 Pro;


Opposite page, left to

right: STUBBLE & CO

The Roll Top 20L

backpack in Urban

Green and Tasmin Blue,



Working wonders

Recruiting the best gear for your rush-hour ride is like building a team

– trust is key. Delegate roles to these hard workers and you’ll breeze it








Do not disturb:

the Relaxation

Hoodie is inspired

by isolation tanks,

allowing solitude

in any situation


Fabric of


Getting ready for your manned flight to Mars?

Here’s what you’ll need, from the workwear brand

making garments for every possible future…

“What is that you’re wearing?”

enquires US chat-show host

Jimmy Fallon from behind

his interview desk. Comedian

Jon Glaser is sitting in the

guest’s chair. “It’s a Relaxation

Hoodie,” Glaser says of his


taramasalata-pink top. “It’s

specifically designed for

relaxing, down to the fabric,

the aesthetics… You zip it all

the way over your face, put

your hands in the pockets

and just… relax. And Jimmy,

I got one for you.”

The studio lights dim and

both men zip their hoodies

up over their faces and hug

themselves. “Jimmy, I’m so

relaxed right now,” says

Glaser, “and one thing I like

to do when I’m relaxed is sing

opera. Is that OK?”

“We had no idea he was

going to get Jimmy to try

one on,” says Steve Tidball,

who co-founded experimental

clothing brand Vollebak –

creators of the Relaxation

Hoodie – with his twin

brother Nick in 2015, the year

before its appearance on

Fallon’s show. “Glaser is

a gear-obsessive and a big

fan of ours. After that, our

business really took off.”

By their own admission,

this first iteration of the

hoodie – which is now

available in sell-out black,

navy (pictured above) and

electric blue – was a wacky

attention-grabber, not least





Full Metal Jacket

Waterproof, windproof and... disease-proof? To some degree, yes – thanks to it

being made from 65-per-cent copper. “The milling stage turns the copper into

microscopic rope,” explains Steve Tidball. “Each strand is actually 25

miniature strands, so if you were to unpick it, it would stretch 11km. Copper

hasn’t received the same hype as silver. It’s a magic material with antimicrobial

properties that naturally conducts heat.”




The Mars Jacket

“The outer shell is ballistic nylon, originally used in jackets worn by World War II airmen to shield them

from shrapnel,” says Steve. “The fabric also recalls the look of original spacesuits – their functionality

led the aesthetic. We knew our Mars uniform would require multiple pockets with Velcro, including an

anti-gravity one that opens upside down. In fact, there are pockets everywhere, because in space a

pocket near your shoe is as important as one close to your chest. We’ve also added a horizontal fly [to

the pants], as seen on fighter pilot suits, as well as a vomit pocket, which is just a bit of fun.”




Two heads are better than one: Vollebak co-founders Nick (left) and Steve Tidball

because it came with its own

“pink soundtrack” to help

athletes achieve a meditative

state before a big race. But

then, blue-sky thinking is

a speciality at Vollebak,

where super-strength metals,

fibres and nanomaterials

more frequently found in the

aerospace industries than in

the world of fashion are used

to create sustainable, highperformance


The Tidballs’ latest

invention is less blue sky and

more red dust. Conceived to

actually be functional on a

deep-space flight to the Red

Planet, the Mars Jacket and

Pants have been through two

years of R&D and numerous

prototypes. “We’re space

super-fans, and we felt it was

our job to design workwear

for Mars now,” says Steve,

“because when space

tourism takes off, we want

to be at least 30 iterations

in, not at the nascent stage

of development.”

The idea was that those

same features should be

eminently practical on Earth

in the meantime, however. “If

you design for extraordinary

circumstances, you’re

inevitably going to discover

amazing things along the

way,” says Nick. “Memory

foam was invented because

of the Apollo space mission.”

This intersection of

objectives is integral to the

thinking at Vollebak. Perhaps

it comes from the melding of

their twin 42-year-old minds;

the same DNA yet different.

Steve has a degree in art

history, and Nick studied at

The Bartlett School of

Architecture, University

“Getting lost in

a rabbit warren

of research

is what we do”

College London. Before

founding Vollebak, the pair

worked as creative directors

at TBWA – an advertising

agency renowned for its

disruptive ideas – during

which time they masterminded

campaigns for the likes of

Adidas. However, both felt the

opportunities for innovation

were often stifled by the

bureaucracy of big business.

“We worked on brands that

weren’t run by their founders,

but by some old person in a

suit in an office in New York,”

explains Nick.

That changed in 2015,

when the brothers created

the famous ‘floating house’

for Airbnb, sailing a habitable

70-tonne cottage down the

River Thames. “We were

dealing directly with [Airbnb’s]

originators, Brian [Chesky],

Joe [Gebbia] and Nathan

[Blecharczyk]. Working with

a trio who were our age [and

were] fearlessly taking on

the hotels was inspiring. We

realised that businesses are

actually inventions, dreamt

up by people with vision.”

Along with the Airbnb trio,

the Tidballs drew inspiration

from other entrepreneurs,

including Yvon Chouinard

of ethical clothing brand

Mars-a-slacks: the Mars Pants (left) feature external Velcro strips for attaching tools (in space or

on Earth). The Vomit Pocket (right) has a ziploc for safely storing anything (including bodily fluids)




Patagonia, Apple’s Steve Jobs,

and chef Heston Blumenthal.

“Here was a man [Blumental]

with exactly the same food

ingredients as everyone else,

and yet somehow he creates

these amazing dishes,” Nick

enthuses. “It was science,

it was exciting,”

Their own interest in sport

also played a pivotal role.

“We were taking part in

ultramarathons and had a

vested interest in sportswear,

but how do you create a space

in between giants like Nike

and Adidas?” says Nick.

The brothers often felt their

performance and recovery

was marred by the inadequacy

of their kit, which was rarely

engineered to an appropriate

standard for endurance

challenges in the Arctic,

Amazon, and Namib Desert.

“We saw it as our Ithaca – a

journey full of adventure,” says

Steve, citing Constantine P

Cavafy’s 1911 poem inspired

by Homer’s Odyssey. “Vollebak

is addressing challenges we

will face a century from now.

Our entire climate will change,

and we can’t ignore that. The

last time we faced something

this epic was 50,000 years

ago, when humans migrated

out of Africa.

“If we know the weather is

going to change and diseases

will spread, let’s design for

those things. The world is not

waiting for another waterproof

jacket or white T-shirt.”

The Red Bulletin: What

inspires you to create these

unique garments?

Nick Tidball: As a former

architect, I was taught that

all the materials in the world

are yours to play with, and

once you discover things like

meta-aramid and para-aramid

fibres, such as those used in

our Garbage Sweater [derived

from recycled firefighter suits

and bulletproof vests], why

wouldn’t you use them to make

something totally different?

Getting lost in a rabbit warren

of research is what we do.

If we can’t find the answers,

it’s our job to supply them.

“The world is

not waiting for

another white


What are you looking for

the answers to?

Steve: The three questions

we ask are: can you get

nature to grow you stuff? Can

you make stylish, resilient

things that last longer than

a human being? And what can

you do with the stuff that’s

already out there?

Nick: We’re also reliant on

other industries to create

recyclable ‘loops’ we can

attach to – we can’t be

sustainable on our own.

Electronic waste is polluting

our planet, but it’s rich in gold,

copper, silver and palladium.

However, it’s still currently

cheaper to mine for those

materials using traditional

methods. Someone has to

pave the way for change; we

want to be at the forefront.

Your clothes undergo many

years of R&D, but how do

you cope when things don’t

go to plan?

Nick: When we visit factories,

we chuck water on things,

rip them up, set fire to them…

I get interested when experts

say no to our suggestions,

because it means that they

haven’t done these things

before, which often leads to

new discoveries.

Steve: One thing you’re

trained to do in advertising

is recognise that your idea

might be terrible and you

may have to abandon it, no

matter how attached to it

you are. The key is to exhaust

all possibilities. Our Graphene

Jacket is a case in point. The

challenge with this material

[which is 200 times stronger

than steel, lighter than paper,

and won its inventors,

professors Andre Geim and

Kostya Novoselov, the 2010

Nobel Prize in Physics] is

that the nanoparticles are

scattered over the surface

like tiny Rubik’s Cubes. Only

the material doesn’t behave

the way you want it to –

sometimes these carbon

atoms cluster together, and if

they’re not evenly distributed,

the jacket won’t store heat

the way it’s intended to. The

Italian mill that supported us

with this project is the same

one that created the material

for [US swimmer] Michael

Phelps’ ‘speed suit’ for the

2008 Beijing Olympics.

Reverse engineered: one side of the Graphene Jacket is made from graphene – a superstrong

layer of graphite one atom thick – the other is nylon. Wear it either way around

Now that you’ve made

clothing fit for Mars, will you

be giving Elon Musk a call?

Steve: Actually, two years

ago we rented a huge

billboard outside his office

[in Hawthorne, California]

for a couple of thousand

dollars. We’d just released

our Deep Sleep Cocoon, for

hibernating in deep space.

The poster read: “Our jacket

is ready. How is your

rocket going?” Elon didn’t get

in touch, but NASA did.

So we’re talking to them now.







of glory

Blinding rays, biting

winds, stinging snow –

all nemeses of a skier’s

eyeballs when on the

piste. Keep out the lot

with these protective

ski goggles

From top: DRAGON

NFX2 Kimmy Fasani

Signature goggles with

Lumalens Violet lens,


SPY Marauder Elite

Matte Colorblock 2.0

Happy Blue goggles

with Happy Bronze

and Light Blue Spectra

Mirror lens, spyoptic.


SPECT Solo 05 goggles,



Interstellar RIG

Reflect goggles,


POC Zonula Clarity

Comp goggles in

Uranium Black with

Spektris Blue lens,






Go on the defensive

Thanks to faster hardware in

the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox

Series X/S consoles, the virtual

player AI in FIFA 22 makes six

times as many decisions as

before. This is particularly

noticeable in defence, where

players work as a unit, moving

around the pitch like an Arrigo

Sacchi-era AC Milan tribute

act. “Consider defenders the

bedrock of a long-term titlewinning

project,” says Pessoa.

“It’s tempting to favour big

names, but a mix of youth and

experience is best.”




In FIFA 22, you control a

virtual squad of footballing

heroes. Master it and you

could become a legend of

the game yourself

The football season in Europe

may kick off in August, but

for millions of sports fans

around the world it doesn’t

truly begin until the new FIFA

game drops. What began in

1993 as a simple but excellent

football sim has grown into

the biggest-selling sports

video-game franchise of all

time. FIFA is a technological

and licensing juggernaut that

cuts deals with virtually every

governing body in the sport,

and for which an entire 11-vs-

11 football match is recorded

with players wearing Xsens

motion-capture suits. All this

ensures that when one of

your players executes a move,

they look exactly like their

real-life counterpart, right

down to their hairstyle and

the angle of their feet when

they strike the ball.

But for some devotees,

such as Ryan Pessoa, it’s more

than a game; the Man City

esports pro and Red Bull

player has made a career

from his FIFA skills. Here are

Pessoa’s tips on getting the

best out of the most realistic

edition to date, FIFA 22…

Connect the dots

Ask any lower-division

footballer what it’s like to face

Premier League opposition

and they’ll talk about the

“Don’t just

buy Messi,

Mbappe and


Ryan Pessoa

precision of the passing. In

previous iterations of FIFA,

passing was too easy, with

the ball zipping around as if on

a string, but now only the best

players can successfully pull

off those raking 40-yarders.

“Premier League fans should

look to young stars like Phil

Foden and Mason Mount for

their midfield,” recommends

Pessoa. “I’m trying Martin

Ødegaard now he’s signed

permanently for Arsenal.”

The common theme here?

Amazing passing stats.

Remember to look

after number one

Goalkeepers play a mostly

passive role in FIFA. You don’t

control them in the same way

as outfield players, and they

either do their job or they

don’t. FIFA 22 changes the

way they behave, reflecting

personal styles and levels of

the sport so a world-class

sweeper keeper is discernible

from a pure shot-stopper. “It’s

worth getting PSG’s Gianluigi

Donnarumma,” says Pessoa.

“He won Euro 2020 with Italy

and is a remarkably complete

goalkeeper for 22 years old.”

Start a club

Career Mode gives you control

of a club throughout a full

season, but if your favourite

team disappoints in real life,

why play as them and extend

the agony? This year, you

can create your own club,

customising every detail – but

plan for the long haul. “Don’t

just buy Messi, Mbappe and

Neymar,” says Pessoa. “Look

for young players with high

potential. A solid midfielder

or wide player can keep you

going for years.” We hear Red

Bull Salzburg’s Karim Adeyemi

is a bit handy in front of goal...

Take it easy

The most popular way to play

FIFA is Ultimate Team – the

digital equivalent of collecting

Panini stickers, where fans buy

‘packs’ of players to build a

squad worthy of competing in

an Elite Division and real-life

esports tournaments such as

the ones Pessoa plays in. But

all that is irrelevant if you can’t

hold it together. “Take a break

after a loss,” says Pessoa. “Go

straight into another match

and you’ll still be playing the

last opponent in your head.

Come back even a few minutes

later and you’ll play a lot better.”

And the best new Ultimate

Team feature? You can turn

off the opposing team’s goal

celebrations so you don’t have

to watch them gloat.

FIFA 22 is out now on PS5, Xbox

Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC

and Nintendo Switch; ea.com






Level up

Bad kit equals game over.

Whether it’s Valorant on PC,

Half-Life in VR, or Halo

Infinite on Xbox, this gear

will put you in beast mode

Clockwise from top: EPOS

Sennheiser GSP 601 Closed

Acoustic Gaming Headset,

eposaudio.com; RAZER Kishi

Universal Gaming Controller

for smartphones, razer.com;

HTC VIVE Pro 2 VR headset and

controllers, vive.com; RAZER

Wolverine V2 Wired Gaming

Controller for Xbox Series X,

and Huntsman V2 optical

gaming keyboard, razer.com;

LOGITECH G Pro X Superlight

gaming mouse, logitechg.com




How To


To bury the hatchet

In an age when tempers are frayed and we’re quick to write each other off,

forgiveness has never been more relevant…

William Fergus Martin has

given more thought to

forgiveness than most. Not

because he carries around

a list of names longer than

Arya Stark’s in Game of

Thrones, but because one

day the idea that we could

all benefit from being more

forgiving just happened to

pop into his mind.

“I was writing an article

for a dating site, along the

lines of ‘How to make

yourself happy rather than

try to find someone else to

make you happy,’” says the

Glaswegian author, “and

the idea about forgiveness

came to me unexpectedly.

The next day, I sat in front

of my computer and another

set of ideas sprung to mind.

The material became

enough for a book.”

Forgiveness is Power:

a User’s Guide to Why

and How to Forgive was

published in 2013. Martin

followed this by setting up

a registered charity, The

Global Forgiveness Initiative,

to provide information and

workshops to those wanting

to let forgiveness into their

lives – whether that’s dealing

with gaslighting, self-esteem

issues, or the current

polarising topics of the day.

“There’s the whole vax/

anti-vax issue – people get

angry at those who wear

masks, and vice versa,” says

Martin. “The situation is

bringing out the best and

worst in people. Everything

benefits when we’re more


benefits when

we are more


William Fergus Martin

forgiving. It brings peace of

mind, freedom, happiness.”

Easier said than done?

Perhaps not. “People have

fears around forgiveness,

often because no one has

shown them how to do it.

I define it as letting go of pain

from the past.” Here, he

explains how to do it…

Make a list

“The first thing I ask is,

‘Why would you not want to

forgive this person?’ Maybe

you’re afraid because then

you’ll have to put up with

them. Write a mission plan:

‘I want to forgive X for Y.’

You might be unsure you

actually do, but it’s like trying

on a jacket that you’re not

sure you want to buy – you’re

just getting a feel for it.”

Connect with

your emotions

“What are your current

feelings? Maybe you’re

vengeful, or afraid of conflict.

Perhaps you feel guilty about

not wanting to forgive. It’s

a dialogue between the

higher, noble part of

yourself that might want to

forgive and the gut feeling

of hurt. The more honest

you are, the more this will

help reconcile the two parts

of your mind.”

Think of the benefits

“Imagine you’ve completely

forgiven the person – what

would be different? Maybe

you’d get peace of mind or

feel you could be friends

again. It can be a tangible

benefit. You might forgive

your boss, which could lead

to you performing better

at work and getting a

promotion. Adding a benefit

provides motivation, which

can help shift your mindset.”

Rinse, repeat

“Now go back to step one

and see if there’s anything

else you want to add. Maybe

you need to rephrase what

you want to forgive them

for, or perhaps your feelings

have changed. Keep working

through these steps until

there’s a shift in attitude. It

has astonished me how little

catharsis often needs to

happen before people are

ready to forgive.”

Consider next steps

“I can teach people how

to let go of the pain, but

reconciliation is a separate

step. Forgiveness can

include ‘goodbye’ – you can

forgive them, but they might

be too abusive to have an

ongoing relationship with.

You might have no contact

with them, but getting rid

of heavy feelings can make

it clearer what to do next.

Forgiveness is unconditional,

but reconciliation isn’t –

perhaps you could go to

a councillor together.

That’s a different process.”

Martin’s publications,

including the ebook Four

Steps to Forgiveness,

are available at global




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The iconic Italian brand 3T is celebrating its 60th anniversary

in style, giving you the chance to own a piece of history

Turning 60 brings to mind

slowing down, putting

your feet up, and getting

into things like gardening.

Not for 3T. Although it’s

entering its seventh decade,

the Italian cycling manufacturer

is just getting started, launching

fresh and new concepts that

tap into its history and heritage

of continuous innovation and

the drive to be first.

Founded in 1961 as

Tecnologia del Tubo Torinese

(Turin Tube Technology),

the Italian manufacturer has

built a reputation for designing

light, strong and eye-catching

products – from record-breaking

handlebars used by the likes

of Eddy Merckx, to boundarypushing

road bikes with World

Tour status. Its limited-edition

Dreambox, marking the big

six-0, is the latest in a string

of iconic releases.

The centrepiece of the

Dreambox is a specially created

3T Exploro RaceMax Italia.

The world’s first aero gravel bike

on release in 2020, the Exploro

RaceMax offers riders the speed

of a road bike, but on unpaved

paths. The Italia edition marks

the start of 3T producing

frames in Italy – a process it

began exploring back in 2018.

The carbon-fibre frameset is

engineered and produced at

the newly opened 3T factory

in Lombardy before being

painted in Veneto. Assembly

is also done in-house, and in

collaboration with Campagnolo,

Pirelli, Fizik, Elite and Carbon-Ti,

3T has pieced together a bike

that is the pinnacle of high-end

Italian design.

It doesn’t end there, though.

The Dreambox is a fully stocked

cycling gift box, and comes

with a completely custom and

colour-matched wardrobe

of kit – including Castelli jersey

and bib shorts, Kask helmet, Koo

sunglasses, Fizik shoes and Elite

bidons – while Campagnolo’s Big

Corkscrew could come in handy

after a long day in the saddle.

The Dreambox itself is a

piece of art, too. A solid 200kg

construction, the motorised bike

garage opens and closes at

the click of a remote control

button, and provides a state-ofthe-art

storage solution for the

bike and all the additional gear.

Limited to 60, the Dreambox

is available now for

€19,610. Find out more at





9November to 15 January


Detailing the behind-the-scenes

dramas of Steven Spielberg’s 1975

blockbuster thriller Jaws – including

feuds between its principal actors

and the perpetual malfunctioning of

its biggest star, the mechanical shark

– this West End play has battled

crises of its own, having been

postponed since May 2020 due to

lockdown. But finally the production

is setting sail, written by and starring

Ian Shaw (son of actor Robert Shaw,

aka shark hunter Quint in Jaws), who

portrays his father with an uncanny

resemblance, as seen below.

Ambassadors Theatre, London;





November onwards


What to do when you’ve been preparing to

achieve perfect scores in the upcoming World

Surf League Championship Tour only to find

the season cancelled due to a pandemic? For

Californian pro surfer Kolohe Andino and his

friends in 2020, the solution was to score

perfect waves of a different kind, heading

to remote Indonesia to ride gorgeously empty

swells and reconnect with the essence

of what surfing is all about. redbull.com

November onwards


At the age of 15, Anna Gasser decided she’d had enough of her sport. That sport was

gymnastics, and she hasn’t looked back. Today, the Austrian athlete is better known

as a pro snowboarder who has won two Winter X Games, the 2017 Snowboard World

Championships, took the inaugural Big Air gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and

became the first woman to score a Cab Double Cork 900 and a Cab Triple Underflip.

Now, at 30, Gasser is expanding her horizons once again, this time with backcountry

riding. This film tracks the legend and shows her amazing ability to succeed. redbull.com




1to 31 December


The Troxy has survived tough

times. Having opened in 1933 as

the UK’s biggest cinema, this east

London venue closed in the ’60s,

later becoming a bingo hall. So

it’s fitting that, after a perilous

period for cinemas, the Troxy is

hosting a festive film extravaganza

including Elf, Love Actually, and a

live ‘Story of Christmas’ pre-show

by George the Poet. The Troxy,

London; backyardcinema.co.uk

9 19

to 20 November


Jamie Hale is a queer/crip poet,

actor, playwright, and the director

of this showcase of music, dance

and spoken-word performances.

Presented by a collective of disabled

and D/deaf artists. the event aims

to inform, celebrate and challenge

preconceptions about their lives. Hale

opens proceedings with Not Dying,

their thought-provoking personal tale

of living with progressive disability.

Barbican, London; barbican.org

November onwards


The beauty and elegance of freeskiing has been perfectly captured through countless highproduction

snow films. Sometimes perhaps too perfectly. For this one, Austrian director

Fabi Hyden wanted something more real; the title references the intensive hours that go

into making one of these films. “Some days, the crew starts touring at 1am to ski lines at

sunrise,” Hyden says, “or stays out till dark to shoot sunset sessions.” Long Days features

pro riders from the Legs of Steel ski collective, including the UK’s own Paddy Graham, with

each athlete individually mic’d up, and the real-time 4K footage features zero slow-mo.

The result, says the filmmaker, is “raw and back to the roots of freeskiing”. redbull.com







The Red

Bulletin is

published in six

countries. This is

the cover of our

US ‘Heroes 2021’

edition for December,

featuring Olympic

gold-medallist and

five-time World Surf

League champion

Carissa Moore

For more stories

beyond the ordinary,

go to: redbulletin.com

The Red Bulletin UK.

ABC certified distribution

145,193 (Jan-Dec 2020)

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It’s always more interesting

when you do things your

own way. Whether you’re

hiking, running, climbing,

or just exploring the great

outdoors, it’s always better

to be an original than to follow

the pack and take the same

path as those who have gone

before you. That’s the way

that new routes are opened,

new records broken, and

previously unknown places

of beauty discovered.

For a company like BUFF®,

being an original is in its

DNA. Led by maverick founder

Joan Rojas, the company

was formed when Rojas

pioneered the world’s first

tubular, back in 1991. Drawing

on the craftsmanship of his

family textile mill, Rojas

developed what became

the company’s Original

Multifunctional Headwear,

in order to protect his head

and neck from the sun and wind

while riding his motorcycle

around the Catalan countryside.

The result not only offered

protection, but was seamless,

stretchable and breathable

– perfect for active people.

Today, this simple piece of

equipment is a prerequisite

for any adventurer stepping

out of the door. What started

with a single tubular has grown

into an international range of

sportswear and lifestyle gear,

which now does as much for

the planet as it does for its

wearer. As well as being made

with high performance in mind,


Go your own way and embrace a life of spontaneity and

adventure with the innovators at BUFF®

every piece of Original

EcoStretch Multifunctional

Neckwear sold is made using

95-per-cent recycled fabric

and created from two recycled

plastic bottles.

BUFF®’s original spirit is

more than just the products

it makes. The company is

a proud part of an outdoor

community of unique and

spontaneous explorers, looking

for adventure and to explore

the world in a way that does

not harm the planet.

Supported by quality

performance wear, and with

innovative spirit, BUFF®

will always be there for life’s

true originals.

For more information, visit



Adventure philosophy from BRENDAN LEONARD

“One time, I was trying to prepare for an ultramarathon that was 160km long,

with 7,300m of elevation gain. Where I lived, it was the middle of winter, so my

trail options were pretty limited. I ended up deciding to do 12 laps on a road

that climbed to the top of a mountain near town, to equal roughly 3,600m

of elevation gain over the course of 80km. Most people might think that sounds

ridiculous and maybe borderline psychotic. It’s both of those things, but

in my mind also necessary. When a hiker who had seen me three different times

in the span of two hours asked, ‘What are you training for?’ I replied,

‘Something way worse than this.’”

The next issue of THE RED BULLETIN is out on December 14


Noise Canceling

Wireless Headphones





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