The Video Vault - Volume 2
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Memories are weird. A brain wire, a speck of subconsciousness, recollection of information, what are they and why do some accede to others? Big topic, not enough time and space to get into it. I will say however that some memories of mine are sharp, detailed and easily recalled; not all, but some. Leaning on this phenomenon, as paired with the concept of the LUXBMX Video Vault, we now find ourselves eyeballing another video which, as explained below, deserves more attention, perhaps a little more time in the sun.
The project I am referring to is the Eli Taylor video ‘Fiend BMX 2015’, a TCU x Fiend collaboration now 7 years old.
As with the first volume of the LUXBMX Video Vault, we find ourselves in the provinces and prairies of Canada, Eli being from a small town outside of London, Ontario. Be it truth or otherwise, it would seem that the characteristics attributed to Canadians are reflected in this video, that being an ability to laugh at oneself and secondly, functioning as a kind of ‘dorky’ younger brother who basks in humility and unassertiveness. These elements are brought front of mind right from the start through the eerily comforting theme music for the classic Canadian (and culturally iconic) TV series ‘Trailer Park Boys’.
With the shit winds upon us and a couple little drinky poos down the hatch, the video commences with all the prowess bestowed through liquid courage - being one massive half-cab battle on a good for nothing, one step short of useless spot. This was my introduction to Eli Taylor as a biker boy and thinking back now, I was blown away with the burliness and determination of pulling this one after what appears to be some serious shin mutilation, bike malfunction and raw frustration.
After the intensity of the first clip, it brings me great happiness to hear the familiar drum fill of the introduction to the 1979 classic ‘Escape - The Pina Colada Song’ by dreamboat Rupert Holmes. The use of this song is a bold one, when wading into untouchables of the rock ‘n roll scene, one must tread very carefully. Thankfully, the brute power and deft agility of Eli’s riding works hard to remain prominent amongst the legendary Rupert Holmes riffing. For example, before we get to the heavy hitters at the end of the video, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the dudes insane pop and ability to brutally manoeuvre the bike wherever he wants it to go. Including the gap to manual 180 and the very next clip (at 1.12) being the manual to bar to start a line, both basic tricks on basic spots, but the way he does the trick makes it way more memorable than it should be.
The heavy hits gradually increase until the BMX video formula is once again fulfilled via the craziest trick being last, paired with the subtle use of a ramp slow-mo for extra punch, the clip fades with the sounds of a hyped crew. I won’t touch on the ‘bangers’ as they don’t need any help, however I will highlight a couple less obvious clips that stuck with me, being the spot/clip at 1.30, the beautiful half-cab 360 over the pole at 2.01 and the toboggan gap at 2.43, each ruggedly seductive in their own right. As a 15 year old Eli speaks to in this interview, perhaps his ability to handle riding in such a way stems from the support of his parents as well as a blind courage:
“I have never really worried about the consequences, if there is something I want to try, I usually don’t give myself time to think about it, I just go for it.”
To wrap up, I wanted to shout out the homies behind the lens who did an awesome job piecing this together, Mason Gray and Dallas Davis. While I can’t give you the same props in terms of export quality (as offered in Video Vault Volume 1), I can give an honourable mention to the editing in being simple and effective, which presents as a video filmed by the dudes (helping to make the viewer feel apart of the moment), however by dudes who have taste, editing finesse and cultural awareness. This is seriously one of the most memorable videos I have ever viewed which is saying something because I watch largely every video posted on key BMX sites and have done since video sharing became a thing.
If you want more from these dudes, I recommend taking a look here at the 2014 DWOK Mixtape featuring Eli and associated London, Ontario crew.