Brighton Aint Ready

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80 Days, 43 Riders, 1 City

Words and Photos – Eisa Bakos

Back in 2008, Edd Allen (Seventies videographer at the time) and Bas Keep, came up with the idea to spend 6 months in Brighton and invite groups of riders (from the brands that Seventies distro) to stay in a apartment, whilst all the time filming for a full length video. It was such a compelling concept that in true Seventies style we ran with it regardless of there being a budget available. Two days after the first discussion in early December 2007, Edd and Bas were flat hunting in Brighton, come New Years Eve and they were partying the night away in a luxury loft apartment with a group of BMXers!

The project ended up being called Brighton Ain’t Ready. The name came from a phrase that was often heard from Dan Lacey when he would visit new Cities on filming trips, along the lines of, Paris Ain’t Ready for the riding that’s gonna go down this week. Back in 2008, I think some of the locals in Brighton might have felt that we were having a pop at their scene but that certainly wasn’t the case. Fifty of the worlds top pro riders spending 6 months in Brighton was bound to see new tricks and spots used in ways never previously thought possible. The end result was a NORA cup nominated video that received critical acclaim throughout BMX. – Stu Dawkins 

Fast forward 6 years and the time felt right to do it all again; same concept but almost everything had changed. New filmer – Mike King, in-house photographer and chef – Eisa Bakos, completely redesigned Level concrete park, different apartment, new bike brands, lots of new riders mixed in with a handful of the original line up. The results of this project were just as rewarding as the first and can be seen here and in the forthcoming DVD.

When Mike King mentioned to me sometime ago that Seventies were going to be doing another Brighton Ain’t Ready, I simply thought at first, really? No way, that’s rad. Then as time went by, Mike told me he was filming it and showed me a list of potential riders and it suddenly hit me, this is actually happening.
I was stoked for my homie Mike, he had pulled it and full credit to him, he deserves the opportunity and has worked had to get to this point. I mean there was me at the time, still working at my dead end job as a waiter, whilst taking photos where I could to to keep myself sane and I was getting a lot of good feedback from my work.
So, I decided to take the bull by the horns and began discussing the project with John Taylor during a session at the skatepark.
It went a little something like this:

EB- So John, who’s like taking photos for this whole gig then?
(If you have ever met John, then you probably know the HOLY SHIT FACE he pulls if he gets excited and I got that face).

MJ- Bakos, you should fully get on that, its all you!

A few phone calls later with Stu and John and it was all finalised. I handed in my notice at work, which has been the best decision I have made for a long time, I felt like Kenny powers. I’m F****** in, your f****** out!

The Subrosa crew blew the mic on Mikes camera when Scott pulled this insane bar-mani.

Brighton.

All of these riders in one small City, the place is filled to the brim with spots, I mean its no California but there is a wealth of places waiting for someone to man up and take the bait. Mike came prepared and had covered some miles on his road bike months prior to day one, recceing the various routes and saving tons of photos and pin drops as a spot database, if you want to call it that.

The lavish building we were staying in was probably expecting an average couple to move in, although average in Brighton could mean anything I guess.

The names that went down on the agreement was John Taylors and mine, we thought we would play along with the gay couple act, a common thing around these parts of the country.

We would have a concierge, aka Rob, and you should remember his name, it will probably come up from time to time, he operated from early morning through to 4:30pm. Basically, with Rob on duty, everyone would have their work cut out for them over the next 80 days keeping this thing under wraps.

Tony Hamlin going upside down as the sun drops in at this famous sculpture spot in Brighton.

Subrosa / Shadow.

Day one and the first team slyly checked in were Subrosa/Shadow.

The team consisted of:

Emerson Morgan
Emile Bouwman
Hoang Trang
Joris Coulomb
Lahsaan Kobza
Scott Ditchburn

Simone Barraco
Seventies / Subrosa TM – Ollie Jones.

Moving this amount of people in raised alarm bells straight away for Rob but hey, we got friends staying over you know.

One guy in this group stuck out for me and it was the tight short, vest and high top wearing Dutchman, Emile. I had never witnessed his riding before but Mike mentioned he saw him one time at a jam, where he was actually wearing sky diving goggles of some description and jumping off the biggest obstacle in the park. I thought it sounded interesting and pretty promising.

The weather couldn’t have been any better for the whole 10 days these guys were there. The first day riding was pretty chilled. Lahsaan was bikeless, no thanks to British Airways and it didn’t show up for another 5 days after Ollie had spent endless hours on hold trying to get through to them but more about that to come.

During the first full days riding I notice Emile constantly looking up at things and hardly ever at eye level. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his head most of the time. We would stumble upon a rail but Emile is more interested in the 8-9ft-garage roof next to it. This kid only has a few words in his English vocabulary and his most famous phrase being;  ‘OHHHH RIGHT, MAYBE I JUMP IT OR BARSPIN’ and so, up the garage he went.

First attempt was a dead sailor. Second one he ejects, sending his bike down the slope towards my vulnerable camera gear and me, I pulled a stupid face and took a tyre straight to the camera and chest, leaving me completely winded. As I try and get my breath back he is already making the climb back up onto the garage.

Ditchburn then correctly predicts the barspin attempt that came next, this time he blew his feet of the pedals. It was 4th time lucky when he chucks the bars and lands it clean. Its clear to me now, this guys just likes to send it, I would have to keep a close eye on him.

As the week went on, we established a definite routine. It was breakfast when everyone got up, then out of the flat by midday, few nibs at the park and eventually out getting clips. When the day is done, its back to the flat, followed by dinner over an edit and then chill, the ones who fancied a drink would head out to the local establishments.

By day four, Lahsaan was losing patience and wanted his bike, so Seventies built him up a whole new set-up. On day five, the bike showed up, this is what is known as, sods law. He was stoked to be out riding again and nailing clips with the BMX family.

I have been a big fan of Joris for sometime and he didn’t let me down. He came through with some original ideas at all the spots and saw things most didn’t.

Simone continuously impressed us with his cheeky sense of humour and massive ability to ride a bike, making everything look effortless.

With just over half way into their stay we started receiving complaints from the neighbours and the board.These complaints where more like harassment, the way they started piling up and many of them exaggerated to the point they’re trying to call us out for riding up stairs? Yes, I mean we did make more noise then your average homosexual couple, but hey, we got friends staying.

They had no real proof we were doing anything wrong and their complaints really went nowhere, the show went on.

Nearing the end of their time, we went down to the seafront one afternoon, on one of the many scorching days. Emerson got all up on his wheel, he has crazy balance and while he was making nose manuals to g-turns look as easy as manual 180s, Simone eyed up the famous sea front down rail, the same one Bruno had 360’d in the cult federal tour. Simone didn’t waste any time with feeling it out and go after go he was trying 180 bars and getting blown off the back. Eventually, keeping his cool, he picked his bike up and just got it done, needless to say it was done with steez, and an absolute banger.

Robbo swagging out in his Converse with this moto foot scum.. trillingtons!

Mutiny

The first 10 days flew by and before I knew it the Mutiny team were on their way with these guys in the line up:

Robbo
Roey
Sean, aka Brothman

All driving down from the North while

Grant Castelluzzo
Jeff Wescott

Kyle Davenport

All flying in from the States.

It was smaller crew with John Taylor filling in on team duties and button pushing for Mikey’s second camera. I had the pleasure of pushing Mikes mental buttons.

This crew was by far the mellowest out of everyone. The Northerners took it as more of a holiday than the International dudes I think, drinking everyday like proud Brits and pretty much enjoying days packed of amazing weather and riding in between.

Jeff Westcott was sweating his journey here as last time he was rejected entry at customs and he was right to sweat it as lightning nearly struck twice for the dude. Luckily, after a letter from Stu, he got through. Just.

Grant is very straight edge but a hilarious dude when you get to know him and possibly one of the nicest people you could meet.

Not forgetting the Texas G, Kyle Davenport, dropping a mixtape near you soon.

Although some of them hadn’t met before everyone got on perfectly and it was the start of another good week.

Kyle first clip of the trip and he starts off heavy with this bar drop!

There was a lot of anticipation to see Roey ride the new bowl in Brighton, and he didn’t fail to impress. Crazy lines at speed mixed in with cheeky nibbles makes it the best thing to watch.

Robbo, whether dropping in on his bike or board, made it look equally as exciting to witness. Whatever spot we were at, they never complained and always made the best of every situation, but with these two and Kyle on the trip, we knew we had to make it to a local set of trails.

Somehow, on the first day, we left Brothman behind, I have no idea how, but he amused himself by visiting the Quadraphenia spots and generally finding his barring’s around Brighton. He enjoyed it, so all was OK in the end, but sorry again Broth!

After a good few hours of riding at the trails we had the obligatory BBQ. Jeff opted for salmon to cook on the open flame. Being the resident chef, I did have my doubts about it, but let him go ahead. When everyone had filled up we still had a good couple of hours riding ahead and Jeff and I had been considering jumping the first and maybe the second set. I stupidly called Jeff out on it and said if he did it, then so would I, on Robbo’s bike. Jeff jumped it with ease and left me with no other option than to do it, with a little help from Robbo egging me on. I luckily nailed it, and we were both stoked.

The next morning I was woken by the loud sound of Jeff puking up, all due to our friend, the salmon. This unfortunately took Jeff out the game for half the trip, it was far from ideal. As Jeff rested up, the crew left him to it and hit the streets.

Kyle wanted what was possibly one of the most impressive nose manuals I have ever seen. It was a pad that had raised sections to it, making it almost impossible to nose. It took some work, but he got it, you have to see it to really understand, keep an eye out on the DVD.

Brothman wore shorts on most days, enjoying the fine British summer, his no fucks given, mellow attitude, is one of a kind.

Grant brought a unique sense of humour to the group, firstly because his rear hub was the noisiest thing known to man and he managed to wake the whole block up every time we entered or exited the building. And secondly, when his opinions clashed with Robbo’s.

Some rest and a bottle of pepto-bismol Jeff was able to find enough energy to get to the top of this slide and tooth it.

Jeff made a full recovery and meant we could spend the last couple days all riding together before he made his way back to his old friends at boarder control. It was a perfect end to a relaxed but productive week.

AK murdered this rail with a backwards crooks to forwards crooks.

Primo / Stranger /
Fiend 

Alex Kennedy
Anthony Watkinson
Caleb Quanbeck
JJ Palmere
Sean Ricany
Shawn McIntosh

I really didn’t know what to expect from some of the riders on this list, I had heard Shawn Mac could be a handful. He turned out to be one of my favourite dudes from the whole project. I mean, yes he likes to party and get fucked up, but so does everyone, right?

After more troubles at customs with JJ we eventually got him through, with everyone else from the stateside. We also had more bike issues, when Sean Ricany’s bike turned up a day later than him.

The team all settled in and Mac decided to turn the pretty small walk-in-wardrobe into his own little boudoir. Two bean bags later and he was cosy as. The smells coming from that wardrobe were, lets say, manly.

JJ was the raw vegan of the house and would spend a lot of time preparing his food and smoothies. This was a stark contrast to the rest of the crew, surviving off the usual pastas, noodles and Burger Brothers.

Caleb is a funny character and would nose manual to almost any spot we visited. The kid certainly likes to look good and his American accent along with his one hit signature line of ‘Sup babe, I have a fast car and lots of money’ surprisingly worked. Sometimes.

On the first day, Mac said to me ‘take me to the biggest shit you got’

So, we took him to a spot on day one that most wouldn’t touch.

Mac, with no hesitation immediately said, ‘yeah I’ll do it’ leaving me almost no time to set up.  I got it, and learnt that I had to be ready for him at a moments notice.

Tony really impressed me; his riding has changed a lot and is constantly progressing. He was another guy putting the pegs and free coaster to use and clocking up the clips.

It seems every time I see him, something happens to his eyes, and it did once again. He ended up with no contacts and none of the opticians would sell him any until he booked an appointment on what was a 2-day waiting list.

We had similar issues last time, and to this day, some 5 years later, I still receive letters to my home address to a Mr Anthony Watkinson, from Specsavers.

Little Sean, the kid, can ride a bike exceptionally well. The majority of the time he pulls things first go, unless it’s a crazy tech combo.

I’m seriously looking forward to AK’s section on the DVD, as I’m sure many other people are. He would always just go with the flow, taking the day as it comes. When out on travels, he would find something he liked and just put that AK touch on it.

Being in Brighton, there are a number of weird dudes who walk the streets on a regular basis and on one of the days we managed stumble upon 3 of them.

Alex somehow happened to upset someone and then got pushed off his bike the second we left the flat. Then, after getting over that, some estate scumbags pestered us at a spot and finally, a punch was thrown by some crazy woman, although we might have Sean to thank for that one.

To continue the weirdness, Mac and Mikey had a man flash them his backside to and try to break Mikes camera.

Tyres to 3 from the man JJ

Not to forget the night Caleb, Adam 22, Joe Tek and fizzle got their arses handed to them by a large group of 15-year-old rude boys. They got back to the flat gasping for air and Caleb was missing a shoe, I think they’re lucky that’s all they were missing. Finally, it was gay pride during this week and that was another night to remember. Brighton is a weird but amazing place.

The final few days a couple of the Federal dudes were arriving in town along with Adam 22. The trip was coming to an end for the current crew although Alex was scheduled to be back for his Cult week and Shawn still had one final crazy thing to finish, a rail-to-rail at the local Uni.

The Uni is a constant bust, but this rail was worth the risk. As Mikey and I were setting up and Shawn was still considering his approach, suddenly, and out of nowhere, the security pulls up to take us down. Shawn, being the ever-ready individual he is, knew it was now or never and nailed it right in front of us all, security included, one hit was all he needed and luckily we were ready for him.

Pegs-gap-pegs from Mr Mcintosh. Yeah thats right!

Federal/Cult

Their Week had started and the good weather had stopped.

Anthony Perrin
Bruno Hoffmann
Chris Mills
Dan Lacey
Diogo Santos
Michal Smelko
Ollie Evans
Stevie Churchill
TM – Joe Tek
Guests: Adam 22, Jack Dub and Sean Sexton.

Day one went well, but as we rolled into the second, it went from sunny spells to rain and gale.

It was turning into a disaster, only being able to ride for a few minutes at a time before being stopped by rain showers and conditions too windy to ride in.

I felt for the guys, but we all knew we had a job to do so everyone cracked on the best they could. Call of duty saw the most action during that week back at the apartment, with the likes of Lacey and Sean ranking me up after every death match, I was not going to complain. Whilst I wasn’t complaining, the rest of the building was.

We received a letter through the door one morning addressed to ’THE WEED SMOKING IDIOTS’.

I don’t really need to go into detail about the complaint or what it was about, but these guys wanted us out from day one and the complaints kept piling up.

We decided to take the whole harassment stance and it seemed to work with good old Rob downstairs. As it turns out, he doesn’t actually give a fuck because he’s never there in the evening. He didn’t have a problem with us and knew the other tenants plans of trying to set us up with letters being put through Robs door with a messages like ‘Watch your back’. Not once in the whole 80 days did these keyboard warriors confront any of us about it.

I asked a couple of the riders how they coped with weather and what they thought of the project this time?
Michal Smelko –

I would say we just weren’t really lucky with the weather situation. Basically, everyday was raining, at least for a while. It has been such a good time anyway though and everyone got straight fuego clips.

Everyone knows how good the first Brighton Ain’t Ready project came out, so I just can’t wait to see what Mikey will get from all of the footage. It’s gonna be fire! Seriously a big shout out to Seventies for this one!!

Anthony Perrin –

With the weather we had been pretty unlucky compared to some other crews but we still had the chance to ride everyday. Sometimes we had to chill for a little bit under something, but it was all cool!

The BAR project and concept is really good, people respect it because of the first video, which was a big inspiration.

The week we spent in Brighton was all about good times, no stressing and enjoying as much as we could at the spots. There was a good crew! Great memories and I can’t wait to see the video.

Bruno filmed some crazy lines and along with Smelko, left me confused to what side they preferred to grind, they were equally as good on either.

Lacey dropping a big 3 off a roof

Lacey wanted a big three off a roof, which involved a rail hop to get onto the roof before hand. It was one bang, no messing and with possibly the cleanest 360 I have ever seen, you’ll see on the DVD.

Diogo, with has super creativeness and goes opposite at most spots, just because he could and when the orange shorts would come out, he looked the part. Ha!

Having never met Millsy before, it didn’t take long to realise he was the nicest dude and he sent some crazy shit during his stay. Mills, you are the fucking man!

Ollie Evans was a good face to see again and made it out for the weekend bringing Jack Dub with him, it made a difference having those guys along.

Sexton was only here for a few days, which was a shame, but he still managed to get a couple clips before flying home.

It was a similar story for Stevie Churchill, as he had Dew Tour just round the corner and was preparing and saving himself for that.

Although the weather wasn’t at its finest, the time with team was as good as ever.

It didn’t take Stevie long to pop his arms off at the end

Another week of hell.

The Cult UK guys, Ollie Shields and Alex Kennedy were able to get clips during some of the sunnier days the weeks before, so the pressure was off them slightly. However, for the international dudes set to come, like Dakota Roche and Chase Dehart, it would be looking at a somewhat wet 10 days.

Dakota was first to check into the apartment along with Ollie It was dry, so we ventured out. Not really intending to go crazy but more just have a roll about.

We arrived at an old spot that Dakota had already nailed a ledge ride to 180 into the road in the old DVD he now decided he wanted to nose manual down it. Not worrying about the nasty kink at the bottom or still being really jet lagged. Dak did it, no problem, but he wanted it cleaner, so gave it a few more goes, even though we thought he had already pulled it smooth. He ended up hurting his knee so badly that he was actually written off for the whole trip, it sucked and I couldn’t imagine the pain he felt, both physically and mentally.

Robbie, the boss, arrived a day later and with the weather forecast not looking any better, made the decision to sadly cancel Chase Hawk coming out to what was going to be a write off week. It sucked, as they were a key part of the project, but it was the right call.

It ended up being a couple days riding around with AK and Ollie still getting shit done, before the clouds closed in on us.

Ollie has seriously gone full guns blazing on this DVD and that is no exaggeration. Everyday was hammer after hammer and looking back on issue 192, you can see some of the madness that went down. The DVD will really cement these words.

Robbie, the man behind Cult, is without doubt, the funniest and simultaneously most professional dudes out there. He constantly jokes with whoevers around.

I can understand why his brand has been so successful, he’s a smart guy who’s one step ahead of the game, even though he can fall asleep standing up, or during dinner, or whenever really. I still promise, he’s a smart dude.

Kink/Mixed Week

This was an interesting week, or even month, for a couple of the dudes.

Lets start with Tony Hamlin, scheduled to stay for around 10 days. He was another victim to a lost bike due to airlines, he was only without his for 2 days but when he finally got to ride he wrote himself off pretty bad for a good few more days. With half of his riding trip wasted, we sat in the flat one evening with a fine bottle of Merlot and Tony looked at me and said ‘hey if the flights cheaper then $600 to change, I’m gonna change it’ 

I called his bluff immediately and the flight change was around $250 dollars.

‘Well, guess I’m staying’ Tony replied before sinking the last drop of red.

With his flight extended an extra week it gave him more time to party. And film.

After another week goes by Stu then offers to extend Tony’s flight for him again, and of course, Tony thankfully accepted, which means he is staying for the last week off filming.

What a way to finish the last day of filming with a well worked and crazy long crank arm by Mr Hamlin.

When it was finally time for Tony to leave Brighton, he really was the last man standing. It also regretfully meant no more of the following for me:

Tuesday = Booze day.

Thirsty Thursday. (Pre game for Friday).

The Friday. (Pre game for Saturday).

Then shit housed hammered Saturday / Sunday.

I don’t think I could’ve survived another week with Tony.

As I was dropping him off at the airport, for some unknown reason, as we were half way down the road, I asked if he had everything, including his passport. His reply, after checking his bag, was NO!

A U-turn back to the apartment and we had tear the place apart searching for the thing. It was looking bad, Tony was losing his mind as to where it could be and was thinking someone could’ve accidently picked it up.

One hour after searching, with no luck at all, he was back on the phone again to the airline to extend his flight for yet another three days, for the third time.

Luckily, with a bit of convincing, they didn’t charge him and his passport eventually turned up in Mad Jon’s car, which saved me a trip to the US embassy in central London at 9am. Finally, three days later, Tony was on his flight home, somewhat relieved. Oh, and with food poisoning.

During his stay we also had the pleasure of:

Albert Mercado
Ben Basford
Lloyd wright
Jorge Rodriquez
And TM Jay Roe 

Jay was only in town for a few days but was good to have him there, he decided to leave his bike behind and give it away to a lucky winner. What a G.

Here’s what Lloyd Wright has to say about the BAR project – 

When I first heard that Seventies were doing BAR again, my initial thought was, Why? But then, as I thought about it more and more, it started to make perfect sense.

Seventies have brands now that didn’t even exist when they did it last time. The rider line up has changed so much and not to mention the progression in BMX over the past few years. So in the end, I realised it was the perfect opportunity for them to show how they have grown as a Distro and to showcase how much their riders, bot new and old, have progressed in BMX with some of them even ahead of it, leading the curve.

I’m proud to have been a part of it this time around and I think it would work just as well again in another 5 years.

CCTV camera – 0 Albert -1

The mixed week.

It was the last week of the whole project and we were welcoming a few of the Federal guys who couldn’t make it out earlier for their week, including Shadows, Paul Ryan. Mr Hamlin and Wright were still about for the fun too, so it looked like another stellar line up.

Others included –

James Cunningham 
Jason Eustathiou
Mark Love (mag)
Roy Van Kempen

It was an equal mix of people I did and didn’t know.

James and Mag, both ride a lot together and I felt it worked well with them being on the same week as one another. Even if they both are as quiet as each other.

Mag had his own special night but you will have to wait and see what I’m talking about, as I can’t give too much away in case this comes before the DVD.

All the Federal dudes absolutely killed it that week and it was a mixed bag of different riding styles, which made it that bit better to work with.

Paul Ryan shaved his head for the special occasion but left the Rick Ross on.  Being from Liverpool and liking a party, the drink got the better of him, but being as good as he is, he managed to get some really decent clips.

Looking back at the whole project and watching the old DVD over and over, makes you realise the progression of BMX in 6 years, its insane.

Riders coming to a City for a short space of time to film purely for a DVD section on whatever spots they find is a rare breed these days, and this should be celebrated for that fact alone.

I have met and worked with some characters on this project and it has been an amazing 3 months spent.

I’d personally like to thank Stuart Dawkins, the owner of Seventies Distro, for making this whole thing happen, without him none of this would have been possible. Stu you are the boss!

I want to thank Jon Taylor for everything he did, including second or even third camera angel, bike maintenance and his never ending story telling abilities.

Colin for helping to organise everything, it all went to plan and thanks for the DVD’s, my collection is crazy now!

Good friend, Mr Mike King for filming the DVD so well, you smashed it!

And finally, every rider who made it down, you all killed it and it has been an absolute pleasure working with you all. Till the next time.

Make it to the premier and I’ll see you there, the drinks are on Mike!

WE’VE GOT A STACK OF BRIGHTON AINT READY DELUXE EDITION BOOK AND DOUBLE DVD’S TO GIVE AWAY.

Use your deep and meaningful knowledge of BMX to answer the question below to be in with a chance to win… You can’t go too wrong.

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