The Norwich BMX scene isn't often on our radar, but every January for the last few years Matt Copland has been sending over his annual 'Home Video' with the crew. He does a seriously good job. The videos are classy, it's honest UK street riding. Filmed well, edited well, showing a good crew of dudes having a good old time.
The riding is decent too – these guys definitely push themselves. As Matt explains below, the Home Video gives them a little extra motivation. 2017's video has just been released and it's another triumph.
Read on for a little Norwich history, some insights on the video with Matt Copland and a nice gallery of images.
– How would you describe the Norwich BMX scene?
"I feel like I only really see a small part of it these days. I think there’s a fairly big park and trails scene, but as far as our core group of friends go, it’s pretty much still the same guys I’ve been riding with for the past 10-15 years now. We mostly just stick to the outdoor parks and street.
"Once you get to a certain age in BMX you’ve got to focus on what you enjoy the most and not get too hung up on the rest."
I think once you get to a certain age in BMX you’ve got to focus on what you enjoy the most and not get too hung up on the rest, or you’re going to get burnt out. Everyone has their own thing going on though. It’s good."
– What are the spots like in East Anglia?
"We’re definitely losing spots quicker than they’re building them but there’s still some cool stuff about."
– Do you often go out on spot missions? Or is the local area pretty thoroughly searched...?
"We do, but it’s mostly to see if stuff has changed, rather than exploring new areas. We’ve ridden the city so much over the years that we’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s about. We did make a few trips along the coast to explore the sea defences this year though, which was fun.
Most of the time the challenge is trying to come up with fresh ideas on old spots."
– Are these all from weekend sessions or did you put any specific time aside to film?
"It’s all weekend sessions with the odd evening clip here and there. Everyone in the video works full time and has home lives to juggle, so it’s just a case of trying to get out when we can.
Over the summer I often went out pretty early in the morning with my brother Rowan to film my clips, which would then leave me the rest of the day to focus on filming the other guys."
– How long have you been doing these ‘home videos’ and what made you start?
"A local rider called Steve Ong put together a DVD in 2006 (Norwich 06) which covered our scene when it was probably at its largest in terms of the amount of people riding together on a daily basis. He stopped riding not too long after that, so I ended up buying his VX2000 and carrying on from there.
"We’re definitely losing spots quicker than they’re building them..."
Eventually, other pockets of the scene began to pop up alongside our own, so I switched the title to ‘home video’ so as not to appear to be trying to represent the whole city.
I really enjoy the filming and editing process, and I think it’s healthy to have a project to work on throughout the year that’s not ‘work’. There’s never been any agenda behind the videos other than to give us a bit of extra motivation to get out, and so that we’ve got something to look back on at the end of the year."
– Who are your biggest influences, both with riding and filming/editing?
"Riding wise I think Can I Eat era Steven Hamilton is about as good as it gets.
Video wise: Props Year End 2000, Etnies Forward and Voices / Tomorrow We Work are some of my favourites. A lot of the Rich Forne stuff I’ve seen is great too."
– What’s the concept behind this edit, with the archive footage etc?
"I started using the archive footage in our 2016 video. A lot of the Norwich streets haven’t changed much since the 50s, so I thought it would be interesting to contrast the old clips against riding filmed in the same area. The 2017 video was a bit shorter so I didn’t use as much, but the quotes made me laugh and seemed appropriate, given the context."
– Do you have a favourite section?
"I don’t really have a favourite section but Ian’s 360 down the forum steps is probably one of my favourite clips in the video. It was something he’d talked about doing for years but every time we went to look at it we got chucked off within 5 minutes.
"I think Can I Eat era Steven Hamilton is about as good as it gets."
As winter drew in we’d pretty much accepted the fact that it wasn’t going to happen this year (and I guess technically it didn’t...) but we decided to give it one last look on New Years Day, when we hoped the building would be closed, or at least that the security would be too hungover to care. I was sure we were going to get the boot the whole time we were setting up, but thankfully he got it second try.
This was also the first time I’ve managed to include a clip from each of my three brothers in the same video, so that was cool too."
– What are your plans for 2018?
"I never really start the year with too much of a plan. We usually just film what we can and see if it comes to enough make a video. None of us are getting any younger but I’d hope to be able to put something together for 2018, even if it’s just a quick mix section."