Parisian Notes on Cons & Ben Chadourne’s Purple Video

Words & Photos by Zach Baker

It is wild to me that a person could ever get to a point in their given field where they could even consider the idea of making something perfect. In skating, I’m reluctant to say that it is even possible, given the subjectivity that is part and parcel of anything creative. Be it the way a person holds their arms, or the viewer’s disapproval of whatever “bullshit fuckin’ trap song!” was chosen — in 2018, considering the our varied and fickle tastes, no video is going to make everyone happy. I doubt that the people involved in the making of Purple had any delusions in this regard.

We just got back from Paris. The trip that was initially conceived on a whim this past winter in a Long Island basement by a buzzed group of Frog boys. Soon after, Vertgod, Keith (who we’re obvs thankful for), a bunch of Polar guys, Kiki, and myself hopped on. It was a heavenly week: skating some of the most beautiful spots in the world alongside some of the most beautiful boys in the world, we couldn’t have asked for more. We caught the first nice weather week of the year, so the whole city was as out and horny as all of us. I was able to change my itinerary at the last minute to catch the Paris premiere of the Converse video, so I figured I’d share what I remember with each and all of you.

Converse gave their boys a hectic itinerary for this world marketing tour of Ben Chadourne’s most complete opus to date. New York on Friday night, London on Sunday, Paris on Monday, with little time to do much other than catch a buzz and sleep scattered in between. By the time they got to Paris, it was pouring rain. Most of the squad was barely coasting on the third day of a hangover, but there was an anticipation among them to be celebrating a return of the finished product to the city in which the majority of it was filmed. I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that there was a good deal of white wine imbibed in the hours leading up to the screening, and Dela held an umbrella for me to procure the loud that was finished seconds before the theater went dark, but here’s what was retained.

It was dope. A bunch of Bauhaus tunes kept a level of continuity throughout, save for the Jeru song that the New York boys — Zered, Eli, and Aaron — skated to. Bobby D. started it off with a three-song part of mainly Parisian footage. Chadourne’s 16mm was the only real flourish that a video of that size could accommodate, and it was all pretty pertinent to whatever skating had happened before or after. It worked, that is to say, there weren’t any grainy black-and-white seagulls that I can recall to mind. (I may be biased, being that he’s probably my favorite filmer aside from Bacon, but with pretty good reason.) Chadourne as a filmer maintains a downright sketchy level of technical skill. As an aesthete he’s considerate, discerning, purposeful. The main Cons team is something like thirty dudes, with what must be hundreds more worldwide flow guys, international team, etc. Juggling that many people and their footage alone is an accomplishment in and of itself, but it got done.

(Speaking of perfectionists, it’s pretty insane that this wasn’t good enough to make the cut for Zered, but hey, when I learn to rodeo flip maybe I’ll get to make decisions like that.)

Dela put out one of his best parts to date, despite his assertion that the HVX doesn’t translate the speed of a hill bomb in the way that a VX1000 may. Mike Anderson snapped, and his parents were very nice and also pretty good drinkers. Swan’s footage is so nice. J-John the Don nollie full cabbed a bump-to-bar. Aaron 50-50ed the rail by Riverside Skate Park. I look forward to rewatching Kevin Rodrigues’s section because there were a number of moments in it where I actually could not understand how the hell he did that. Jason Jessee supposedly submitted a finished part, edited and with music, saying that any changes were not up for discussion. I think this is more of a compliment than a diss…but you can tell. I guess he’s also been on Converse technically since like 1992 or something so maybe he gets to make his own rules over there.

After it was over, we went to French Lovely Day to eat steak and play Weed Olympics, then I somehow was given the keycard to Ben Raemers’ unused hotel room, which was nice.

I don’t know if this was a perfect video. I can say that I’m usually satisfied when I see a ten-minute homie video and am usually weary about a huge budget shoe company production. This mainly is because, in the latter, you lose a lot of the personality and sincerity that something more small, organic, and not-for-profit would contain. But Purple kind of had both. The skate footage itself will come to be seen as some of the best ever filmed and the video that encompasses it succeeds at giving an authentic representation of the tastes and personalities of every person involved. It’s pretty much as close to perfection as anyone could ever expect to get.

Previously: An Interview With Ben Chadourne


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