Preface – When I ask someone to do a Guest Post on the Blue Tile Obsession, I let them have free reign. If I hand you a Mic, you get to say whatever you want. It’s your voice and it’ll be heard. Tony Farmer does just that. This is his truth. I like it and I hope you do too. – Ozzie
Here I am, in the shit again. There’s always so much nonsense mucking up the works. Try as I might to avoid it, here I go, diving in head first. I met Ozzie in Salba’s living room digging through a box of old photos, just nerding out super heavy. Totally understandable. Fuck knows I’m susceptible to the occasional fan-out. This must’ve been mid to late nineties. You never know whom you might meet when rolling with Sally; anyone from the lowliest of troglodyte barney to a canonized saint such as Lance. Ozzie was a regular for a spell. Then he wasn’t. Then he was again… And now? Well, honestly, I haven’t a clue what really went down between them. All I know is that they are at odds, and here I am in the middle of some of that bullshit once again.
Salba is my guy. Period. Damn near thirty years deep. So when Ozzie asks me to pen a guest post I couldn’t help but hesitate, when normally I’d have jumped at a chance to flap about that which I love so dearly. I asked Steve what he thought. He said, “Tell him you will if he takes me off his shit list.” So I figured, fuck it. Yeah, I’ll write about Colossus and Aaron Sedway and maybe mix in some Valley Pride and John Swope tangents. But first I’m gonna rant a bit about all y’all and your fucking rules and regulations. So here it comes. Grosso was right. FUCK YOU! When I sat down to do that Love Letter with him I had a few basic angles I figured we’d explore. Then the camera starts rolling and BOOM! his intro is just so fucking poetically perfect to the point that when the camera pans to me I’m literally dumbfounded. I’m sitting there with my dick out thinking, “Uhhhh, that’s it, man. Done. He just said it all.” OK, yeah, there was a little more. There’s nuance. But ever since we cut that piece I’ve been reevaluating things and more than ever I’m just over all the crap, the poolitics, the rules. My two-cents equated pool skating to being one of the last stands of punk rock, and the more I think about that, the more it rings true. Punkers are the worst. Anarchy my ass, they’ve always had more fucking rules than anybody. Wear this and do that and get in line and goose step Oi! Oi! Oi! Fucking cunts. Same thing goes for damn near every Han Solo trog or pool service crew all the way back to the primordial ooze in Dog Town.
Repeat after me: “He wants info.” “He won’t flow.”
Secret spots and don’t tell anyone and you can’t come and you’re three over capacity. Don’t park there and the fifteen minute rule in effect and Rueler at the Watermelon and Tyco bitching and moaning and TA’s answering machine vibes and Adam Morgan’s soap opera on Laurel Canyon and fucking Xeno’s secret agent special op’s delusions.
Mike Mike: “Say man, where’s this next pool you’re taking us to?”
As if we’re going to blow out your crappy kidney with useless deck coping and a geyser shooting out of the drain that’s two hundred miles from where we live.
I can’t even go home without something like, “I know where it is but I can’t take you there because it’s Ozzie’s spot.” Really? It’s Ozzie’s spot? Ozzie, the dude from Pennsylvania? Yeah, well I grew up in Van Nuys and I was riding pools in the Val before he ever set foot in The Golden State so fuck Ozzie, let’s go!
What’s with all these cats from Boston and PA migrating west and laying claim to that which was spoken for ages ago? You’re banning me from the Mag because I didn’t take you to a pool that I went out and found and drained? Or that other twat that went on a smear campaign in my own neighborhood because I gave someone directions to a pool three states and four hours from his house? Fuck me, man, grow up!
See? I get caught up in it just as easily. Enough already. There are too many silly incidents to list. Too many “hardcore skate punks” crying because they’re butt-hurt over some spot they couldn’t keep secret. It’s happening right fucking now in West Hollywood, isn’t? I over-quote this, but only because it’s the TRUTH! “The shit’s gonna be underground no matter how much (Peacock) blows it up. It’s like you’re sneaking into fucking backyards trespassing skating pools, who cares?!” Thank you, Shaggy, for the perspective. Too much fucking perspective, eh?
So give Salba a call and squash it. Or don’t. Who cares?
Alright then, that’ll do for now. As you were.
Meanwhile, back in 1997…
Oddly enough, on the very same day Ozzie texted me about writing this, my pal Chris Reilly asked me what my all time favorite pool is. It’s an impossible question, but without a doubt Colossus is on my short list. And to think, although I was with the crew that first discovered it, I damn near never got to ride it.
I was married in September of 1997; therefore, Colossus was first ridden at some point that summer. I wasn’t into having a standard bachelor party with crappy strippers or going broke in Las Vegas. I went with an all nighter blow-out at The Nude Bowl. So the boys (Royce, Rube, Curtis, Neeley, E-Fresh, Justin) and I rented a pair of Buick Le Sabre’s and headed south for a Salbaland tour warm-up before heading east towards 29 Palms. Needles to say, a crew running over eight deep is a bit cumbersome when doing backyards. I’m also an impatient bastard and got frustrated enough to say, “Let’s split up. I’m going to that little amoeboid, and we’ll meet up later at In N Out.” So I dragged half the boys with me and we did indeed have a fun shred at said pool, though the fertilizer and rotting lemons fueled goo at the bottom was some of the most asphyxiating shit I have ever encountered. We left thinking we’d made the right call, met up with the crew and could tell straight off that we’d blown it. They ran back the video and I was both physically and mentally devastated.
I had never seen anything like it. I’d scored good Roman-ends before (La Mesa). I’d ridden massive squares with good tranny (earlier that same day, in fact). But I had never seen anything this large and luscious before. I haven’t seen one since. Thirteen foot deep with pure trannies and myriad obstacles: a centered face wall death box connecting to side wall ladders, lights and boxes, combos galore. Royce made it look effortless with frontside airs from side wall over the notch into the facial bowl. Poetry. It remains to this day my all time fuck-up missed session. Honestly, I’ve never really forgiven myself.
Now in my head, I didn’t get to ride the beast until years later. However, according to the date stamped on Sed’s slide my memory is failing me. No surprise, really, especially given the fact that I have next to no recollection of the session that produced this image. When I recently happened upon it on his Instagram feed (@seddys_snapshots) I thought, “That can’t really be me.” OK, it’s a crailslide, so it must be me, right? And yeah, the helmet was standard issue for a few years after a gruesome braining at another epic Roman, Johnny Rocket’s in Hancock Park (see Thrasher September 1996). But the pads?! I mean, sure, maybe one to protect a swelbow, but two? And knee pads? I don’t even remember owning a pair post 1990. The entire kit seems so strange to me now. I wore Converse? And rode Thunders? Yup. As much as I’d like to claim Indy Pride from day one on my first real set-up: Val Surf Can-Am 10×30 (poor kid’s Lonnie Toft with stickers trying to fake it), Sims Snakes, Indy 131s, there were those few years after Blackhart left that Ruben was kicking me Thunders. Hell, if he hadn’t died I might still be riding them today. Who knows?
Colossus was a go for a year or so (see Thrasher January 1998? with Kale and Rune) and then on and off again for years after. I got my last licks in it with Salba, Ozzie, Doc Henrie and Dan Rogers sometime in the mid-aughts, I’d guess. She felt better than ever that day. I drew some lines that had previously eluded me. Missing out on that virginal session still stings a bit, but that last one granted me some peace of mind. I got about all I could ever hope for. It’s still sitting there. She’s got some holes poked in her belly and a busted lip, buried alive. And tomorrow never knows, maybe some hell bent necromancer will regenerate her once devastating beauty. Oh, the shit-show feeding frenzy that would unleash. – Tony Farmer
Thank you to Tony Farmer for the words and Aaron Sedway for the images. Skate – Ozzie