18 September 2007

flow thee elk an' salmon, like, innit....?

Amazingly, Rick from Sissyfish was able to convince Johnny to stand still long enough for the above character study.

Being Welsh in Oregon I rarely come across any fellow countrymen. Then one day I was in Rockaway after surfing a nearby jetty, waiting outside a convenience store for a friend, when I heard an accent I hadn’t heard in years. Not just a Welsh accent but an accent from up the valleys. I guessed, Ystradgynlais and I was right.

There he stood dressed like a right thug. Kappa track suit, crew cut, smoking a rolly and necking a can of Stella Artois. Back home Johnny would be stereotyped as a 'Townie' or a 'Kev' or a 'Meish' of a 'Chav.' But Johnny Rad (no, not Animal Chin Johnny Rad) had escaped the Welsh valleys and was busting out of this stereotype, despite his appearence .

I thought Johnny would be just as excited to talk to me as I was him, but it did not really play out like that. Johnny had very little interest in re-connecting with Wales. Whereas I, a long since anglicized and now Americanized Welshman am constantly trying to re-affirm my Welshness. Over the next few months, I continued to run into Johnny in dead-end Oregon coastal towns and realized we shared a lot more in common than just nationality, from a love of surfing to a similar world view, only he has consistently proved far more genuine in his expression of it all than I.

Johnny finally agreed to this interview, after several cans of Stella Artois.

We sat at the end of a crumbling jetty watching the sun go down and swells pump in between the jetties, ever threatening to break on the outside sandbar and make the inlet completely nonnegotiable. It was here that Johnny eventually revealed to me that he had not only discovered how to breathe underwater but the secret of immortality, on this very coastline, thousands of miles from home, all due to his search for the perfect beach.

Why Surfing?

To me, surfin’ is the ‘riginal and ‘ighest form a leisure, like. Tis’also a quest, to be comfortable with me raw naked self. Tis’a journey way tha fuck back ta Africa, back ta me origins, youah origins, away from duhmesticated life, away from civilizashun.

All ova sports an’ art forms are merely symbolic culture, bollox. A way av dealin’ with tha shit we are deepin. When we return to tha garden there will be no more need fa sport or art. Livin’ will be sport an’ art, innit?

We will live in nomadic coastal tribes, no more than ‘undred of us per tribe. All decishuns will be made by consensus. We will volantarulee fedeuralize ouahselfs wiv ova tribes fa tha purpose of mutual aid durin’ less fruitfal seasons. We will move with tha seasons, eat seasonully, follow tha elk and salmon.

No one will work more than three hours a day, right! An’ then we will surf. Surfin’ will get us there and surfin’ will keep us there.

No one will surf boards over 7' long. In summa we will surf swallow-tail twin fins and in winta rounded pin single fins. All ouah boards will be fashioned outa wood.

All I ask av you is ta learn hows to ‘unt, fish, ‘arness fresh water, shoota gun and be comftabul standin’ next ta me, nakid on tha beach waitin’ fa a solid groundswell and offshore winds. I'll be waitin’ muckas...

On The Urban Jungle:

While tha boys was out tuckin’ into good waves upin Oregun, I had tha misfortune av beenin’ landlocked fa tha last four days inna suburban wasteland of Roseville Calafornya. Peoples keep tellin’ me how fortunate I is ta make Oregun me first port a call in this country but I nevah reulized how depressin’ some parts av this cuntry really is, like. I felt lika alien down there, like. No one walks, bikes or skates fa transport. Everyone and everywhere looks the same, innit? All youah shoppins done in ‘uge chain stores and you get stared at fa being a scruffy Euro cunt, like me, like. One night I just had to tackal tha shite ‘ead on, innit. I noticed tha ‘ese vast wastelands of shoppin’ centers, strip malls, and corpurate complexes achually contained some pretty good skateboarding terrain, like. So I ‘ooded up like an urban ninja, like, an’ ‘it tha streets. Its crazy ta think tha’ acres an’ acres of woodland have become huge carparks tha’ largely remain unused. They is also patrolled by private security guards, who I had to evade during me midnight attack on the suburban jungle. I have thought this many times ovah but tha’ night it really struck a chord, like. Why’sit so bad for a skateboarder to use the curbs, rails, planters, stairs an’tha in these places when they is being unused by all the office monkeys and consumer junkies a’ night? ‘undreds av thousands av oak trees must av been cut down ta make way for all that asphalt and tarmac shite, like. Yet whena skateboarder scuffs up the red paint av a curb he or she risks arrest and ‘uge fines. I waz tha onlee cunt nat ina car, shreddin’ like fuck through this nightmare terrain. I waz tha free one. Those cunts was tha trapped cunts. In fact, it felt like a good day of surfin’. As if beneath all tha concrete, I was tappin’ back into the primeeval energee tha surfin’ comes from. Asif youah creatively rippin’ uptha urban nightmare ta expose what ‘as always lay beneav. Its here tha tha true connecshun av skateboardin’ ta surfin’ can be found. Next day, I ‘kin caved in and ‘ad ta gettha fuck outta tha town an’ took an hour drive through some bootiful ‘ills up inta small town called Ione. Here I found a mysterious pool, like. A hole intha ground, tha I ‘oped in ta skate, like.

T’was tha total antithusis av’wa I ‘ad experiunced tha previous night. While skatin’ tha’ pool I was skateboarding bliss, like, butit lacked tha outlaw sensashun av skateboardin’ through tha suburban jungle. An’ while skateboardin’a pool might be physucally closa ta surfin’, jammin’ through tha streets taps deeper into the same metaphysucal zone as surfing, innit? One day civilizshun will crumbal, like, an’ street skaters will aid in its collapse. After, tha’ day we will, all av us, be where we all belong, nakkid on tha beach, waitin’ fa waves.


Johnny I never really understood, what you are doing here in Oregon. You don’t have a job. You live in the middle of nowhere. How do you survive? What have you got going on?

Not sure why the fuck I should tell you this but maybe something will happen to me so here goes:

The trail winds down tha old growth forest ta the secrit beach. The most beeootiful beach in tha world in fact. Yeah, you can’t fuck with that statement ‘cause it is a fact. A solid fact. An unspoiled beach, like. An unsoiled beach, innit. Tucked’way below tha cape that juts out ta sea for a mile or so. If Leonardo had seen this beach he never would have made that cheezy fucking film ‘bout that beach in Thailand. This one is fuh’real. The trail winds and switches ba’an’fore ovah an’ ovah as you slides down through the trees. is like a game of snakes and ladders but you is happy to be landin’ on tha snake ‘cause slivuring all the way down you evenchilli end up in paradise, like. Real paradise, mind you, not some mifficul place in the cloudy stories of dead lunatics, like. A real, ‘ere an’ now, earvy paradise. You starts breathing it in,like, as soon as you leave the tarmac of the car park, innit. You smell the old trees and the moss ‘anging off the droopin’ branches. Thick moss, like. Moss you could build a house out uv. Anshunt moss. Moss that is wisah than you is, fa shuah. Paishunt moss. T’is like the jewelry of the trees. As if the trees are getting’ ready for a speshull occashun, which they are, of course, like. Then, onwards you tromp and tromp like the elephunt ‘umanoid that you should ‘umbly accept that you is. Like King Kong in New York, innit. Godzilla in Tokyo, like. That is who you are. Smelling like shit and body odor that leaks out all the chemicals and additives that you ‘ave consumed. The trees lift theyah gaze to the sky, away from you. You filth. They ‘ides the sky from you. But please persaveah ‘cause there isa clearin’ ‘bout ‘alf ways down. Walk unduh the cave of branches, pass the giant slug and angry wasps. Ignore the cheeky chipmunks an’ ‘op over the fatal fungi until you reach a space intha trees ovuh lookin’ the Pacific. Here you sit and rest and if there is someone smokin’ a cigarette, looking outta sea with the finest of binoculahs, sportin’ a $200 gortex jacket like, you push ‘im off, innit. No wait, you grab ‘is cigarette, you take a drag, inhale deep an’njoy the fuckin’ cansuh stick and exhale. Then’ou look through his binocs once, just to see what he saw and then’ou smear the lenses wiv some of the shit that is running down ‘is leg. Then you push ‘im off the cliff. Make sure he lands in the watuh. You must then watch ‘is body splash and submerge and disappeah. Somethin’ most wondurefully ‘rrific will then consume ‘im. Breave for’while and look at all the blue. A smoove blue before 11AM when the white ‘orses come out to trot all the way from ‘laska to Mexico. Shiny ripples penurtrate youah’eyes like the tinieust of pin pricks. Watch the sleek black shadows swim gracefully and swiflly, senshually, just below the surface, like giant mermaids, like. You want to be at home in bed drinkin’ coffee, innit- No, you want to be under the water wiv’all the wildlife, figurin’ out ‘ow to breeve fa ever, submerged. You want to hug the horizon and nearlee die when yous realize you cannot, like. You want to examine the fine dirt beneve youah feet and rub the bark chips into youah nostruls. But you will never get there if you entertain such thoughts. So turn back onto the path and skip over the fallen logs and the snails that have more time than you does. Try to ignore the little creatures in the trees that will surlee frow rocks and spears and aim arrows in youah direcshun. Try to ignore ‘em, even though they shine fru the foliage in all theayh purpul and green gloree. They are of no concern to you at this point, like. By now you will be sweatin’ profuslee. Perspirashun will be leakin’ from under youah arms and your brow, like. This means youah on the right track and nearlee there. Turnin’ back at this point would be stupid, worse than if you never had started, like. By all means stop to ‘ave a piss but be sure to carry on. If you do stop to have a piss, be careful not to let the glowing yellow ants of tomorrow get a whiff of youah scent. Or they will be climbin’ up youah piss stream and into youah bladdah before you have even drained youah self. Remember you are committed at this point. At about this stage, I would recommend breakin’ intoan ecstatic run and before you knows it, youah there, like. All you ‘ave to do now is use the wild nettles to rappel out of the edge of the forest and onto the sand. ‘ere you sit for a while, nursin’ the cuts on youah ‘ands, ‘mongst the giant logs that have been deposuted on the shore. Sit on the log and wonder to youahself, where it has been and how it ended up on The Beach. Wonder wever it fell off a boat into the Columbia River, while it should still be firmlee rooted intha mountains that over look The Beach. Getup and walk ‘round. See the white sand stretch for miles to the South. See the Cape i‘mediately to the North, towerin’ over you. See the sea birds circlin’ amongst the shadow of the cape. Walk towards the giant Whale Bone. Imagine you is Ahab chasin’ an even deadlier whale, because you is. Take off youah clothes and role your naked self around in the dry sand and down to the receding tide. Climax from these actions and don’t feel guilty about it, like. Crawl back up the sand to relax in the sun, ‘til it burns youah pale white skin into a deathly red, ridden with ‘orrible white blistahs that is ready to’xude a thick yellow puss. Roll back down to the water and let the undertow suck you out into the waves that break over the offshore reef. Now this is a fucking secret, ya cunt, so do not tell anyone about it. I don’t want any’ol cunt to find The Beach or to try out what I am ‘bout to tell you.

But out on the reef, deep underwater, the sun’s rays will penetrate the surface, find you and keep you warm. Then... well then... and this is the real secret... you can learn how to breave underwater, like. You swim down to the back of the reef before the deep trench that leads to the black abyss. Where the black meets the blue, clench youah jaw and grit youah teeve very tight and suck, usin’ youah tongue not youah lips. It takes awhile but soon you will be sucking the oxygen out off the water. I shit you not. Tiny little bubbles will find their way into youah lungs and keep the blood gently pumpin’ ‘round youah relaxed body. And so you will wait for the dark shadows of the giant sirens to swim they way North to youse, away from the immense offshore monolivs. Wait, and they will teach you how to breeve underwater in-def-un ate-tlee, like. I will be watchin’ from the halfway point, chewin’ on the bark and rubbin’ me crotch.

Ha ha…. Now fuck off!