|James Harrison Interview|
|Earlier this year, Phil Aller got in contact with us about the addition of James Harrison to the Profile Europe team. We got in contact with James, got to know him a little better and soon after started hooking him up.Since his addition, we enjoy coming in every Monday to receive emails of dialed riding photos, web edits, and wild stories fresh from his end in the UK. It?s never a dull moment.
Welcome to the team, James.
1. Phil (Aller) mentioned that you are the tight tranny master. What?s the deal with tight tranny architecture in your neck of the woods. Seems like its everywhere?
In Portsmouth we’ve got the law courts tranny walls which are so, so good. The high bit is about 7-8ft, and the lower about 4-5ft. It must have been a BMX architect who designed them. I really like the challenge of riding something really tight and awkward. Something that feels un-ridable at first always makes for a good challenge.
2. Heard your balancing school and work? You’re in school for film? Does that have any effect on your motivation to film riding—it looks like your constantly working on riding edits?
Yeah, I’m at Portsmouth Uni studying T.V & Film, and just about to finish my 3rd year out of 4. It was BMX that got me into filming in the first place, and I still love making riding edits. I really like the thought of going out and filming something that has been on my mind for a while, and having a camera there is more motivation to get it done. It?s strange how it feels like there is more pressure to get it done in front of a camera. Probably because whoever is filming (usually Russ) will feel like falling asleep otherwise..haha.. Editing riding videos gives me such a good sense of satisfaction.
3. What other projects are you working on outside of BMX? Any other interests in the film world?
I’ve just finished making a short documentary on Mark Webb as a part of my university course. Basically following his recovery from his broken back last December. A small group of 5 of us produced it, and it turned out pretty well, but was pretty stressful at times. I pretty much try and make anything I do at Uni involve BMX in some way. It?s a lot easier for me to work on something I’m interested in, so it keeps me motivated to do it well. Other than that, I love making funny little edits, usually making my friends look like fools…ah the power of editing…
4. The professors don’t have a problem with you concentrating on the same content? I know Ty Stuyvesant got the crack down in his Edinburgh film classes for consistently doing bmx edits.
Yeah, they do have a problem with it. Even at the end of making this last film, my lecturer still referred to it as “skateboarding.” They think BMX is too easy to film and doesn?t say much to a large audience, an to an extent that is true, but its fun. They want stories, and theories and all that stuff…I think from now on, there won?t be anymore BMX projects at uni…..
5. A general question about the English weather, especially last summer as sunshine was at a record minimum–how did/do you manage on your bike?
It definitely wasn’t that great, and as we don’t have an indoor place either in Portsmouth or at home in Guernsey, it was quite annoying at times. But sometimes when I cant ride for a while for whatever reason makes me more motivated and keeps things fresh. Also rain is good for staying in, drinking tea and watching films…..and also eating loads…..
6. What films are you into? Any recently effect how you film/edit?
I think movies in general, rather than bmx vids are more of an inspiration to ride and film. Movies like Crash or Control, or just something funny like Dumb & Dumber maybe…Old riding vids like BMX Inferno, Style Cats and Head First are amazing.
7. You mentioned Guernsey earlier. Phil has talked about growing up there as well. Did you guys grow up riding together on the island? How is it different from Portsmouth?
We both started riding around the same time when Guernsey got its first skatepark called “The Blast Zone” at the end of 94. It was such a good park, especially for a little place like Guernsey. We used to ride there loads, there was so many people into riding back then. The park closed and facilities became none existent. Phil moved to England with his family, and we started riding together again in 2000 when a few of us got land to build a 6ft mini ramp and he moved back over. That ramp was pretty much the start of the second wave of riding over there.
Portsmouth is so much different than Guernsey for riding. Mainly because everything we have over there is ramps in peoples? gardens, and it doesn’t get any better than riding a back garden ramp! Portsmouth is good for Southsea skatepark and its got a lot better street than Guernsey.
8.You guys have any ties to the Bristol scene? Seems like those dudes are on another plane of wildness?
I know Pete Marseille, and I know that he is not your average human being….in a good way I think. I think him and Craig Stevens are the pirates of Bristol and go terrorizing people. I used to go to Bristol loads when it was Skate & Ride, but I don?t really go there too much now.
9.What’s the deal with that huge Guernsey fest every year? Sam at PRE was telling me about it. Isn’t it a celebration of Guernsey’s freedom from Nazi Germany? What’s the deal?
Yeah it’s called Liberation Day, and every year on the 9th of May there is a huge party where everyone on the island celebrates the day the Germans left after WW2. There is always a pub ride, where loads of people ride around the island on bikes going to every pub they pass (about 20 or so). It gets out of control. The past 2 years there has been ramps set up in town, which has been ok. This year I Managed to sleep through most of it though…
10. A couple general questions to end with:
Best movie of 2008, 1998, 1988?
Best movie of 2008 would have to be Control. Although it was late 2007 it has to be my favourite recent film.
Best riding video by 1998, 2008?
There are so many pre 1998 vids that are amazing. I’d have to go for Madd Matt, and as for UK vids, Zero Tolerance.
Best personal riding spot 1998, 2008?
Best riding spot in 1998 was definitely Jays mini ramp in Guernsey.
Most looked up to rider 1998, 2008?
The rider who I’ve always looked up to and always will is Jamie Bestwick. In my opinion he is the most talented person ever to ride a bmx bike. He’s bloody good.
What were you doing in 1998, what are you doing today in 2008?.
1998 was a year of change. I finished my GCSE’s never wanting to do any education ever again, and started working at a job I didn’t like. I gave up riding for what ended up being 2 years. From what had been the main thing in my life, became something I used to do, and something I’d probably never do again.
Now in 2008 I’m studying at Uni, on a course that is about something I’m into, living with some amazing people, and riding. I really coudn’t be living much more of a different lifestyle to what I could have predicted in 98….Taking that question more literally, today I rode Southsea, then ate ice-cream………Ice-cream is the best consumable invention ever made. Fact.