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GEOFF CAMPBELL’S DECADE OF VX | ARTICLE

09.10.2019

Geoff Campbell 180 Nosegrind 950

The making of Melbourne skateboarding’s ultimate box set. As told to Nat Kassel.

Geoff Campbell is TM at Nike SB and one of Australian skateboarding’s most respected filmers. Geoff’s latest full-length VX production, Duncan’s @ Three, comes as part of a DVD box set that includes a whole smorgasbord of Geoff’s other videos and web archives. Altogether, the footage represents a decade of his life spent skating and hanging out with friends on the streets of Melbourne.

Photo above: Geoff digs in on the other side of the lens with a 180 reverse nosegrind in Shanghai, 2014 – as seen in the bonus China edit on the box set. Photo by Jake Darwen. 

Stacking it away
Filming Duncan’s @ Three spanned a few years, 2015 to 2018, but it wasn’t like I was out there rigorously filming for it. I was always pretty busy working on Nike projects, and that became my fulltime job, so that took priority. Sometimes I might not have even taken the VX out of the house for a month. It was kind of like, if no one was out filming for anything else, I’d film them with the VX and stack it away knowing that it would eventually mould into a video. There were periods where I would get pretty productive with it and other times where it would drop off.

Why did Duncan’s @ Three take so long to come out?
A lot of people thought I lost the video, but that wasn’t the case. I did end up dropping my laptop down the stairs, and it took a pretty hard hit off a mezzanine down to flat. It worked for a couple of months while I was doing the vid, and then it started turning off all the time. In the end, I had to get an external monitor and plug it into HDMI, and then a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for editing. When I wasn’t touching the computer and knocking buttons, it wouldn’t screw up, so I finished it that way. Some people could call me out and be like, “easy fix” but it was probably a mix of me being busy and having other priorities in life and the computer fucking up. I would have little bursts of working on the vid and then a month or two would go by where I was busy and I wouldn’t have even opened the project. It’s surprising how quickly that turns into a year, and you still haven’t done it.

Stuff comes and goes on the internet
People would hit me up for copies of Secky Presh or Cunnies Box, and I’d be like, “Man, I made that video like seven years ago, the copies are well gone.” Also, with $21.50, I never made proper copies. I cut down the Cass beer boxes and made little DVD slips from the cardboard and then burnt all the DVDs myself. So with that video, I only made like 100 copies – it was like arts and crafts, it took me forever. I always wanted to put all those vids together [in a box set] and then people can still get those videos as hard copy, and hopefully, they live forever. Stuff comes and goes on the Internet. People say, “I don’t even have a DVD player”, but if you were part of the video or a fan of someone in the video, you’d want to have that box set on your shelf.

The stories behind the video titles
Secky Presh: At this time we were skating in the city a lot. We were a lot younger than we are now and just causing mischief and realising how many good spots there were in arcades or malls. We started hitting all these indoor spots where you get two attempts before security would be there. As soon as they’d rock up everyone would be there yelling, “Secky presh, this go!” You realise that you can do a trick in two goes if you have to. If those rails were out in the open, you’d puss for like 20 minutes. It just got everyone juiced, and everyone was getting tricks. It made for good footage as well, the crew acting as decoys, skater dodging security and the celebrations afterward were always epic.

Cunnies Box: Pricks sometimes call me “Cunt Eyes” – not exactly my favourite nickname – and Brass [Nick Boserio] shortened it to “Cunnie” and always yelled it out. One day, Black Hawk [Jon Fitzgerald] was doing this kickflip at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, and we always had a pretty big crew and were always trying to get someone to buy a box of beers. Fiddy was trying this kicky and someone had an idea that we should roulette it, like if he lands it first go, it’s my box, and then next it’s yours, and next it’s someone else’s, and it just keeps going ’round the crew. Of course, he landed it on my turn and everyone was yelling out “Cunnies Box, Cunnies Box” and laughing ’cause I had to buy the box. After that day it became a bit of a game and it happened the next two times we played and guys landed their tricks on my box again. It became a bit of a thing.

$21.50: There was this store called KT Mart, and it was down near the Vic Markets, close to Lincoln, and it had Cass beer boxes for $21.50, which was just insane. Obviously, no one wants to buy a $60 James Squire box every day, not back then, so Cass was a bit of a staple. I made the video 21-minutes and 50 seconds long. I think I sold it for $21.50 as well to keep to the theme.

Duncan’s @ Three: It was the name of the bottle shop over the road from the Library, and it closed down around the time when I was like, I should finish this new video. That bottle-shop was basically the fuel for all those videos. That was our most frequented bottle-shop of all time until its demise. I just had to acknowledge and pay respect.

Relief
Now and then someone would go, “Are you ever going to bring it out?” and I’d be like, “Yeah, you know, one day” [laughs]. But yeah, it’s 100 per cent the best feeling to have it out because I always wanted to do it. Skaters film stuff and it just sits on a hard drive. I mean, we’ve seen it with a million filmers before. You always owe it to the people to put it out. I was never going to let that happen. I just needed time.

The memories
I had to watch all the vids and old clips through before I got the whole thing produced and it was so cool remembering all the times. I was there, I filmed all the shit, but you forget a lot. I know everyone says this, but you see a trick and remember everything that happened that day. I’m stoked we have all those times documented.

A snapshot of my 20s
[The Box Set] is a great snapshot of my 20s. I was 21 at the start of all that and then about 30 at the end of it. All the crew has gotten a bit older, and it’s not like people have stopped skating or dropped off or anything, but life’s not as simple when you’re 31 as when you’re 21. I don’t know if I could do the box set again, but I’m glad that I did. It was fun as hell. I think it helped some of those skaters, and I guess it helped get me my job too.

There’s no real cash payout for filming and making independent videos, but I think if you’re dedicated to capturing the times and having fun along the way there is some payoff. When people have watched all the videos and comment on certain things they enjoyed or laughed about a memory or scene, it’s all worth it. It’s pretty heart-warming that people still actually want to purchase your DVD even though it is such outdated technology. Hopefully, it will sit on shelves and tables for years to come, and people will watch and enjoy the videos over and over.

Hootie BS Five0 950
Nicholas Andrewes with a quick-footed ollie up to backside five-o, as seen in Duncan’s @ Three. Photo by Bryce Golder.

Grab your Cunnies Box Set online HERE.