Charlie Gush – Issue 37 Interview


Introduction & Interview by Jono Coote

Photography by Danny Bulmer, Clement Chouleur & James Collins

Portrait by Danny Bulmer

I first saw Charlie skating at a Dean Lane Funday a couple of years ago and, even through the mental fog which often descends by mid afternoon at the UK’s favourite skateboarding bacchanal, could tell that he was someone to watch. Clinging on for dear life to the most obscure of airs and footplants, it seemed as if he had harnessed some strange and unique energy source to his will. This was confirmed early in February 2023, when I tagged along on a Dungeon trip to Marseille and watched as he proceeded to decimate every spot we went to with scant regard for the normal agreed parameters of human endurance. By the end of the week he’d earned himself a spot on the Heroin roster and the idea for this interview had been conceived. A broken foot delayed that until now, but for some idea of what we’re dealing with here; I told him that he wasn’t getting an interview until he bagged a NBD at the infamous Law Court Banks in Portsmouth, and a week later he sent me the tailblock photo you see on the pages of this magazine. He’ll carcass toss himself off a massive fuck off drop into a steep, cheesegrater bank and take you to the Weymouth Sea Life Centre afterwards. Charlie Gush, to use my favourite Australian colloquialism, is not here to fuck spiders.

Charlie Gush ~ Nosepick Rag In ~ Photo: Clement Chouleur

You’re from Weymouth, right? Where were the local spots you would skate at growing up? I know there’s some weird street spots, and that half indoor skatepark. 

Weymouth is sick. People always say there’s no spots but there are loads of hidden gems, you’ve just got to be willing to force it a bit. The street transition is sick, me and my mate Barnes are the only people who ever want to go and skate it. It’s crusty but it’s well fun, there are loads of different nooks and crannies in it. There’s so much yet to be done there as well – I’ve got loads of ideas, but it is terrifying. Every time you go there, you get destroyed. I can’t even describe it properly, you have to just skate it; it’s crunchy, you have to go fast to get to the top of it. You’d love it.

The indoor park has always been there, but it’s changed a lot over the years. It still has the miniramp and the remnants of the bigger ramp, but it changed owners and to be honest it’s a bit of a scooter park nowadays. I tend to avoid it, though I’ve got some good childhood memories of skating The Front growing up. But now there’s so much more here. Dorchester Skatepark up the road from me is sick, it’s one of Maverick’s early skateparks. It’s kind of old now, it’s got really grippy and there’s loads of holes in it, which is sick. 

Was that where you had the backside boneless photo for the Moose Skateshop ad?

Naa that’s Lyme Regis, the one with the cinderblock vert extension. How they’ve done it is really cool, it’s been built on this steep hill so they built a mellow section at the top and a really gnarly vert wall all along the back. You’ve still got enough speed for it, because it’s all downhill to it. I was stoked on that photo, it was shot when we were filming for a Moose video called ‘Dark Side of the Moose’. We went on loads of trips to skateparks over the summer to film a transition video and everyone was going off when we went there. My mate Gus (Meadwell) rode around the love seat which, if you go there and look at it, doesn’t look doable. He kind of started going down the transition, then seemed to carve back up the wall to get over the lump. It was crazy, the footage is so sick. 

Moose has been around a while now, right? Is it the only skate shop in Dorset?

They had the original shop for a couple of years, then they moved into the bigger shop they’re in now on Boscombe high street. They’ve been there for about two years now. They’re killing it, they’ve got a little ramp in there and everything. There’s Moose and there’s 608, they’ve been around for time and you’ve got to include them.

Charlie Gush ~ Backside 180 Melon ~ Photo: James Collins

I went past Moose with Deadfast Jay the summer before last, it looked rad. I always thought, with the way you skate, skaters like Deadfast and James Breeze must have played a part, is that right?

I actually met them in just the past couple of years. It’s sick you know Deadfast. The first time I met him was at King of Kings and he was wearing a leopard print suit and doing layback backside tailslides, it was fucking rad. He’s the realest geezer I’ve ever met, I’ve got a lot of time for Jay. His son fucking shreds too. I think I’ve met Breezy once, relatively recently. I haven’t seen him skate, but all the Bournemouth boys rave about him. Him, Tibbs, there are a couple of names that always come up.

I met him at a Rom Jam and he did an invert in the halfpipe, which is fucked. That was where I first met him and Jay.

Man, where can I see footage of him? I really want to go and skate Romford. Harrow too, all those old, crusty dinosaurs.

It’s funny that you’ve still got two down your way, Southsea and Slade’s. Almost as many as London, now that Kennington has fallen apart and Stockwell is so good and smooth it doesn’t feel like a 70s park.

Yeah it’s all about the holes. Slade’s Farm is one big hole, I love it. We went there recently and had to dry it out with towels. My mate Alfie (Mills) was rolling in, carving round the pocket and boosting ollies over the hip. I was trying to get a trick and the wind was coming across the field, it was on the edge of raining and we had to get my mate to tow me in. 

That sounds like every Slade’s session I’ve ever had. All for a trick in a five foot high bowl corner…

I don’t know if you can call it a bowl, it’s more a lumpy wall. But that’s why we like Slade’s, it takes an unnecessary amount of effort.

Charlie Gush ~ Drop In ~ Photo: Danny Bulmer

So what did influence your skating growing up? Because it gives off a definite ‘Street Survival with Bill Danforth’ vibe.

Oh man, Bill Danforth is sick. I don’t know, I just really like weirdos. Anyone who is bringing something different to the table. Like Craig Questions, he’s always been a massive influence. His outlook and his approach was different to anything else I’d seen before at that time, it was rad. Then once you look at one thing, it just opens up a wormhole, doesn’t it? At The Front I got given a load of old skate magazines and from there I found myself collecting old skate mags here and there. Looking at all the different mad shit going on in them, it was so much more appealing than what’s going on at this moment. Modern skating is sick, it’s the best it’s ever been… but old stuff, it’s like a fine wine, you know what I mean? 

I feel like the creativity stems from a certain mindset, so just embrace the weird. I’ve always been hyped on the colourful shit, anything that’s made colourful, exciting and over the top. That’s definitely influenced my skating. Skateboarding is such a rad thing to be involved in, there’s so many people from different walks of life bringing something unique to the table. It almost becomes one big mind, everyone’s ideas influencing each other and moulding into one big creative blob of niceness; that’s skateboarding. 

I’ve always found myself translating life through skateboarding. It teaches commitment, determination, life skills, as well as socialising and people skills. Though I did realise recently that I proper struggle to speak to people who don’t skate.

I was going to say, skateboarding only teaches you to socialise with other people who want to talk about skating.

(Laughs) Alright, maybe it doesn’t teach you people skills. But it does give all the people without people skills a place to go where they do have people skills, which is sick. 

I remember you also saying you were focusing on tattooing when you broke your foot last year, how’s that going?

Yeah, I’ve been trying to refine my craft and establish a niche. I’ve been dabbling with traditional stuff for a while, but I really like surrealism so I’m trying to kind of mash them together and make really weird, trad designs. I’m just getting to the stage where I’m happy with what I’m doing. The guy I’m apprenticing with is a BMXer so he’s got the same mentality, and his son works in the shop and he skates, so if I’m skating he’s always cool with it. His other son, Chase, is mental on a BMX – he’s 16 and doing backflips and shit. 

I’ve just got an iPad as well so I want to start doing some drawings, make some zines or do some graphics for people if they want them. I’ve got some cool stuff in the works, at least if I can organise it. But I’m well unorganised. There’s definitely stuff beyond just drawing and tattooing that it would help for me to focus on, but all in good time right? I’ve been trying to start taking photos. When my foot was fucked my mate Bummer lent me a camera, and I was getting real stoked on capturing the celebration after the moment when someone lands a trick. I think we’re going to make a zine with some of those photos and add some drawings to it… again, if I can organise my life.

Charlie Gush ~ Indy Grab ~ Photo: Danny Bulmer

Danny’s done loads for the Dorset scene, right?

Oh man, Bummer’s the best. He’s literally Dorset’s dad. We go out every Sunday, it doesn’t matter if it’s pissing it down, he’s always out and always keen. We call it the Sunday Service because it’s like skateboard church. He holds it down for Dorset. He’s killing it, straight up. I was stoked to do this with him, he’s done so much for me and it’s sick to share the excitement and work on something together. You’ve got to have a certain relationship with someone to shoot a photo. I get proper emotional sometimes when I’m trying tricks and I’ve got to feel comfortable around someone to do that. Over the past couple of years me and Danny have become really close through working on different projects. 

I feel like sometimes the south coast east of Bristol can be a little overlooked in terms of coverage, despite the work of people like Danny and the fact that there’s loads going on across the south coast.

Yeah man, loads of people are killing it. There’s a really strong scene in Bournemouth and Poole at the moment, I’ve been skating up there a lot. Alfie Mills is killing it at the moment, he’s been doing some real big stuff. There’s this little kid called Sol, he’s a little prodigy. He does nollie heelflips down Kings eight set, he’s ridiculous. There are so many people out there… My mate Nick, he does Blokeland if you’ve seen that, he’s got the best tre flip in the world.

The Brighton scene looks like it’s popping off as well, I want to get down there more. There’s a lot of stuff that I want to skate down there. Al Hodgson, he’s the nicest geezer ever and a really good filmer as well. Those guys came over on a trip and we showed them spots around here, I’ve been meaning to link up with them for a while. They’re all ridiculously good, that kind of skating is just fucked.

Going back to Bournemouth, the King of Kings event at Kings Skatepark has been going on a while, but seems to have grown over the last couple of years to almost Dean Lane Funday levels.

It’s my favourite weekend of the year. Everyone comes through, there’s the ring of fire, I can’t begin to put King of Kings into words – it’s just one of those things you’ve got to experience. The energy from that many people just skating… because Dean Lane Funday is sick, but you’re either having it or you’re not skating, whereas Kings Park is a bit more spaced out so everyone is still skating. There’s less of a hype from a crowd, more of a hype from the session. A really, really big session. I think it’s the same weekend as the Deaner Day this year, I was slightly heartbroken when I heard. I think I’m going to have to stick with Dorset, skate around in just the Dorset flag. That’s actually one of the challenges. There’s a big book of challenges, some of the shit they come up with on there… you’re thinking, “How did this cross someone’s mind?”

You should have an anti-Dean Lane challenge, which is to stay sober all day.

(Laughs) I don’t know if that’s a possibility at King of Kings. That kind of event puts you more in touch with your local scene because everyone comes out of the woodwork. There are always different cliques, but people are coming from afar and then everyone local comes out and the session is really on. Everyone has something to bring to the table and it makes the session so much more diverse. The session gets in that loop, everyone is going for it, getting overexcited. Then someone slams, everyone chills out for five minutes, then it builds and everyone gets excited again.

Charlie Gush ~ Layback Air ~ Photo: Clement Chouleur

Which was pretty much the vibe for the Dungeon trip to Marseille we went on last year. You got on flow for Heroin Skateboards while we were on that trip, how did that come about?

So first I made a tape, I’d been filming with a couple of people and we put this clip together of about 50 seconds of skating with no music. I sent that over to Fos and to French. French messaged me back saying that he was going to offer me Dungeon stuff a couple of months before, but he didn’t have much of a budget and felt bad about that. I was just hyped to be involved, I’d have been hyped to just get some stickers. It’s just a sick thing to be involved in, a lot of people who I look up to are involved. To be a part of that means a lot. 

I think the message I sent to Fos just got lost in the millions of DMs he gets, but I mentioned it to Dead Dave on the Marseille trip. We were in the pub, I mentioned it as a passing comment and then him and French both text Fos. He got hold of me via social media, and it’s been great. All of it, I’m fucking stoked. I feel so lucky. I’m not a wordsmith, so I can’t really put it into words, but to be involved with the company that’s always been my favourite with the history that it’s got and everything surrounding it… down to even the colours. Just neon, it’s sick! Neon, glow in the dark, I’m stoked. Artistically, he and French have always been people I’ve looked up to. I remember the first time I saw a Witchcraft graphic in a skate shop, when I was really young… I thought, “Is that allowed?” But I’ve always looked up to them both, so it’s sick to now call them both friends. I’ve got a lot of respect for both of them, I’m just fucking grateful.

I mean you’re a garage DJ, right? Do you think French will ever let you skate to electronic music?

Skating to electronic music is something I’ve spoken about with my mate Tom Leigh, I think he might have something he’s been working on to a techno tune. I’ve seen a couple of clips from that, and it works, it’s a high energy tune. But I don’t know, maybe one day. I’d like to skate to electronic music – fuck it, why not? Let’s get a banging donk tune on it! Like a Venga Boys donk remix, we might as well go to the extreme. If you’re going to send it, then send it.

I think French will love that. Do you play DJ sets still?

So just before lockdown I was running an events company and DJing four nights a week. We were running raves, running events, just making a massive amount of people smile. I’m really stoked on that, just bringing people together. It’s like a skate session, everyone just having it and having a good time, that’s where the appeal lay for me. DJing came from running those parties, I got decks because I had this sound system and thought I might as well learn. I don’t do it too much anymore though. Lockdown came about, they were trying to make us do sitdown raves and I realised I just like skating too much. When you’re DJing every weekend, you’re pretty dead out in the week. There’s not much energy for the session. Saying that, I did play a garage set the weekend just gone. My mate who I used to run parties with convinced me, there were loads of people there from back in the day and it was really nice to do it with no responsibilities – play some tunes, have a nice night and then move on. Trying to focus on skating and tattooing doesn’t leave me much time to run a party. But, every now and then, something more appealing comes up. I played this set in Bristol, saw a load of friends I hadn’t seen in ages, got to link up with James Collins and go skate and shoot some photos, it was a good weekend. That’s more what I’m down for, I’m not on just partying. I was out there drinking lychee juice.

Charlie Gush ~ Fastplant ~ Photo: James Collins

So you’ve been filming this welcome part for Heroin and shooting for this interview with Danny and James. Other than the foot injury, how’s it been going?

Well we were pretty on it before I broke my foot, so we got a lot of footage. I feel like I missed out on last summer because I fucked myself up, but I’m raring to go now. I’ve got so much pent up energy from being sat down. I broke the fifth metatarsal, which is the one on the outside, the lump on the end. It was clean in half, and really far out, so it took ages for the bone to reconnect and heal.  I’ve been back filming for a little minute and it’s pretty much done. I’d say it’s there, there’s maybe space in the timeline if we force it. We’ve got a lot of other shit, we’re being pretty picky about what we use. It’s just been a really sick experience and opportunity – I’ve got to go all over the shop, skate all these different rad things, and watching it back now I can see in each clip a different memory. Bummer’s edited it really well from the cut I’ve seen, he’s killed it, and I’m really stoked to get it out. It’s for Heroin, so it’s an honour. 

Especially following on from that rad Nolan and Swampy part.

Man that video was ridiculous, I was really hyped on that. Swampy’s part is just the funnest shit, that hyped me up to go and skate. He did this one foot to frontside 5-0, I screen shotted that one and put it on my Instagram. You know when a trick is just simple, but effective? Then Nolan has so many different variations on tricks that I’d never even thought of, it fully opened up my mind and that’s what makes a video sick – something that makes you think. That backside 360 fingerflip that he did? That’s absolutely fucking ridiculous mate, what a legend! I was stoked to have a couple of clips in there and be in the mix. It took a couple of weeks for it to click, if you know what I mean. It’s a trip, I can’t begin to describe what I feel about it. I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to judging skate videos, I watch a lot, but that one was sick. I really like the way those two skate, I’ve been speaking with Fos about potentially going out at the end of the year and I’m really excited to maybe skate with those guys. 

Everything they skate, I know I’d have a really good time skating. I think I’d get on good with it. I think that stems from growing up in an end of the line town, skating street transitions with big holes in and when you go to an actual spot it’s sick, like it’s come off a spaceship, “whooaa”. Like when we were in Marseille I was amazed at how smooth everything was – a little too smooth. But snapping my board levelled things out a bit, when I ended up on that flat thing with no nose. 

I’m stoked to travel around and skate a bit more. The more I get out and go to different places, the more I want to go to different places.

Charlie Gush ~ Backside Tailblock ~ Photo: Danny Bulmer

With that in mind, if you were to give someone a non-skate related tour of Weymouth, what attractions would you take them to for a day out?

Ooh, good question. It’s in Portland, so maybe it doesn’t count, but that’s pretty much Weymouth, so the pirate’s graveyard. I think it’s a real pirate’s graveyard… I’m not sure, it might be, but it has graves with skulls and crossbones on them so it’s sick. It’s a cool spot, you go down the side of this old castle, through some trees and it’s out on the side of a cliff with a view of the bay below it. I know this is a non-skateboarding tour, but there is a really good spot around the corner – a big rock I’ve wanted to skate for ages. It’s really smooth and at a slight angle and I want to do some manual stuff on it. I don’t do wheelies very often so I haven’t committed to it, but I will. 

And ‘Pirate’s Graveyard’ is a really good name for a spot. “Do you want to go skate the Pirate’s Graveyard?”

“Yes! What is it?” “A rock!” “Definitely!” 

But even on a non-skating tour, I’d still take people there. Or the Sealife Centre, because, you know, seahorses and shit. Did you know that the males give birth?

They’re definitely aliens.

You reckon seahorses are aliens? I reckon that would make a well good drawing, cheers for that. An alien seahorse backpiece. With loads of different shades of pink, make it real weird. 

I’m not a very good host, I don’t reckon. I’d probably take them to the spot. “Let’s go to Kings, they’ve got lights!”

Filmed + Edited by: Danny Bulmer

Additional Filming by: Tom Leigh + Diz