Black Sheep Store and Death Skateboards’ Eddie Belvedere released his powerful new ‘Cornwellian‘ part yesterday. To accompany this we have uploaded his full interview from Issue 17 to further ignite the stoke. Read the interview below conducted by Guy Jones and Matt Hunt with photography provided by master lensman Leo Sharp. Eddie talks Cornwall, Manchester, Chris Barrett (Bazra Forever), being tee total / vegan and much, much more!
There are people in the UK scene who have always been prevalent, whether it’s constant photos, video parts or just seeing someone charging, flying skateboarding for the skateboarding flag with no intention of letting it half mast anytime soon! Eddie is one of those characters, someone I’ve always admired since seeing him skate well into the night, no camera just pure skate 16 or so years ago. Since then it seems nothing in his ethos towards skating has changed, still fast, powerful and a joy to watch! All of the photos shot for this interview were during lockdown and anticipate a full part to be released very soon (watch it here). So much love and respect for Eddie!
Yes Eddie, how’s it going fella?
Yes Pal, it’s going alright, I’m just sat outside work, looking at the brand new concrete plaza we had built this year, sat in the sunshine, sippin’ a juice.
You’ve moved from the North West to the South West, what have you got about the West of England?
The west is the best isn’t it? (laughing) fuck the rest, nah I don’t mean that. It’s just where I’ve ended up innit. Originally came here 8 years ago, and moved down here with my girlfriend at the time, got a degree in contemporary craft, met loads of rad people, kind of just fell in love with Cornwall. My life took a bit of a change, so I thought I’d move back to Manchester, I’ve got plenty of friends there, it’s a city so I can actually skate street there without having to drive a car to a spot. Then when I got back to Manchester I remembered how much of a dive it is, and I really did appreciate the nature and the space that was surrounding me in Cornwall, and the people. The vibe down here is totally different to anywhere else I’ve ever been before, especially in England. A lot of people seem to be on the same level, and same way of thinking as myself. I came here for a Vans Shop Riot a couple of years ago, and Sarah, who’s like the gaffer of Mount Hawke asked if I wanted my job back, which I did, and she told me I’d start in 2 weeks. So I got back to Manchester, got my shit together. A lot of things happened within those 2 weeks, but I made a decision to move back to Cornwall, and I’m happy for it.
(Matt) So the main thing you’re referring to that happened in those two weeks, was what happened to Chris.
Where do I begin with Chris? Umm, the boss man. That 2 week gap I had, I had a few loose ends to tie up, a bit of work to finish up north, right towards the end of it. I found out Chris had passed away, which came as a massive shock to everyone, and really confusing times. No one knew really how to deal with it, and that was 3 days before I was going to move back to Cornwall. So I didn’t know if it was the right time, wondering whether I should move back or stay. I spoke to people about it, George (Jiri Bulin) and Zdenka were leaving to go to Thailand, and everyone said that Chris would have wanted you to go, don’t change your plans for this, so I moved back down to Cornwall in Autumn. When it starts to get darker, and it was kinda dark times, everyone deals with grief in their own way, and I felt weird being away from everyone while they were dealing with this. I was on my own away from my friends, away from my family, I had to figure things out for myself, which at the time was really tough. I went through some weird thought patterns, spent a lot of time on my own thinking about it. Then I started to come to terms with what had happened, from that I’ve tried to better myself and see things in a positive way rather than a negative, which is how I dealt with our loss.
Have you eliminated intoxicants from your life? What made you make this decision and how has it been? Was it hard and what would you say to someone who may be in a similar boat to the one you were in?
As it stands, I’m teetotal, sober as a judge, my partying days are behind me for now. But from the age of like 18 until quite recently, I’ve really enjoyed the social aspect of skating, going out all day with your friends, cooking, filming, getting hyped obviously that would always lead to the pub, or to the club, or someone’s house. Then you’re chasing that buzz again for the remainder of the night, or whatever time it is. When you’re younger it’s new and exciting, new experiences, meeting new people, generating new conversations, learning things about yourself you didn’t know. As time goes on these things that were once new and exciting soon become habits and you do things without putting much thought into why you’re doing them or the damage you might be causing to your own body and mind. It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, it’s easy for me to look at kids and see myself, as I was when I was younger. There were reasons I did what I did when I was younger, maybe to deal with anxiety of being in groups of people or being around really sick skaters and not being able to handle hanging out with a group of older people. In reality that was maybe me hiding the shyness, but now I don’t see myself as a shy person. I see myself as a person who has learnt from the mistakes I’ve made in the past, not mistakes…
(Matt) You’ve just grown as a person basically.
Yeah, I’ve grown, I’ve developed a wider understanding of who I am and what I do. What’s important to me, and as it stands now, I’m 35 years old and I feel as fit and healthy as I ever have in my life. I can skate pretty much every day, and wake up and walk pretty easily the next day. I want to do that for as long as I possibly can, if that’s sacrificing partying, getting mashed up with your mates, then fuck it, that can take a back seat. When I’m 70 years old and I can’t huck anymore and skate, I’ll just sit in a rocking chair and get fucked up (laughing). There’s nothing to stop me partying later on in life, but by that point I’ll probably be on some next hype.
So you’re on a plant based diet now, and have been for a little while, how’s that going?
I stopped eating meat when I was 18 years old, after a three month trip to Barcelona. I’ve got Italian family, I’m half English, half Italian. My whole life growing up I was fed meat, and told meat was good for my diet. I never questioned where it came from, what it did to me, or anything like that. I came back from Barcelona 18 years old thinking ‘I don’t actually need to eat meat anymore’. There was no real reason behind it, I just thought, oh I’ll stop eating meat. Then I stopped eating fish, then I was vegetarian from then on up until probably the age of 30, and by this point I learnt a lot more about the food industry, and what certain foods do to your body, where certain foods come from, which led me to follow a plant based diet which I’m still currently following now. So I cut out eggs and dairy from my diet as well. Since doing that I’ve certainly noticed a difference in my appearance and in my energy levels and how I feel day to day waking up. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but my reasons behind it and why I do it are that I just don’t feel like I need animal products in my life, I don’t need them in my body, I don’t particularly believe anyone does, but everyone’s an individual and entitled to do what they want. I see it as prolonging my skateboarding life.
The output is even more impressive to me as it seems the things you choose to skate are high up on the crust level, so the effort is far greater. What is it about these spots that appeal to you? Is it so if anyone tries to step to the spot they’re in for a shock and do you feel it helps you when you go to a skatepark which is smooth?
I’ve always grown up skating haggard crusty spots, and I guess from skating skatepark’s when I was younger… So I would skate Bolton Bones and skate Gasworks in Manchester. I would go from skating parks where you’re charging around fast to then trying to skate street spots fast, I never felt comfortable going slow on my skateboard, which I kind of think affected my technical side of skateboarding, but it gave me advantages in other aspects, which at the time I didn’t really realise, but now I look back on it and think about it more I can kind of see it. If you’re skating a crusty spot slow it’s not going to really work, but if you start pushing and gather some speed and momentum you get over cracks, cobbles and bumps a lot easier, and it almost makes the spot smoother, and more manageable. For me, I’ve never been the most technically advanced skater, my tricks are quite basic, I like to do long fast grinds, fast flips, so you can usually get away with it when you’re travelling at speed even on rough spots. I notice though if I go to somewhere like Barca, and try and skate Macba or some perfect spot, I have to slow myself down, the floors that perfect that I can’t skate it as fast as I’m used to, because I’ll slip out of tricks and mis-time the pop. So when I go to these perfect spots I might struggle to skate it whereas someone might struggle to skate a haggard spot that I enjoy, as it’s a different style of skateboarding.
I see you mention Bones Skatepark in Bolton. If a trick or a scenario could be a metaphor for the old Bones park what would it be?
Here’s a scenario, Pingu’s going down a double roll in smoking a bong with his arse hanging out of his trousers, we’re all sat around on the ledges and the rails.
(Matt) This actually happened right?
Yeah this is for real, 17 years old, our friends have got driving licenses so we could go and skate the park at night. Andy Scott is floating around somewhere, Tez is in the office, actually no he wouldn’t be in the office if we were smoking bongs at the skatepark, but in this scenario, Tez is in the office making brews… For once (laughing). Mike Sutcliffe is probably doing kickflip pretzels on the flat cruising down the side on indydog’s old chewed up skateboard. Jonny Wallwork is sat in his gold Fiat 500 outside, rolling up some scrimpy doobie with his Beatles tape playing. Leroy’s rocking up through the door with his big baggy XL white t-shirt, basketball vest, Koston 2’s on. Andy Knowles chain smoking 20 fags in one go, because he found out he’s allergic to literally everything in the world, and he had to stop smoking so he smashed a 20 deck in one. Grove, where’s Grove? Grove rocking up with his Embassy number 1’s thinking he’s a scally (laughing). The Warrington boys, Ben, Phil & Rik, they’d have to be in there. Danny McCourt, he was always making appearances at Bolton, Danny’s probably cruising on his rollerblades, he used to like a sly rollerblade. Avi and Matt Harfield blowing everyone’s minds in there. Cubic rocking up late at night probably, maybe with a load of other crazy Scotsman tearing up the ramps. Fucking Bolton was sick man (laughing).
(Matt) That is a scenario for sure, that’s pretty mad. Eddie could you give us some recommendations, be it books, film, music or something to do everyday please?
Stretch in the shower. Drink lots of water. Eat fruit. Try and smile and find beauty in the simplest of things. Listen to music, which makes you happy. Talk to your friends, listen to your friends.
(Matt) I think it’s very important to be around your friends, listen to your friends, especially after this year we’ve had.
Yeah man, for sure. 2020 has been a hella ride (laughing). I think everyone deals with their own shit in their own way, looks can be deceiving, never judge a book by it’s cover. Speak to people, if you’ve got shit on your brain, let it out, it’s better than bottling things up. Sharing is caring, whether it’s sharing the good things or the bad things. So yeah, eat, sleep, be merry.
Eddie Belvedere – Cornwellian