‘LAVENGRO’ – Danny Jackson & Sam Avery Interview

27/10/2021

We’re proud to present you a segment from the newly released Drug Store video ‘LAVENGRO‘. This section opens up this finely crafted full length video chopped and screwed by Danny Jackson. Featuring the talents of: Dean Khalil, Jasper Pegg, Tom O’Driscoll, Vlad Kalynin, Thelonious Omori, Arthur Myhill, Tom Lock, Sam Avery and Harley Miller. We interviewed filmer Danny Jackson alongside Sam Avery on all things Norwich, the newly located Drug Store,’ LAVENGRO’ and much more! Scroll down to read the interview and watch ‘Lavengro’s’ intro montage then go purchase the ‘Lavengro’ DVD / Zine here!

Interview by Guy Jones

Photography by Danny Jackson

Videography by Danny Jackson

Artwork by Sam Avery

Yes Danny, firstly congratulations on another fabulous full lengther. Could you give us a bit of background on the name and how this video compared to your previous outputs?

DJ – Thanks man! I found the name ‘Lavengro’ from stumbling across a random ‘history of Norwich’ video online. They mentioned a book published in 1851 called ‘Lavengro’ where Norwich was first called ‘a fine city’, I thought it was cool to use as a name for a video filmed entirely in Norwich, it also ties in nicely and relates to my first video ‘Fine’.

 

We loved the accompanying zine and it just adds to the overall benefit of physical things, you get more stoked when you get the DVD, was this always the intention and have you done many other zines?

DJ – With this video being made during Covid times it’s taken longer than previous projects plus with it all being filmed within Norwich I was stoked on how much footage we actually got. So it felt like I needed to do a physical DVD to remember. With the zines, Sam’s always been keen to put one together for the video release, using photos I’ve shot during the filming period mashed up with his Drug Store art.

 

SA – The Zine is made from Danny’s photos and screen grabs alongside my graphic work. I think it just adds another element to the physical product and is fun to assemble. Anything that gets people creating is a good thing and it’s nice to see these beautiful photos outside of a phone screen. It’s not on Instagram which has to be a good thing right? We made a zine for Danny’s ‘Goodo’ video and previously I’ve made a few on my own. In the early 90’s I did a music zine called ‘Elixir for the Bourgeois’ and in the early 2000’s I did a skate one called ‘Flick Zine;. They are not online.

Vlad Kalynin – Backside Wallride ~ Photo: Danny Jackson

You’ve managed to capture so much of Norwich’s skate scene over the years, with ‘Lavengro ‘was it difficult finding new spots and were you surprised at how everyone seems to find a new rad way of hitting some of the more classic spots?

DJ – There’s been a few new spots that have popped up around the city in the last couple of years which has kept it fresh. We’ve always had to get in there first incase they knob it though, which is part of it I guess. It’s definitely kept us busy and on our toes. It’s cool with how acceptable and open most tricks have become now, it’s got everyone getting more creative on getting something new on the older, classic Norwich spots.

 

Obviously all the of people who feature you work well with but was there a specific individual you enjoyed working with the most?

DJ – This project started off as an idea for just a solo part for Jasper, so we were filming together the most since May 2019. Everyone else jumped in on the sessions and then there was enough to make a longer video finishing with Jasper’s part. So overall I would say Jasper as he’s put in the most work on solo missions trying to get clips. During lockdown it was just me and him going out to spots. He hates going back to spots so he rarely gives up on getting a clip which is sick to see.

Jasper Pegg – Ride On 50-50 Grind Wallride In ~ Photo: Danny Jackson

As with any full length there are expected trials and tribulations. What were some of the more struggling aspects of this project, be it a specific spot, a trick that kept getting away or anything else for that matter.

Obviously Covid stopped a lot of things, like planning trips out of the country, and even sharing a car together. So most of this project has been us all getting bikes and searching for spots around Norwich. It has been fun and refreshing to bike around the city together with our skateboards, a little biker gang haha. I think the biggest challenge was sorting out a venue for a premiere due to Covid regs. I was hoping to get it out for spring this year, and then it moved to Summer, and ended up being shown in September. It worked out though as it gave us more time on filming and me sorting out the edit, also the venue in the end was really cool. It was in a church right next to the law courts bank spot which was nice and close for a skate after haha.

 

Favourite spot featured in the video and why?

DJ – I would say the slappy curb Jasper hits in his intro to his part. It’s been there for years right next to an Asda petrol station. Its a curb which is at the top of a bank which can also be used as a Manny pad. It’s a cool looking spot with a lot of potential so we will be going back there more in the future. 

 

SA – I don’t really have a favourite spot but I’m really stoked that every trick is filmed in Norwich. We’re pretty sure nobody ever made a Norwich-only full length so that’s really cool, not too mention a real achievement considering the spots we have here!

Tom O’Driscoll – Frontside Boardslide Pop Out ~ Photo: Danny Jackson

Do you feel having a local like Drug Store has given extra encouragement to make these videos? And vice versa, Sam are you stoked on Danny’s output? Did you ever fear he was going to get into amphetamines and use dub step on his flicks?

DJ – I have always been filming, so whenever a video’s finished I just move onto the next. New spots cropping up and fresh faces have always motivated me to keep getting out there stacking clips and photos.

 

SA – Haha I’m not in the least bit concerned about Danny doing shit drugs and using daft music. He’s a man of taste and refinement so I’m happy to let him do his thing. My contribution to the videos has only ever been a few music suggestions, and we chat about that a bit during the making. I never see the video until it’s finished though, so I get the same premiere experience as everyone else. I like that a lot! I see a few sneak peeks, usually from Jasper, or from being out skating when something gets done, but otherwise it’s a mystery. A little bit of mystery is important in skateboarding and life in general. Keeps us interested. Julian Stranger kind of epitomises that I suppose.

 

Could you both give us some of your favourite Norwich ‘of all time’ folklore trick and situation wise if you so fancy?

DJ – I think Tom Locks boardslide on the City hall rail which was in Lewis ‘Spex’ Ross’ video ‘Get In’. I have been there a few times with a couple of guys but never walked away with a clip, only slams. One day it will happen. It was sick to meet Tom and get a couple of clips from him in this video.

SA – I’m gonna use this question to shout out some of the older guys who inspired me by absolutely ripping in Norwich: 

Tom Crowe destroyed so many untouched spots in the 90’s. Some have never seen action again. That’s gnarly. Check Spex’s old footage on his Five Eyes YouTube channel for epic lines and the giant wooden rail. 

Franklin Stephens is obviously the best, then and now, and has always found new ways to jump off shit and make it look sick. We all know Frank can skate but he’s also a funny, down to earth, unassuming guy who is living life on his own terms. That’s inspiring. “You can’t give booze to a baby!” Miss you Frank!

Nik Taylor was the first guy locally who was really good but also took time to be nice to me when I was a shy teenager. Never underestimate kindness and the long term impact that can have on people. “Get your arse up that wall!” Words to live by. Thanks Nik, I hope you are having a great life. 

James Fuller. A Norfolk original. Fuller uses his board in a way that’s hard to explain but impossible to forget. He can do anything he wants with it. Magic is real and Fuller is a wizard. We all love him

Too many to mention, really sorry everyone else.

Jasper Pegg – Tree Wallie ~ Photo: Danny Jackson

Sam, could you talk about Drug Store’s new home and the intentions of the space? Also easily one of the best aesthetics of any store ever by the way.

SA – Thanks mate that’s very kind! The current situation is this: we vacated our Pottergate space early in 2021. I took over there in 2007 but previously it was a skate/surf kinda place called ‘Drift’. I started doing odd shifts at ‘Drift’ around 2001 but the shop was there since 95 or 96. A long time and a lot of history for myself and many others. It was hard to leave that behind but we needed to change it up. The business of skate shops is a very difficult one. It’s like a microcosm of the capitalist system whereby there is plenty of money around but it mostly ends up in the big greedy pockets of the corporations and online/chain stores. A few shops seem to do it just right but it’s always a struggle. I’d like to ask all skaters to really take this onboard and think about who they give their money too. I don’t care if you never spend a penny in Drug Store as long as you’re supporting a legit shop. Skater owned obviously but also think about what the shop does for the scene. Your scene. It’s up to you if you want to make skateboarding better for yourself and your friends. Shops can only do so much and without financial support we will die out. Our turnover has reduced by almost half since Covid and that’s been difficult. Nobody wins if shops shut. Currently we are in a nice upstairs space above Coterie Barbershop on Bridewell Alley. Shout out to Haydyn for saving our skin, we’d be done if it wasn’t for this new home. It’s a few minutes walk from Pottergate. It’s a temporary home until we move into our new space at St Peter Parmentergate church. It’s a mediaeval church 5 minutes walk from our current spot and it’s a really beautiful place. Myself and Ash Lever, who previously owned ‘Smash Skates’ in Beccles have started a non-profit called Community East CIC in order to provide a safe and inclusive space for skateboarders. We need our own space to coach kids and beginners of all ages via ABC skateboarding, to locate the shop and make a small cafe. A place for skaters to hang out, skate, shop, eat and drink. A place for premieres, events and anything else we feel elevates skateboarding or our community. We have lots of exciting plans, we just need to get past the planning department gate keepers. It’s been a year of hard work so far and we’re not there yet. If anyone has experience of putting a skatepark inside a grade one listed church, hit me up!

Vlad Kalynin – Frontside Noseslide ~ Photo: Danny Jackson

What does the future hold and any advice dope parting sentences?

DJ – Me and the guys have been out filming again at weekends so no doubt a new video will come out of it. Also I have been shooting more photos so want to get into that more too and get them out there. Thank you Vague and everyone else who has supported this, you should all come to Norwich and see what crusty spots we are working with. Peace x

 

SA – For the future we just intend to get this little park open and do our best for skateboarding and skateboarders. We’ve been a maligned and ignored group for a long time and that’s starting to change. I’m currently involved in another 2 potential outdoor parks in Norwich as well as assisting Ash with skate school at Delta Four park on Monday evenings. That’s really been a big one for me. Helping kids learn to skate, watching them get the basics down, holding their hands, literally, while they drop in for the first time is something that has blown me away. It is intensely gratifying to pass on my limited skills to a new generation. Helping others is key to a happy existence, no doubt about it. Norwich has a motto “Do Different” and we are really trying to live up to that. Support local, support skater owned and fuck greedy corporations. They do not care about you, or me, or anything except money. They are a cancer to human progress and prosperity and we are all collectively responsible for reducing their influence.

Lavengro‘ – Intro Montage – Drug Store

Filmed + Edited by: Danny Jackson

Purchase the ‘Lavengro’ DVD and Zine here!