Essentials - Alien Workshop Timecode

by Dan Bunn

Travel back in time with us and revisit a classic from 1997 with Alien Workshop's 'Timecode'. They don't make them like this anymore.

Last week we were treated to a surprise gift from the powers that be, with Alien Workshop uploading a high(er)-definition version of their seminal 1997 video, 'Timecode'. The video marked the crystallisation of the Workshop's iconic style of videography, toning down the artiness a bit from their first video, 'Memory Screen'. Despite this, the video still features plenty of bangin' B-roll to add extra flavour to each part. Although I don't really know why, the intro credits for each skater, which feature bizarre wind-up toys gradually moving out of the shot, have always been one of my favourite parts of the video. It's classic Alien Workshop: you don't really get it, but it just looks cool. So cool, in fact, that they even ran them as a series of decks.

Alien Workshop Timecode Skateboard Deck Series - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

But, more importantly, the video also introduced one of the Workshop's most legendary skaters: Josh Kalis. 'Timecode' saw three all time greats being added to the Alien roster with the inimitable trifecta of Josh Kalis, Fred Gall, and Lennie Kirk joining the other legends on the Workshop team. While Fred Gall eventually moved to Habitat and Lennie Kirk... well, we'll get to that later, Kalis ended up staying with the Workshop for over 10 years, before eventually moving to DGK with Stevie. Kalis kicks the video off with a bang, unleashing a barrage of tech hammers on the streets of Philadelphia and California with flawless steeze. From weaving intricate lines through Love Park and Pier 7, to stomping a switch back tail on Hubba Hideout, it's pretty clear to see why he's still considered one of the best to ever do it. The part is straight hammers.

Josh Kalis Alien Workshop Timecode Switch Backside Tailslide Hubba Hideout - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

On the subject of Hubba Hideout - arguably one of the most iconic spots of all time, having provided us with timeless clips like BA's front blunt, as well as being the origin of the term 'hubba' - 'Timecode' captures some of the sickest tricks to go down on the imposing San Francisco structure. All three of the new recruits give Hubba a good seeing to with some seriously hectic switch bangers, from Kalis' SSBSTS to Fred Gall's switch front 5-0 which saw him land the cover of Thrasher in 1995. It's Lennie Kirk who unleashes the most devastation though with a ludicrous series of tricks at the end of his part, many of which mirrored the tricks done by Fred Gall, like his switch back 5-0 and the extra-hectic switch back 180 5-0. RIP Hubba Hideout.

Fred Gall Hubba Hideout Switch 5-0 Thrasher February 1995 Cover - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

While Kalis kills it, my favourite part has got to be Fred Gall's. I mean it's Fred Gall skating to Black Sabbath, what could be better than that? Seeing as Uncle Freddy's basically the Ozzy Osbourne of skating, the pairing makes perfect sense. The shot of a railway locomotive in the introduction perfectly sets the tone for the part: reflecting Fred's seemingly unstoppable motion as he chugs through (and under) the streets of Philly, as well as establishing railways (and their stations) as a key locale. According to interviews with Fred, a large portion of the part was filmed while he was high on acid which makes everything even more impressive. With more night footage than a Japanese scene video, it's a shame that even in this remastered version you still can't really see a lot of the clips, but I guess that just adds to the mystery.

Fred Gall Philadelphia Subway Bank Ollie Timecode Poster - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

Finally, Lennie Kirk's last part in the video, while it's still incredible to this day, is sadly a part that has gone down in infamy. The part was his first major video part and unfortunately it was also his last, as serious head trauma led to his mental deterioration which ultimately resulted in him landing a 13-year prison sentence on kidnapping charges. Footage of the fateful head injury - in which he slams his head into the floor after trying to grind a dumpster - is in the part's introduction, and the part itself is eerily proleptic of his descent into madness, with the sinister B-roll, strange preaching, and bizarre music choice, all of which border on religious fanaticism. While the mythology surrounding the part is undoubtedly tragic, the part itself is undeniably bangin'. So, in true skateboarder fashion, I guess we'll have to look past the sketchy shit.

Lennie Kirk Backside 5050 Alien Workshop Timecode - CSC, Cardiff Skateboard Club - UK Skate Store

That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop to browse the latest skateboard decks, clothing, shoes and more, and buy now form CSC. Or, check out more skate videos on the CSC Blog. Safe.

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