Month: August 2023

But can you do a handstand?

The Bones Brigade Audio Show

Rating –

Growing up in the 80’s I remember dreaming of owning a skateboard. I never had one, I had nowhere to ride it, but I did buy A LOT of magazines and wish. By the mid 90’s I actually got a skateboard, but I was always drawn to the 80’s style and so (obviously) the legendary videos by Powell Peralta pro team, The Bones Brigade.

One of my all time favourite skaters (Frankie Hill) mentioned on Instagram that he was appearing on a podcast called “The Bones Brigade Audio Show”. I knew I had to check it out at the first opportunity. So with great anticipation I subscribed and pressed play.

So what’s it about?

Starting in 1982, Stacy Peralta and Craig Stecyk released 6 full length Bones Brigade videos, and more that are sadly unknown nowadays. In doing so, they not only defined skate culture and action sports videos, but also inspired millions of kids to go out and skin their knees.

Each episode, hosts and Bones Brigade fanatics Larry and Matt go over each of the videos in order. They are joined by some of the guys who were in the industry at the time, from team riders to graphic designers, event organisers and filmmakers. The discussions cover what went into producing these iconic films, and they share anecdotes about the riders and the spots that became so famous to people who would never actually see them in real life, let alone skate them.

They kick things off with “Skateboarding In The 80’s”. This was ground zero for the bones brigade. Made as an advertising short to be played in skate shops, it laid the blueprint for the videos to follow. I love the anecdote about how Steve Caballero himself copied the VHS that the guys watch. All for the princely sum of $20!

Is it any good?

This show really presses my nostalgia buttons. Even though it’s a nostalgia I experienced vicariously from the end of an unpaved road in rural Wales. I didn’t get to actually watch a Bones Brigade video until the mid 90’s. My affection for them is undeniable though. Even rewatching them now (just to follow along with the podcast discussion), they still get me stoked to want to ride again. The excitement and feeling of just going out and having fun, whether you are amazing or not is contagious. It’s something sadly lacking in modern day skate videos. It’s just a shame that all the nice boards get bought up by people wanting to hang them on their walls.

Despite the epic runtime of each episode (regularly sailing well past the 90mins mark), you never get bored. I say you, I mean me. With most podcasts keeping well below a 60 minute runtime, there can be a danger of losing concentration. Their love of the films is so contagious that the time literally flies by.

 Both Larry and Matt are great hosts. There’s loads of little details they mention. Easter eggs that would have easily been overlooked when the younger version of you was watching and getting psyched to go skating. 

There is also the fact that these videos genuinely chart the development of skating. In the early videos there are no flatground ollies (because they weren’t invented yet). Imagine that! No ollies! Then there are ollies, but no kickflips. These are really important events in the sport.

Final thoughts

Obviously a podcast dissecting the video output of a single skateboard company is the very definition of niche. Therefore it won’t be for everyone. There’s lots of jargon and name dropping that won’t mean anything to a lot if you. If you have a love of vintage skateboarding though, then this podcast should be at the top of your essential listening list.

Last week I reviewed the Metallica podcast and bemoaned the fact that it was sterile and basically an advert for the band’s business interests. This however is fandom done right. There is no hokey product placement here, just a great respect for the subject matter.

I’ve spent the last few days bingeing on this series and I really can’t wait for them to get to my personal favourite, Ban This. I notice that one is a three parter. That will definitely be a days listening well spent!

You can get The Bones Brigade Audio Show here:

Sad but true

The Metallica Report review

Rating –

Metallica’s influence on metalheads of a certain age (read my age) is undeniable. My friends and I listened to the albums non stop, learned the songs (apart from the solos), and doodled the logo in our books. I even used to write endorser thanks lists mentioning Tama drums and Zildjian cymbals etc just like Lars. They were absolutely instrumental in turning me into a proper metaller (alongside Anthrax, Testament and Pantera).

At this point I’d like to give a shout out to Imran at GreatPods for putting this series on my radar. It’s always nice to get told about something that would have potentially slipped by unnoticed!

So what’s it about?

This podcast purports to offer all the insider news from the Metallica camp. From news and interviews with band members and fans, to roadcrew and techs letting you in on all the little secrets of what goes into making the concerts run smoothly. This is a one stop shop for any Metallica superfan.

Presented by self-confessed superfans Steffan Chirazi and Renée Richardson. I recognised Steffan’s name immediately from many years dutifully reading Kerrang! Magazine, but he also runs “So What”, Metallica’s fanclub zine. Renée was a radio presenter, but now oversees Metallica’s charity All Within My Hands. Their love of the band is immediately apparent, and somewhat contagious.

Is it any good?

As I mentioned in the previous section, this podcast offers the inside line on all things Metallica related. Except it doesn’t. Not really. When a band gets to the real top tier (like Metallica), it stops being a band and becomes a business. A corporation. So this podcast is in truth nothing more than an advert for “Metallicorp”. The tone is similar to half time gossip in a basketball match with all the adverts from the sponsors. It lacks the cosiness or the inclusive feeling of a fan based show, and just comes across as one massive marketing strategy.

I haven’t checked to see if this is also on YouTube, but if it is, I will bet that each section is accompanied by slick animated cgi elements and video clips of the interviewees superimposed over swirling, dynamic looking backgrounds.

Final thoughts

I was really hoping for more than this podcast delivers. It’s still relatively new (only 3 episodes so far), so maybe it will change. I really, REALLY hope it does. After all, Metallica are on an epic tour, so there is only really talk about that with some fan interviews thrown in.

This is a band who are no strangers to controversy, from not mixing (then bassist) Jason Newstead’s bass into the …And Justice For All album, to recent concern over the pricing of their VIP ticket packages. Lars’ public outcry against Napster and P2P sharing in general, to the St. Anger snare sound, and his ability as a drummer in general. All this just washes over them, and despite what the public may think about their metal credentials nowadays, their DGAF attitude has remained (something I suppose that is easy to do when you are coining it in no matter what you do).

Truth be told, despite having a huge influence on me back in the mid 90s, they haven’t actually made an album that I liked since 91. Hell, they haven’t released 10 songs I’ve liked in that time. So, four entire albums in 7 years (I didn’t really like Kill Em All), to less than 10 SONGS in 32 years is not a great streak. And yes, the thought that 1991 was 32 years ago does make my brain feel weird and old.

Maybe this show isn’t aimed at me then, as there are many many superfans who will lap up any release by their favourite acts no matter how shonky they may be to other, less die hard fans. I guess the opinion of whether this is a good podcast is “all within your hands” (see what I did there?)

You can get The Metallica Report here:

Being good is not enough?

Dear Alana review

Production company – Tenderfoot TV

Rating –


Another seeming departure for me this week. Yes, I know that Sunday is my usual day for posts. As you can see, it’s another release day exclusive. It seems that nobody releases new shows on a Sunday. I was lucky enough to get contacted by Tenderfoot TV directly to get the first two episodes of this series in advance of the release date. Nearly a month in advance actually, so I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.

I should warn you all before we start that this one is worthy of a trigger warning. It deals with discussion of bullying, suicide, conversion therapy and other subjects that are genuinely upsetting to listen to.

So what’s it about?

Alana Chen was a happy, outgoing, ultimate frisbee fanatic. She was also a devout Catholic, and as she entered her teens, her devotion became more pronounced. Whereas most kids her age were sneaking off to parties, she would sneak off to church. She acquired a spiritual director and decided she wanted to become a nun. However, there were elements to Alana’s life that were in direct conflict with her dream to devote her life to god. A conflict that cost her her life. From a relatively young age, she was attracted to girls. Her spiritual director recommended conversion therapy to help her realise her dream of entering a convent, and from that point Alana started living a double life.

Simon Kent Fung heard about Alana’s death, and realised the importance of this tragic tale. His life mirrored Alana’s closely, so he was inspired to tell her tragic life story. Through speaking to her family, and reading her journals, he uncovers Alana’s secret life. A life full of self doubt, desperation and psychological harm caused by those meant to guide and offer hope.

Is it any good?

In much the same way as Hoaxed, or Hunting Warhead, I’m reluctant to use the term “good”. I tend to think of it in the same manner as “nice”, and that term might almost make light of the situations in both Alana and Simon’s early lives. I would say however, that it’s a brilliantly made show that tells an important story.

There were moments in the first two episodes that nearly did bring me to tears, although strangely it was the events of Simon’s early life that affected me most. Maybe that’s because it was him recounting the events first hand.

One thing that is clear though, is that both Alana and Simon had a very very tough time at the hands of people who were supposed to offer the highest spiritual training. The juxtaposition of who you are, and who you want to be must be an incredible, almost insurmountable barrier to cross. Unfortunately it seems not everyone can make it through.

Final thoughts

Since I got hold of the first two episodes, I have also been sent the next three episodes of the series. While I can’t go into any details about what’s coming up, I can tell you that this is a truly heartbreaking podcast, but one that I would recommend to anyone. Devoting your life to god is abviously one of the biggest commitments anyone can make. The thought of not only being denied that, but having to undergo conversion therapy as well is something my mind simply cannot fathom. I guess being a good person isn’t good enough. Hearing about all the things that both Alana and Simon had to confess and undergo psychologically, I’m really not surprised that people don’t make it through.

Tenderfoot TV really is releasing some amazing shows at the moment, and I’ve been a fan for a long time. To get this opportunity for a release day review from them is something I’m most grateful for, so thanks guys!

You can get Dear Alana here:

Calm down dear

American Hysteria review

Rating –

If there’s one thing the Americans love, it’s a good kerfuffle. I’m not being prejudiced, it just seems that from a UK perspective (which is my perspective), Americans just seem to love getting stirred up about something or other. There could be many reasons for this, it’s not for this British, atheist, lefty, non patriot to possibly comment on.

Thankfully, American Chelsey Weber-Smith is on hand to do just that. So let’s take a deep dive into the numerous things that get those pitchforks raised and those torches burning shall we?

So what’s it about?

The podcast title is rather self explanatory. Very self explanatory in fact. Each episode, Chelsey looks at stories that have caused major outcries over the years. There are many urban myths and controversies dissected here. Some I was aware of, some not.

She lifts the curtain on subjects as diverse as the Satanic Panic, Furbies (yes, Furbies), The Illuminati and even Hipsters. A lot of the exaggeration and downright lies are exposed and countered with in depth research. I guarantee you’ll learn something new in at least one episode. Actually, I mean you’ll learn at least one new thing in every episode.

Is it any good?

This is a great show. Despite its mostly rather dark subject matter, Chelsey keeps things pretty light-hearted. I think this is mainly because most of these stories are rather silly at heart. The problem is that once you convince someone that something is true, then they are incapable of seeing how silly it is. Take your pick of conspiracy theories there.

This is a truly bingeworthy show that is easy to spend many days on. Even if there are subjects you would normally avoid for whatever reason, I would encourage you to listen. The truth behind the stories are often more mundane than you’d imagine, and therefore possibly not as upsetting.

As someone who is a smart-ass pedant, and a sponge of useless information, there is nothing I like more than correcting people (ask my family). This podcast is perfect for that. There are a great many facts now locked away in the 3lb hard drive that sits atop my shoulders, just waiting for someone to worry about the dangers of trick or treating, or “the war on Christmas” (only because we are quickly approaching that time of year).

Final thoughts

I heartily recommend this podcast to everyone. I don’t think that anyone would be worse off from listening to this brilliantly researched show. In a world where social media clickbait has become a major source of “news” and “research”, the danger of ill informed panic and conspiracy spreading is worse now than when we only had a few TV channels and newspapers for information.

It does beg the question though that why do people not look for the truth when these stories break? I don’t mean “DO YOUR RESEARCH SHEEPLE” type research, but there are things here that even I knew, but which seem to get glossed over in light of more salacious, or untrue revelations. I think I’ve probably answered my own question there.

You can get American Hysteria here:


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