Ollie Jones is something of a mystery within the UK rollerblading community. He has been around for years and regularly appears at contests around the country, towering over his contemporaries with his large frame at the top of ramps and impressing them with his vast array of truespins and ability to get onto higher obstacles than most, but beyond that he leaves very little trace behind. Despite living in relatively close proximity to two of the southwest’s most competent blading filmers, Mark Trebble and Mark Worner, Ollie Jones has produced hardly any online edits over the years. In fact, the only one in recent memory was a brief minute-plus edit in February for boot sponsor Remz that featured some of his standout clips from the montage in BHC‘s most recent team video End Of The Line. Sensing that we needed to consult with someone closer to him prior to interviewing Jones, we got in touch with BHC owner Mark Trebble in the hope that he could shed some light on one of the south of England’s strongest street skaters, but even though he has known the guy for years he was at a loss when it came to offering any real insight into the man’s personality.
“Are you skating this weekend?” is the most frequent questions in our crew, but we don’t even bother to ask Ollie as the answer will quite simply be yes. The real question is, “Who is picking him up?” This is a lad that went for nearly two years without missing a single day’s skating. He would rather skate a kerb in the rain than take a day off. I can honestly say I find it hard to relate to his autistic need to skate all of the time.
He doesn’t doesn’t work, drive, smoke, drink, party or like football, so it’s a wonder we have anything in common at all, but that’s skating for you. To be honest, after nearly ten years of close friendship with Ollie, all I can really tell you and all you really need to know is that he skates and he is bloody good at it. – Mark Trebble
It seemed that we have to investigate a little further, so we approached England’s hardest working blading photographer Sam Cooper for a little more information. He advised that Jones is a fascinating character who possesses an obscene amount useless trivia, once skated every day for almost two and a half years, has seen most of the country by scrolling through Google Maps and despite not having a job has an incredibly strict daily schedule that involves exercising, going for walks in the wilderness and tormenting his friends with the help of Photoshop. Now that we were armed with a little more information, we sat down with Jones to find out more about the mystery man who rides for Remz, BHC and recently joined the Slaptap team.
Wheel Scene: I hear you just got picked up by Slaptap. Congratulations.
Ollie Jones: Yeah, Chris just asked me on Thursday. Good times. I’ve been filming a section for their video for a while though! (Laughs)
Nice. I also heard you are going to be their media manager as well. What does that involve?
I just update their Facebook page with new photos and clips mostly, letting people know where the team will be as well. Chris is quite busy with other stuff, so if I can help out there and maybe do some updates and photos of products for the site I will do that too.
Sounds like you will be keeping busy. Do you have another job?
Not right now. I want to do something that will leave a lot of time for blading though. (Laughs)
Did I hear correctly that, a couple of years ago, you quit your job so you could blade more?
I got made redundant from a job I had, so I took that opportunity to blade as much as possible and see what was happening elsewhere.
Ah… That makes more sense! Are you still riding for Remz?
Yep. Got the newest white Nils skates, but mine aren’t as white as they once were.
I can’t imagine they would stay that way for long. How long have you been riding for Remz now? That’s been a few years, right?
Yeah, I think it was seven or eight years ago that Mark Trebble said I should go to them (Devious Distribution) to get parts or skates and a few months after that, when the next skates came out, I went and got them, which was amazing. Thanks to Mark and Paul for that opportunity, and to Kato for making the skates for so long.
Do you ride for BHC as well?
Yeah, just flow for wheels and things. The wheels seem to work really well and the pro team is obviously the one.
I thought I had seen you sporting a lot of their gear! Your clips in End Of The line were incredible. That full cab true fish came out of nowhere!
(Laughs) It came out of doing the same set of tricks in the same order every time I got the chance. It used to be a game I played on the old rail at Newport Skatepark.
It’s weird that you only had a few clips but quite a few people were talking about them when the video came out. Did you have a lot of people getting in touch with you after it dropped?
Probably not directly, but a couple of people mentioned it when talking about the video on message boards. Then we used the clips again in a Remz edit! (Laughs)
I noticed that! Recycling clips! I guess that leads on to my next point – you have been around for years and seem to blade all the time, but there aren’t many sections of you available online. What’s that all about?
Well, we still all skate for fun as much possible and, when you want to film something, not everyone will want to skate the same spots, but I’m pretty sure that my section with Mark Worner is nearly finished.
Is that some exclusive news we’ve just found out?! A full street part?
Yeah, it will be for the Slaptap video. Definitely all street.
Any idea when it will be out?
I’ve no idea when it will be released. Hopefully we can make the most of this summer to skate as much as possible and get footage of everybody.
Have you got plans to work on anything else now that your section is finished?
I want to make another solo edit when I find a spot worth skating on my own! It’s been a long time since I made the last one. There was a Remz edit that had the whole team in when the last HR skate came out, so if they do anything like that again I’d be down to take part.
Is it a struggle to find spots in your part of the country?
It can be. There used to be more stuff here, but it’s all gone or been skated so much. Recently though, me and Worner have found a lot of new spots in Bristol just by walking around. I also spend a lot of time on Google Street View.
What’s it like blading in Bristol? It has a history for being an incredibly culturally diverse place, but it also has a reputation for being quite hostile at times.
It’s a pretty good place to blade if you know your way around. People have been skating there for so long. There hasn’t been much hostility recently that I’ve experienced. We have certainly met some different people though, really crazy people, but they turned out to be helpful to us. (Laughs)
Sounds intriguing. Tell me more.
It was at a spot I’d actually done before, but I’d shown it to Sam Cooper and he thought it would be a good photo. But every time we went there, we’d find a car in the run-up and a big chain going diagonally out from the last post of the rail. On about the fourth time of going back there, I decided to try it anyway, working around the car and just hoping not to hit the chain. As I was putting my skates on, loads of people came out this abandoned-looking building at the top, which turned out to be a squat house or something, They were really interested in what we were doing and tried to sell us some Anarchy skates! (Laughs) When I explained to one of them what I wanted to do but couldn’t because of this chain, he started looking at it, saying he could try and pick the lock or undo some of the bolts. I told him not to worry about it, but he said he would go and look for some pliers to undo this little bolt. Less than a minute later, he came out with an enormous set of bolt cutters! I told him not to bother getting in trouble for us, but he said, “Nah, I don’t care. Straight outta Compton.” Then snip and the chain was gone. I did the trick and then another guy asked Sam to film his rap video! (Laughs)
That is pretty random. Usually the general public are trying to actively discourage that kind of stuff! I heard you are a fountain of pointless knowledge. What pointless knowledge can you drop off the top of your head?
Oh, man… (Laughs) Here’s a good one: Take the speed of light and use it as longitude/latitude coordinates, apparently you end up on the Pyramid of Giza. Blue eyes aren’t blue though, there’s an easy one
Why are they not blue?
For the same reason the sky isn’t; it’s just the wavelength of light they scatter.
I’m not convinced. That would suggest that people with blue eyes change colour in different light surely?
Not the colour of the light, I don’t think, it’s just that blue is the shortest wavelength of light in our spectrum and is scattered first by the eyes and the atmosphere, so we see them as blue. But when the sun sets, it travels through more of the atmosphere, so it appears red. Maybe if you made blue eyes enormous they could be red?
Ha! Fair enough. I have heard you take good care of yourself – don’t drink or take any illegal substances – and you like to keep fit.
Yeah, man. I’ve never been into drinking or anything. And as far as keeping fit goes, I’ve just picked up various things from trips to the physio and then researched them a bit more myself to see how I could make things better or prevent other things from happening. It’s definitely a good way to pass the time in winter as well, when you can’t skate as much as you would like.
What kind of stuff to you do?
Mostly stretches after skating to stay loose for the next time, weights to help with joint stability as I have really long arms and legs! (Laughs) I have been working on balance and coordination things a bit as well recently, just seeing what feels useful and what doesn’t.
Sounds like a sensible approach. Do you keep up with what’s going on in the industry and blading community?
Yeah, definitely. I watch almost all the edits that I see get posted and read all the articles too.
Is there anything in particular that has caught your attention recently?
The last trick in that Eugen Enin edit was incredible.
That was pretty incredible. It’s the kind of thing you expect to see someone messing around with on a small rail in a skatepark, not a pretty large handrail.
Yeah, it’s the kind of thing I would look at and say it would be cool if someone did it, and then just do something else, but he did it so well. A lot of people have been really interested in the idea of this new game, but I doubt I have any technology that would run it, so I have kind of overlooked that.
You mean On A Roll? I kind of lost interest in video games when I got into blading…and everything else, now that I think about it!
(Laughs) Yeah, same. I haven’t bought any games since the first Playstation and my phone won’t even run Instagram or Facebook.
Do you get the same level of amusement I do when skaters rant about the state of the industry on social media?
(Laughs) When people complain about people giving rollerblading the wrong kind of image sometimes. Everyone should just promote the kind of blading they like, I guess, instead of telling other people to stop theirs.
It does seem odd that our type of blading was established for people who didn’t like organised sport, didn’t want to be part of a team, didn’t like rules and wanted to do something different, yet the moment someone does something different they get crucified for it.
Yeah, but if they really do think that what they’re doing is legit and makes skating look cool then they won’t stop because of what someone else thinks, so it’s all good to complain really. (Laughs)
True. Plus, the fact that people are talking about it at all has got to be offer a certain degree of motivation as the rapid nature of internet culture does make it easy for a lot of things to be ignored, not given enough attention or easily forgotten. If people care enough to abuse you for what you are doing, chances are you are doing something that is interesting enough to provoke a reaction.
Well, there would be complaining if everyone skated exactly the same. Plus, unless it’s someone you’ve never heard of, you will have a rough idea of what to expect.
This is true. Anything else you want to talk about before we wrap this up?
Who said I was “a good source of useless knowledge”? (Laughs)
Sam Cooper. Although I saw a text conversation that accuses you of being notorious for slagging off everyone in your local scene via Photoshop!
(Laughs) Yeah, we are going global! Worner’s Workouts – the biggest thing to hit the workout world since the meteorite that killed those weak dinosaurs. But First, Let Smith Take A Selfie – some of the finest selfies the world has ever seen.
Those were mentioned to me!
The second one, man! (Laughs)
They are pretty funny.
I find it too funny when I’m making them sometimes. They are a little behind on updates, but the selfie one still gets 10-12 people a week looking at it for some reason.
It’s probably just Matt on there every day.
He tells me to update it sometimes.
Glutton for punishment, I guess!
He definitely likes it. I think he wants to make money off it somehow.
How is that even possible?!
I’m not sure, unless we can get a run of postage stamps with selfies on or something.
Photos: Sam Cooper
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