When we first covered Lucien Clarke back in issue 33 it was his first real exposure on the skating radar. Lucien is like that. He is the kind of skater about whom you hear much but see little, and he is also a counterpoint to most British skateboarding styles, by which we mean that a country of rough surfaces and rougher weather largely produces aggressive, determined schralpy skaters. Lucien, on the other hand, manages to bring a kind of cleanliness to skating that you don’t often see in the dirty world of dirty skating. When Lucien makes something for the first time, it will look like a warm up- perfectly measured, executed like a man who knows how to land that plane without the control tower on the radio. Lucien has grace. He skates with sublime lift and ease. The kind of thing you might expect to find in sunny LA, not grimy London. With two full video parts in the offing, this should be the moment where he goes from being Best Kept Secret to Did You See?.
We spent an afternoon being eavesdropped on by the nosy cow on the next table in a rainy London café to find out about climbing on chairs, stolen bicycles and gay people’s choice of hairstyles.
Alright then:Lucien Clarke- how you doing ?
Quality- (to another table) I’m interviewing him. So you’ve just moved house?
Me my girlfriend and Steph Morgan moved into a house together in Stoke Newington. Pretty cool- worked out nice; a different vibe. I can just get on and do what I want- no hassle, no extra stress. Do exactly what I want. Trying to get into my own little routine.
Been doing that, getting organised…
But your new place is in quite a party area, isn’t it?
Yeah, but I’ve been holding it down, haven’t been going out that much. Loads of my mates live round there.
So what happened to your poodle then?
Ah. The first one, well the first one got attacked by a Rottweiler (struggles to suppress laughter) and was paralysed. That was my Mum’s little baby, innit. So we got another one called ‘Coco’, like you know the perfume by Coco Chanel? Anyway that’s a lot mellower, it doesn’t bite me or anything. Pisses all over my leg though-
Know the feeling mate. You walk it?
Nah- I haven’t been home for a while to tell you the truth.
Does your Mum miss you?
I guess so. I should call her today really.
Where have you been then?
I’ve just been to Rome with Steph, Rory (Milanes) and Chris Mulhern filming for his video.
You’ve been on a few (missions) so far?
Yeah, like Philly, London- want to try and go to Greece, a few other places. I want to travel round America some more.
And what does that mean for the Element video?
I’ve got a filmer coming out (to England) about the end of this year- the footage I have right now is just VX1, its not HD so its gone to (pending shop video from) Slam or other projects. They are talking about bringing out a full length video next April so I’ve got to film in HD until then. I’ve got Ches and Henry here, they’ve both got HD cameras now so I’ve got to keep busy with them.
You’ve hardly been around since you got your new place…
Yeah, you’ve got to travel when you can. Picked up a bit of the old Italian when I was there. Bambino! I’ve been saying that to my girl. A lot. I bought massive packs of pasta as a souvenir. Not going to eat it, just keep it.
And you had a month in Philly too.
We got treated real well there. Every day was just missions to different cities- Boston, New York…it was sick. Its only like an hour and a half’s drive from Philly to New York. I didn’t see any of my family there, though, because it was just skating, you know? It would have been sick to see my uncle, but it was just a week of constant missions in New York. But its proper childhood steez going back to New York for me. First kiss there, first grabbed some titties (laughs)…
Do you still know your way about New York?
Well I didn’t go back to the area I grew up in- Jamaica Avenue in Queens. Next time. Jamaica Avenue Station- it is kind of ghetto, though.
Has Chris figured out a name for this video yet, then?
Yeah, he’s settled on ‘This Time Tomorrow”. What do you reckon?
Sounds alright to me mate- whats the idea there?
The idea is that each part will change from morning to night as it progresses, you know- start in the morning then get gradually darker and darker and darker. It won’t be about last tricks, you know- its something that no-one has ever done before. He’s put a lot of work into it.
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What happened to the flat top haircut?
Oh. I got over it. You want to know when I got over it? I saw a guy with one in Old Street. 2 gay guys, yeah? Holding hands, black socks over the knees, black Doc Marten’s and, black shorts and my flat top. I was like ‘Oh. My. God.’ It had to go. Another guy, a DJ, got the same haircut as me and when I cut mine off he put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘where’s your flat top? It was a good look.’ He was gay too, so it had to go.
Yeah. Flat tops are sick but I don’t know if I’ll do it again. Maybe when I’m 40.
Whats next in the hairstyles then?
I think I’m just going ‘fro it out, you know?
Just ‘fro it out there?
Just have a massive afro maybe. Just like a mess, you know? Look at this weather. Makes me want to go home and smoke weed.
Tell us about the Deebo bike then
Awwwww- they robbed it. It got stolen out the front of my house. Well, it was my own fault really, I never locked it- but anyway Rory saw the guy, he was riding around the area on it. How stupid was that guy? Steal a bike and then ride it round the area you nicked it.
Lets put out a description now in case anybody comes up on old Lucy’s bike then:
If you see my bike out in the East somewhere, its sprayed black with white handlebars, a kickstand and it looks like the one out of the film Friday. If you see it, please contact me. The reward is a skateboard if you find my bike. I didn’t lock it up. I’ve learnt my lesson now. Always lock your bike up. I loved it. It was like a little batmobile, I used it to move house.
Whats the story with the Toshiba advert?
I got into it through a South African friend. Its kind of got people running around- there are 200 HD cameras in a circle, pretty crazy, and everybody’s doing a different move- one guy’s jumping in the air, a girl is throwing paper…and because you’re not all there at once, the whole thing has to be choreographed using markers, so while one guy is throwing paint, I’ll be directed to jump on the chair- you know like Charlie Chaplin? That sort of steez. Its weird, you have to see it.
This will be on national TV?
Yeah, its on the Guardian newspaper website [click here to check it]. It’s a Matrix style thing, check it out. I’ll show it to you later.
So what else do you do when you’re not skating?
Nothing- what do people do? This is going to be really boring. I just hang out with my friends when I’m not skating. I’m usually skating. Is this bone?
(There then follows a muffled conversation about how to spice up the interview and make Lucien seem more exciting. It doesn’t work.)
Lucien rides for Element, DVS and Slam City Skates.
Check Out Lucien’s Part in “Hold Tight London: North V South” Out early June 09