Blondey McCoy on hallowed ground. Photo: Mike O’Meally
Blondey McCoy is a man of many talents. As well as being a bloody good skateboarder he is an artist in his own right and as we learnt from the Hogmoney shows, a photographer as well. We remember Blondey well from shopping at our Neal’s Yard store as a boy, an already keen Southbank local and Altamont devotee. It’s been great watching his journey and we were stoked he was down to contribute to this feature which, due to his foresight with a lens begins with his early days beside the river and tells a tale…
“What a privilege, to be asked to write about my youth by the same shop I spent almost all of it in…”
To begin at the beginning… or 2011. The least aesthetically pleasing but possibly the one which hits me the hardest out of this whole selection. Taken shortly after realising that if I wanted to make a contribution to the melting pot, I would have to go to it. Sam’s just got his first Jesus tattoo, Croy Dan’s just entered his 50s… this was the simplest and happiest time of my life, so far.
I was 15 in 2012 when I worked briefly in the Covent Garden WeSC shop with my friend Yap. One day my headmaster at school made me come in, and he told me if I missed another five minutes of school he would be left with no choice but to expel me. Minutes after leaving the meeting I got a message from Lev saying he’d left me a couple of bits in Slam, needless to say I had my priorities straight and I left school immediately and found two skateboards celotaped together behind the boardwall, with ‘Blondey, skate this shit! It gets you laid and shit!’ sharpied on the wrapper. I never did get kicked out that school, but coincidentally or not, I did get laid and shit. On a side note those were amongst the first Thames stickers I ever made. I printed them on big rectangles accidentally and had to cut around the borders individually with scissors.
In July 2013 I went to Japan with Supreme. The crew was myself, Lucien, Jagger, Angelo and Dill. Dill was and still is one of my favourite skateboarders ever growing up. Yes, he does talk that much in real life, and despite being an overwhelmed infant at the time, we chatted and laughed for hours on end and it was an amazing trip for me. I didn’t know who Nakel was at this point, and I’ve only just realised the birthday card Dill is making looks like it is for him now I’m looking back over this. Legends.
A 16 year old me, Snowy and Mike O’Meally at the Pogues Christmas gig in Brixton 2013. This was the last time they played Christmas, you can imagine how devastated I was when fucking Jake Bugg took their spot the next year. Fun fact: ‘Fairytale of New York’ was never even a Christmas number 1, Pet shop boys ‘You were always on my mind’ took the biscuit in 1987. Shane performed the song with some stunner filling in for our beloved Kirsty, and it was magical.
Lucien, Rosie, Missy, Edson, Blondey… conveniently dated and ‘geo tagged’ by the poster on the window. The one window. I haven’t got the foggiest idea of who took this photo, I don’t remember a lot of our time in that gallery, but it was a surreal and life changing place to live at 16, and whatever conversation we were having there, I’m sure we’re still having now. Love you lot.
Visiting my good friend Shawn Michael Powers in New York in 2013. I’m sure he’d like me to caption this as ‘look at this Psycopath in the making’, or ‘Your worst nightmares nightmare’ or something stupid like that, but the truth is… he’s not an awful person, he’s just a very naughty boy, and one of my favourite skateboarders.
In October 2014 I was 17 years old and the first ever Palace Adidas line dropped. Here’s a picture of my friend Toby Onetoof and some bellend wearing it at the launch party in New York. All night people were asking me why I had a barnet cut with a knife and fork, to which I still don’t know the answer. Besides the haircut this was a tough time.
Yours truly the morning after the Adidas party in the previous photo. Only joking, this is a photo I took of my grandad when I went to visit him in Lebanon on my own for a week in 2014. I inadvertently signed up to a silent retreat in doing this, and spent the whole seven days in total isolation reading the full collection of Ernest Hemingways short stories. I felt probably the closest to insanity I’ve ever felt in my life, and the photo featured in ‘Hogmoney’ a photo show I did with O’Meally, Paddy Jones and Snowy that winter, which brought me back to earth.
A baby faced missing toothed me off my bloody rocker one afternoon when I first properly lived anywhere near Soho with Rory, 2014. Great hat, not such a great owner.
Enough of my baby photos, let’s end this on the future. Two of the smartest people I know: Lev and my godson Otis O’Meally on set in LA a couple of months ago. What would a man be without his family and friends, the answer is of course… a bit of a shit.
Big thank you to Blondey for taking the time to put this together for us!