Words: Joe Gavin. Photography: Joel Peck
What can I tell you about Tom Day…?
Well, given that I only see him once a year I can tell you very little.
I’m under the impression that he comes from a town in the east of England, though I couldn’t tell you the name. I think he may have lived in Manchester at some point in his life, judging by his representation of Note Skateshop. I suppose he probably does live in Mancheter, but really, who can say?
If indeed he does live in Manchester I would imagine it was because he went to university there. If that is the case, I can tell you that I have no idea what he studied… Maybe reading. Or counting or something.
I’m not sure what his favourite colour is, what his middle name is, or what his political stance is.
I could hazard a guess that he is aged somewhere between 15 and 40 years old, if that’s any use to anybody.
His favourite animal might be a goat
His favourite football team might be London United
He might have finished third over 100m at his school sports day.
He could be deaf in his left ear.
He might have a prosthetic face.
…I really don’t know.
What I do know is that he’s bloody good a skateboarding, regardless of terrain. I can tell you that he’s a pleasant, well-mannered young man and that he’s about to have a section in the new Heroin Skateboards video, and I can tell you that you’ll enjoy it.
Give us your vital stats…
My name is Tom Day… Haha. I’m 22!? I ride for Heroin skateboards and Note Skateshop (Manchester). That okay?
Perfect. Where are from?
Lincolnshire, Sleaford in Lincolnshire and living in Manchester now and it’s good.
Didn’t you grow up skating in a barn or something? If so, did you dream of skating perfect spots?
I guess so. I grew up on a farm and we had a barn and built some ramps and bought some ramps and shit.
Kind of like Rodney Mullen?
Pretty much like Rodney Mullen, yeah… Haha. But it was just like we built some ramps and I skated that because it was 40 minutes to the next skate scene.
Did you ever have barn dances and that?
Nah, I think I missed out on that..
Bullshit, I’ve seen you barn dancing.. If you had to rollerblade everywhere for a month or sponsored scoot back to your hometown of Sleaford for a scoot-barn demo that the local paper is going to do an article on. Which one [would you pick]?
It’s gonna be the scoot.
You’re gonna do a scooter demo?
I’d take the marathon and the scoot home. There’s spots on the way. There’s ditches and shit I’ve seen so I’d be keen. You can do back bonelesses on a scooter too, so…
Haha, good point man! What else are you into?
Ummm… I need a pause on that one…– The chat goes muffled and resumes 2 minutes later –
…You’ve got to make sure it says the interview is being done at Note Skateshop…
You just did! Did you ever play sport as a kid?
Only P.E. shit. And I fucking hated that as well. I don’t like teams vibes. I played football from like 6 ‘til 8 and then sacked it off. I hate that shit.
Would you say that was because you were too much of a free spirit? (Haha)
No comply tailslide.
Haha. I remember telling my dad that I didn’t want to do football any more. That was kind of weird because he was into it, he took it well though.
What prompted the move [to Manchester]?
Just wanted to get the hell out of there, I passed my driving test and then it would be out every weekend, driving to the next towns. It was pretty good ‘cause everyone I skated with was from a different town so we’d all meet up in each other’s towns and all move around hit each other’s spots.
You studied at Uni as well, right? Something technical, I don’t know what it was because you never ever spoke about it. Why’s that?
Yeah, I did media technology for three years at MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University) but the course was pretty bone to be honest. I chose it, it was something I was into but the course was shit. I came to uni to live somewhere else and university was the easiest way to get out of the countryside without joining the army or working on a farm.
Where did you move into? You lived with Joel Peck [photographer] for a bit right?
The first year I moved into halls, it was shit. I lived with nine guys it was the trechest student vibes but I met everyone in that year, it was five minutes from the Cage [Pumpcage Skatepark] five minutes from town, it was a good location for skating. Then I moved in with Joel, Ferg and Seb into 7 Eston (St.)they were the people I was skating with all the time; got a little skate house together and lived there for two years.
Joel shot all the photos for this interview, are you super motivated or is it just convenience [having a good mate that shoots good photos in the same house]?
Haha, it was sick living with him. We all skate the same kind of shit.
Rock fakie rag in.
Yeah, not just going to the eight-stair handrail but trying to find something a bit more interesting, more fun, to skate. Joel would be skating it and if he wasn’t skating it he’d be keen to shoot photos, so it worked out good…
Where’s the eight-stair handrail? Sounds good!
Can we make that sound gnarlier? Ten-stair handrail? Why stop at ten! Was it handy having a photographer on hand all the time?
Yeah, it was good. It meant if we were both up at ten in the morning or whatever that we could go and get a photo then, but then other times, when we were out with the crew or whatever, I’d feel a bit bad trying to get a photo because I live with the guy and I can get a photo whenever.
Tell us a bit about Joel.
He’s got good hair, good hygiene, good beard… All around good guy. Joel can skate anything and he’s a good photographer. It’s sick when he’s found his angle, when he’s hyped on what he’s doing, then he’ll get you motivated to try and stick what you’re doing.
How did you get on Heroin?
It started out as a bet with Stanners (Nick Stansfield).
Well we at The Garret one night after skating…
…It really is a shit pub, and him an Jim, Fat Jim, Jim Craven, was talking to him and Nick bet us a tenner that he could get me on. Id’ get the tenner or I’d get on, it was a win-win situation. Then Nick was shooting some photos with Joel, going to London for a weekend and they’d arranged to meet Fos, so we met him; well it was pretty much saying hi at Stockwell (skatepark) and that was it. Then Dungey sent some of my footage to Fos and I think he came up here that month. (Ben) Grove told me that he spoke to him about it and asked what people were saying and then he started sending me boards and that.
He spoke to me about it as well…
Yeah. I said you fucking suck man… Don’t put him on, you’ll regret it.
What’s it like being on Heroin? It’s kind of mixed: half American, half U.K. How’s that work out? Met any mad dudes?
Yeah, I guess it’s working out good. Heroin was always my favourite company growing up, so I always wanted to ride for that. It’s always had that kind of diversity, with the Japanese guys and with Fiske on and dudes from wherever, guys that didn’t even skate the same but had the same ideas and applied it differently.
How’s the new video, Video Nasty, coming on? Has Fos got you on the filming program?
Yeah, well the deadline for filming is the end of this month so I’m meant to be getting the last bits for it in the next few weeks. When I first got on they were having a video in the next few months, so there’s always been this video deadline looming.
So it’s been in progress the whole time. Does that not mean you’ve got loads of footage?
I think I’ve done alright…
Any trips away coming up?
There was talk of a trip to Barcelona, but I wouldn’t expect any Macba lines in there.
But you can skate pretty much anything. Is that down to the barn?
I just want to skate things I find fun or a bit interesting. Because there wasn’t a lot of stuff where I grew up skating it was: make do with what you’ve got. It was skating things like grass verges or a shit crack in the pavement. It’s pretty sick having mud on your griptape and dirt on your bearings and stuff.
As far as skating goes, you have a certain style. Who were your influences.
Growing up I guess it was people around me, Tom Pain and Bet Footitt, they were the best skaters, they were like two of my friends from back home who do their own thing and skate their own way. They’re not worried about learning ‘the knack’, they would come up with their own shit and you’re like: ‘how did they come up with that!?’ When there’s no perfect plaza spot down the road you end up skating a little paving slab up against a wall that you can rig up and have a session. It’s about trying to make it happen in an area where’s there’s not too much there.
But you can still do fakie manual fakie flip out…
I guess that’s because of the barn, I could just stack some pallets when it was wet [outside]. It wasn’t training though it was just like, figuring out I can throw my shoulders this way or whatever. It was good, I could come home from school and mess about in there.
How has working in a skateshop affected your view of skateboarding?
Fuck the skateboarding business industry shit. It’s bullshit. It’s pretty lame, but there are good guys in there, there are good things, but there’s so much fucking shit coming through… There are guys who are doing the right thing but they’re not really doing that well and… Actually, this is getting a bit deep… Haha
I’m not necessarily talking about the industry. I’m talking about the day to day of working in a shop…
I think that’s what I learned about it from working day to day in the shop. You kind of get to see this weird kind of industry side to it that, when you’re out laid up against a curb, you’re not really thinking about.
You seem to be interested in more ‘underground’ videos as well. You are always talking about mad videos I’ve never heard about. You dig pretty deep.
I guess where we are in skateboarding now, this post-Tony Hawk Play Station game generation, every kid has done a kickflip krooked grind nollie flip out, being able to do that, create that, on this console and think about that. But you couldn’t really do: powerslide under this, slappie up this curb in the game, so there’s all this focus on the trick, no one’s touched on: skating this wall, coming down, maintaining speed. There’s all this mad-crazy tech shit around but I’d rather see someone skate the spot in a better way. The trick isn’t really that important, it’s more about the way you adapt and move around the spot, keep speed and keep moving.
Thanks to Fos and Nick and power for sending me boards, workers and lurkers at Note Skateshop for keeping everything going, Splodge, Family, Phat Man Jim and Rayner for filming, Skulls gang, vibe seekers, the crew, everyone I skate with in Lincolnshire & Manchester, Laura ,Joel for shooting photos. You – for bearing with me on this interview, Fergalicious, James Gell, Joe O’Donnel. The boys. Cheers.