“Style is the answer to everything.
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing.
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it.
To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.”
– From ‘Style’, by Charles Bukowski
In 1972 when Bukowski read those words to an audience in San Francisco, he probably couldn’t have imagined that the recording would one day be used in a snowboard film. Yet when I first heard them nearly 40 years later the context couldn’t have seemed more perfect. The movie was That by Forum Snowboards (arguably the coolest company around at the time) and Bukowski’s louche drawl was used as a voiceover in the intro to Devun Walsh’s section.
Walsh, a laidback Canadian from Whistler, wasn’t doing the most “dangerous” or the most technical tricks, but with his baggy clothing and big, no-grab spins, he epitomised everything that was considered most stylish about snowboarding in the mid-2000s. As a slightly pretentious 21-year-old literature student living in France and snowboarding as often as I could, the whole thing just seemed impossibly cool.
“Style has moved on – the baggy trousers I bought in an attempt to emulate Walsh have long-since been replaced by skinny jeans.”