16th October 2017

The Battle of Hastings 2017

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Last year, I remember watching the highlights from the very first competition held at the (then) new Source bmx park and kicking myself I wasn't physically there to watch it. I used to go to the Etnies Backyard Jams in Brighton and Bournemouth, along with NASS, Sprite Urban Games, The King of Southsea and BMX Masters in Cologne. Basically, wherever there was a descent competition on. The road trip part is often as much fun as the event to be honest, listening to great tunes and being up at the crack of dawn. So after securing a couple of tickets to this years Battle of Hastings event, I couldn't wait get down there from Bristol.

To say thanks for all the times my uncle had driven me to such events when I was younger, I drove us this time. 40 of the worlds best riders were in Hastings, a pretty dreary yet fantastically Victorian setting for a bike competition. It couldn't be any more British and I couldn't help but get a bit childish as I kept spotting the riders you only ever saw videos of. Gary Young, Van Homan, Chris Doyle, Chase Hawk, most are living legends and continue to release great video parts time and time again.

We got there on the Saturday to watch the qualifiers. The finals tickets were snapped up before we could even look for them. Typically, qualifier stages are ok, maybe a bit safe and in the realms of other Bmx events like FISE, Simple Sessions, NASS, they can feel a bit bland. That said, I don't tend to watch those types of competitions listed because they largely attract riders who are 'trick monkeys' and show little spontaneity. The main draw of this event is that you get teams of riders that go big, fast and effortlessly around any park transition with far less focus on how many tailwhips you can cramn into a run.

The building is accessed from the top along the promenade but from the outset it doesn't look like theres much on offer. As you scale the battered staircase, you discover that the entire park is in fact underground. The walls adorned with swimming pool mosaics - a hint to it's past. The further you descend it becomes apparent that you're not in a mere dingy basement but a colosseum of epic acoustics and proportions.

Saturday was a display of Bmx at it's rawest. The atmosphere was electric and being part of it felt pretty special. Even after riding for more than 13 years or so, with friends that have since fell out of interest with it, my passion feels stronger than ever. I think from seeing the interviews and write-ups from that weekend, its clear that Source Bmx hosted one hell of an event. Well done and bring on 2018!

4th August 2017

End of the line

After finishing my last day at The Signal Box, I thought it would be a good opportunity to write a short summary of my time at Strawberrysoup.

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In the three and a half years I've worked here, I've learnt a tremendous amount and enjoyed collaborating with so many talented designers and developers. It's been tricky and I stayed late way too many times to finish working something out but fundamentally I was solely responsible for designing every aspect of a website for a given project I was assigned to. This meant I did the user journeys/persona's, the sitemap, the research, the concepts, the presentation, thoughts about animation style, the branding, the image searching etc. I was lucky enough to experience all of the things that go into a website as well as any marketing used to drive traffic to the site such as display ads, social media campaigns and print collateral. 

As an employer, they've been incredibly generous by paying for any kind of training, equipment and getting in the rounds at social gatherings. Originally when I started at Strawberrysoup, I had very little practical experience let alone a portfolio of real clients having just interned and graduated 8 months before. So I was really lucky in the sense they gave me a permanent job with a wage to get my hands dirty. They were really patient and just from asking developers dumb questions and making various mistakes I began to understand more about the medium I was designing for let alone the lingo.

I've always been someone who enjoys learning new things either on the job or in my spare time but nothing helps more than talking something through with another designer or developer. You get a real mix of opinions and experience thrown in, sometimes a discussion can feel quite heated but it's good to thrash some things out particularly when you're working on a project you feel really passionate about. Also, working in such a subjective medium, having different opinions and understanding other people's perspective can be really helpful in rationalising a concept. From my time, I have a couple favourite projects which stand out for me just because of how well design and development collaborated on a brief. 

So here's to those good times! And the few cheeky ping pong games squeezed in between!