The Brotherhood

     The Brotherhood DVD - Inside the Texas Flatland Roundup 2005

Thanks to Erik Otto from Monolithic for sending the dvd!

It’s written on it: « The Brotherhood » and that name fits the video perfectly, the concept is quite simple : It’s merely a contest, nothing more, nothing less. We can even precise: a modest contest (not to compare with some big one like the worlds or the flatground of course...) but still with a sympatic level.

As soon as it begins, the definition is displayed :
Broth-er-hood : noun, defined as :

1.The state or relationship of being brothers.
3.An association of men, such as a fraternity or union, united for common purposes.

If this definition was still to be proved concerning Flatland : it is now done!

I like the pared-down side of this video, different from some others that would use lots of effects, for exemple slow motions, enhancing the form, here we don’t find such work but a really honored content: more centered on the essence of Flatland, one of its princips being underlined (see intro hehe) : the contact between riders (which is sometimes unfortunately forgotten on the bigest contests). The obvious pleasure they all have to be there to ride together, the pleasant feeling that each of them is more present to enjoy the moment and spend some good time with the others than to walk off with the price-money, beating everybody. Even Terry Adams, whose level was obviously higher than every rider there seems to be at the contest more to enjoy it than to win. An Intimist contest, far away from professionnalist riding!
So through it’s simplistic form, this video gives a good view of the atmosphere of the event, the “contest ambiance” is really well shown. You watch it like you were sitting on the floor of a gymnasium, watching other’s riding.

“I hope that, with our first DVD, we have captured the spirit of the riders that make Flatland the incredible art form that it is today.” Erik Otto

We indeed undestand after having watched “the brotherhood” that if you want to understand the riding, you’ll have to understand the spirit of the riders first. Moreover, while watching it, it gives us the feeling to be be able to succeed in this attempt.

Of course that “simplicity” I like, firtst, might not be appreciated by some others (each of us knows what he likes concerning videos), second, I disliked some aspect of it, for instance the fact that they kept the original music of the contest (sometimes irritating) as for the speaker who yells all along the event.
But anyway, no video can be perfect : if it is simplicity you seek in a contest video report, that annoying side is inevitable, simply because a contest means also some noise!

Now I’ll give you some more detail about this production of Monolithic©.
No surprise there, simple and efficient, a menu with bonus including amateur class, and in the video itself you can find the expert and pro class, in short : the whole contest. Let’s add that each winner is presented before his class qualifications, through some longer footage, the finals follow the qualifs...
Before seing the expert class, you can find the “rookies and veterans” section including promising riding along with interesting old school vibes. Each rider, from the beginner to Terry Adams is granted a part in the vid. Once again, that witnesses to the brotherhood of riders in Flatland.

Kelly Baldwin, the expert winner is quite angry on his bike! Or sometimes on his un-bike, if you don’t know what an unbike is : front wheel fork stem and bars only. The man can pull some nice kickflip, among lots of other stuff...

After having seen each rider of the Expert comp (one by one) Here comes the Pro part, beginning with Terry Adams. Since I don’t really know how to tell you let’s do it simple : “pedaling deathtruck jump to backpacker caboose”.... yes! I assure you. Though Terry seems to have won easily, he isn’t the only rider whose riding is interesting at all! I discovered in this DVD a scene that I hadn’t but heard about : the one of Texas and its area, and quite a few riders impressed me with their style :
First, Scott Ditchfield who opens the pro-riders section with his old school flavoured riding, which, well mastered is at least very nice! Rolling and brakeless lovers will apreciate Will Redd’s style!! As for Mr. Art Thomason, who does not steal his 2nd place shows us a nice smoothistic riding!

I stop before I told too much about it, now you have to see for yourself!

To make it simple :
+ Pleasant, simplistic concept
Contest ambiance well rendered
+ D
iscovery of a scene which isn’t given so much attention by the media.
- Level not as high as in some other vids
- Music is sometimes irritating

9th of October 2005 - Ilan Giguel