Almost half a decade after he swore he was washing his hands of the whole “let’s spend several years tirelessly working towards a full-length production” work ethic, last month, Get Lesta’s Callun Loomes reluctantly re-entered the feature length arena with the release of Darling. Filmed over the course of 2018-2021, the 50-minute video is a proper return to Get Lesta form for Callun, as he mixes familiar faces with new talent, showcasing fresh spots and dusting off long forgotten Midlands terrain along the way.
Darling was unveiled to the waiting world at a typically ruckus Leicester premiere - this time taking place at Skate Parlour - before being given a physical release on USB the following day. Today, with the vast majority of the USBs being sold, Callun has seen fit to post the whole video online, so we decided to sit down with Cal to talk about all things Darling, whilst airing a bunch of previously unseen photography from Rob Whiston, Joe Vozza and Jamie ‘Swampy’ Harold.
Read on, and scroll to the bottom of the page to locate Darling...
Featuring: Alex Hallford, Kris Vile, Rianne Evans, Luke Humphries, Oliver Lawrence, Jacob Eardley, Josh Hay, James Bush, Joe Marks, Mark Stern, Jason Cloete, George Worthington, Marcus Palmer and Lucas Healey.
So Last Orders came out in 2017, and that was allegedly the final Get Lesta full length. Obviously Manners was released online the following year…then you’ve seemingly reverted straight back into spending three years working on a proper hour-long production again. What the hell happened?
Last Orders originally was going to be the last full-length. I'd spent eight years on five full-lengths back to back, so that decision came from me needing to focus on trying to get my own pub. I didn't want to commit to the stress of 10 full parts, printing DVDs, having a premiere, a deadline etc. Manners was much more relaxed; some people had five clips, others had 15. When it was released didn't matter so much; it was more laid back and a lot easier for me to manage. Last Orders was filmed in a year and was roughly 30 minutes long, Manners was filmed in a similar period but was only 10 minutes due to the amount of spare time I then had. I'd been filming for Darling for just over a year and had gotten used to just one filming mission a week, instead of three or four when I was rushing around working on full-lengths. Obviously when lockdown hit, no one knew what it meant, or how long it was going to last, but it became clear throwing a premiere wasn't going to happen any time soon. From working 50+ hours a week, mostly working weekends, to being on furlough bored out my mind…I had seven-day paid weekends during the summer. The first couple of months of lockdown were ‘the unknown’; I lived on my own and didn't leave my flat. As rules eased, I started filming everyday but just in Leicester, which, over recent years, I hadn't spent much time filming in, or exploring. Josh Hay was someone I'd seen killing it at the local parks over time and thought it would be good to get a couple of clips with him. Being trapped in Leicester presented the perfect opportunity to get to know him and try to film some bits. Obviously one guest clip turned into 50 clips, and that summer of furlough put me back into an obsessive mode of needing to film ten clips a week. Lockdown made getting a pub seem so far away. Randomly, during furlough, I got a call from the brewery about a pub in Uppingham to live on site and manage, as a stepping-stone to getting my own. This started immediately, and I moved to Uppingham, which is how I met Jacob (Eardley) and Ollie (Lawrence). I'd already spent the best part of two years on Darling now, so it had gone well past the little 10-minute clip it was intended to be. During the summer of not working, filming everyday, I had stacked so much it only seemed right to spend another year on it and finish it properly. I’ve gone off on one here and forgotten what the question was (laughs).
Josh Hay - 360 flip, Birmingham. Photo: Whiston.
Personally, what’s been going on with you over the three years since filming for Darling inadvertently started? How far into your ‘becoming a pub landlord’ journey are you now, and how much did lockdown set that back?
The pub I've worked at since I was a nipper is my Grandparents, and I've always lived in Leicester. So mid-pandemic, getting technically my first job, not working with family and moving out of my hometown was a real eye opener, especially during lockdown. Uppingham is essentially a village; there’s no phone signal, loads of sheep, no Just Eat, and the only cash points charge. The idea was to get me used to a different style of pub to what I was used to; I can't flog hotdogs and Jagerbombs at this establishment. I need to do a couple of years here for the experience, and then it's just waiting for the right pub to become available. I'm holding tight ‘til the rules and regulations ease, and the world goes more back to normal, before I consider moving again.
Photos: Joe Vozza.
You’ve got a good spread of Get Lesta representatives included here, from OGs like Shumba and Joe Marks, to latter day staples such as Bushy (James Bush), Rianne (Evans), Goose (Lucas Healey) and (Mark) Stern, through to new blood like Ollie and Josh Hay. How different is it working with several different generations? And how did you come across the more recent additions to the Get Lesta fold?
The sheer distance between us all is the difficult thing. Everyone spends so much time and money on transport; you end up with such a random crew from six different cities together in the outskirts of Mansfield, or somewhere daft. Everyone works differently; Joe Marks wants to know weeks in advance what trick he's trying, and will watch Bobby Worrest do the same trick on YouTube on repeat during the week building up to it. He likes to have a nice long warm up, two hours of roll ups, and no one smoking anywhere near him. Whereas Josh and Ollie make you drive round chicken shops they have been in the night before in order to find their setups. They’ll get out the car with a hangover, won’t know what city they are in, don't care if the road is clear and are happy just barrel rolling into a kerb for your phone. That’s the difference between having an 18 and a 32 year old in the car, I guess (laughs). From previous videos, most know I like to watch some roofs, handrails and jumping, so the young 'uns can tick that box now as the OG's are past doing that. Every now and then Kris (Vile) would want to join in and jump off something, thinking his ankles would take it, but they never could. George Worthington is a good addition; he lives local and loves a beer, which is a plus. His skating was different to what I was used to – he’ll be doing 20 shove-its on a bank, skating a tree, or he’ll be off pissing about in some water. I didn't really know what to take him to; he had to come up with the spots himself because his ideas were all nonsense to me. I absolutely loved his part, though; I was so hyped how it turned out.
Ollie Lawrence - kickflip, Birmingham. Photo: Whiston.
You’ve obviously been party to the transformations of Bushy and Jason (Cloete) from their alcohol dependent eras through to their more recent sober incarnations. What sort of affect did stepping back from boozing have on both of their skating and productivity?
Jason I've bumped into a few times over the years at events, and we’d usually end up filming a couple of things when he was beers deep. He always made out he was going to come up to stay with me and film some stuff, but that was definitely the booze talking. I didn't know him very well at that point, and was unaware of what drove him to quit drinking. After a few months of being sober, he hit me up about coming out to film, but with a clear head; he followed through with it this time. I guess to start off with he had a tough time down to his injury, and he realised some of the rails he jumped on years prior was down to a bit of beer courage. He had a mental block with making himself try some stuff, and was overthinking things. After a year or so of not drinking and skating constantly his confidence came back; all the stuff he was most hyped on he filmed within the last six months of the video.
With Bushy it was different because we've been friends and filming together for nearly 10 years, we’ve spent so much time together therefore I’ve witnessed it much more first hand. Skating-wise, the drink didn't really stop him; look at what he's put out over the years, he can do anything he wants on a skateboard. With events, which he spoke about in his recent interview, finally deciding to stop drinking is definitely the best thing for him. We never had any trouble getting footage, even when he was drinking; his talent is too natural. When he stopped, his stamina and motivation went up at least hundred times. Usually on a mission, we'd always get something filmed, then he’d reward himself by drinking the rest of the day/weekend/week. Now drinking isn’t an option he’s gone from one clip a day to four, easy. On a week he would meet me in the Midlands, Kieran (Wilcox) in Milton Keynes, and go London to meet Kevin (Parrot). He spends beer money on train tickets and uses all that extra energy in the most productive way possible.
Jason Cloete - backside lipslide, Birmingham. Photo: Whiston.
James Bush. Photo: Joe Vozza.
What’s the story behind Mark breaking both of his wrists?
That was just a freak accident. Mark loves a bump to bar, he has massive pop so they are never a problem; they’re usually his easy way out, to be honest. This bump to bar is in Leamington Spa, on a main road with no warm up spot nearby. The spot is amazing; it has a proper kicker, unlike most in the UK, but it's a little narrow, and the road is a bit of a nightmare. The ollie was no problem; him and Josh were both going over it back to back. Josh started booting some kickflips and Mark started kicking heelflips at it, but he wasn't really feeling them. He decided he would try a backside 180, because he'd never done one over a bump to bar before, but he wasn't massively confident at them. He was getting slightly wigged out about me filming from the other side of the road, in case a car went by and I missed it. Probably thanks to a mixture of him thinking about the road and the narrowness of the spot, he got tangled up and tripped over the bar. He body slammed the ground, trapping both wrists under himself in the process. He instantly got in his car and drove home - for an hour - not knowing if they were broken or not. The last few months before the deadline, he had casts on both wrists and could not fall over, so filming for him was pretty much done.
Mark Stern - hippy jump, Milton Keynes. Photo: Whiston.
Marcus Palmer has long since been a mag favourite, so it’s been great this last year seeing him finally get some of the recognition he truly deserves. How did you coax him into the Darling mix?
I’ve always loved his skating, and I bumped into him in Birmingham a fair bit when I’d be out and about with Kris. He loves jumping off houses and has the biggest smile on his face whilst doing it, with no moaning whatsoever; he’s a pleasure to film. I had to get used to him turning up three hours after the meet up time though.
Marcus is also a fan of a good battle; what’s the most impressive trick saga you saw him go through?
Quite often he would land on something second or third go, but still be there three hours later landing on it getting robbed. There was a frontside rock on some big Brummy cradle he had a photo with CJ (Chris Johnson) in his First Light. Whoever filmed it lost the footage back then, so we went back recently and had a good three-hour battle there, but didn't get it. He said when he did it for the photo he did it a few times easy…so he says (laughs). In all fairness, it had recently been painted and seemed slippy; he was just slipping out as soon as he dipped the frontside rock, and taking it over and over. I can't think of anything else in his part he had to walk away from, but that really worked him. Maybe some day.
Callun and Mark. Photo: Joe Vozza.
How was the production of Darling financed? Is it still a ‘t-shirts for petrol’ deal, or have you tapped into other revenue streams?
Nope, it was just financed out of our own pockets. I used to knock out a few bits of clothing to fund it slightly, but with the job change, I haven't got the time anymore. Any time I do have off I want to be filming, not doing ten Post Office trips (laughs). Most of us are much older now, everyone has full time jobs so can fund themselves to get about. Half of the mission is hanging out, time in the car, pub, or going for food. The actual skating is probably the smallest part of the day, so you tend not to think about the money side it.
Rianne Evans - feeble fakie, Leicester. Photo: Whiston.
How did it work for you going out filming during lockdown? Obviously empty cities are a skateboarders dream come true…did you start taking advantage straight away, or did you hold back a bit to see how the regulations played out?
I definitely held back, because I was unsure to start off with. Plus, most of the crew live in different cities, so no one was willing to risk it…but they would be happy for you to go to them (laughs). Like I said earlier, that’s when Josh Hay racked up most his footage in Leicester, because it was just me and him. Then gradually I started venturing out of Leicester, but still staying reasonably close, and traveling in separate cars. The police seemed more bothered by big groups, so if there were two or three of us filming and we were spread out, they left us be. Marcus' last trick, the 360 flip in Alfreton outside Wilkinsons, we filmed during heavy lockdown, and the shop was open as it was essential. It was just me and him, I was filming it longshot from far away and wore a mask the entire time…that’s a gnarly trick to get hyped for under those circumstances.
Lucas Healey - fakie nosepick, Wolverhampton. Photo: Whiston.
What was the first trick you filmed that made the Darling cut?
I looked recently actually, it was on January 5th 2019 in Loughborough with Goose (Lucas Healey). He filmed a new deal on that brick quarter at the University, and he tweaked his ankle straight after on the spot. A perfect start.
How about the last?
Weirdly, Marcus' Sneinton line was the last thing filmed. I put together his part and realised he only had one line, other than that it was all just hammers. To make it flow better I really needed at least one more line, and I had a gap in the timeline to fill. We filmed the line and that was filming done as far as I was concerned. I knew he was going pro a few days later with a surprise party at Ideal, so I had planned on going to film his reaction, but that was minor thing to fit in. The following week we did a last minute mission to try and get a trick on his new pro board, so he had one clip with it in the part, but we couldn't get the rollout.
Rianne Evans - beanplant, Evesham. Photo: Whiston.
Which clip are you personally the most hyped on and why?
That’s a hard one to choose. Josh Hay's last trick - the 360 flip down yellows in Coventry - is up there for me. We made about six visits in half a year, each time for two hours ‘til he couldn't move. Every visit he landed on it around ten times but just exploded with the impact, and he didn't understand why. We ended up filming various different 360 flips in that time so we had one for a back up, but I was also hoping it would be good practise and help for the yellows one. The spot you can only skate Sunday evening after 6pm, so that didn't help at all. Would you rather skate in the day and be tired by the evening, or sit at home all day waiting, thinking about it? The day we got it was the day Mark broke his wrists in Leamington in the morning; that wasn't a nice start to the day. It was a bank holiday and Bushy was staying with me, after Josh rolled away it was a heavy night. Bushy quit drinking the following week, so that was a big blowout weekend. Josh finally rolling away, Mark breaking both wrists, and Bushy quitting drinking…that was a very hectic weekend which sticks in my mind.
What’s the thinking behind the name Darling?
That’s from me being in a pub most of the time with some characters; there’s not a great lot of meaning. I really like looking through guest ale pump clips, looking at the different fonts and artwork used. The Last Orders DVD case was inspired by a pump clip, then the Darling case had some Joe Vozza photos from the pool table at the local.
I was really stoked on Lucas’ closing section. It feels like a proper ‘three years in the making’ part from him has been a long time coming. When did it become apparent that he would be having the last part? Was there ever anyone else in the running, or was it always safely Goose’s turn for the curtains?
There were two days he had in one month that confirmed it in my mind. One wet Milton Keynes mission we filmed the nollie 180 over the Buszy black bar with switch 3 off the kerb, which took a little while, then he shocked us all with the nollie 360 over the bar a few tries after. I didn't suggest it, it wasn't planned, it was just a rainy day surprise. For me, it's the best thing in his part; I can't think of anyone I've seen do one that big - it's nuts. A week or two later in Nottingham with just me and him, he filmed three things in a day - the 360 flip into the double kink bank at Queen's Uni, the crook nollie heel line at Rushcliffe arena, and the treflip fakie flip on Trent Uni red brick bank. All three clips he was really hyped on, and they all happened relatively easy. Over the three years Goose was steady with footage and I really wanted him to have last part, but it’s impossible to plan that far in advance. When you've got Vile, Marcus and Bushy, it could go any direction over that time period. When Bushy quit drinking and picked up the pace, I started questioning last part because he was unstoppable over those few months. Even though Bush had gone sober and did feel his part would work last, he had last part in 420 and Last Orders, so I felt it was Goose's time. The last clip of the video at Wolverhampton Civic Centre is so heavy and took three visits to get, right at the last minute; bailing off the kerb made it for me…
Lucas - wallride nollie, Birmingham. Photo: Whiston.
When did the editing process start, and how close to the premiere were you editing? Was it the case that you were locked in a room eating super noodles and not sleeping for a fortnight whilst wrapping the video up, or has your editing regime progressed since those days?
I edited the entire time, but sadly it still ended that way for me, yes. I was changing parts last minute, still filming weeks after the deadline, and just making it hard for myself, basically. Saving and rendering it out then watching it for an hour and spotting the smallest thing I wasn't happy with... The video doesn't have any credits, which annoys me, but I was so over it and was already late sending it off. The USBs arrived two days before the premiere, so it's lucky I didn't get invested in a credits section, to be honest.
Darling premiere night at Skate Parlour. Photos: Joe Vozza.
How was the premiere night at Skate Parlour? It looked like people travelled from all over to be there. Was the atmosphere similar to that of the Broom premieres of old?
Definitely, I was stoked with the turnout and the response as it felt just like Broom again. The video consists of such a big number of people spread over so many cities; some won't have even skated with each other during filming. It was nice to have everyone together for the first time; no one had seen their own part or each others, no one knew the order to the video or who was last…I kept as much as I could secret. When you think about the people who had sections and where they are all from - Bristol, Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Derby, Oxford, Nottingham, Sheffield, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Corby and Uppingham. They all have friends who are down to support and see what they've been working on which, I'm stoked to see.
What’s next for yourself and Get Lesta then? Are you saying “never again” in regards to another full-length, or will we be seeing you again in three year’s time with another hour-long production to release?
I can't see my back taking many more years, but I can't see myself stopping also…