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Self Storage: Matt 'Swift Blazer' Swift

You might remember our Self Storage feature from its original outing way back in 2021, but in case you don't, here's the basic premise: At the request of Martin Kennelly from Slugger Skate Shop in Sheffield, we tasked an assortment of the U.K.’s most diehard skate obsessives with talking us through their prized skate-related paraphernalia. Neil Macdonald and Dan Cates kicked things off in fine style, and now, as we stare down the barrel of 2024, we set our Self Storage sights on Sheffield, for a rummage through Matt Swift’s stash, which has been carefully accumulated over the course of the last quarter of a century.

You’ll no doubt be familiar with Matt’s work already, via his prolific Swift Blazer Instagram account and YouTube channel, where for no other reason than to bring classic skating to as many feeds as possible, Matt can be found sharing iconic and lesser seen photos, excerpts from legendary and overlooked videos, and - when time allows - he compiles and edits remix sections for any skater that catches his eye. Matt’s own time in skateboarding started slightly before the new millennium, in 1999, so it makes sense that his output usually ranges from then, right up to the present day.

Given how passionate Matt is about skateboard culture, we decided that to kick off the new year (and hopefully a new run) of Self Storage, his Sheffield base would be an ideal place to start. Have a scroll below to peruse the South Yorkshire dwelling gold that Matt came back with…

Clothing from Sumo Skate Shop

At the top is one of my favourite t-shirts, I bought it in 2003. This was a limited edition t-shirt you got for completing a loyality card; every time you spent £10 or more, your card got stamped, when you got 12 stamps you would get the t-shirt. The jeans are another favourite as well; Sumo always had the best quality hoodies and t-shirts, and when I saw the jeans for the first time, they were an instant purchase (laughs).

I was always made to feel welcome by everyone who worked there, like Dan Mirza, Snoop, Henry (Clay) and Seb (Palmer). I have so many good memories of going into the shop every day before work, or buying Chomp on This and watching the video in the shop with a few people who worked there, because it was the last copy (laughs).

After Sumo closed, it was so good to see another shop open. I think it was about 2005 when Mark Baines first opened Story Store in The Forum. The hoodie, t-shirts and the board on the left in the photo were some of the first items released by Story. The ‘Greetings from Sheffield’ t-shirt also features artwork by Arthur Tubb - another one of my favourites shirts.

I recently came across the True Love boards for sale on Instagram; I skated the True board in 2005 or 2006, and when I saw the post saying they were for sale, I had to get them.

Mid-2000s board collection

I have a few boards that I saved from about 2005, but most of my collection is from the last 10 years. I found the Rasa Libre board on eBay a few years ago, from a guy in Germany. Rasa Libre had a very good art direction for their boards and ads, with an amazing team as well.

Live From Antarctica is another one of my favourite U.K. videos; I saw the board for sale on eBay, and it was another instant purchase. The (Danny) Brady board is his first one after Lost and Found was released. Neil Smith’s Time for Tea board is another favourite, also with artwork by Arthur Tubb, and being a typical Brit, I love tea (laughs).

Blueprint Skateboards videos: 1996 - 2010

One of my favourite board brands ever; I’ve been a big fan of Blueprint since I first got the Belong Tour on VHS, especially seeing Brady, Tuukka (Korhonan) and Nick Jensen, who were around the same age as me at the time. The filming and editing on the videos were always amazing, and the song choices fit so good with each rider.

I've lost count of how many times I've watched Lost and Found, especially Brady and Neil Smith’s parts, with the Sixto Rodriguez and Skinnyman songs. Another example of great editing, and song choices that introduced me to a lot of artists I hadn't heard of.

etnies Sal 23s (& 23.5s)

When I first started skating I was wearing a lot of etnies shoes, and got my first pair of Sal 23s in 2003. They were the comfiest and most durable shoes, I skated so many pairs of them. The Sal 23.5s were good as well. I first saw Zered Bassett skating in them in a Transworld interview and had to get a pair.

An Aesthetics haul

Aesthetics was another company that always had an amazing team, ads, clothing and artwork by Alex Aranovich, Donny Miller and Alfred Hawkins. Ryde or Die Vol. 1 is still one of those videos I watch before I go skating.

I would see Aesthetics products in Sidewalk for Faze 7 Distribution ads, but could never find any boards to buy. The Rob Welsh board is from the ‘Baby Mama' series by Donny Miller in 2003. This another eBay purchase that I had to buy it when I saw it for sale. I heard Clyde Singleton say on his episode of The Nine Club that Sal (Barbier) is bringing back Aesthetics. I would love to see reissues of the Ruff Ryder board or the Arcade series.

Palace planks

When Palace announced they were doing a collab with Aesthetics, to me that was the best collab of the year (laughs). I love that they reissued one of Rob Welsh’s old boards. I'm a big fan of reggae, and when I saw the Selassie and Marcus Garvey boards, they were another instant purchase… from eBay (laughs).

I was buzzing to get the Lucien (Clarke) Peter Tosh board. A few months after it was released, Palace were issued a cease and desist by Peter Tosh’s estate.

I first saw footage of Kyle Wilson in his Yardsale part. I was a fan of his skating straight away; sick lines and switch flippin’ a picnic table like it's nothing. When he went pro for Palace, I had to get one of his boards for the collection.

Prints, prints, prints.

Since I first started collecting magazines, I've always loved the different styles of photography used in the shots taken. The Huf and Mark Gonzales prints are from Tobin Yelland’s website. The photo at the Brooklyn Banks is so good, making a huge ollie look effortless.

Another classic photo of Paul Shier’s nosegrind on an ice block for the cover for Sidewalk, December 1997. I've got the magazine, and when i saw Wig (Worland) was selling prints, I had to get one. I was stoked to get the (Ben) Grove and Stalker (Matt Keal) prints from Leo (Sharp). The photo of Grove at the rail to bank spot in Sheffield is another favourite, from first seeing it in Sidewalk.

Transworld Magazine - November 2000

This was the first skateboard magazine I ever owned, and it started my love of collecting. Seeing (Eric) Koston noseslide the Hollywood Bowl ledge blew my 13 year old mind at the time, and seeing the footage a few months later when I bought Menikmati, it looked impossible to me (laughs).

Clown Publication 01 - 2021

When Clown Skateboards started again in 2021, I began sending them photos of old Clown ads and team riders to post on their Instagram. A couple of months later, Jeff (Boardman) who owns Clown, messaged me saying they were doing a book with Dogpiss Mag, about the past and present of Clown Skateboards. He asked if I could send some photos to Dogpiss for the book. I got a copy of the book a few months later and was stoked to open it and see that I had been listed as one of the contributors!

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