120: Mike Manzoori/Auteur

Mike and his dog Mr Sneaky captured by Owen Tozer via Zoom, May 2020

“One day I’ll wake up and have to get a real job”.

I’m back with the great Mike Manzoori, a much-loved UK skateboarder who has quietly had one of the most influential careers in British skating.

Mike on home turf at Southbank, 1998. Photo: Wig Worland

Mike’s been renowned for the power and style of his skating since day one, along with peers like Curtis McCann and Simon Evans came up during an era of particular significance for UK skateboarding, documented by the great TLB through the pages of RaD magazine and through Mike’s own early experiments in film making.

The classic April 1992 RaD cover. Photo: Read and Destroy/Tim Leighton Boyce

Later, he headed to the States and evolved into one of the most progressive and creative film-makers in skateboarding. It’s a career arc that perfect mirror the evolution of UK skateboarding as a while, and it means Mike has a brilliant perspective on the last three decades.

Mike by Owen Tozer, May 2020.

I’ve been keen to chat to Mike for the show for years, and the result was a really lovely, engaging conversation with a properly humble and modest character.

Mike at SOAS, 1998. Photo: Wig Worland

My thanks to Mike for taking the time to do it, and to Don Brown, Dan Adams and Wig Worland for their help pulling this episode together.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Mike

Show Notes

  • Love for the episodes with Sam McGuire and Tim Leighton-Boyce.
  • Early 90s skate nostalgia.
  • College editing suites and borrowed cameras.
  • Skate films for Matt Fowler’s degree
  • Bubble Gum Weekend ‘92.
  • Showing videos in skate shops.
  • Editing geeking.
  • Transition from BMX to skateboarding.
  • Skateboarding fascination.
  • E.T. and Back to the Future got a generation to start skateboarding.
  • Skate crew based around West London.
    “Back when tricks were flippy and it was 99% bails”.
  • Influence of Curtis McCann.
  • “Tony Alva who?”
  • Getting on Powell.
  • Going to contests with Curtis.
  • Early 90s skate times.
  • The R.A.D. Magazine interview.
  • “There was always a soundtrack to everything”.
  • Skateboarding culture.
  • “There’s a little more than just tricks happening”.
  • Creative content then vs now.
  • “You get swamped with junk and have to find the good stuff”.
  • Moving to the States.
  • “Visas got longer and longer”.
  • Transition from skateboarding to filming.
  • “Skateboarding didn’t pay a damn thing back then”.
  • “I should be filming the demos and not being in them”.
  • “Things just happened to work out the right way”.
  • Leaving the family behind.
  • “Back then it felt further away than it does now”.
  • Golden era at Sole Technology.
  • Emerica projects.
  • Skateboarding and camera technology evolving.
  • Seeing Arto Saari in a Euro contest.
  • Stand out skateboarders.
  • Hard-drives full of mind-blowing sessions.
  • Heath Kirchart on Bob’s mega ramp.
  • Working for one place for 25 years.
  • “I’ve got nothing but thanks for those guys”.
  • Relationship with Jon Miner.
  • Travelling back and forth between America and Europe.
  • Soundtrack for the Album project.
  • Layers of creativity in video productions.
  • The nightmare that is music licensing.
  • Working with artists that care about the project.
  • “You can’t please everyone can you?”
  • Making music for skate videos.
  • The Dinosaur Jr. video. 
  • Mike Watts cameos.
  • The impact of music on skating.
  • Lockdown projects and freelance work.
  • “One day I’ll wake up and have to get a real job”.
  • Building a life around skating.

People Mentioned

Brands Mentioned

  • Rad Magazine
  • The Berrics 
  • Santa Cruz
  • New Deal UK
  • Veryflex skateboards
  • Skateshop Buddies
  • Slam City 
  • M-Zone
  • Sorry Skates
  • Powell Peralta
  • Sole Technology
  • Etnies 
  • Emerica
  • Altamont Clothing

Places Mentioned

  • Amersham, UK
  • Harrow, UK
  • Ealing, UK
  • Santa Rosa, California