What is a stonk? What is a Gilnow Trader? Will anyone ever watch my scene video? Why should I even give a shit? All totally valid questions, let us answer them all for you.
In the midst of the pandemic, everything was pretty much boring and shite, for want of a better word. Thinking of new ways to dodge endless Zoom calls from your employer and going on a single walk a day was pretty much the norm for most of us. Some people took on new hobbies. Me, I started seeing how much I could drink before I passed out... It was either that or knitting. I don't regret my decision. From out of the fire of the pandemic, a new board company (just what everyone needed ey) rose from the ashes. Gilnow Traders. A mix of meme culture tied in with the usual skate themed ensembles.
We recently spoke to the Head of Creative Endeavours for Gilnow Traders, Jack Gittins (@gittogram) to delve into what is Gilnow Traders and who is the man behind the lens. Enjoy.
So, who are ya? What do you do for those who don't know you already?
Jack: I'm a freelance filmmaker, originally from Bolton. I worked in TV in London for a couple of years but then moved to Leeds, London was too busy and I was barely skating, so a change of pace was in order.
Well, I went to uni in Leeds, so I had friends already here - I'd made a few independent videos whilst in Leeds and I mean, that's kind of the reason I came back here. I got a creative residency at the University here, which was basically just an excuse for me to use their equipment to go film skating with.
Any memorable moments from your time working on TV? Didn't you work on Pointless?
Haha, yeah. I worked on Pointless pretty much just as a runner, which was cool. It was the most fun job I've probably ever had. My main take away from that though, was Richard Osmand is a moody guy, and Alexander Armstrong is a G.
Well you learn something every day, anyway, back to skateboarding.
Yeah, so I grew up in Bolton, left at 16 to live in Warrington, started making videos there with people - mainly just shitty phone stuff. But it was cool. I kinda realised around then, I wasn't great at skateboarding - not bad, but you know, not great. So I started filming instead, got a proper shit digital camera and just absolutely fell in love with that.
What's the first video you ever made?
Oh god, it's some weird Warrington skate video with like, Tyler the Creator music in the back. Awful. It's weird because for a while I feel like I was inspired by many different film makers and videos and you'd almost try to emulate what they've done, rather than figure stuff out for yourself, but I think that's part of the process. But I'd say the first proper one, with actual parts and some dedicated time was WZA X LEEDS.
I think the emulation part of that kind of is the same for everyone when you're figuring out what you wanna do. But it's fine because realistically who's actually watching your scene video..
Yeah hahah, that's definitely true. I made this little Leeds skateboarding documentary inbetween projects years ago, and honestly it's so corny and outdated, but by far it's the most watched video I have on YouTube.. So so strange, maybe it's the broad title but that was definitely one which didn't age well. Like most of them to be honest.
Unless you're someone like Joe Gavin, I guess, then it's banger after banger.
Totally. Honestly, I have no idea how someone like Joe does it, how they constantly still even now after like 15/20 years are finding new spots and skating them like it's nothing. It's incredible.
Are you working on anything new right now?
Yeah, Northern Lights 3 is the video I've pretty much finished now - but i'm just waiting to be able to do a proper premiere for it. I'm proper happy with this one too. There's parts from a crazy mix of people, from Bolton, to Warrington to Leeds, hitting up different spots and blending all those scenes together in one way or another.
Sick! Who's been the most fun to film with?
Ah, that's a tough one. I don't know if there's a single person but how can you not love filming the people's champ, Tom Cottam. Easily one of the best skateboarders/humans I've ever met. Myles, the man with no last name. He's been a staple of my time in Leeds, seeing how much he's progressed too is crazy. He's getting so good now. I've also liked bringing Rory Boyle over from Warrington and to Leeds, that's been class. He kind of attacks things differently and gives it a new perspective. Oh, can't forget Beanhalgh and Joe Brookes, filming with them two has been absolutely hilarious.
Haha, yeah, I don't know them well, but they kind of remind me of Peter Hewitt and Frank Gerwer, never short of some hijinx.
Right, so let's talk Gilnow Traders. What on earth is Gilnow? Where did it all come from? I get asked this question more than anything right now.
Gilnow.. it's just Gilnow isn't it. It's really weird because I don't even know what it is. We're not a serious company, we don't wanna be that kind of company who's pestering everyone to preorder their shitty graphics that no one asked for. I guess in some ways, it's kind of a joke that's now, not a joke anymore.. but it is? Does that make sense.
No, not in the slightest, elaborate haha..
It's just something we came up with for us and it's funny. That's what it should be anyway. But let me give a bit of context to it.
So I basically slid into Tuesday's DMs, offering to film a shop video for them - I've wanted to do stuff back for Bolton for a while and that seemed like my way of contributing. That turned into NL3, but anyway. So after a bit of chatting and popping by, I started doing some graphics for them, a couple of stickers and stuff. So this one time we were walking back from the shop through this place in Bolton which is pretty sketchy called Gilnow which is between Heaton and town. One of them ones where you gotta watch where you stand for needles and broken bottles. So, this one time we were walking through, this guy was walking towards us, looking super sketchy and out of it, he stopped started rustling round in his pockets. He turns around and starts walking right at us, whilst staring us in the eyes, and we're like "yo man, you alright?". I look down and he's got a pair of like, hairdressing scissors wrapped in his knuckles, he doesn't say anything and just dips past us. Honestly, felt like he was about to punch us in the neck with the scissors. We got onto this joke of calling him the Gilnow Reaper, and that became a bit of a meme for us all round here - and Gilnow being a fuckin' sketch place and just rolled from there.
Just a normal day in Bolton then, yeah.. hahaha. Yeah that's a bit wild.
So, then during lockdown, I kinda got sucked into the stock market and meme stocks and all that stuff. I was bored as hell at home and my god, it was a funny way to spend some time and money. I think to be honest out of sheer luck, me and my silent partner and CFO of Gilnow Traders, made some nice pocket money. I just threw money at the market when it was low, meme stocks and all of that - it was funny but we made some good money. So jokingly I was like, why don't I just open a trading company called Gilnow Traders, after the Gilnow Reaper and kinda furthering the meme stock life haha.
So that inspired me to make these stickers for Tuesday's kinda the pretext to the traders, it's funny to just make a joke of everything, you might wanna hang onto them stock trading stickers. Rare them.
Okay, so quick breakdown, Gilnow Traders was a joke that's kind of now not a joke. But at the same time, with it not being so serious you can kinda do what you want with it.
Basically yeah, it's me trying spread an inside joke to the rest of the world. It's just a chance to do stuff with your mates, hook people up who deserve it, make videos and have a laugh. What more could you wanna do. I have absolutely no need or want to make any money from it, it's just the next step up from making scene videos. It's just for us.
Exactly, I think skateboarding is basically all bullshit now, and we've sometimes gotta go back to what made it fun in the first place, like why did we start doing it.
Yeah, and that's what hopefully you'll all see from NL3 with the entire meme section that's in there. And everything we're gonna do with Gilnow.
Anything you'd like to add before I set you free?
*distinct vape noises*