Diggin’ In The Crates-Boston:Placid Planet
Placid Planet Surf Shop
A surf shop in Boston. On Newbury Street. Across the street from Armani. Run by overtly active and fun-loving people. That drew in characters of all sorts from an already eclectic city. Beers in the a.m. Surf videos in the afternoon. Golfing in the shop. Full contact, post-Goldschlager football. Descendants of Samurai Warriors. Hair metal drummers. Professional skateboarders. Preppy real estate brokers. College girls. Tattoo artists. Australian surfers. Ghetto youth. Graffiti artists. Dogs. Asian exchange students. South American visitors.
There was a core group that worked the shop and their closest friends that spent down time there. Like any surf shop, hangers-on will accumulate. If you make them comfortable they will hang. The close friends’ close friends began to show up. And once they had a good time the word spread like a virus. Often, especially if it was sunny, someone would show up with beer. And by evening, more beer and usually a bottle of some frat-boy liquor would be going around. Oh, and everyone smoked.
The people who had no out were the employees. Myself, Minesinger, DeeDee, Blue, Mikey Dread and a couple other people for brief periods of time were actually ringing up what was being sold. Of course Katro and Clik were hired to do their art thing and became part of the core group. Bryn was our model and he and his then girl Dot spent a lot of their free time there for a while. Roommates and girlfriends and of course any roommate’s girl friends or girlfriend’s girl friends were always welcome. These were the most obvious and closest to invited of the tight-knit crew. But it grew from there into a petri-dish of random characters that still makes me laugh.
Upstairs was Richard, who to this day is still one of the most odd and engaging people I have crossed paths with. He had no knowledge of skateboarding or surfing, and less of fashion. He hadn’t let anyone in his apartment in years. I could go on for hours about Richard. Like about his dentist chair with the extensive antennae system for the tv that was a series of runners along the ceiling, pulleys and chains. Each channel on the tv required a specific angle and location for the antennae. Richard had invented a combustible engine of sorts that ran on water, therefore his life was in danger. He rode a very tall pink bike he created that you could easily sit on with your feet on the peddles at a complete stand-still. He was a odd man and was from another planet from us. But he was always there. Always ready to go to a show, watch a skate video, pound some beers, or learn what is was we were so psyched about. Always open-minded.
There are so many people to describe it is overwhelming to try and put words down.
DJP was a real estate broker and a well connected, unashamed preppy—which put him as close to hate-able as you can imagine. But, he was awesome. A complete dude. He never came empty handed and was ready for anything. I can still hear his laugh. He is the one who named my first dog.
Francis was the drummer for Shy Boy, a hair metal band and a semi-professional roller bladder. He rode his bike like a psycho and played the drums in a leopard print g-string. Fuckin-A.
Kadri Kurgun was a male model and a kick-ass surfer who shared all of his North Shore (of Massachusetts) secret spots with us. He showed up after shoots often with attractive girls with cool names like Vasilka and partied like a war veteran.
Scott Eisenberg knew Chris from Maryland I think. A lot of people got connected through the Maryland channels. No one was funnier than Scott. His nickname was/is Dudeciah. Like Children of the Corn, but a dude. Funniest guy I have ever met. Still.
Jean-Pierre Knight’s parents met us first. They were Australian. They saw that we were surfing and then brought their son over to go to University in Boston. JP, or “fuck-wit” as we called him (he wasn’t a fuck-wit, it was just that his accent made that sound great) joined our inner circle and added a little extra surf stoke.
“F” & “Y” were two Japanese kids studying in Boston who became the premier surf shop groms. We called them “F” & “Y” because their names were so hard to pronounce. Y’s name was something like Yasahiro. F’s was even harder to understand. They spoke very little english and hung out constantly. They laughed at our jokes, bought our merchandise and brought all of their friends. After years we found out F’s name was Kotoro. Oops.
Digging in the crates and pulling out old photos reminds me of how great things were. How well we all got along despite all of the glaring differences. There is a lesson in there somewhere.