Chris Mander Interview


Chris Mander is one of the longest serving members of The Terrible Company and is one of those naturally gifted skateboarders who never really loses his ability to shred. In recent times he has taken time out from skateboarding to embark on a career in programming and to start a family, but on the rare occasions where he goes skateboarding he embodies the style and ability of his younger self, with the only difference being a pair of glasses and a penchant for Commodore and NASA t-shirts. As someone instrumental to the history of The Terrible Company, I wanted to find out what skateboarding has meant to him and how the Coventry skate scene impacted his life.

Congratulations on becoming a Dad, and joining the ranks of ‘Rad Dads of the Cov Skate Scene’. Is being a Dad harder than skateboarding? 

Thanks! To be honest I’m not sure how I’d begin to compare them! They are both difficult and rewarding for completely different reasons.

You lived in Japan for a year and put skateboarding to rest for a bit – did you miss it when you were out there or were you happy to put skateboarding on the back burner?

I’ve always been into multiple things at a time, with one main hobby really taking focus. Throughout my teens and early twenties, skateboarding was it, but computer programming eventually became the next big thing I wanted to do and has been ever since. While this was where I was at during my time in Japan, I would still get the impulse to skate, just not as frequently as I imagine that the twenty year old me would in the same position.

Did you see much presence of skateboarding out in Japan?

I was based in a residential area outside of downtown Osaka, so I wasn’t expecting to see much skateboarding outside of the city. I was surprised that I didn’t see as much as I expected to see whenever I was downtown, perhaps I wasn’t in the right places as there’s definitely a scene out there.

I would see a lot of quirky skate spots that seemed untouched by skateboarders. It’s  either that there’s spots in far greater abundance than skateboarders can cover, or there’s a different attitude to street skating than in the west that causes these spots to be left untouched.

Chris’ first section in a Terrible Company video was in 2006’s Rushed Goods. I remember meeting Chris down Covpark and getting on with him really well, and remembering how he immediately involved me in the larger scene. He was largely my introduction to some of the best skateboarders in the city at the time like Matt and Tez Aldersley, Ralph Cooper and the older Ride team members like Gaz Taylor and Jim The Skin. 

What do you remember about the scene down Covpark around the time we first met?

I met you a little while before you put out the “Beastly” video. During that time there were smaller groups of skaters that all came together due to Covpark being built, and “Rushed Goods” captured that nicely.

I was always intimidated by the majority of skateboarders in the scene at that time. You kinda made skateboarding feel open for anyone wanting to join. Was the openness and inclusivity of skateboarding you exhibited something that drew you to it?

What drew me to skateboarding was how impressive it looked. I wanted to experience the feeling that the skaters in the videos that I watched must’ve felt. I also wanted to be part of a subculture that stood against the attitudes of popularity and exclusivity in secondary school.

I always thought of you as part of that crew of shredders everyone associated with Matt and Tez – how did you meet them?

I was about 14 or 15, and I met them through a friend who went to school with them. They were part of a group of people who all skated, and I tagged along when the group went through some changes after a few of them quit skateboarding. Matt and Tez were amazing, I remember them being so good when I first met them. The first time I skated with them, we were skating in Coventry City Centre, and Tez kickflipped the 6 set above Madge’s banks. He was just this tiny kid who was really good. That’s what motivated me about skateboarding because I saw those guys and it just looked like they were riding the air. It just seemed so natural to them.

Matt and Tez Aldersley were brothers who would go on to feature in Terrible Company videos after Rushed Goods. Both had parts in Corrosive Materials (2007) and Tez had a part in 2011’s Cannonball Holocaust. They were all terrain rippers who got onto the Ride team and were mainstays of the scene down Covpark. It was Chris, however, who ended up bagging more footage as he became a permanent member of our crew. 

You probably know what this blog is about as much as I do. What drew you to the kinda things we were doing as a crew with the blog?

I think it mixed art with skateboarding; it was a group of skateboarders who were in it for so much more creatively, who were into the artistic expression of it through video editing or graphic design, and also through documenting experiences through video or the written word. It was something more than just skateboarding.

How many parts do you think you have filmed for Terrible Company videos?

Well the first one was Rushed Goods… but this is more a question of do I remember all of the videos we made. Errr… I’m gonna guess 7.

I think it’s 8 – Rushed Goods, Corrosive Materials, Storybook, Guitar Solos With Skateboards, Batface, Cthulhu, 4 Horsemen (online part) and, finally, 2018’s Franchi$e. Not bad for a bunch of blokes fucking around with video cameras!

Well there you go – I forgot Franchi$e!

This blog is very much a weird, silly, daft thing which doesn’t take itself seriously. You’ve often been involved with skits we filmed where you skated dressed as a ninja, or where we made a mockumentary about you becoming addicted to a fake energy drink and disappearing. Do you think the daft nature of skits like this go hand in hand with skateboarding, or do you think we’re just idiots?

I think we were kids! We were young people wanting to have fun. I think it just goes hand in hand with growing up, and just having a sense of humour. I think the whole Mind Cry Energy Drink skit was the start of me not being involved in the videos so much. I was feeling fatigued with it all and specifically with skateboarding just to film, even just with skateboarding. It was a long time ago but it was definitely rooted in me wanting to take a step away, but rather than just say that we decided to make a joke out of it and be creative.

As you’ve gotten older do you still feel a connection to Coventry skateboarding or do you think that time has passed?

I mean, perhaps the latter – but it was 10 years of my life, of being deeply part of that scene, and I don’t think you can easily just escape something you have spent that much time involved in. I think a part of me will always be thinking about Coventry skateboarding. 

What would it take to convince you to come and film a full part for me again?

A full part?? 3 to 4 minutes???


That’s a lot of skateboarding! I mean I would have to warm up a lot to get to the skating which is worth filming. I dunno, I don’t see it happening personally haha. 

Anyone you want to thank?

You, I guess – when I stopped skating with Matt and Tez so much, I didn’t have anyone to skate with, and you and the rest of the Terribleco folks welcomed me into the group. It kept me skating, and I really appreciated it. Probably kept me out of trouble! Being part of the Cov scene and the Terrible Company lead to many awesome friends including yourself, so… err… Thank you, Ade, haha.

Chris is one of my best friends, and one of the best people I know. I wouldn’t be who I am today without having met him, and he’s the embodiment of the fun and creativity I found within skateboarding. To conclude, I think the point of interviewing him was to shine a light on some unsung personal heroes – sometimes it’s not a guy with a pro board who can inspire you to skate, sometimes all you need is some friends who make you wanna skate.

To finish up – here’s a megamix of Chris Mander footage from the late 2000′s and early 2010′s!

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