Craig Louis (craig1st) Sun 19 Jun 11 15:32
That definitely goes into the bon mots collection!
Ed Ward (captward) Tue 21 Jun 11 09:05
And yet when you hit a place like Cuba, the truth seems as weird as anything you could make up. The bureaucratic hassles -- not to mention the ideological ones -- the surfers in your Cuban chapter go through are amazing. Is there any justification for that? Are they secretly, in the context of the broader Cuban context, right-wingers?
Michael Scott Moore (mikesmoore) Tue 21 Jun 11 10:55
Yes, they're suspected America-lovers. Cuba's planned economy doesn't provide for surfboards or almost anything to make them, so there's a club in Havana that accepts donations from surfers around the world. The president of the club also happens to be the island's best shaper, so he can build new boards out of whatever broken stuff they get. But when these guys first started to surf in the 90s, the government arrested a few on the suspicion that they wanted to paddle their boards to Florida.
Ed Ward (captward) Tue 21 Jun 11 11:17
What's your suspicion, though? Since (I assume) you don't have the political/cultural agenda the Cubans have. And how'd you get in, anyway, gringo?
Michael Scott Moore (mikesmoore) Tue 21 Jun 11 13:18
Well, most of them would paddle to America if they could. They're rebels within their own system, like surfers everywhere. They're "right wing" in Cuba, sure, but in the Havana Surf Club it's still free equipment for everyone, and the best loot for the best surfers -- "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." I pointed out to the president that they ran their outfit like a bunch of commies.
Michael Scott Moore (mikesmoore) Tue 21 Jun 11 13:22
Oh, and I traveled to Cuba on my German passport. I have dual citizenship, and the whole point of living in Berlin is to make use of the EU passport. Getting to Cuba was the culmination of that little personal project. Though in retrospect I don't know how legal it was.
Ed Ward (captward) Thu 23 Jun 11 12:04
So, Mike, it's our last day here, and there'll be another interview coming up any moment. Got any last things you'd like to say to the readers (besides "buy my books," but you can find a subtle way to say that, too)? Of course, we can keep this going as long as there's interest, so if anyone reading hasn't asked a question they want to ask, do so now, or submit one to inkwell at well dot com and I'll post it immediately.
Michael Scott Moore (mikesmoore) Fri 24 Jun 11 06:37
Thanks for the interview Ed! And please do buy the book. Here's the official page on my site, though the new paperback version has a different cover -- http://radiofreemike.com/nonfiction/sweetness-and-blood
Mike Gaylord (putterer) Fri 24 Jun 11 09:19
I'm so sorry to be late; Life intruded. I regret missing this. Your book is a fine piece of work, Mr. Moore. The first spark I got was on, what, like page 2, when you identified Redondo Beach as a "glamour-resistant suburb of Los Angeles". Nailed it! I always knew that. Never articulated the thought into words though. I grew up in the Westside of Long Beach from 1957 through 1970, and the major cultural underlayments for a teenager in that spot at that time was the Lions Dragstrip, Big Ed Daddy Roth, and the surfing culture (such as it was). Ironically: the LB beach was a mere pond, tamed to flatness by the breakwater built to tame the waves either for (take your pick) the oil drilling platforms within sight of downtown, or to enhance the Port harbor commerce. In any case it ruined the beach for any kind of surf action or even appreciation, so if a Long Beach kid wanted to get to the waves, it had to be a road trip to Newport or Huntington Beach, and for a kid sans wheels (me) the culture became somewhat mythical. But not glossy/fake mythical like those lousy Annette & Frankie movies, or the later "World Championship" "competition" circuses the TV people eventually came to realize they could exploit at the Huntington Beach Pier (George Freeth redux)... but the surf culture was real in its simplicity and honesty, even for a kid who hovered around the borders of it. What I'm trying to say is, thanks for writing that book. You kept it real, and in the process explained the value of the art. Nicely done.
Michael Scott Moore (mikesmoore) Sat 25 Jun 11 06:53
Thanks Mike, and thanks for the post!
the view from prescription hill (cjb) Fri 8 Jul 11 14:47
For those stimulated by Michael's excellent work, there are some more histories of surfing to check out: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/opinion/08fri4.html
(fom) Sat 23 Jul 11 00:51
Great discussion,. I have been reading and loving the book, and didn't get the reminder email that the discussion was starting, so I missed it. Dammit. Really my own fault, though. I could have written down the dates.
Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 26 Jul 11 20:30
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Ed Ward (captward) Wed 27 Jul 11 02:21
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 28 Jul 11 22:18
Ed Ward (captward) Sun 22 Jan 12 04:43
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