Posing Productions The Gritstone Myth Deconstructed ? Grit Flick

© Posing Productions
Grit Flick  © Posing Productions
Grit Flick is the new DVD from Alastair Lee at Posing Productions. It is a series of short films covering a variety of top-level gritstone ascents, from hard headpointing to onsighting and highball bouldering.

If you watch Grit Flick with an intelligent mind it deconstructs gritstone climbing. This is an important climbing film, it lays bare the preparation and practice that enabled some climbers to climb short technical difficult routes and then label them with hyper-inflated grades. These super 'hypothetical' grades, in the odd case, meant money and financial security or at the very least headlines in the climbing media, free gear and a reputation.

The myth surrounding gritstone climbing reached a pinnacle with the globally influential film Hard Grit; it was hard and very dangerous and only practised by a few talented god-like climbers. This has now changed, we have moved on.

John tries to persuade Ryan not to undersell himself as regards the grade and alternates between suggesting an inflated E grade and no grade at all. Ryan isn't interested; he's not there to promote himself, but to climb.

Now, especially with demolition of the grit myth by Team America and the young Japanese climber, Toru Nakajima, talented climbers in the UK, - and there are lots of capable climbers in the UK- can just get on with enjoying hard grit for what it is: a short, intense and unique British climbing experience that, if you know what you are doing, whilst it can be frightening, is usually quite safe if you use bouldering mats, spotters, rehearsed moves, and have knowledge of the gear (most do). For the talented few some of the rehearsed test pieces of yesterday also go without practice from the ground up.

Grit Flick showcases with four headline acts and six supporting acts, and documents through these examples where hard gritstone climbing is at the moment, almost hype and grade free. Alastair Lee has put together ten well crafted climbing stories, running time 85 minutes, with his trademark rhythmic editing and impeccable musical tastes, with no commentary; the climbers and the climbing speak for themselves.

We see Ryan Pasquill, who just like his dad Hank is supremely talented and understated, climb what John Dunne describes in his typical hyperbole as the hardest route on grit, nay the World. The chat between John and Ryan, after Ryan has climbed Gerty Bertwick, the wall left of New Statesman at Ilkley is priceless. John tries to persuade Ryan not to undersell himself as regards the grade and alternates between suggesting an inflated E grade and no grade at all. Ryan isn't interested; he's not there to promote himself, but to climb.

Grit Flick DVD Cover  © Posing Productions
Burnley's Jordan Buys, another great talent, climbs Widdop Wall and French Duke at Earl Crag. Jordan is another innocent without an agenda, an everyday climber untainted by commercialism. The process is witnessed, nothing is hidden: we watch the all important experience and emotion.

Last year Lucy Creamer decided to give this hard grit malarkey a go and after doing the 'safe' Jannus we witness her journey climbing the far more serious Slab and Crack at Curbar. This is one of the strongest stories as we listen to Lucy contemplate what she is about to do; there's a great deal of soul searching here.

The talented Ben Bransby, Adam Long, James McHaffie, Jack Geldard and Pete Whittaker are all featured, again the hype is non-existent and what we get is pure climbing joy; success and failure, onsight, ground up and headpoint. All these climbers have an attitude, a refreshing one.

The music? Always a personal preference, but Lee has nailed it for me, especially wth Josh Ritter and Chris Brooke.....and I bet, like me you'll laugh out loud at some of the over dramatic and ironic flourishes that accompany some of the 'tense' moments. Almost slapstick at times.

In Brief:

At £12.99 this DVD represents great value for money. I like the format of short stories that you can dip into, and to be honest some of the supporting acts were as good as the headline acts. There's lots of climbing, entertaining and illuminating dialogue, some great funny bits and I'd be surprised if you will be disappointed with Lee's latest masterpiece. Whilst it won't be as influential as Hard Grit, and isn't as dramatic, it is a worthy successor and illustrates the progression climbers have made on god's own rock.

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23 Nov, 2009
is there anywhere i can get a full tracklisting for the music, saw the widdop wall section at kendal and thought the music was fantastic
5 Dec, 2009
I agree with Aidens review of this movie, its poorly made on many levels. I was surprised by the review here on ukclimbing by Mick. This got me to thinking I have'nt seen a bad review of anything be it gear or movie on ukclimbing in a long while. Is this because all gear being reviewed is excellent or Are the reviewers not up to par or Are ukclimbing caving into companies who put there products foreword for review and subsequently generate revenue for the web site through advertising. I like this web site but it has gone up a gear in the last year regarding quantity of advertising and good for ukclimbing, Its a success in a world of failed dot com websites. However this often can com at a cost. The cost can often be that the integrity of the website can easily be compromised with a keep the advertisers happy attitude. I have seen this on other websites all to often.
5 Dec, 2009
Hi Aiden, So scathing was your review of my review I just had to watch Grit Flick again whilst I was doing my Saturday morning chores. ...and Al Lee and Ben Pritchard I think, could be wrong there. Al would be able to give you a breakdown. This is becoming typical of many climbing films these days, see Big Up and Sender film credits. The Gaz Parry section on Reservoir Dogs is about 2 minutes long. It's in the supporting acts section. Yes it is weaker than the rest, although I liked the nervous heavy breathing and his quote at the end...back to bouldering now. The Headliners are the strength of this £12.99 DVD. I'm glad he charged that price rather than £20. Climbing films are moving on, no longer are they rare, it's competitive market what with the internet and bigger budget productions coming out of the USA. My favourites in the headliners are Lucy Creamer on Slab and Crack, Jordan Buys on Widdop Wall and Ryan Pasquill on Gerty Berwick....less so Ben Bransby at Rylstone. My three favourites are well filmed, well crafted and entertaining. The dialogue from the climbers is clear and informative, and entertaining....especially Old Skool John Dunne, a great climber and great self publicist, wax about grades, continually contradicting himself, it provides a great insight in to the mind of 80's/90's climbers and how they used the E grade system to inflate themselves. I loved Lucy Creamer on Slab and Crack...especially her dialogue. Explaining why she is doing the route and how she feels about it. Then she just gets on with it. These are climbing stories not just climbing porn. Over the years the gritstone myth has been deflated. Hard Grit is brilliant and of its time. We've moved on. Grit Flick shows this... these everday top climbers featured just go about their business of enjoying these Hard Grit routes without much fanfare, hype or drama. That's what I mean about Grit Flick being a worthy successor to Hard Grit. McHaffie at Brimham I also enjoyed. That lad is ripping it up on Grit at the moment. Some of the humour I found laugh out loud, some of it lame. That is the nature of humour. Art is subjective whether it be writing, paintings or films. I enjoyed this film, you didn't and that is fine. It isn't a blockbuster film by any means, not ground breaking, but a fine record of some climbers climbing some great grit routes over the last year or so. Mick I stand by my review and you can stand by yours. That is the nature of the interaction and opportunity to comment that the internet gives us.
5 Dec, 2009
Hi Cyberpunk, For any media reviews of products are difficult. In fact open any climbing magazine and you will rarely see a gear review. What you will see are advertorials. A page of products with a few lines of text. We also have those on our gear page, in the left hand column under GEAR NEWS. These are uploaded by our advertisers and provide you with an image of the product, what the product is designed for, technical specifications, and sometimes stockists. They aren't reviews. A forum thread auto starts when these are published and anyone can comment. Gear Reviews. We are again rejigging how we do reviews. We have some great reviewers: Toby Archer, Es Tressider is doing some, Jon Griffith, Will Sim, Viv Scott...etc All we ask reviewers is that they read up on the product they have, look at what the manufacturer says it is to be used for, they give it a hammering in the outdoors. Then they report back and described how it performed. We publish, then anyone can have their say if they have experience of the product. And you do! Sometimes negative, sometimes in praise. As well as doing individual gear reviews, we are also in the process of writing GEAR GUIDES for a whole range of outdoor equipment. If you look at some of our recent reviews you will almost often find some criticism, usually constructive. One of our most well known critical reviews was by Toby Archer and the DMM offsets: So, the much awaited DMM Alloy Offsets, good, but in their current form far from perfect. It had a positive outcome. DMM acted on Toby's criticism. Recently Jon Griffith wasn't happy with the xs fabric on the TrollW all jacket Will Sim had issues with the durability of the Sportiva Batura Again gear reviews are kept honest by the attached forum threads. Mick
8 Dec, 2009
i was excited by this DVD given the hype that surrounded it, so much so that i got it sent over to the US so i didn't have to wait 5 months to watch it. however i'm gonna have to whole-heartedly agree with Aiden with his's a mess of a film. i'm just glad it was 'only' £12.99 and to be honest apart from 3 'ok' segments (widdop, gerty and bransby's highball) i'd be embarrassed to put my name to it. some of the attempts at humour, as Aiden points out, were just cringeworthy. a couple of points to add to Aiden's review: it is absolutely criminal to misspell the names of climbers or participants in films like this yet somehow allysder (joke) has managed it, and not just in this film either. secondly some of the camera work is really poor and seems lazy, not doing justice to the climbs and climbers. the lucy creamer section was so boring that i could only get through the first couple of minutes before skipping, it's no slight on lucy but i just couldn't give a poop whether she did it or not. does al lee have tourette's or something? i've never heard a cameraman talk so much. anyone want a copy? it's going cheap.
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