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A Couple Thoughts on Attitude01/21/2016

Today I was listening to an episode of The Enormocast Podcast (which, in general, I find to be of a wonderfully high quality, this particular episode included) where founder and host Chris Kalous and guest Kelly Cordes were rapping about the 5Point Film Festival back in 2012 (yes, I’m essentially going back through the show’s entire catalogue).

I respect and admire Kelly’s viewpoints on the sport and his attitude and achievements in the mountains.* One of the underlying themes of his critique of the 5Point films, however, was how maybe he’s a little cynical and jaded about climbing and thus, found all of the non-climbing films to be far more interesting and inspiring.

This brought up two points in my mind.

1.) I am totally guilty of this same attitude, but in regards to running, of course. I’ve been running for 21 years and while there are certainly filmmakers in the space who stand out, in general, I’m almost completely uninterested in running films, due, I think, to a similar cynicism about the activity that Kelly was expressing about climbing, not necessarily an inherent lack of quality in said films.

2.) That is totally bullshit and unfair.

Kelly’s (admittedly, really quite mild) distaste for climbing films reminded me of an interview I once read about one of my very favorite bands, The Walkmen. In this interview, they talked about how their third album A Hundred Miles Off just wasn’t really very good and they weren’t proud of it.

That’s fine and all, and artists are often their own toughest critics, but as someone who certainly enjoys that particular album—one of my favorite songs from the band comes from that album—it made me feel stupid for liking it. Just silly and like maybe I had bad taste (entirely likely, I suppose). Granted, it’s not the album that I would recommend to introduce someone to The Walkmen, and it is arguably their weakest record, but just that little comment in that interview made me feel sorta dumb for liking it at all.

And Kelly talking about climbing films in a similar way made me feel kinda the same. Because I really enjoy a lot of climbing films and definitely draw inspiration from a lot of them.

So, basically, it made realize that I need to change my attitude about running and running media, because it’s not fair to make someone feel stupid for being really psyched about how it is being represented.

Incidentally, Kelly and Chris made another point during that episode about climbing films needing to find a balance between “story-telling” and “climbing porn” (lots of films seem to go too far in either direction). I fully agree, but it made me think about this completely rad little clip that Keith Ladzinski put out last year. It’s unabashed, straight climbing porn; I find sport climbing to be pretty much the least interesting form of the activity; and yet Keith manages to make this super tight little video a definite cut above.

And here is a performance of that Walkmen song from A Hundred Miles Off that I like so much.

*Not to mention, Kelly wrote one helluva book about Cerro Torre, The Tower. Buy it, read it.

36 responses to “A Couple Thoughts on Attitude”

  1. Jeff Valliere says:


    Check out “In the High Country” and “Unbreakable”, they are both great! 😉

    I get the gist though, it is easy to become myopic when surrounding by one single thing all the time, I think we have all been there to some degree.

  2. Peter Rank says:

    Good insight Anton,

    As someone who’s been reading your blog for years now, I’ve always nodded my head in agreement when you voice disenchantment with running media. On instagram you once included a hashtag that said “when Runners World USED to be a running magazine.” A lot of running (or any outdoor media) tends to be nauseatingly derivative “I go to a really dark place when I run” “I love the pain” etc. There’s a fine-line between critic, and cynic; the former tends to challenge the greater community for stronger more original content, whereas the cynic tends to turn up his nose at anything that doesn’t speak directly to HIM the viewer/expert.

    Sorry, very long comment. But that’s what happens when you post something so thought provoking!

  3. Josh says:

    Tony & Kruppies,
    Throw me your #1 entertaining, enlightening, and/or educational book.
    You know thee book.

    • anton says:

      Cliche, but it has to be said. Infinite Jest by DFW. You have to read it at some point, might as well be now before the days start getting too long again.

      • Joelle says:

        On IJ
        – Oh dear, every man that’s ever broken my heart has loved that book. Please don’t tell me you suffer from Anhedonia. I would expect it to be the opposite with the things you see and experience every day. Wouldn’t you just love to read a Harper’s article by DFW on selfie sticks or the brave new worlds of online comment boards, FB and Twitter? Ouch, I can’t take it. What an insurmountable loss.

      • Mirko says:

        Hey, Tony!

        Reading through your old and new blog and coming across regular references to literature as well, I had an idea popping in my brain that you would probably enjoy James Salter’s novel “Solo Faces”; that is if you haven’t read it yet.

        Salter, who sadly passed a year ago, is one of those writers whose prose and a preternatural strength of fortuitous phrasing never fail to instill the sense of uncanniness which is able to encapsulate both the beautiful and terrifying sense of wonder at the same time (the power of his style on the level of meaning and structure render him, in my estimation, one of the best and most original misreaders of Hemingway, and therefore one of Papa’s closest parallels in the American literary world); and seeing that you yourself can appreciate literary greatness, the story – deliberating upon the dichotomy of different forms of physical and mental exposure that the mundane urban existence and high mountains afford us, plus the manner in which this is presented – might find you interested.

        I do not wish to spill too much light on it. Here is a succinct summary which merely grazes the heart of the matter:


        Best regards,

  4. Luke says:

    I tend to agree with you about A Hundred Miles Off. Sure, it missed the mark of the prior records considerably (and certainly didn’t approach the brilliance of the subsequent two records), but there are some knockout tracks on Hundred. In addition to “All Hands and the Cook,” there’s the immediately gratifying “Lost in Boston” with the band’s characteristic hard-pounding drumming. And the cover, “Another One Goes By,” is an excellent example of the direction the band would take on You and Me and Lisbon. Even “Louisiana” is a good listen in the right context. But I think “This Job is Killing Me” is especially overlooked. Consider, for instance, the nice little transition in the chorus between when Leithauser sings, “He says he’s happy now,” and “Driving that bus around…he’s turned it all around, but honey this job is killing me.”

    • anton says:

      Your comment makes me smile. I was going to post this ripping live performance of Lost In Boston, but it doesn’t seem to exist on YouTube anymore. Such a great song. Totally agree about “This Job is Killing Me”, too…I LOVE little transitions and chorus changes, etc. in songs. There are often little 10-15sec segments in a given song that just slay me. “Brandy Alexander” is another totally overlooked song on that album that sort of hints at the brilliance that is to come on You & Me.

      • Luke says:

        Very cool, and one last thing—lest I redirect this post too much toward The Walkmen: One aspect, I think, about art generally—whether film, music, or whatever—is that it’s aspirational in addition to being inspirational. So, for example, The Walkmen probably wouldn’t have been pushed to make a record like You and Me (their best, IMHO, and this is coming from someone with warm, nostalgic feelings for Everybody Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone and Bows and Arrows), but for the struggle through A Hundred Miles Off. (The analogy to outdoor adventures is obvious here, of course.) In any event, I think a lot of people would say that they peaked (particularly in terms of the second half of their career) with a song like “In the New Year.” It’s hard to disagree with that, but, when push comes to shove, I’d probably have to go with “I Lost You.” I mean, the part after “Throw me a rope,” is pretty near perfect: “I knew you when I was young, the loveliest girl in town, I wish you were still around…I was sleeping in the back seat, when I got home, I was finally reminded, I lost you.” You can certainly wax philosophical about the sentiment being expressed, but, ultimately, it just sounds so good. And I don’t think we’d have that without A Hundred Miles Off.

  5. Spencer Vaughn says:

    I am critical, hyper cynical possibly, which has recently changed due to have an overload of health problems (probably due to my negative view of life and inability to have a positive outlook). To counteract these health problems, I have had to purposely ignore these endless wants to criticize and condemn something even though it doesn’t effect me.

    I get a lot of this from DFW and his endless search for deriving meaning from a space that seems devoid of it. Resurrecting as it were the positives in something that seems initially futile and devoid of any redemption. So generally the response one is to have is just creating good things and what is true to you, and giving the finger to the man as it were, by not caring. (But you observe it you change it, etc.) Once it has left your hands it’s dead.

    I recently watched “Outside Voices” with Jenn Shelton, and that was probably one of my favorite running films that I’ve seen. It had a really good solid narrative. Encouraging to hear I’m not the only cynic about running films out there.

    • anton says:

      Joel does excellent work. Basically, it’s really tough to make running look as rad as it feels.

  6. Barry Bliss says:

    @Anton – Can you differentiate between bitterness and cynicism, regarding the feelings you have had at times in the past about running?
    As a singer/songwriter that is 50 years old and has been singing pretty much his whole life, I definitely, in the past, have had some major bitterness issues to let go of. I found it all coming from self-pity. Not saying I have completely gotten over it, but almost and getting better every day. For me it comes down to “Why do I really do this?”.

    Runners’ World Magazine–When I first started buying it in 1979 it was thick, etc.
    Funny, I talked to a man that has been with Runner’s World (now merged with Runner Mag. I believe) for a long time and told him I didn’t like all the little boxes and doo dads all over the place in a lot of the magazine layouts these days, including Runner’s World (which I don’t really buy anymore). He said he didn’t really like them either, that he follows orders. (Not that layout is the same thing as content.)
    Complex layouts->It’s an addiction that never ends if you go down that route. More and more stimulus…then that becomes the new norm..then more and more…on and on.
    I find simplifying leads to yet more simplifying. I suppose a bunch of us bounce around between the two to one extent or the other.

    Interesting article in Outside Mag. this month talks of kids with ADHD being taken climbing and it helps them with concentration issues. (Of course.) Could type so much more. Not my blog here. :)

  7. Mike says:

    I think people like yourself and Kelly, who are performing at a higher level than most, and do what you do for a living are going to be less likely to find enjoyment or inspiration from watching running/climbing films. The weekend warrior, mid-pack runner, 5.10 climber, is more likely to want to watch those films because they gain inspiration from watching. When your life revolves so fully around an activity, and you are performing at a higher level, it would seem that watching films about that sport in your downtime would be the last thing you would want to do.

    In my opinion, one of the best climbing films has to be Free Climb, about Jim Erickson and Art Higbee’s attempt to free climb the Northwest face of Half Dome.

  8. Barry Bliss says:

    Nevermind. Carry on brother.
    @Everyone Else
    Sorry for the overly long comment above. There’s no trashcan icon on this site or I’d trash it. Take care.

  9. Will says:

    One of my biggest regrets is that I–in a state of confusion, melancholy Andre belief that even cracking the binding would only lead to failure–sold a signed (to me) first edition of Infinite Jest. I wondered at the time about my good fortune in getting $45 for the stack of “unneeded” books. He killed himself the summer thereafter. I really wish both were still here.


  10. Will says:

    *and the

  11. Eric says:

    Nice, my friend Andy established Gutless Wonder while he lived in Colorado. As a long time climber turned trail runner I can hardly watch videos of either! I think mostly because many aren’t very original at this point. Every once in awhile there’s a glimpse of inspiration though. I love going back and watching the old masters of stone or other climbing videos produced in the 80’s 90’s etc.. they are rad if you ask me. Back when climbing was a little bit more eccentric and had it’s own thing going on. Check out Masters of Stone II or Hard Grit for a UK perspective.

  12. Bob says:

    I think I understand. When I was really into skiing, I thought Warren Miller movies sucked. I remember enjoying them when I was really young and my Dad took me to see them. As I became older, a better skier, and jaded (teen angst I guess, if such a thing exists in skiing) I thought they were absolute crap. I did, however, love Greg Stump films (The Good, The Rad & The Gnarly is still an amazing film), because THOSE were REAL ski films….for hardcore skiers like me, not posers (so I thought).

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that as we become older and go through the ups and downs of life and our hobbies, get injured, lose some battles, etc we become more mature in our viewpoint and that’s probably what you’re experiencing.

  13. Logan says:

    I could feel the power of that stage. I will be honest, I have never fully given The Walkmen maybe the respect they deserve. You know how it goes, your music is a product of your upbringing and your environment growing up, so it is hard to cross over to something that you may not find an immediate tangible connection to. This was good shit though. Magic. It reminded me of some of the epically(is that a word?) long songs that Sufjan Stevens has closed some of his shows with. I have literally seen people get pissed and walk out of his show because of some of his renditions, especially the length. However, if you ask me that is where the art rises from the entertainment. I just laugh when people get pissed because it is not the same recording as the album version.

    In closing, keep on getting out there in both the mountains and the world of sound and film. It is what makes us all go round.


  14. David Hill says:

    Hey Tony – which La Sportiva shoe would you pick for San Juan Solstice 50?


    • anton says:

      David – Personally, I’d wear the Mutant. Akasha would work well, too, especially for such a “long” 50mi, but all of its cush sacrifices a little bit of lateral stability in the forefoot. A lot of people would probably like the Bushido for a race like that, but the heel is a bit too rigid for me.

  15. Sebi says:

    Hi Tony, still any race in your schedule?

  16. matt copp says:

    Nice to see so much Walkmen love here. Always thought their last trio of albums were incredible. I always go back to an iTunes session thing they did with a belting version of We’ve Been Had on it.
    Currently circling my third reading of IJ. My first in about 12 years though.Bit leery as I’m worried I won’t enjoy the relentless density of the thing as much as my second reading.

  17. Luke says:

    If you are a runner, I would appreciate it if you could take a minute to fill in this 7 question survey. Thanks!

  18. Chupacabra says:

    Hi Anton congratulation !!! Thanks to use my photos I saw you a couple of time during the race, and I understand now why you seemed so exhausted, especially during the uphill to champex. i hope to see you at your best next year.

  19. WebMarka says:

    Hi Anton congratulation !!! Thanks to use my photos I saw you a couple of time during the race, and I understand now why you seemed so exhausted, especially during the uphill to champex. i hope to see you at your best next year.

  20. Aurore Braconnier says:

    Hi Anton,
    My name is Aurore. I work as journalist for a french language magazine named “Sport et Vie” (Sport and life), published every two months at approximately 60.000 exemplars in France and Belgium. Every six months, we published a special issue. The next one will be dedicated to ultra-trail. We’d like to write an article about you. Would you be agree to do an interview?
    This interview should take place anytime. If you agree, I’ll send you an email with my list of questions within two weeks.

    Please let me know the time and date most suitable for the exchange to take place. Our office is located in Brussels but we can move for interviews. Alternately, we can do by phone, skype or you can answer my questions by return mail. It usually lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour. After we transcribe the interview, we send you the paper for review. You can then give us your feedback and make suggestions and possible changes.

    We hope you will accept our invitation, knowing that it will bring our readers an interesting and new perspective not only in their sports practice, but most importantly in their life.
    Thanking you in advance for your kind attention and awaiting to hear from you,


  21. Peter S says:

    Impressive video. You must be specialists with interesting information. I have a whitesbodyworks site and also try to share useful things.

  22. Geri says:

    yo tambien tengo un TATA INDIGO y me va perfecto pero han quitado el taller de Algeciras y nadie se hace cargo de nada , para cambiar los filtros de aire y aceite me mandan a Jerez porque ningun taller trabaja con esta marca ¡enlriibce!

  23. J’ai un retard fou chez toi, tu publies plus vite que ton ombre, heureusement que je garde le fil sur Instagram ! J’aime énormément cette tenue, tu sembles conquérante avec ce rose fuchsia !

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