In June 2017, Ted Barrow and a group of friends were supposed to start uploading videos to jokingly critique each others skating. When he was the only one to follow through, it turned into an Instagram account going by the handle @feedback_ts. Just like that, having fun between friends became one man clowning on skate videos: the polarizing satire account was born. Out of the mouth of Ted Barrow comes brutally straightforward commentary on park clips that are VOLUNTARILY sent in by skaters on Instagram.
It’s clear from the comments section though that not everyone is in on the joke. Maybe it’s a sign of where people’s attention spans are these days, but I thought it would be interesting to meet Ted in person. We agreed to meet up at Columbus Circle to skate and do the interview. We even got harassed by a random bystander who was not happy skateboarders were anywhere in her vicinity. After skating for a little bit we did the interview on the way to the next spot. Below is an excerpt from the full conversation. Click the soundcloud link at the top of this article to listen to the full interview.
“I think a lot of people start skateboarding because you are in that age where you’ve just given up toys and skateboards are these cool things that are kind of toy-like, and they are marketed like toys but you see these older kids and adults doing it too.”
You started skating in ’87 did you watch a lot of videos back then as a kid?
Yeah it was this cool moment with Powell videos like Future Primitive where dudes were skating street kinda on the side. The next year there were videos like Hocus Pocus and Sheckle Me not. All of a sudden there were these insane street videos that make skating little things and doing technical shit look so fucking cool.
I noticed in your feed there are a lot of art related stickers and commentary, so when did art come into play and become a big part of your life?
Yeah, my father was a painter so there was always a familiarity of art in my house. When I was 18 I was planning to move to California and I shattered my ankle. I spent the whole summer in bed after surgery and when I was finally able to drive again my dad suggested taking painting lessons. So I spent the summer going to this dudes place and learning to paint, but more like just talking about art and culture and shit. So, when I started college I studied art history. I kinda studied it because I was still on some skate for fun shit and art history is so useless. There’s no foreseeable job when you study art history just like in skateboarding. So I loved what I was studying and having fun skateboarding, but I knew that there wasn’t really a point to either of them other than the experience of doing them at the time. But yeah as you you know, the get older you get you have to make choices to keep the things you love in your life.
How long did it take for the account to take off and were you surprised at the reaction?
It took off the way a disease spreads [laughs]. I had a crew of Austin skaters send me clips and then like my buddies from Boston would send me clips. Within the first week I was no longer soliciting people for clips. All of a sudden I had a whole crew of skaters from Boston, and then a crew from Iowa would send me clips. It’s a stupid way to measure it but I was curious to see how long it would take for the @Feedback_ts account to supercede my personal account and that happened within a few months.
I’m glad we were able to link up and skate, I feel you really get to know a person when you skate with them. The fact that we got harassed by a random person trying to kick us out of a public space and seeing that we reacted in the same way was funny. I feel like its universal with skaters that we’re ready to deal with that kinda thing.
Yeah, you have this kind of built up resistance. In the eyes of society we are probably wrong but we’re ready to defend what we’re doing which is objectively really fucking annoying to everyone else. That kind of defensiveness or aggression also exists within skateboarding. If you don’t like a certain skater, it’s really arbitrary why you would not like someones skating, but we feel strongly about this. Even though the account is like a joke, it’s a joke about the most serious thing ever, which is what you care about the most.