Krakow, mon amour

A bit earlier this year, a bit of a Paris Who’s Who went to pay visit to Joseph Biais, then enjoying a student residency in Krakow, Poland. A good occasion for Vincent Dallemagne, Thomas and Benoit Renaux, Rémy Taveira, Idris Jani and Pierre Anquetil to discover a country, and also film a nice little part with Guillaume Périmony. Here it is as a Live exclusive, which gives us the opportunity to question Joseph about his polish times…

Photos: Benoit Renaux
Video: Guillaume Périmony
Interview: Benjamin Deberdt

 Benoit Renaux

So, how did you end up in Krakow, actually?
I had been wanting to do an Erasmus [European student exchange program, Ed’s note] semester for a while. I had one year left in Lille [North of France city, Ed’s note], and I already knew the town by heart, so I filled up the papers to do that on my second semester. I gave three choices: Stockholm first, San Francisco second, and Krakow as the last one. When I heard I had been accepted in Krakow, I sent an email telling them I didn’t want to go. They didn’t give a fuck! I had never been to Poland before. I only knew this group of girls from there, from common friends in Lille.

Tell us about the city…
I knew there were a couple spots, but it didn’t look too promising. But I saw they were building a crazy streetpark, but, in the end, I never went: it was so far from anything! But the city is quite nice to live. It’s built around a giant central plaza, the market plaza. Around there is super touristy, really busy and full of bars, clubs and restaurants… This is circled by some sort of park, where you can have walks or just sit down. After that, you find different areas, more or less recent, and not that interesting. The neighborhood I lived in, on the other hand, was really cool: it was the old Jewish quarter, Kasimierz. It has turned into the arty area, full of little restaurants and cool bars. It really is a pleasant place, where you walk, take the tram, or ride your bicycle everywhere. I bought one right away… Being French, life isn’t expensive at all, so you don’t really worry about money, which is always nice when you are a student!

Did you meet some of the local skaters?
Not so much. I didn’t skate much, in the beginning. It was way too cold! Then, the guys came to visit, and I skated with them. I couldn’t really meet that many locals, as I was always with my Erasmus buddies.

 Benoit Renaux

Joseph Biais, ollie.

Apart from Krakow, did you see any other part of the country?
I went twice to Warsaw. Once for a couple days with school friends, and once with Loïc Benoit and the Vans crew: Grilladin, Duverdier and Alex Richard. It wasn’t bad, but way more intense than Krakow. If you had to compare, I’d say Krakow is bit like Lille, and Warsaw like Paris, as Central Europe versions, obviously.
I also went to Budapest. I had no idea what to expect, and the place is great! To go out, it’s crazy, super cheap, there seems to be spots, and they got the thermal baths! I would like to spend a couple weeks there, just for skating.

How did you manage Parisians to go as far as Poland?
It wasn’t hard, I just told them: “2 Euros max for a pint, 8 Euros for a great vodka bottle, incredible girls, Erasmus parties, and we could go skate, also…” [Laughter] I actually took pics of the spots, and sent them a little .zip file. Only Idris opened it, I think, and he’s actually the only one that didn’t film a trick! [Laughter]

Who was the worst guest of all?
I would say Vincent. One in a while, he would be over it, and just jet into one direction, not telling anyone, or he would play heads or tails to decide if he would just go back to the hostel or not…


Rémy Taveira, backside 50-50.

What’s his story with the guy at the bottom of the rail?
Oh, I wasn’t there, I had a class. Apparently, the security guard wanted to stop him from skating the rail. He was quite ready to beat up all of them, supposedly. It’s pretty crazy of how they are not afraid to come to blows, there! I have another story that is quite insane… We were at a friend’s apartment, and he took a piss out his window. Let me tell you that we were six people in party mode! His neighbor saw him, and started screaming at him in Polish. We got scared, because his husband is a 200 kilos, bald drunk that doesn’t like little Frenchies. So, we stopped the music, and turned off the light. We were worried that he would come up. Five minutes later, we decided to leave before he would come up, but as soon as the door opened, there was our big bald guy, red faced with rage, and armed with a broom. He started just beating us up with his broom, screaming! No way we could reason with him, with our shaky polish skills, so he ended up chasing us from our own place! Such a surrealist moment, and quite humiliating, especially for the guy actually living there!

What did you learn about Poland, during your stay?
Well, I’ll have learned to speak Polish, with three hours a week of classes! Many things about the Jewish deportation, also: I went to a lot of museums, and we went together to Auschwitz. I also learned that no matter where on Earth you are, if you are there with the good crew, you will have a good time. And if I can give an advice to the ones still in school: try to go places, you will not regret it!

What are your projects, now that you are back in France?
I am doing an internship until end of September, and I am filming a lot with Guillaume for his full-length video, and also for the Megamix project. So, I’m skating a lot! Then, in January, I would like to take some time to invest myself a bit more in skating. I am not sure how, yet… I would like to go on trips again, so I’m going to organize a couple. I have a few ideas.

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