Vampir Presents Callum Paul

Having just crossed the Macedonian boarder from Greece we were eager to park the Heku (our campervan) and get stuck into some ouzo and play some cards (an Austrian card game that me and dean had quite a hard time grasping but I think in the end is just a drinking game). So we pulled off the highway into the first town, Gevgelija, with the bright neon lights of numerous casinos it seemed like a pretty dodgy border town. We found some dinner, cevapi stuffed with cheese wrapped in bacon, and beers. We decided to park near this drainage ditch we saw on the way in with the possibility of skating it the following morning. So we parked behind a big run down shed next to the drain on a farm. There were a few comings and goings of big trucks throughout the morning (we later learned that it was where the army was checking trucks for refugees attempting to reach the rest of Europe, this particular boarder was a major refugee route to the Balkans.) and when we finally got up to take a piss and drink some water I noticed a farmer walking over to us. I assumed he wasn’t going to be happy about 5 guys pissing on his shed and staying on his property. As he approached he didn’t look too upset and greeted us kindly, enquiring whether or not we liked whisky, as to not offend we answered positively. He quickly scurried back to his farm and returned with a 2L bottle of whisky. After sharing a small glass with him we told him we were skateboarders and enquired about the drainage ditch on his property, he didn’t hesitate to agree that we should all skate it. The ditch itself was actually rather well made, of smooth concrete, so we tried our best to skate it. He was quite thrilled with our attempt to skate, and got on his mobile phone to call a few of his pals down. One arrived quickly, and they seem to thoroughly enjoy drinking whisky and watching us skate. He also brought us some spray paint to leave our mark on his ditch, he joined in, putting up a few of his tags. He kept us fed during this with walnuts from his tree, which he would continually crack open for us. With our whisky and walnut breakfast, and quite dehydrated from the morning sun, we followed him to his small farm for some water, and his last two beers. He was excited to show us his big goat. He was rather proud of him, grabbings his horns and yelling “Motorhead!”. By this time him and his friend had polished off the bottle of whisky. Spaso, as I learnt his name to be, said he liked the simple life on his farm after working in illegal casinos all over Europe. He enjoyed waking up, doing a bit of work, drinking a bottle of whisky, having a rest, then doing a little more work. He gave us some more walnuts, apologised he didn’t have any more beers and we made our way into Macedonia.  

The Austrians had a friend in Athens who had clued them in on some ‘insane terrain’ for us to check out on our trip. One of these places was a ginormous full pipe near a town called Trikala in north western Greece. We didn’t have too much information to go off except that it was near this really old stone bridge in Pyli. When we arrived at the bridge it was already late in the afternoon, we filled up some water and attempted to scour over google maps to find where the full pipe could be, obviously it was connected to the river system somewhere. With patchy reception and pre loaded maps, we honed the search down to a few small roads off the main road not too far away. After not too long we found the right road and drove the big campervan right up to the mouth of the enormous drain. It was a full moon that night, although pitch black inside the drain, but Paschy thought he could just squeeze the campervan into the entrance and light it up with the headlights. He drove it straight in with about a body width on each side, Vogel grabbed the cardbox box that he’d converted into a speaker system, put it on the front of the van and proceeded to crank one of our few (but repeatedly played) CDs, his choice of course, was HIM. With the beautiful vocals of Finnish rock legend Ville Valo filling the giant chasm, we skated till our hearts content. It was quite the scene, silhouettes of Vogel and Niki pumping up and down in a huge pipe, with the headlights of the Heku behind them and the sounds of HIM filling the whole scene with an adolescent recklessness that was felt by all present. In the morning, by the light of day it was much easier to skate and Niki proceeded to go hell bent for leather, going higher than anyone. After a hearty breakfast of sausage gyros on the fire, we ventured upstream for a swim and a wash in the river Portaikos below the start of the Pindos mountain range. This was ‘insane terrain’ indeed.

Unfortunately, we only had one night in Belgrade as we had to make Vienna the next day. The one night we did have was rather enjoyable though. We were introduced to a young Marko at the skate park and ventured into the city to get some cavapcici and beers. When we had eaten our 6-sausage sandwich with onions we skated around town for a bit until the suggestion of more beers arouse. Along with the beers Marko suggested we also get a bottle of a local delicacy, Vinjak. Vinjak is a lovely and cheap Serbian brandy, although my other Serbian friend had highly suggested we avoid it, Boris and Marko seemed to really enjoy it, so we obliged and enjoyed with them. We continued to push around the city and visited an art opening where we met The Kupus (kupus being Serbian for cabbage). It was his birthday and coincidentally his art show as well. He also displayed a great fondness for Vinjak. After the show we all ended up at the local park, with a mix of people, beer, and rakija. The Kupus was rather excited about himself and continuously rapped about himself being “the Kupus, the mother fucking Kupus”. After quite a while of this, Paschy was getting rather annoyed by the Kupus so he jumped up and tackled him to the ground (in a playfully ‘please shut up’ sort of manner). This did shut the Kupus up momentarily, until Paschy decided to get a shoulder ride from him. With Paschy on his shoulders, the Kupus started rapping again and seeing his opportunity for revenge, leant forward and drove Paschys’ face into the ground. But alas, you can’t kill him that easy, and somehow Paschy was perfectly ok. The rakija was all drunk and I assume we skated back over the bridge to our van. I woke up with a tremendously sore shoulder, which led me to assume I didn’t make it over the bridge unscathed. While we gathered our thoughts, Marko arrived at the van. He told us he had a disagreement with his mother over some stolen sausages he had come home with. But he insisted the real reason for the argument ‘was not about the sausages’. He consoled himself with one of our warm beers, and sadly we had to part ways.

Photography and text by Callum Paul 


BUY  HERE Callum’s “Heku” Zine. 




Vampir magazine is an online platform, focusing on the creative works of people from Eastern Europe and Australia + NZ.

Establishing a creative connection between these two worlds, Vampir discovers similarities and promotes up and coming artists from both the East and West.