Meet Zika Liu, the creative mind and filmmaker behind our latest My City, My Flow installment London. We sat down with Zika to get the inside scoop on what makes London special, what still needs improving, and how the M1 fits into his urban lifestyle.
Q: Where did you grow up? Was London always a city that you imagined moving to?
A: I was born and raised in Shanghai, during a special period of China... things were (and are still) changing at an abnormal speed, people getting wealthier, and a booming middle class on the horizon. However, the consequences of the notorious Cultural Revolution were still haunting the country… Let’s just say that, back then, it wasn’t what you would call a hotbed of creative freedom. 10 years ago, a trip to the UK left me with some great memories, which eventually inspired the big move.
Q: Upon arriving in London, when did you know that it was home? What makes it special to you?
A: I guess I’m still not sure about that! For me, home is where my communities are, my friends, my people. It doesn’t need to be a specific location. It’s a tricky one with London though, as the city is constantly on the move. People come and go.
It’s really the Londoners that make London what it is. People from all over the world come to this city, hoping to realise their dreams. The diversity is what gives birth to subcultures, new movements, and different aesthetics.
Q: With that in mind, as a filmmaker, how does that energy contribute to your creative process?
A: The people make it easy, as there is always a story to be told, but I also find the city itself to be a regular source of inspiration. There’s an incredible clash between the historic and modern elements, which is always evolving, and there are so many hidden gems in the city waiting to be explored. It’s a perfect nurturing ground for creative minds.
Q: With all of that said about how awesome London is, transportation is a bit of a problem, isn’t it?
A: Driving in London is absolutely the least efficient way of getting around, as the narrow streets of the city were simply not built with modern traffic in mind. You can be stuck in traffic for hours when travelling a relatively short distance through central London. Although London has one of the most sophisticated metro networks in the world, it’s still a pain to use. It’s extremely deep underground, with no air-conditioning, is often overcrowded, and as we touched on in the film, it can be a stifling experience.
Q: You also mentioned in the video that a difficulty of city living is the danger of falling into a routine. How have you experienced that, and how do you break from it?
A: I think falling into a boring routine can detach someone from their surroundings, and really have a negative impact on their wellness and creativity. The Underground is a more efficient way of getting around, but it transforms our perspective on our environment into a series of literal tubes and tunnels, rather than parks and shops and greenery. That’s not a routine that I have any interest in maintaining.
My way of breaking that routine is to try and find new things to do every month, even if they’re just little things. It can be anything from taking a new route to the office, to picking up a new hobby. Stepping out of the comfort zone every so often has proven to be a great help.
Q: Onto the M1- What’s been your e-boarding experience so far?
A: My first time on a regular skateboard was only about 6 months before I discovered Inboard. I don’t worry much about doing tricks and jumps, but love the feeling of cruising and speeding around. So e-boarding is pretty much perfect for me! It’s really all of the features working in unison that make the M1 such an amazing board. The firmware updates, the brake lights and headlights, the convenience of the app, the look and feel of the board…. The attention to detail is what takes it to another level!
Riding the M1 has revolutionized how I interact with the city. It has such a small footprint that I can take it anywhere with me. I haven’t had to wait around for a cab or bus in ages, which allows me to experience London like never before and have more time at my disposal. The sense of freedom is actually really difficult to put into words. Everyone else seems to love it too, as I tend to get a lot of jealous looks!