Throwback Thursday: The Real Thing

The Real Thing is likely the most influential and most referenced bouldering film of all time. But many of you have probably never seen it. Likely because you weren't climbing in the late '90s, or because you can't find a copy of it on VHS—or would know what to do with it if you had one. For years, it has been hard to come by, unless John Palmer was willing to share his personal, signed-by-Jerry copy of it with you (and unless you were already sporting a soul patch and wearing Dirty Dogs, that was unlikely to happen). Fear not, it has now been made available on YouTube by Moon Climbing, so you can go and watch it and see what all the fuss is about.

The film, from 1996, brought bouldering to the masses (kind of) by showing two of the very best (and coolest) climbers of the time, Ben Moon and Jerry Moffat, eschewing routes and going bouldering in Fontainebleau. The film is chock-full of iconic climbing-culture motifs, including bad driving, the origin of 1-5-9 (ahem, 1-5-8.5), skinny nerds who think they are much cooler than they actually are, slagging off the French while at the same time admitting they have the best climbing and, of course, complaining about the weather. 

While the climbing depicted is no longer cutting edge (though how many New Zealanders have actually climbed Karma?), the gags and hijinks seems as relevant as ever and, I'm told by people who know about this sort of thing, the soundtrack still kills (apparently DJ Flexor still listens to it on a weekly basis). So, head to YouTube and give it a little flick of the handbrake so that you know what people are talking about next time you're at a climbing party and someone starts yelling "party in Paris!".