Thursday, 22 October 2015

Michael Kelly - Still A Sky Ninja?

Australian media has been putting out window cleaning stories after the recent scare: Mike Kelly, a window washer records a stomach churning video down a Chicago building.
Window washer records stomach-churning down Chicago building: Extreme window washing is deemed as a terrifying job, well Michael Kelly can second that claiming that "it looks really hard, but it’s (actually) a lot harder than it looks."

The US man attached a GoPro to his helmet and filmed a 20 minute stomach-churning video, posting it to YouTube on Monday showing people what it is like wash high-rise windows on a building located in the Financial District of Chicago. You can hear the distress in Mr Kelly's voice before even beginning his decline, "this is my last drop of the day, probably of my life, because I don’t want to do this anymore."

"First we gotta do this 21st floor window, then swing in again to get the 20th floor and it gets a little easier on the way down," Mr Kelly said while he was contemplating a change of career. Mr Kelly can be seen sitting in a small, wooden seat as he guides himself down the stone wall the building by a sturdy rope staring down at the 100-metre drop.

He then uses a suction tool to grasp hold him close to the window as he sloshes soapy water onto the window. The window cleaner wipes the suds off with a wiper blade a few times and swings on to the next window, as the streets of Chicago stare him directly in the eyes. Mr Kelly has ropes that are tied down the bottom so he doesn’t swing out and hit a car, he also mentions in the video that it gets a little easier the further down he is.


I guess Mike Kelly did pack the job in? Perhaps the money just wasn't good enough to keep him in the job. As opposed to the news story above, the video above & featured in the news story is more than a year old. The skyninja website has now gone & only his "flickr" pictures remain, the newest from 2011. This video below is an old news piece on him. Marcus Leshock profiles Michael Kelly, a Chicago window washer who takes photos while he works. He used to sell prints on his website at (now gone).

Some of Mike Kellys photos. Click to enlarge.
Mike Kelly may have even been the inspiration behind the 2012 best short documentary directed by Nadav Kurtz called 'Paraiso' (Paradise) & featured in a previous blog (here as well) & is a documentary about immigrants working on Chicago’s tallest buildings as window washers.

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