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Where to Skateboard in the UK November 1989This excerpt from the guide to skate spots in Britain makes a feature of the Pioneer Club in St Albans, which was to become one of our favourite haunts for a while. The issue of whether or not to name certain street spots comes uo, with Neasden Pool outed (now that it had been filled in). That’s a problem which still exists today and has probably got worse. There’s a fine balance between spreading the word and wrecking a place by telling too many people about it.

THIS MONTH

More minis, more minis, and a few updates — nothing too dramatic this month. A couple of people have written in asking why we don’t list certain notorious street spots. Answer? They’re also notorious busts, so we think it’s better to leave them to the locals who know what the score is and what times to avoid, rather than encourage hundreds of sans clues to flock to the spot screw it up.

One of those was the empty open air swimming pool in Neasden, north London. That’s now filled with earth, not because of the skating, but because a kid recently drowned in another empty pool and the council want to be sure that never happens again. Meanwhile other councils seem to be looking at their empty pools as potential skate places: we’d like to know more about Grantham and Bridgwater, which seem to be official, and Gravesend, which probably isn’t. Please write in with more information.


ST ALBANS

The Pioneer Club, next door to the Fire Station is developing a rad old scene. There’s a big hall with fly-offs and the like. Best thing there was a big BMX style quarter pipe set up so you could drop in and hit a tight transition ramp for massive wall rides. Excellent. Fully raging on the rainy day we went to see the new half-pipe.

Outside is the new attraction, a mini/midi ramp. The in-between size makes this a bit odd: it has large transitions cut off at 7 1/2 feet, giving it something of an identity crisis. It skates bigger than a mini, so it’s a ramp where you’d probably wear pads anyway, even if they weren’t compulsory — but it’s also a long way from vert. A bit like the old Chingford.

The locals are ripping and learning new stuff really fast; the construction is brilliant, really solid; the place is happening. The club is open for skating Tuesday 7-9, and Sunday 9-1, 2-5. They may also have sessions on Monday 8.30-10.30, Friday 8-11pm. It costs £2 per year plus 50p per session and you have to wear safety gear. It would be a good idea to phone to check details before planning a visit.

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