The story comes to an end. You get to tug Titus’ ponytail. You have won the 1991 Munster street competition. It’s all true…
Actually, it’s not — it’s a dream. Tony Hawk won street as well as ramps that year.
I’ve just read through this and noticed “(???check names???)” near the end. It made me smile and pause to think of Gavin, or was it me, making a note to consult with everyone about whether these were the right people to mention at this point. I was about to delete it, but then I checked the printed magazine… Sure enough, we didn’t cut it out. It’s there in the final piece. “Caption goes here…”
In your second preliminary run you begin to make an impression — you become the one who did the silly things “Gosh, what stark-bollock stupid things he did in his silly but stylish hat.” Your skating will have been of an acceptable standard — no better and no worse than anybody else — but you stood out, you have an identity: the skater in the silly but stylish hat who did the stark-bollock stupid things.
The judges saw 70 skaters today, but they remember you. You entertained. You got noticed. You’re in the semis tomorrow.
That night, play the part of the “nutter”. Go to nightclubs, dance on tables; steal a bike and ride it through the railway station while being chased by guards. Endear yourself to all and sundry.
You’re there: Sunday 21st July The semis aren’t until the early afternoon so have a lie-in, sleep off the hangover and then saunter down to the hall. About ten minutes before the semis start someone will come up and ask what music you want for your two runs. Casually take your cassingle out of the your Walkman and say “play side A of that, please”. This will look cool, but you will be acting clever. A credible, clap-able chart song is ideal for your coming runs. The German crowd will clap along to it and probably half-mouth the words as they’ve been hearing it on the radio for the last two weeks solid.
In the first semi-final run you will be skating well: you are doing your trick-list, covering the course, and, after your antics yesterday, the judges and the crowd will have become endeared to you. You must not fall off, and you must go fast and flow. Your railslide variation will get a cheer from the crowd. “Gosh,” the judges will think, “he’s not just a loveable guy, he can skate as well.”
Run Two: Your finish gets a loud loveable cheer, the new railslide wows them again, but the thing you did on the quarter-pipe gets them off their seats. When you finish, run out like you’ve never made that trick before. Smile from ear to ear, and wink at the judges as you leave the arena to cheers.
The crowd are on your side: you are a tatty nobody with a silly but stylish hat, they liked your music and they liked your skating. The judges are on your side. You’re in the final.
Take a break, get away from all the hurly-burly — go and hide in the toilet. Imagine you’re back in the swimming pool. You’re coming up for air; you’re floating high into fluffy pink clouds; you’re on in ten minutes.
Go to the DJ and tell him that for the finals “Oh, just play side B of the tape, please”. That sounds really cool: he likes you, too. The “Black Arabs” Sex Pistols medley is something special for this, your special moment. It will appeal to both the funkers and the punkers alike. Few will have heard this version, but everybody will know the words, and, boy, can you clap to it.
Finals. Run One: You’re on it, this time you’re on it. The new handrail at the end hits the hall like an orgasm. One more run and you’re there.
Last Run: This is the clincher. Everyone wants to see your three new tricks. They love them. Let them know they’re coming: stall for three seconds before going into each of them. But what’s this? Right at the end you fall off! Huh? Matt Hensley didn’t fall off…
But you go straight into the two new dork tricks you learnt the other week. Uproar! The crowd go ape! He’s such a cool guy! They want to marry you! The judges want your children!
You throw your silly but stylish hat in the air. You have won Münster. In 30 days you have become the world’s greatest street skater. Ed Templeton, Andy Howell, Ron Allen, Frankie Hill and Matt Hensley (???check names???) all carry you shoulder high.
You go up to collect first prize. You give Titus’ ponytail a gentle tug: it’s real — it’s all real. A tear comes to your eye. You’ve done it. The world’s a better place.