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Whose Line is it Anyway (Part 5)

St George's Skatepark WeybridgeThe skater was credited as Patrick Hughes [actually Pat Phillips, see correction below], shown here at the private mini-bowl on the St George’s (?) estate in Weybridge. This was (and still is) a posh private estate with its own security force and home to sundry celebrities, including some of the Beatles at one point. This bowl had been built for a skater who had since grown up and left home. His family were happy for other people to carry on using it.

And perhaps they’re right. The freestyling and racing heroes of the sixties and mid seventies were supplanted by the vertical stars of the late seventies and eighties. Now we have pros who have established their name on the streets. That would have seemed ridiculous at the beginning of eighties, but as skating grows, new areas, new aspects of skating, are opening up all the time.

The mini-ramp has brought a whole new style of skating to a new generation. New, different: not better, not worse. The lines of the mini- ramp wizard are not the direction based lines of the park skaters, they have more in common with the trick based lines of the freestyler. But nobody feels a need to slag off freestylers because all they do are ‘tricks’ or a slalomer because all they do is wiggle through cones.
If you can only see lines in terms of travelling over concrete, or flowing patterns the width of a big vert ramp, then you’re the one with the blinkers, you’re the one trapped in the mental tramlines. And if you’re spending time worrying about it, that’s your problem, not the bloke who is actually skating on the mini.

Issue 81 November 1989 &Skateboard culture timlb 22 Apr 2006 2 Comments

Classic Concrete: Rodga Harvey, Rom Skatepark Snake Run

Rodga Harvey Rom Skatepark Snake Run September 1989This was one of those “photographer’s photographs” which was included because it was a personal favourite. It’s unusual because it was shot with a telephoto lens to give a condensed perspective effect, when my normal vision used wide-angle lenses in an attempt to give the viewer a sense of involvement in the scene. My interest here was in the shapes of the concrete — part of a recurring “just waves in space” theme which underlies most of my photographs.

(“Just waves in space” was originally a line in Nic Roeg’s film, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. The specific reference there was to television, but it struck a chord with me and resonated in a way which I interpret in a much broader sense. So there you go.)

From a skate point of view, the significance here is that glorious seventies concrete shape, courtesy of Skateparks Construction. Who better to exploit it than Rodga Harvey, whose skate home was the west London equivalent at Harrow?

Harrow itself can be seen in the top right picture which features Ian Gunner skating the moguls. Our paths crossed again later. Continue Reading »

Issue 81 November 1989 timlb 21 Apr 2006 1 Comment

Whose Line Is It Anyway (Part 5)

Will Bankhead Skating in the City 1989
Jay Podesta’s photograph shows Will Bankhead skating ‘somewhere in the City’. This was around the time that the City of London started to get really hostile to skateboarders.

Do you get pissed off with people coming on better than you on the grounds that their skating (or type of skating) is better than yours? It’s fashionable to take the piss out of kids who get hung up about who can do what tricks. But the people who take the piss are careful to maintain their particular status. It’s not how high you can Ollie, for them, but the point remains the same — ‘I’m better than you’. In this case because ‘I’ am into a ‘better’ form of skating.
This prejudiced view has established a set hierarchy: concrete, good; big vert ramps, nearly as good; mini-ramps, bad. Just as some do-gooders insist that skateboard graphics are the work of devil, so some skaters carry on as if satan had come up with the idea of the mini. They forget that skating is constantly changing: that when they first took to riding back yard pools most ‘skaters’ were more into spinning 360s or racing down hills. Or maybe they don’t forget? Maybe deep down they fear the new?

Issue 81 November 1989 &Skateboard culture timlb 20 Apr 2006 No Comments

Whose Line is it Anyway? Part 4

Rob Dukes sequence, KenningtonA crashing change of gear takes place at this point. It’s hard to work out what the idea was. I have a feeling that the first part of this feature was written by Gavin and that the second part was by me and that this page is the dividing point. I think I detect a switch into lecture mode as well as a division within the editorial camp. The exact kind of thing I was describing to Joe Millson in a comment on another post. This is me having gripe in print, I suspect:


Now go back, read that stuff again but this time and ask yourself whether you agree. Beneath all the standard ‘open your eyes and your mind’ stuff we usually trot out, is the assumption that a particular style of skating is ‘bad’.

Issue 81 November 1989 &Skateboard culture timlb 19 Apr 2006 No Comments

Whose Line is it Anyway? Part 3

Nicky Guerrero at Munster, picture by Claus GrabkeI really like this picture of Nicky Guerrero, taken by Claus Grabke. I wish we had run more images like these.

Conformity breeds stagnation which spreads like a plague of death and destruction, and napalms our very souls. Instead of going for the latest trick, go for a new line. Tramlines may be in vogue in skinny haircuts on young hippety-hoppity heads, but at least they’re showing variety. Take a leaf out of their book: I saw these photos from some New York barber’s the other day — there was a Mickey Mouse on a skateboard. That barber had the lines sussed.
Tramlines? Leave them in Blackpool, mate, leave them in Blackpool.

Issue 81 November 1989 &Skateboard culture timlb 18 Apr 2006 No Comments

Cyrils Boardwalkers and Voiceline Adverts

Voiceline and Cyrils Boardwalkers Sk8 Shop AdvertsGoing off at a tangent time: this advert for premium voice lines makes me think of a recent news story I heard about one of the biggest companies specialising in dialtones and the like. They’d just started expanding into China, I think. The thing which struck me is that the company in question is run by Martin Higginson. That’s the same Martin Higginson who used to publish Sk8 Action back in the day. If so he’s certainly gone on to bigger and better things. Good luck to him. I wonder where Cyril is now?

Adverts &Issue 81 November 1989 timlb 17 Apr 2006 No Comments

Whose Line is it Anyway? Part 2

Reuben Goodyear, Kensington slide slideGreat picture of Reuben Goodyear skating a playground in Kensington, taken by Jay (Podesta).

Everyone’s got a line in them unfortunately today more and more are choosing tramlines. They’re stuck in a groove and won’t break out.
Mini-ramps have brought many good things into skating, but on the down side they’ve given many skaters a tramline which they lay down everywhere. Ramps, reservoirs, parks and even pools are now becoming just mini-ramp substitutes as the tramlines are laid down across them. Back and forth everyone goes with aerobic style routines.
All terrain contains an infinite number of lines, so why not ignore the squashed circle most have chosen? BREAK FREE! Go back and forth, up and down, round and round, crave figures of eight even. Crave figures that if you drew them would look like some Dada drugs experiment.
Find a line, hide it, find a new one. Then get your old one out and show off. Lines are as much a part of the creative side of skating as tricks: a creative skater can find lines that enhance his skating.

Issue 81 November 1989 &Skateboard culture timlb 16 Apr 2006 No Comments

Whose Line is it Anyway?

Whose Line is It Anyway?Picture shows Shane O’Brien at Neasden, and it’s only when I look it at it now that I start to appreciate why we ran it (I took the pictures but tried to leave the choice to other people). This feature looks like one of those excuses to run a load of pictures we liked…

Issue 81 November 1989 &Skateboard culture timlb 15 Apr 2006 No Comments

Rollersnakes Skateboard Mailorder Advert (Part 2)

Rollersnakes Mail Order Advert November 1989Main points of interest? Loads of decks at around £42 and plenty of wheels for less than £30. The big range of protective clothing and the section devoted to plastics date it. So does the small number of shoes on offer!
Videos featured in this advert were Streets on Fire, Public Domain, Animal Chin, Bones I and II, Gotcha Grind and H Street’s Shackle Me Not. Good to see that many of these classics are enjoying a well deserved life as re-releases on DVD. A bit like this site…

Adverts &Issue 81 November 1989 timlb 14 Apr 2006 No Comments

Rollersnakes Mail Order Skateboard Advert

Rollersnakes Skateboard Advert November 1989This was page one of a double page spread advert for Rollersnakes, who were clearly going for mail order in a big way. Complete skateboards started at £75 with RIP trucks and wheels, others were £90 or £105. Powell decks cost £5 extra. Those were different times.

Adverts &Issue 81 November 1989 timlb 13 Apr 2006 No Comments

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