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Gavin Hills on skateboarding in Ireland in 1989

Gavin Hills on Norther Ireland in 1989Only the double act of Vernon-and-Gavin could have handled this for us. Gavin seldom got the chance to address his bigger themes head on in R.a.d, though he was always true to them whenever he could sneak them in. There is nobody else I would have trusted to attempt this — certainly not myself. Sheryl Garratt once wrote of how she would struggle to keep Gavin from quoting William Blake in The Face; on this occasion he managed to get Yeats into R.a.D


by Gavin Hills

“The innocent and the beautiful
Have no enemy but time.”


Someone once mentioned that everything in Ireland is a lot greener. I certainly was — me, along with the rolling hills and sheep-clad fields. To travel to Northern Ireland is to travel through history, and history in this case is a nightmare they are all trying to awake from. Continue Reading »

Issue 82 December 1989 &Skateboard culture timlb 14 Jul 2006 No Comments

Wurzel at original Meanwhile I

Krakatoa Clothing Advert 1989No idea who Krakatoa were, but that’s certainly Wurzel. I’m not entirely convinced that I have the location correctly identified as Meanwhile Gardens in its original form.

Adverts &Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 13 Jul 2006 2 Comments

Essjays Adverts and others Christmas 1989

Essjays advert 1989Essjays and Cromer Sports were long-term advertisers. Essjay is still around (I believe and hope), but what of Cromer?

Adverts &Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 12 Jul 2006 3 Comments

Custom Riders, not just for Xmas

Skateboard Shop Adverts from 1989The advert that stands out for me in this lot is Custom Riders with their prophetic “we’re not just for Xmas” line. No, indeed: they’re still around 17 years later, when many others are history, like the magazine itself. But oh, what a different time that was. Simpler? More authentic? Or were we all just starting out?

Adverts &Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 11 Jul 2006 No Comments

Inter-skateboard prejudice?

Chris Howell Finger flip to Caspar 50The conluding page of this story about the meeting point between freestyle and streetstyle skateboarding includes the plea: “How’s the public going to accept us when most skaters won’t even accept a form of skating?” But who wanted to be accepted in the first place? The divisions within skateboarding are just as much about establishing personal identity as the desire to identify with other skaters.

You do a 360 Shove-it to Fakie at South Bank and they don’t really accept it as a proper trick because you’re on a freestyle board, after all. I do a Blunt on a freestyle board and they say ‘What’s he doing that for? Freestyle boards aren’t for that.’ Skaters say ‘the public should accept us’ How’s the public going to accept us when most skaters won’t even accept a form of skating?

Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 11 Jul 2006 3 Comments

The freestyle end of things, 1989

Sam Lewis Varial to Caspar 50/50 South BankThis was the freestyle aspect of F.I.S.T in evidence: the type of thing which disappeared from view over the next few years. Hands involved, not just feet. Taking in the longer perspective, from the seventies onwards, that seems to have been one of the fundamental movements in skating. Hands gradually stopped being used to hold on to boards, to drag on a bank or plant on ground or coping — but it was a very gradual move and for all I know hands are back.

Caption: Sam Lewis: Handstand Varial to Caspar 50/50
Continue Reading »

Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 10 Jul 2006 No Comments

Skate City Bromley Christmas 1989 advert

Skate City Bromley Christmas 1989 AdvertThis was the Christmas issue, so advertisers splashed out on bigger-than-normal ads, or switched to colour. Bike City did both with this page which seems to have a touch of the M-Zone about it. The two shops were based relatively close to each other, on the southern fringes of London and must have been rivals to some extent.
I liked adverts like these which featured local skaters. Can anyone now tell us more about Andy, Simon, Brian and Jonah please?

Adverts &Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 09 Jul 2006 6 Comments

Freestyle In Street Terrain — skateboarding in transition

Freestyle in Stree Terrain -- skateboarding in transition

There’s too many laws in freestyle. The idea comes across that if you’re a freestyler you have to skate on your own. You don’t use banks. Some people think you shouldn’t do Ollie tricks. All these rules come across.

Sam Lewis materialised from Southend, did Varial Inverts and lots of other things, made it all look easy and surprised the lot of them

Does Darren Walker fall off skateboards? Infrequently. Moving 360 Finger-flip
Continue Reading »

Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 08 Jul 2006 2 Comments

When freestyle vs streetstyle seemed like an issue

Chris Howell, Ollie Kick-flip, South Bank 1989Chris Howell was a freestyler who organised events under the “F.I.S.T.” banner (Freestyle In Street Terrain). As the caption said:

On banks (good), Kick-flip Ollie (good), on a freestyle board (could you hold on while I take a quick attitude check on that please?)

This was a slightly uncomfortable period as people who had called themselves freestyle skaters (a very small band) suddenly saw their type of skating cross over into the mainstream, but under a different name and with a slightly different approach. Most of the photographs in the rest of the article place the emphasis on older-style freestyle, with hands involved as much as feet and wheels only to a lesser extent — but this one would fit happily with the sessions from the future.

Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 07 Jul 2006 2 Comments

Fat Willy’s in R.a.d? Surely not…

Fat Willy's and Skate Freedom adverts from 1989Where did Fat Willy’s fit into all this? At the time their stickers seemed everywhere and therefore absolutely no part of the underground skate culture. Both this and the Boogie designs adverts may seem innocent enough now, but at the time they would have stood out like sore thumbs.
That sounds very snotty, but at the time these things mattered to us. There was a constant (amiable) struggle with the advertising department to convince them that we had very little to do with genuine surf culture, let alone the High Street variety. In this we were skate snobs, of course, and fighting a pointless battle.
The crossover and blurring of all these boundaries is now a done deed and it paid my wages for many years at New Deal. But there is a part of me that still clings to the notion that there was something special about the pure-skate companies.

Adverts &Issue 82 December 1989 timlb 06 Jul 2006 No Comments

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