When We Was Rad:
Skateboard History from UK Vintage Magazine

Duty Now For The Future

Simon Evans Shell Centre

If you’re interested in the history of skateboarding in Britain, this site contains original vintage UK skateboard material from the eighties and nineties which originally appeared in R.a.D Magazine.

This is an exercise in skateboard nostalgia for old school skaters and a glimpse of the roots of British skating for historians and people researching street culture: part of the Long Tail for skateboarding in the U.K. There are also hints of what life was like producing magazines in the days before desktop publishing.
If it strikes a chord with you, please feel free to add your comments and or encouragement (but you will need to register first). R.a.D existed before widespread use of the Internet, but was as interactive as we could make it at the time. If we could have used channels like this at the time, R.a.D would have been very different indeed.
The original plan was to post one page per day until every issue of the magazine is available but, like so many blogs, the pace has slowed down! For practical reasons I am working my way through one issue at a time, but I aim to jump around the years rather than do each issue in chronological order so that different generations of readers get a chance to see some of ‘their’ issues without having to wait too long.

146 responses to “Duty Now For The Future”

  1. hey tim, great website, all the old rads on here take me way back, i’ve been checking your site every week… i’m after copy’s of the 3 phat mags you did, have you got copy’s to sell me or i’ll take good scans if you have time to do it. i’d pay for your troubles. it would be awesome if you could help, i’ve been hunting for them for years.
    keep up the good work

  2. hey guys

    I’m making a pilot film at the moment for VBS (an online tv channel) about the birth of street riding in the UK – and really really wanted to include a screen shot or two of RAD – and if possible at all some shots of Dave Slade riding – is there anyway you guys could help us out?

    many thanks

  3. Good point! The answer is that there’s a gentle flow of discussion in the comments, but that I haven’t been able to add any fresh material from the magazine for some time because of personal pressures.

  4. Hi folks,

    I was clearing out some old VHS video cassettes the other day and found a late 80’s possibly early 1990’s skate vid.

    The video is called ‘Spirit of the Blitz’ by Deathbox Skateboarding. Lots of UK and European riders and good soundtrack. Does anyone know anything about this video? I vaguely remember Deathbox – the teapot board?

    I’m beginning to get interested in retro skating. I used to skate when I was a teen and I wish I’d kept my old Powell Steve Caballero from 89′ in better condition. It’s now scratched beyond recognition in my parents shed somewhere!

  5. Hey Radsters, Upon clearing out some boxes, I have found two old but brand new copies of R.A.D. from 1993. They are in unread condition and even have the free stickers still attached to the front. They were bought for a friend in South Africa as we used to mail them to him every month, but these two didn’t get sent. If anyone is interested in the feel free to email me at ajbain@hotmail.com

  6. Tim, amazing website, what a trip down memory lane. So stoked that i came across this, though sad i dont still have all my issues. Was pleased to find key ring when i moved house last year! Any other old donny skaters out there? Used to skate waterdale college (now knocked down), concorde centre (wicked little mini in a church, church now converted into flats), 2ft high mini in wheatley (got burnt down), and ofcause round ocean skate shop on sandringham road which used to have various ramps outside, and a mini ramp in the back of the shop, (shop knocked down and houses built there). How things have changed! I wrote to rad in about ’88 requesting some stickers, and was well chuffed when i got a bulging a4 envelope returned, full of rad logo stickers, genorosity i didnt expect. Keep up the good work with the site.

  7. Ah… The keyrings. I still come across those at home as well. Not the most wonderful cover mount. My favourite were the first small stickers. Thanks for adding your memories!

  8. Tim, i was well impressed with the large logo stickers i received, nobody had ever seen ’em that big!! Rad really was an education and lifeline for me as a young skater starting out, and i’m glad to see so many other people feel the same.

  9. Hi Tim,

    I was wondering whether R.a.D. covered the occasion when the Bones Brigade went up to the Skate Shack in Barrow? It was the only big skate demo I ever went to. I still have my own photos of the day but it would be insane to read about it after all this time.

  10. @Ali: I believe we covered all the Bones Brigade tours. So I imagine that we did cover this. But I don’t remember it personally. What year was it, please? I’m a long way away from any copies of the magazine at the moment, but later in the year I may be able to go through them and check for you.
    @Did: Thank you. We were all learning together, I think.

  11. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I remember I had an issue of Skateboard! I was reading in the car on the way up to Barrow — it was the one where Neil Danns and some others headed out to Brazil to check out the scene there, and I remember being pretty stoked about that since I was living in Liverpool and Neil was of course the local skate guru. Front cover scans of that magazine that have been posted on the web by some other generous individual; it seems that was the July 1990 edition. So I’m going to guess the Barrow session was July or August 1990.

    I’ll try to get my own photos online, for what they’re worth; perhaps others would like to see them. I seem to have only a few of the prints, sadly, but maybe I have a more complete set of negatives. Hawk was definitely there (he signed my board) but I’m not sure who else was ripping it that day.

    Thank you for your work maintaining this excellent archive. It’s been a riot to see some of this stuff again.

  12. Tim,
    If you fancy searching out certain issues, i would love to see what i think was the very first rad i bought, way back in ’87/’88. It had feature which i think was titled The ramp in the woods, the enchanted garden.
    I feel sure it was about a skate scene on the isle of wight, where there was a stunning midi ramp, which was pretty wide with quite a wide roll in section and also a spine like tombstone, and i think there was doubt whether the ramp would be there much longer because they didnt have permission to build it.
    I remember cutting up this issue (i know, dont say anything!!!) and bluetacking the images all over my bedroom wall, so these particular pics really will bring back that excitement of skateboarding permanently entering my bloodstream, and those tentative first pushes on my Egyptian Variflex.

  13. @Did: Cutting up the magazines was exactly the right thing to do! Those pictures were meant to go on walls. At the moment it would take a day’s travel to get to where the magazines are stored. But later in the year I will probably be in the same part of the world again.

  14. Good to see you back Tim. I’m looking forward to a load more old memories still to come. I’m just re-reading Disposable by Sean Cliver at the moment, which is a wonderful history of deck art and the skate vibe of the time which runs right through the RAD era. It’s here if you haven’t already seen it: http://www.disposablethebook.com

    Keep up the good work.


  15. Thanks, Dan. I’m not quite sure what to do with this blog at the moment. But I hope that I’ll come up with some way of adding more pages more often than I have during the last year or so.

  16. hey i have nearly all the mags in good condition if your missing anything, also ive got tons of doubles if anyones interested in getting hold of a certain issue

  17. Dom,
    I’ve been trying to get hold of one of the later 1993 issues with a Milton Keynes feature for a long time. I’ve got a few pics in it and it would be awesome to at least have scans of the article. If you can help or happen to have that issue spare I’ll bite your arm off!

  18. Hi I was wondering if anyone else remembered a strange collage that had some cut outs and cartoons etc that said “Gee I just messed myself” and “scollop frenzy and pob makes three” if you could upload that page I would be interested, as I always remember it.

    Unfortunately our mum threw out years worth of 2000 AD, Marvel comics, Rad and SK8 action mags when we still lived at home.



  19. Hey Tim, and all peeps interested in and/or who lived the crucial late eighties/early 90’s ‘Transition’ period in skateboarding, respect for keepin’ this history (and RAD mag’) alive; it really was an amazing period in skating.

    In unison: I wrote my own dedication to the period basd on my own experiences as an ordinary skater in a trilogy of books called ‘TRANSITION: A history of the rise of street skateboarding and the demise of vertical ramp riding; the ordinary skateboarders’ story.’


    Hope skaters enjoy the work.

    peace out, Dave.

  20. Hey Tim,

    It would be interesting to hear from you about the magazine ‘GM’ (Games Master), and one of its editors, a guy called Wayne.

    Produced in the same timeframe and out of the same office (?), the GM mag aimed to expose and promote fantasy/sci-fi roleplaying games & culture across a variety of formats – it too captured an interesting transition period. Interestingly, in the GM October 1989 (vol 2 no 2, page 41) issue there was a competition to win a skateboard, as ‘Ian and Tim’ from RAD had got Wayne hooked on skating. While GM had a pretty outward-looking approach, this could be perhaps the only ‘sport’ (for want of a better word) related item that GM ever featured.

    Do you have any details on how this came about? And did RAD ever mention GM or Wayne in return?

    Let me know if you want any images of this mention of RAD for your collection. Excellent work on the site too, have enjoyed reading it a lot. Cheers.

  21. @Simon: Thanks for reminding me about that. Yes: literally out of the same office. They had the bigger desks over by the window, I think, while I was tucked away in a dark corner. I have extremely happy memories of the GM team. They were really nice people and I look back on that period with great fondness.

    I imagine that the competition idea would have come up simply because we were all sharing the same space and we would have been able to put them in touch with a friendly manufacturer or distributor.

    I think it’s a fairly safe bet that we would have made some reference to the GM team in R.a.d occasionally, though I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

    I do remember that Kevin Thatcher from Thrasher once came to the office and was intrigued by all the GM paraphernalia about the place. They published a picture of Bod Boyle (I think) fighting with a fake sword on the roof of the building.

  22. Hi guys

    I was skating around Knebworth, Stevenage and St. Albans in the late 80’s and early 90’s and took a lot of pictures.

    I’ve recently found some of them so thought I would build a website and share them, as most of the places we used to go are now gone – so a nice bit of skateboarding history.

    Have a look – good memories of these places!




  23. Hey Tim,

    Went to see the Bones Brigade doc @ Leicester Square a few weeks ago; reminded me of the old R.A.D days (I used to BMX at Wicksteed Park, many years ago). Very good times and still an inspiration even now.

    Loving your work here (and did I read here somewhere that Nik Phillip is doing Imaginary Foundation over in the States?).


    PS thanks for sponsoring our Skatepark Jam back in 1989!

  24. Cough, splutter, sponsoring?? You have a long memory!

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad to think that this site still brings back memories, even though I’ve not been able to maintain it.

  25. Very fond memories of the late eighties early nineties skating Brum with biffa, egan, wizz wozz, Goughie, powers oldie etc. Sundays at central aston banks. bank of Ireland…….happy days great group of people, some unhinged moments but always always no matter what…… laughin our asses off.

  26. Sorry, but I don’t recall that there was ever a flexi-single with the original R.a.D magazine. Perhaps it was on that strange transition version of the magazine which appeared for a while before Sidewalk appeared?

  27. What a little bundle of joy to find thus a few years back. All the old copies of RAD exchanging on ebay rekindle memories of dark winter evenings when everyone would debunk into my bedroom and pour over the pile of BMX Action Bike and R.A.D mags whilst the windows became covered in condensation before we’d head back out to see who could pull the biggest street slides on the wet or frosty Scottish streets. Thanks for the memories…now do you or Nick Philip have the old screen press to re-run some of those much missed old T’s in the face of the occasional fake still popping up on ebay? Brian. http://Www.thesoulsurfers.wordpress.com

  28. Hi Brian, thanks for the comment, and for posting the link to your blog. I’ve just spent half an hour reading through some of that. Really interesting. Thank you. As far as T shirts are concerned — all that stuff is long gone. But there’s still a lot of magazine ephemera kicking around, including some examples of original paste-ups and even some of the repro ‘film’ for some pages. One day I’d like to do an exhibition including some of that so that people who have grown up with digital design can see how very physical things used to be.

  29. Hey Tim Leighton-Boyce,aren`t you the guy I remember as being the first (if not the ONLY!!) Roller Skater to skate the Bowls at Skate City skatepark in Tooley Street near Tower Bridge in London?

  30. Hi Tim – wonder if you can help … I have a memory of two fictional stories that were published in R.A.D. … one was about a trip to a skatepark and what goes through your mind on the way there … only to arrive and find the place demolished ( think it may have been an ode to Gillingham ) and the other was about a kid who sold his sould to the devil to be a great skater … are either of these on here? have you any idea what I’m on about. No one I know remembers these apart from me. Cheers Ed

  31. I can’t remember the story you describe about the skate trip to a demolished skatepark — which doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the magazine, it may just be my failing memory. The “skater who sold soul to Devil” one was in R.a.d, I think. But I’m not sure which one and I’m afraid I can’t look for it right now. Perhaps someone else will chip in with the answer.

  32. Hi
    Just came across this I was boarding in the UK in 1975 I probably have and still have the very first board in the country which is an old wooden GTO which was brought in California by my brother who gave it to me on his return. Correct me if I’m wrong but was there anyone else earlier than this? I skated from 1975 until 1985 then again on long boards up until 8 years ago. Great memories and plenty of bruises. I believe the first skatepark was at Hollywell bay in Cornwall but again can’t be sure.

  33. Hi there. Found this site while searching for info on RAD magazine. Glad to see the old school still being represented. I skated from the mid 80s to 1990. I even appeared in February 91 issue and still have a copy. If you don’t have it on record I could scan it all and send it to you, if wanted. Always enjoyed seeing your work, Tim. It’s great that you’re still involved in this awesome subculture. I think it’s also great that there are so many more council skate parks than in my day, although the lack of vert ramps is disappointing. Who knows, maybe I’ll start skating again after 30 years of couch surfing! David.

  34. Hey Tim,
    Thanks for keeping old skate memories alive!!
    I am not from UK but here across the Channel we loved RAD magazine as many other magz from the past.

    May the New Year bring to you warmth of love, and many more great skate memories to share with us.

    Bedankt, Merci, Danke! ????????

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