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. As you can tell, this is very much in test mode.
    The idea is to publish some of the pictures and stories from R.a.D magazine in a format which allows anyone who wants to wax nostalic to add their own comments.

    My first thought is to try posting a few things from one particular issue and then move on to another issue. The obvious plan would be to concentrate on one issue per month, but I doubt if there’s enough time to do that.

    It also seems like a good idea to add a few “where are they now” posts about the skaters featured in each issue (and the people working on the magazine).

  2. tim…
    phil burgoyne looking in this is good stuff
    i have a challenge for you… i believe this is before rad in an action bike
    you did a calandar poster thing with a great picture of me at swansea
    in the woods… quite possibly the best picture of me i remember… made worse by the fact i only ever saw it on dickies bedroom wall in ware…
    working in epsom and still living in sydenham with frank wheeler


  3. Hi Phil,

    That sounds like maybe it was in that “Skate Action” supplement we did in Action Bike. (Funny to think how that name ended up on a rival magazine.)

    I’ll try to dig it out the Action Bike magazines to check.

    Of course, the real challenge would be see if I could find the original picture. Please do NOT hold your breath on that part of the project!

    By the way, there’s a quote from you about the Preston competition which will appear here in a couple of days (I’m trying to get ahead on posts and schedule them so that one appears each day).


  4. Hey Tim, great to see the site, it’s already helping me to forgive my Mum for throwing out my stack of mags all those years ago (familiar story I know…), I’ll be checking daily!

  5. Daily… Well, I have a feeling I won’t be able to keep it going at that rate all the time. That’s why I’m trying to build up a supply of pages now.

    I also feel some of it’s going to be very boring. I went through a lot of the magazines with Winstan, doing scans for his film, and they seem very dated. The issue I’m doing at the moment, for example, seems very weak now — but it might be one which someone will find particularly interesting (got them into skating/ first time they were in a magazine etc).

    I’m not really sure what to do with it, to be honest! But at least it’s a start. The real problem is the sorting out of the original material; scanning old magazines is painless in comparison.

  6. Colchester ramp… I remember going there on a very, very foggy day and having the nightmare journey back. It somehow seemed like an epic journey, which is odd seeing as it was just down the road.

  7. Right at the start of my journey back into skating thanks to the MAS guys after a 20+ year layoff. Really looking forward to reading through all the old material and becoming a regular down ‘memory lane’ 🙂 Thanks for making this stuff available again Tim – this mid-life crisis lark is actually really good fun!

  8. I’m not sure yet when particular things, like Morfa, will appear. At the moment I hope to concentrate on an issue from the relevant month (December in December), but I think I’ll jump about in the years. That way different eras can get a look in earlier on.

  9. Excellent, excellent, excellent!

    Just seeing some of the RAD covers when I watched RollinThroughTheDecades the other week was enough to “take me back”.

    Cool… very cool.
    Hope to see the issue with Milton Keynes in!

  10. Hey Tim. Neil from Chicago here. I’m from merseyside originally, moved here in 1985. I picked up my fits copy of RAD in Oxford while on vacation: issue # 59. After taking it back to the states I wrote to you to congratulate you, and you were kind enough to give me a free subscription for a couple of years. I love teh magazine–I’ve still got all of them you sent to me. Yes it seems dated, but I love looking at those issues. It really encapsulate sthe feeling of the time, and it doesn’t talk down to you like Thrasher and Transworld could.

    Thanks Tim for doing this.

  11. Hi Tim,
    Good to see this started up. Going to have to keep an eye on this site.
    I’ve still got my full collection. The closest thing I have to a diary!
    Good on ya, Sean Goff

  12. hi tim
    good to see your doing this i,ve got most of my early nineties mags still it will be cool tosee the stuff i missed out on though

  13. Hello Tim..

    My name is Leighton.. you did an article on our little scene in Newbury Berkshire, years ago.. maybe 1988.. holy smoke.. anyway.. wicked site man..

    I’m living in New Zealand now as an art director.. keep up the good work,

    regards, Leighton Dyer..

  14. Good point about the photo issues (there were two of them, though I think the first one is the one which most people will have in mind). I’ll include them in the mix somewhere. Eventually I hope to get the whole lot up here, though it would take several years to do it. My current idea is to jump around the years a bit, so that different generations get to see some of “their” stuff without having to wait too long. So Milton Keynes will show up at some point.

  15. Hi Leighton! I remember that Newbury feature very well. In fact I remember chatting to you about what you were going to do in the future. I think some teacher had warned you off some career ambition or other on the grounds of “there’s no scope for that”, and I was pointing out that it’s surprising what you can do for a job (consider what I was doing at the time).

  16. Stoked to see this site. Rad (no. 79 i think, June 89) was my first ever skate mag – it had an article about a shower of lads called Team Dead Cow, showed them skating an old race track/bellodrome type place. That article and one a while later on taking one tube line (Northern?) through London were 2 of the ones that stand out straight away. Get them up here soon, heheh.

  17. Hi Ciaran,

    They’ll definitely appear one day. The Dead Cow cover was one of my favourites (MUCH closer than normal, although that’s not immediately obvious). The track in question was Brooklands! Northern Line story also stands out it my memory for all the context pictures of people climbing into places, or skating from spot to spot. I really liked that stuff, but we had to ration it.

  18. Tim – great site! I bought RAD religiously from about 1991 until the very end and used to read each issue cover to cover and back again about five times over. It was a total lifeline for those of us stuck a million miles away from London. Like many of the people above, I Watched Rollin Through The Decades last night and just had to see if RAD had been re-born online somewhere. Kudos to you for making it happen!

    Would love to see as much Deathbox related stuff as you can dig up. Also, the Alex Moul ad for Bench’s Moleskins really needs to be seen again!


  19. Hi Tim,

    Great idea to do this – I’ve spent a long time in my parents’ attic over Christmas trying to dig out all my old BMX Action Bike/R.a.D. magazines, only to find that most have been thrown out while I’ve been living elsewhere.
    I was lucky enough to get a fair chunk of the Fairfields footage I shot into Winstan’s film: I’ve been trying to archive all the video stuff we filmed onto DVD, just to make sure it doesn’t die when the VHS cassettes stop working.

    I’m also trying to get a personal archive of skate stuff in some order, just for the future. I’ll drop you a mail regarding some things I’d love to get copies of.

    In the meantime, if there’s anything you need help with on here, just give me a shout. Your services to UK skating (and BMX) will never be forgotten!
    I’d love to see that Skate Action pullout again – I vividly remember Rodney Mullen’s ollie over that crate…

    Hope you had a good Christmas – Happy New Year!

    Speak soon,
    Chris Aylen

  20. Hi Tim,

    Tim H here great to see this stuff getting an airing, Mon told me about this site. I really am so happy to see this archive and am looking forward to see it grow, the Oxford scene lives on with SS20 and I see all the locals from back then, and some of the other faces from the UK scene.

    I’ll keep checking in.

  21. Look forward to updates.
    I always remember reading R.A.D. and checking out the names of tricks and who was doing them: pressure flip to late flip etc etc.
    Seem to remember an early issue that came with a free tyre valve for your BMX – it was a 2 finger salute – qualty. Also a ‘skateborading is not a crime’ sticker that I cut up into an anagram and stuck on my board
    Bring it on.
    Might even have a few issues in my attic

  22. Hey there !

    I dig your work : )
    It’s great to see all those memories & souvenirs !
    Reminds me a language trip to Brighton during the summer of ’91 and several issues of RAD in my luggages when I came back to France.
    Thanks for linking http://pieceofcake.hautetfort.com
    Ride on !


  23. Chris, copies of anything are very difficult at the moment, although Rayman has offered to help with excavations at some point. Mike John was taken sick when he came round to try a year or so ago.
    Skate Action might appear at some point (the original BMX Action Bike precursor to R.a.D, not the later magazine from Morecambe which used the same name), but it’ll be a long time coming.

  24. Tim
    It would be an amazing to get the legendary pages of RAD in a book to fit nicely on all our generic Habitat shelves. You gotta include the some of the m-zone ads! Some pages from Phat would ge great in there too!!! I’ve got a little design company in Brighton, anything i can do to help make it happen get in touch!

  25. Dickie: there’s already one M Zone advert on the site, and all the others will follow (provided I can keep going long enough). Phat will have to wait until afterwards — not sure I can ever face doing that one, to be honest!

    There is a book planned as part of the R.a.D Magazine Exhibition project, but I don’t want to speculate about when that will ever appear.

  26. Thanks Tim.. amazing you remember that conversation. I want to go back to my old school and have a word about inspiration. However, i’m happy so it’s all good.
    I still have that magazine in mint condition.
    Keep up this site man.. it’s great. There’s a few english skaters over here in NZ who read this.
    Happy new year, regards, Leighton Dyer.

  27. Hey Tim.

    Great to see this happening. I still have all my old copies of BMX action bike and R.A.D from the early eighties onwards. I kept them in prime condition so I can sneak into my loft and peak at them and remember the days when.

    Every issue brings back such great memories. A few really stand out, I remember the issue that had Nick Phillip or Dave Curry (I think) doing a footplant on a fence that had fxck written on it. There was uproar about that! Seems funny now doesn’t it!

    I was heavily into BMX (always hated that term), mainly ground freestyle and street riding. I did get to Romford skate park a few times (thanks to an older mate). The mag was so cool and a beacon for someone that lived in the country.

    I remember covering myself in Swatch watches!! 4 on one arm 5 on the other and one on my ankle! I remember wearing Flintstones T’shirts and Bermuda shorts, then Vision street wear.

    I remember being a bit miffed when the mag changed it’s focus onto the resurgence of boarders, but as BMX started to go “underground” it just made it cooler. It made me feel as if I was going against the tide.

    I continued to subscribe to R.A.D. and ended up pulling influences from the skaters moves. Guys like Sean Goff and Don Brider were a revelation, you could take their moves on boards and apply them to a bike (or try!)

    Once 1994 hit I was getting on a bit, I used to go out in the dead of night on my bike, find a street light and practice. It was like being a cycling ninja! Just trying to avoid people seeing me. The tricks progressed geometrically though. one minute we were all hopping, then Pepe Winder starting stringing tricks together and wam! Suddenly there were rolling balance tricks and a continuous flow.

    I’m now a professional drummer, which is great but, I would give anything for just one of those days. I’m so heavy now I think the bike would have to be made of granite to survive!

    Thanks for the memories.

  28. Super good work TLB. It’s fascinating enough looking through old magazines without the brilliant prospect of your thoughts on their creation.

    A little story about the Northern Line article: many years later I found myself living in London, on the Northern Line, looking through that issue.

    There was a line in the article about the places you didn’t have time to skate that day, which included the bowl in Talacre Gardens. I’d never heard of it but something made me check on the map and I found it just 10 minutes skate away from my house. I’d lived there for a few years and never knew about a bowl just around the corner. Unbelievable.

    I immediately left the house and took my board to investigate. Upon arrival I couldn’t seem to find the bowl in the gardens so, after some frustration, I asked a dog walker who was resting on some fresh grass.
    ‘Do you know where the skatepark is?’ I asked.
    ‘You’re standing on it’ she replied.
    It had been filled in that Spring.


    Hi Leighton, I remember you coming to Southrop a couple of times…I’m sure Spence says hi too.

    And of course great to see the extended SS20 family emerge on these pages. Hi all. Do you remember skating with Ed T at Mon’s ramp on a New Deal tour? (Okay maybe some proper vert skaters were there too…)

  29. Tim,
    I fondly remember a rainy sunday in Bury (possibly 89′) driving around in the back of the Split Skates camper van with you & Snoz, desperately looking for a dry school yard to skate. . . Halcyon days !
    Great site and message board, good to hear from some of the old boys & girls.
    I’m considering scanning all my R.A.D.’s & Skateboard! mags to preserve them for my as yet unborn offspring. Do you know if the material is still under copyright ?

  30. SIMON EVANS AT SOUTH BANK!!!!!!!!!!!!! HEY HEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!! This takes me back some!! Woah – those were the days – best days of my life – Loved watching Evans style – loved the London atmosphere – why oh why did I have to grow up! 😀

  31. Sorry if anyone feels offended that I seem to be ignoring a lot of comments here and elsewhere. Something has happened which means that I am not able to spend as much time on this as I had been doing.
    I’m still around, and will try to get the flow of new (old!) material going again soon.

  32. hey tim
    i don’t think we ever met but i used to skate with greg nowik, don b, the i.o.w boys and the like…i just stumbled upon the archive whilst trying to find some old photo’s…..i haven’t had a proper look yet, are you planning to archive all the old issues? the one with the simon evans interview?that interview turned a few lights on when i was a kid….anyway, i hope all is well, keep up the uploading…..if i can help in any way let me know. cheers


  33. Wow! This is amazing! I’m SO pleased to have found this! I read RAD right from it’s emergence out of BMX Action bike right up to ’93 and in the pre-internet world it encapsulated the skating universe for me. I remember, up until a mate of mine got a copy of Public Domain (on Betamax!) I had NEVER seen a vert trick other than in still images in the pages of RAD.

    I have so many memories of RAD. My first heroes came about throught the photos in RAD. Gator at the Munster comp, Jason Jesse’s handplant into the lens at McGills by Daniel Sturt, Salba, Tony Mag, Natas, Danny Way (who if I remember from a profile I read when I was about 15, is the same age as me with the same years experience skating as me – shows what being brought up Southern Californa, as opposed to Harrogate, North Yorkshire can do for your vert skating propects…) Brits like Sean Goff doing a Slob Plant with a gnarly bit of visible testicle peeping out the side of the shorts, Pete Dossett, Rocker, all the Deathbox team (who made fantastic quality decks). I always loved the vert guys. Nothing beats a poster of a huge method or stalefish on an even huger vert ramp for the bedroom wall. Two walls of my bedroom were floor to ceiling with double-page pullouts from RAD and Skateboarding Magazine (and a couple of bits from Thrasher, too)

    Incidentally, I’m a graphic designer now and I owe my career choice, in no small part, to RAD. Even as a kid, I loved the punky distressed graphic style and typography in the mag – and I always stuck the free RAD logo sticker on each board I had.

    Ahhh, nostalgia IS what it used to be…

    Sorry, I’m rambling now. Great days, great days.

  34. Having been out of the scene for about ten years, imagine my horror when I made a conscious effort to get back into it last month – only to find that RAD is now defunct……if only I’d had the mind to keep the copies I bought……Bring back RAD!!! Bring back RAD!!!

  35. Bloody hell!!!! So there i am secretly having a nose around on the net for ramp plans for a wee backyard ramp that my wife might let me get away with and there’s a picture of my own finest beanplant from 1989!!!!! I can not tell you what a thrill that gave me and what memories it has brought back and how it has cemented my determination to re enter the world of backyard sessioning. Hello Tim. I for one have never stopped skating although work (actor) and family (2.4) mean it’s a once or twice a month event. The sketchy spirit of those sessions at sadgrove farm live on. your website is hugely important and appreciated as was your publishing my adolescent writings way back when, you weren’t alone, skate action published a short story later on. quick question; there was in one edition of RAD a picture of my out door ramp with the platform built on and through the roof of my dads car…..? or was that the skate action newbury article. anyway , i’m rambling. will treasure the pics and visit site often. Vinegar joe.

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