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 Joe,

    Great to hear from you. Yeah your ramp got the “worst back yard ramp” in another issue I think. It could have been in that OTHER skate mag though. Good times, hey did you ever pay grant for that ramp? hahaha.


  2. Hi Joe,

    I’m fairly sure the ramp pictures did appear in R.a.D at some point, in which case they will make it on to this site if I can keep going.
    When I checked the site this (Monday) morning in “suppose I’d better get this done” mode and found the flurry of posts from the Newbury diaspora it certainly encouraged me to keep working through the issues…

  3. This is all too much, the two small children in my sole care today are being forced to go skating!!!!!! Leighton, i have a new address joseph.caroline@virgin.net i’ll get in touch. JAMES KNIGHT! great to hear from you man and you’ve said some amazingly decent things here. I pop out to LA now and then with work, lets get in touch. maybe we could all meet up one day for a skate, i still can’t really ollie so transitions please. Cheers again Tim, this is indeed rad.

  4. P.S no, i never paid for the ramp. and the mini is still standing in that barn i believe , like some kind of stonehenge from our youth.

  5. ive posted stuff on the other pages site already i know so sorry for hoggin all the post! but its so cool that rad had “risen” again:)
    please post more of the old magazine, the scene needs things like this to keep it going o keep us on the ground of were we havecame from.cheers T.L.B.

    martyn blackpool

  6. ok ok ok orry but after ive read this pae questions keep coming up to me now. you once interview tony hawk before he was the great skate poobahh that he is now.how did you manage that because at the time to get an interview wth hawk was quite someting for an english magaznine. ok no more questions for a day or so now!

  7. Hey my man (The RAD guy)

    Just a little note from an old school South-African skater. You might remember replying to a letter from a young (stoked on your mag) schoolboy back in the day asking why we didnt receive the freebies on your mag or something of the sort. Your reply was that you wished your magazine never even made it to our shores (SA) and that we were this and that racists, blah, blah etc. Well hopefully you changed your views, especially on kids who didnt even have a say on how their county was run back then.

    Sorry for the rant but its been left unsaid for a long time.


  8. I remember the incident, although I didn’t write the reply, and I think there was a lot of debate about that one. The exact text of that letters page should show up here one day and we’ll be able to discuss it more then.

    My natural instinct would have been that we should not be hostile to individual skaters and I hope that the wording of the reply would have made it clear that the criticism was levelled at the policies of the goverment at the time. The skaters in the country would have suffered as a side-effect alongside participants in other sports affected by boycotts.

    Have you any idea which issue the letter appeared in? It would be interesting to read the actual text of the reply.

  9. Ahhh, how great is this?

    Hi Tim, Ben Blench here – we were in touch for a while in the early 90s. I wrote a couple of articles for RAD and Phat and pestered you about the internet a lot.

    Now I work as a writer in an internet agency – so thanks for the career guidance!

    Really good to see these old articles/ graphics/ skatey things here and cropping up elsewhere. Formative influences for me and plenty of others.

    Keep on rocking!


  10. Ben: thanks — it’s always interesting to hear from people who were involved in the magazine back in the day!

    Lemmy: thanks for the offer of help. I used to produce R.a.D magazine, so I have a complete set to work from already (I hope…)
    There’s a link over on the right-hand side in the “Skateboard Links” section to a similar project for Skateboard! magazine: they might be very happy to get scans of more of those issues.

  11. Hi Tim,
    No doubt you get hundreds of similar messages.
    I used to skate Croydon with Rayman and Paul Shier. Also in Kent in Maidstone (where you once came to photograph some Law Court banks).
    For years i’ve thought about the idea of you putting a book together of photos – you must have thousands. No doubt i’m not the only one to suggest this to you…
    Just recently I bought about 25 old issues of A.B./R.A.D. from eBay. Cost me $$$… but worth every penny. Like many people who read this board I have many fond memories of those times, and your magazine was a huge influence on my life – one highlight being the M:Zone jam (big ups to both Charlies and Mark Burrows).
    So in ending, i’d just like to thank you first – my life would not be the same without R.A.D.
    Also, keep this up – you’re onto something here. There are many people like myself who greatly appreciate your efforts.

  12. Jess: thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed both the original and this. Of course, it’s embarassing that your comment has coincided with one of the gaps when I’ve been unable to add new posts for a few days. Sorry.

  13. Just thought I’d add my ten pence worth…

    Skated in Manchester circa ’87-’91ish, mostly at the Manchester Evening News building with loads of others (including femi now and then) who turned up to session the 45 degree concrete banks – the closest we had to a skatepark, and it was undercover. Occaisionally skated at the ramps in Split Skates and Ardwick too. NatWest Bank steps on King street were good for a laugh as well, now an upmarket shopping centre…

    I’ve still got copies of r.a.d and bmx action bike! It was my bible at the time and made me dream of skating at far off places like south bank, livingston and meanwhile.

    Bought a new deck a couple of years back when I turned 30 (early midlife crisis?) and learnt to ollie all over again, madness. Then headed to the local ramp and nearly cripled myself. Started pulling off rock and rolls and smith grinds and the local kids had never seen anything like it – because the tricks were that old! They then proceeded to ollie kickflip the spine… I went home!

    Anyone know where I can get hold of any Anarchic Adjustment clobber? I’m after a T-Shirt that had the words Heroin Satan F**k on it!

    Great to see this has brought back good memories for many. Keep up the good work.



  14. Hi Tim,

    Just a quick note to say that the site is absolutely great. I, along with thousands of others was a regular reader from about late ’89 to the demise of the mag (including Phat), and have course have skated right on through. Although I have many old mags, I’ve lost the majority of my copies from 90-92, so it’s fantastic seeing those shots of Curtis et al again. Brings back so many good memories of skating in London in the early ’90s. Could you post up the Simon Evans interview again? Nice one….

  15. This site just brings back memories!!! Big shout out to the old london bridge crew!!!!! I used to have a pic in a few RAD mags but ive not got copies. The pic that ive not seen for ages, i dont know which issue its in (Great huh) Ive seen the comp at Crouch End pics but would like to see another. The pic was taken at Harrow on the large bank and the caption was “Indie Stripey to Zero Sophitso.” The issue included the demo with John Cardel and the Infamous Gonz.

    Is that Leighton Dyer from Benz in Newbury?


    Ian Jewell

  16. Hello Ian mate, yes this is Leighton from Newbury.. how are you bro?

    I am in New Zealand with my brother Alex.. we are living here..

    if anyone knows me, contact me on myspace.com/tatsie..

    take care, good to hear from you Ian..

    when you updating the site Tim?

    regards, Leighton

  17. Superb, loved looking at the Scans, nice to see Benny blasting the stairs at Central and Jim the Skin Crailslide at NEC.

    Big Hello to any of the of old Birmingham Wheels skaters. Was still seeing a few old faces at Epic last few years (even Tipton Rob) and at Walsall (Stampy [!], Billy Local, Kev Masson, Lichfield Crew) but not skated myself since last summer. Need to change that soon.


    The Wyrley iz still reprazentin !

  18. what a great find…..who emailed me this link, thank you.
    Now i’ll never get any work done.

    Hello to all brum skaters from when central could be skated and not just the steps by the fountain.

    the wyrley is still rollin, on 2 wheels more than 4. my knees don’t like 4 unless it has suspension.

    just one thing to say. Don B for president.

  19. Tim
    Great site Tim – good way of catching up on issues of RAD that I missed all those years ago…
    You may remember me as the chinese rollerskater at the southbank in the late 80s – sneaked into the background of the Vallely RAD T-shirt advert… I have a quick request re putting some scansfrom RAD/BMXactionbike on a vert rollerskate site – http://www.adinfinitum.de/Rollerskate/ the scan include Mon’s feature from 87ish + Munster comps. If it is OK, we would of course credit yourself, or would it be RAD/BMXactionbike/When we was RAD ?

    kind regards


  20. Tim… question. Do you still have the original photos from your days at BMXAB/RAD?
    You covered so many events with so many BMXers/skaters, both known and unknown.

  21. Jesse: Yes, I still have almost all the original pictures, including the out-takes. But in real terms I do not have access to them. They are boxed up and most of them in a self-storage cube. Doing something with them is a very long-term project for some time in some future. That’s why I have been doing this site: it’s the only practical way of dealing with requests to see any of that material.

  22. im trying to find an old rad article about skater addiction.there were a picture of a board mad eto look like a needle,i want to get it tattooed but need the pic!!! if anyone has any ideas please mail me at cheeks8112@hotmail.com

  23. Cheeks: sorry, no idea.

    Sam: hello again. Good to hear from you. I hope you won’t mind when some of your stuff crops up, as it eventually will if I keep going. I normally try to track people down to ask when the time comes.

  24. Hey Tim or tlb as we used to say,

    Am an old southbank local who was in the same crew as tony luckhurst, matt dawson and those young forest hill boys back in the 89/90s. I myself moved away to cheshire just when thing started to really kick off at southbank, thing like matt henlsey skating there and everybody just ripping it up. I was once in rad but only th eonce, it was a 89/90 issuse and we were skating in uxbrige I think, in a car park and you took a few photos of us and some of me skating a little rail, you published one which my mum was very proud off and the caption said, slide, grind its up to you the result is the same, of somthing like that. I losted this issue a long time ago and if you can remember when it was it would be great to try and find that issuse on ebay of somewhere.

    Loved wistons movie about the old days, wish I was 15 again. Great site and all the best of luck.

    Scott hayward – now 33 and feeling old!!!!

  25. Hi Scott

    I’m not sure which issue you mean. Sorry. Perhaps someone else can recognise it if you can remember a few more details. Can you remember who was on the cover, for example.
    Trying to think back… Was this carpark an upstairs one, above shops on the High Street?

  26. Hey Scott, Hope alls cool…

    I remember the days of Mr Cheeky Dawson at South Bank and London bridge, those were cool days! I know what it feels like to be 33 now, Man i hurts when ya slam. Do you know what happened to Matt Dawson? I saw Kurtis many years ago DJing D&B in club UK? I will have a look for your pic as ive still got about 5 years worth of RAD. Ive got a few issues missing (Just the ones im in).

    Give ya shout when ive had a look

    Ian Jewell

  27. Great site, brings back the memories, sadly all my old copies got thrown out at some stage years ago.
    I only appeared properly in the mag once, around 89 or 90 I think, it was when you came down to Southampton and photographed me Don, Mark and the rest on the streets (it was probably Greg Nowik’s first photo session if I remember). The photo in question had me doing a rather dodgy ollie to tail on a makeshift bank of plywood on some steps. I’d love to see that issue again.
    There was another session in London, around the big white wall and some banks in a roundabout in Wandsworth i think? my memories a little sketchy. Again it was me Don and Marketc. plus all the IOW bioys, Ged, Jolliffe and the rest. I think there was a group photo of having a friendly chat with the old bill.
    Keep it up.

  28. Can anyone help.
    I appeared in R.a.D some 18 years ago and am desperately trying to track down the copy to show my kids!!!
    The issue had an emptied out duck pond in Bishops Park (Fulham) on the cover, and featured similar places to skate inside. That was my manor and R.a.D phoned and told us they were coming, the photo of me is of a frontside Olli kick-flip up a bank with the sun shine coming from behind, shining through a statue. Caption says – Luke Colson kick-flips to order.

    I would kill for a copy, better still I can pay!!

    Help…. anyone?


  29. hey,
    i am looking for a particular photo. it was a covershot of a friend of mine skating monks ditch, and was credited as unknown local.
    i think he was doing a back smith. there was a feature in the issue about the ditch and other photos of him.
    if you know what issue this was, and if anyone has a copy, it would be cool to give him a copy.


  30. Hello Tim,

    I don’t suppose you have issue 115 of RAD mag. (99% sure) it’s got the review of the st albans comp. I won the 17 + under & Mike Manzorie (cant spell) won the sponsered. Would love to have a read. Threw my copy out by accident 10 years ago!


    Paul Stevens.

  31. Hi Paul,

    I’m afraid I only have the one master set of magazines. You’re right: that was issue 115 (December 1992). Tom Penny on the cover.

    Those magazines were larger than A4, which makes them harder for me to scan. That’s the reason why I haven’t put any of the last issues on the site yet (in answer to Leighton’s comment). But I think I may have found a solution to that.

  32. Tim

    Thanks for posting all this old nostalgic stuff Tim. So much reminiscing. R.A.D. was my Bible when I was a young skater and the first little skate supplement in the old BMX Action Bike actually got me into skating – I thought that looks way cooler than riding a bike! Do you know the supplement I mean? While I realise this is a site dedicated to R.A.D. and you get requests to post issues all the time, any chance of posting it as it would be intresting to see the first spark that went on to create R.A.D? Anyway, fantastic that you’re slowly putting together an electoronic record of this stuff for all to see, but all these memories………….it’s very emotional!!!

  33. @AJ: Yes, I remember that supplement. It was called “Skate Action” (a name which was later copied by a rival publisher for their own skateboard magazine) and was made possible because Shiner were prepared to book however many pages it was of ‘skateboard’ advertising.

    At some point I could include it here, I think. But there’s so much more origninal Rad mag stuff to get through first. I doubt if it’s ever going to happen. This is all very slow…

  34. Tim

    this is just on the off chance,Years ago me and snoz built some ramps in the woods near to where we lived and of all people Sean Keith came down and took some photos of us skating and did a write up it was 89-90 i think it was in SK8 ACTION mag, been trying to trace the issue for years but had no luck wondered if you had any ideas on how to get my hands on it just for old times sake me snoz would like to reminis the good old days.Would appreciate any help.



  35. hi tim

    had a good look,great site mate
    any pictures left in the bank of the past.

    hi to steve was his 40th this year, found out to late.

    mine this year thinking of booking up skaterham,for a gettogether.

    anyway hi to all ,and the past will never fade (L.S.D)

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