When We Was Rad:
Skateboard History from UK Vintage Magazine

Paul Wright, Todd Swank and other Luminaries in the Limelight

Skateboard Celebrities in Limelight Club 1988

All manner of celebrities names are dropped in this glimpse of how things were when the notion of skaters as VIPs outside of the skate world was a novelty.

Interesting to see that Nick Philip took some of the pictures. This must have been just before he left for California. John Chennels supplied the Sean Goff and Todd Swank pictures.

Vernon Adams wrote the words and I’ve managed to extract the text from a scan of the magazine in his honour:

A plane. A time. A smell. Where am I going? Where have I been? A one way ticket from Clubland on a return trip to the mainstream. Acceptance, but on whose terms? Exploitation? Or some backyardramp fantasy? The Night of the Living Skate Zombies was certainly one thing.unique.

Rumours abound of fashion mongers drifting into skating as its credibility rises. But from the first whispers this was plainly different. The build up was well publicised and calculated- tempting the punter with fruit too ripe: NEW TERRAIN. Food for skater’s appetites, offered for the taking, with no fee to session.

Outside the Limelight many could be seen. ‘Tree entry for you and your stick it said. Very few weren’t married. Wurzel headed the impatient throng trailing down the avenue. Passers-by looked on. ‘Clubbin Diary’ said 70s retro: never had so many been seen by so few

The parting of the doors revealed a sight of joy. A DJ perched high in God-like overview, surrounded by TV monitors flicking frames ofwheeled gods of a different kind. Below this altar another: a mini-ramp of epic proportions – 4 feet high, 12 feet wide with 7 foot transitions and tight-rope sized platforms for those about to entertain.

While others drank in affordable locals, the skate crazed started to session. Within an hour a hefty line-up of names and latter day jesters were snaking their way onto the virgin surface. Wiring the ramp was paramount for some,second nature to the more experienced. Someone more at home than most was Tod Swank. He lives under (literally) a ramp ofexactly the same dimensions. It showed. He blazed all manor of lippy tricks. Davie Philip showed up with hissmooth style, bringing along his Backside Pivot to Tail. Smith Grindsetc. Goff skates everything and anything with authority: he tweaked his airs to the max and took apart the lip with fervour.

Phil Chapman, Wurzel, Owen Neider, Crispin, Bob, Lunn, Damon, Smileon, Ian Lawson and Rob Dukes participated with merit. Others were no less worthy of mention, but memories dissolve in large cans of Pils. One who could not be forgotten was Pete Dosset. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking they were watching him skate a half-pipe: his tricks were no different. Hand- plants, Airs and the Lip passed through his recital as early morning crept towards dawn.

Girls in leather mini skirts and rich Arab club-goers had left in amazement hours before, but the stamina freaks raged on while night busses and skaters entwined to form mobile platforms for critiques of the evening’s events.

The ramp that John and Ross built, that Dan Adams, Rob Dukes and Will assembled,was good. Although Vision and Slam City’s money couldn’t help the lack of thick ply which Martin Herrick exposed with his weighty repertoire. Kevin Staab and Joe Johnson didn’t bother to skate. They headedstraight for the V.I.P. lounge where they met up with a Gaye Biker on Acide and left in search of the Damned.
All said and done, this was a good evening. Some even likened it to the old open party nights at Rolling Thunder. Everyone enjoyed themselves: they were provided with everything that could be needed: music, beer, videos, bands, pro skaters and the ultimate main attraction- new terrain.It’s not every day a ramp springs up in middle of London.
Almost any club entrepreneur could have supplied the ramp, but it would have only been a side attraction- used only to be fashionable on their restricted terms and then discarded like last year’s designer outfit. Here skating was the focus, unrestricted, ‘by skaters for skaters’, containing that certain anarchist undercurrent only skaters sow and then thrive on. Ultimately a success…

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