9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed.
Riding a skateboard is hard and dirty, often anti social and habitually painful. It’s noisy and obnoxious and you spend most of your time covered in the shit and detritus the modern urban sprawl leaves in its wake. Up until fairly recently, it was also about the least cool thing you could spend your time doing. (As a kid, I’ve been decked more than a couple of times whilst out on plank, for no other reason than being a kid, out on plank, and was steadfastly called a greb all throughout comprehensive school, which was admittedly a fair few years ago, pre mainstream usurping/commodification of skate culture and fashion.)
If you ride a skateboard, you know this; it’s your day in, day out existence and if you don’t, it really doesn’t matter and you don’t need to know about it. The same can be said about Anti Hero. It’s exclusive in a completely non-wanky or pretentious way. You either know, or you don’t. Get involved and get some, or don’t bother and don’t worry about it.
I recently spent sometime out on the West Coast of the U.S.A., hitching-hiking, skating and drifting about the spiritual home of the useless wooden toy with my plank, my tent and not much else. It was my Al Hajj, and it was pretty much perfect.
Skating down N. Fairfax Avenue in LA beneath huge billboards advertising Diamond and D.G.K. and what have you, surrounded by the celebrity oi polloi of Twatplankville was kind of a trip, but was a million miles from what I know and hold dear as skateboarding. Skidding, falling over and boozing with the SF scumbags down on Potrero Park and Lower Bobs, watching Andy Roy et al. screech about the place made more sense.
There’s an investment in and a thirst for life with those guys; for the kind of life that means getting off ya arse and making the world around you the sort of world you want to live in, which instantly makes posturing or vogueing or whatever fad is in that week null and void, completely redundant.
Lower Bobs, the DIY spot out in West Oakland that the 18/Our Life guys poured on a bit of wasteland squeezed between the highway and Pine St. perfectly encapsulates what I’m trying to get at here, except in blood, sweat, ‘crete and grinds, and is a hundred times more profound than this hokum and jive. Language is pointless stood up next to wailing slash grinds and speed lines at that place.
Skateboarding doesn’t need words or sports companies, or limited edition collabs…it needs action. Go put Fucktards and 2 Songs and Destination Unknown in ya pie-holes, get stoked then go get some.
Words/photo: Dave Bevan
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