You Can’t Move History – a film by Winstan Whitter

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Winstan Whitter’s association with Southbank goes back so far that it’s no surprise that he decided to make another documentary on skateboarding’s most famous UK spot. With the recent fight to keep the space in the hands of British skaters, Whitter’s new short web documentary ‘You Can’t Move History‘ looks into the process that saved Southbank from relocation and the communication behind LLSB’s efforts to get the job done.

Get the teas on and look back on an important happening in British skateboarding.

Jeremy Corbyn would love to skate Southbank

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So this was an unexpected surprise. It’s come to light that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would love a shred down at the Undercroft. Today, he managed to somehow sit in the wrong seat on a train heading to London from Birmingham. Bizarrely enough it was actually the seat allocated to Gnargore’s Jamie Brewer and within the polite exchange that followed, Corbyn commented on Brewer’s rig:

“He was in my seat but it was all good,” Brewer explained.”He said he’d like to have a go on my board and head down to Southbank for a sesh but he didn’t think he had enough balance. Could take that as a political stance if you wanted. Haha!”

He’s not the first politician to give their support for Southbank, it’s on record that London Mayor Boris Johnson backed Southbank staying put. This is far more core and with no Tory clowns involved either. Corbyn on Gnargore, for life.

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Globe EU Trippin Tour video

Ph: Paul Hart – Switch Heel on SB7 shot by Maksim Kalanep

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Watch Mark Appleyard, David Gonzalez, Rodney Mullen, Louie Barletta, Ryan Decenzo, Chris Haslam, Paul Hart, Anton Myhrvold, Fries Taillieu, Charles Collet, and Phillip Schuster skate Oxford and Southbank plus other European spots in Globe’s new EU Trippin Tour video from their tour this July.

LLSB Propose Southbank Restoration

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Today Long Live Southbank have released a 50 page document proposing that the full area of the Southbank undercroft be restored to it’s original design and vision of the architects.
This spot is of absolute paramount importance to the UK skate scene. Southbank has been a home to skaters from every imaginable background since 1973, making it not only one of the oldest skated places in the UK but in the world too.

Southbank supports the development of the young and is a centerpiece to our community, bringing all types together and feeding the creative, supplying opportunities that are rarely seen in any other place but can all be found in this hub. Sadly, in 2004/5 two thirds of the space was closed off for temporary storage. It has been closed since and the landowners have failed to fulfill their promise of reopening it.

LLSB has already saved the remaining third with over 150,000 signatures, the largest signed building permissions objection in British History. They now aim to restore Southbank to it’s former glory.

Read more about the proposal here and drop a line to info@llsb.com if you’re interested in helping out.

LLSB secure the future of Southbank

Photo: Maksim Kalanep

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A press release has just reached us from the Southbank Centre on the future of the Undercroft and the relationship between them and the Long Live Southbank campaigners, and it looks like VERY good news if you read both statements below. Southbank is SAVED.

Well done to all involved who backed the campaign and of course, all those who tirelessly worked to stop the relocation of arguably the most historic, natural skate spot in the UK.

JOINT STATEMENT: LONG LIVE SOUTHBANK AND SOUTHBANK CENTRE SECURE FUTURE OF UNDERCROFT FOR SKATEBOARDING AND URBAN ACTIVITIES

Following talks that have taken place over the last three months, Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre are delighted to have reached an agreement that secures the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft as the long-term home of British skateboarding and the other urban activities for which it is famous.

The agreement has been formalised in a binding planning agreement with Lambeth Council. In the agreement, Southbank Centre agrees to keep the undercroft open for use without charge for skateboarding, BMX riding, street writing and other urban activities.

On the basis of the protections secured by the planning agreement, Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank have withdrawn their respective legal actions in relation to the undercroft. These include Southbank Centre’s challenge to the registration of the undercroft as an asset of community value, Long Live Southbank’s application for village green status for the undercroft, and a judicial review of Lambeth Council’s decision to reject the village green application.

Long Live Southbank is pleased to support Southbank Centre’s Festival Wing project for the improvement of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery, on the basis that the plans will now no longer include any redevelopment within the skate area of the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft.

Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council said; “I’m pleased that Lambeth Council was able to work with both sides and find an imaginative solution to resolve this. Shared public space in London is precious and Southbank Centre is a great asset to the country’s cultural life. This agreement is a sensible way of protecting both and we can all now look forward.”

Southbank Centre respond to questions

Photo: Fos by Dom Marley.

The Southbank Centre have answered questions submitted from the many users wondering what exactly will happen when the redevelopment of the Undercroft takes place in the future. The relocation plan is to move skateboarders (bmx’ers, graffiti people, hangers-on, jugglers etc) under the Hungerford Railway Bridge and to retain and enhance the Southbank Centre as the iconic home for urban arts in an even more diverse cultural setting.

There’s a huge amount of information that should be read today from the document that has been released. The answers bring up some interesting responses. Here’s a few that stood out:

CLOSURE: Firstly they expect to have to close the Festival Wing site from autumn 2014 to spring 2017.

CURRENT LOCATION: They have confirmed that the current and legendary skate spot is the most profitable area due to footfall and the main reason they would like to relocate skateboarders is that “Its prominent location makes it the place that most people will first experience the Festival Wing” and that this location is the “most commercially valuable space, the income from which will support commercial loans to pay for the capital cost of the refurbishment.” It’s somehow fitting that timed with the death of Margeret Thatcher only yesterday that privatisation of space reigns over the public use of space. Social viability is once again undercut for economic gain.

RELOCATION: They have “identified the Undercoft under Hungerford Railway Bridge as a possible new location”. There is certainly no alternative location mentioned at all. There are certainly no plans to keep the current area open for skateboarders in 2017.

RELOCATION SIZE: “The Hungerford Bridge Undercroft is roughly similar in area to the current QEH undercroft at 1,000 m2.” The question here is that the original space before it was taken away and boarded up was at least double this size.

HERITAGE CENTER: The history of the Undercroft will be showcased in the new building. “So as part of the co-commissioning process we would like to discuss with the Undercroft users how they would like to tell their story and what special events they would like to hold in the heritage centre to celebrate their continuing contribution to the
Southbank Centre.” This will be a nice touch.

REPORT: There’s too much information to post here but you can download the full PDF report from this question and answer session here and still have your say at www.southbankundercroft.com

The Southbank Centre have called meetings inviting various people to discuss the future of SB but unfortunately they have not issued these with enough notice so far, (i.e 4 days before the Tuesday of a bank holiday) so we are unable to bring you inside knowledge just yet and have still not met the people involved sadly. Hopefully there will be more sessions with decent notice so we can be more involved moving forwards, especially when it comes to events and structure of the new build.
Various Southbank reunions have come on our radar recently too and are currently being arranged on Facebook, so look out for invites.

Remind yourself of some of the historical skate sessions with Tony Luckhurst, Matt Dawson, Jason Maldini, Curtis McCann, Reuben Goodyear, Ben Wheeler and a few other South Bank locals from this footage filmed from 1991.

Have you got the ‘Southbank Skate’ look?

Sat there on your fixed gear in last year’s Black Flag t-shirt feeling out of date with the changing times of fashion? Have no fear because this season’s fashion tip comes from Topman who have unleashed the ‘Latest Trend’ on the high street: Southbank Skate.

This phenomenal look “takes the greatest parts of 90’s alternative youth culture and makes it relevant for the 21st Century. From worn acid washes to eccentric floral prints in denim jackets shorts, shirts and even suits, men’s skate clothing is back in a reinvented way with Topman.”

The funniest part of this is the fact that someone must have researched what skaters were wearing down at the Undercroft before knocking these out! Keep them coming…

Find more crap like this here.

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Exposed: David ‘Styley’ Steel

styley crailtap pic si trueLondon’s skateboard scene is vast but also has many hotspots that are far from being under rocks. If you look West to the likes of Harrow, you will find a multitude of talent on display and some wonderful characters behind the action there too.

This suburban area and London Borough is the home of Death Skateboards, the hosts of the original H-Boyz and the birthplace of many skate industry players that grew up carving the bollocks of one of London’s most historic skateparks. To this very day Harrow comes rich in history and has also spawned one of our favourite sons in David ‘Styley’ Steel.

It’s been seven years since we have featured Styley’s photography. In that time, he moved to Japan and then returned to work with Form Distribution, the dudes who bring the UK Girl and Chocolate Skateboards. As the year turned, David and his missus flew back to Yokohama-shi in Japan for another spell out there so we decided to Expose what’s been in his lens over the years and discuss the tales behind ten of his favourite photos. His work is beautiful, his face is probably smiling as he reads this very text and it’s a pleasure to know such a great fella. With that in mind enjoy his top ten.

Left: Styley crailtap’s some rough ‘crete. Photo by Si True.

Nick Zorlac, FS wallride grab off. Southbank, London.

Unsocial hours are always a part of photographing skateboarding. This was no exception. Nick Zorlac gave me a call with a mission to get a shot on the old section of South Bank. It had a massive wooden builders wall around it as they were demolishing it so the only way to get a shot on it was about one in the morning. Once in though we were able to use the builders wood to create a bridge over a massive hole they had dug which lay in Nick’s line and I found a massive ladder to climb up to get the shot.

Nick Zorlac, FS wallride grab off. Southbank.

John Tanner, Switch tweaked ollie to fakie, Sardinia.

Trips are always the advantage of working for a magazine. This spot was sick even though surrounded by used needles. No one really had anything for it though but just as we were about to leave John started playing about with switch ollies. The trip was amazing, just hanging out and skating sick spots with good friends and to come away with this shot made lying on syringe infested pavements worth it.

John Tanner, Switch tweaked ollie to fakie, Sardinia.

Junichi Arahata, Switch BS Tailslide, Tokyo. Japan.

When I first moved to Japan I didn’t really know anyone but word got around that a foreigner (me!) was in town that took photos. Koji who owned Lesque Skateboards called me up and asked me to come take some shots with them. So the next day I turn up at his house. He greeted me then advised me to lay on the sofa to get some sleep. It was only 6pm. He told me that we’d be skating through the night as there was less security. He was right and we hit a tonne of spots. This was shot at about 4am just as dawn was breaking and the cops were waking up. One even turned up to bust us just as we were packing up! Five hours later I was in my school teaching English to kids with the worst red eye ever.

Junichi Arahata, Switch BS Tailslide

Horsey. Wallie Japan Grab, London.

So, posting this on my instagram is how Zac invited me to be a part of this article. I do remember we went to this spot to shoot a different trick with a different skater but Horsey started playing around with this wallie grab. I usually have an idea of how I want to shoot a shot but I always get more and more stoked the closer I get and start twisting to the camera to come up with a sick angle. The fish eye then changes it into something else that I hadn’t thought of.

Kevin McKeon. Bs Crail slide, Harrow, London.

FILM SUCKS! Seriously, digital made taking photos so much easier and enjoyable. Here is Kevin probably doing this trick for the 20th time. Not because he was bailing, no he was sticking every try- but due to my paranoia that I hadn’t got the shot as I was shooting on shitty film and couldn’t check it. I shot a whole roll of this (that’s 36 shots to those who don’t know what a roll of film is!) and most of them were useable with pretty much identical shots on each. Sorry Kev for making you do it repeatedly.

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John Lindsay, thread the needle to Mayday, Yokohama, Japan.

One of my favourite things of being a photographer is just stoking friends who would not normally get a photo taken. John skated sick and he knew of this crazy spot with these blue bars around it with gaps that were just about wide enough to get through. I showed him a couple of shots of the angle I liked thanks to digital, and this just really motivated him to get the trick in the bag.

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Lee. Wallie, Barcelona.

Lee just happened to be staying in the same shit hostel as us and came and tagged along with us one day. He knew of this spot pictured that he had found once during a massive skate through the city suburbs so to find it we literally had to follow his previous routes footsteps. This was back in the day when I didn’t have a roller camera bag so pushing through the streets with a 50lb bag on a hot evening was killer, but to end it with this wallie was worth it. If you’re starting photography now, invest in a roller bag and save your back!

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Zarosh, fs noseblunt slide, Shirahata. Japan.

I grew up reading Transworld and R.A.D mags during the late 80’s to 90’s getting brainwashed by how skateboard photos should look. One rule always seemed to apply- green wheels really close to the fish eye. Stoked on the opportunity to keep the tradition going. Thanks Zarosh.

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Santa Cates, fs grind, Harrow pool.

Dan is always full of ideas and somehow I got roped into this one! We headed to the park at about 11pm and started to paint through the night. We had to allow the paint to dry before skating it. So during the day Horsey and Steak kept an eye on it so no one entered the pool. Then that night I met back up with Dan to shoot the long-boarded fs grind. Once shot, Dan insisted on then painting over the snowman bits in white so that no one could shoot the same shot. This was the most amount of work for a photo I’ve ever done but definitely one of my favourites and I’ll never get over the buzz of seeing my photos as covers up in the magazine racks in skate shops.

Vivien Feil, BS 180 over fence, Japan.

Vivien came and visited Japan a few times just as he was setting up Magenta Skateboards. In between discussions of why the French are the superior race and explaining why spending his life savings at the arcade playing Street Fighter he would bust out the sickest tricks with the best style. If you look carefully in the bottom right corner of the photo you can see mount Fuji’s silhouette.

If you liked this, follow your nose to Rich West‘s Exposed feature.

Watch Shaun Witherup’s Hype Mix from Hold Tight

Henry Edwards-Wood continues to find hidden gems in the archives of his hard drives this week. Shaun Witherup‘s Hype Mix was filmed by HTH and Morph.

“Found this old low res on one of my hard-drives a while back and it has had considerable late night and pre-skate viewage with some of the younguns I’ve been shooting with lately. I remember making this edit one night while we were hyping on the the new Wiley album in 2007. Shaun Witherup was and still is one a ridiculously talented community of South African skateboarders who make up such a big part of the London scene. He’s definitely not from E3 but his skating, especially at that time was too raw to not be matched up with this track if only for viewing pleasures of Shaun, myself and whichever skate rats happened to be round at the time.”

Hold Tight’s Archives – Shaun Witherup Hype Mix from HOLD TIGHT LONDON on Vimeo.