Spot Check: Cardiff Barrage Plaza

Words: Stanley
Photography: Mike Ridout

Right: Gareth Leak – Front 5-0 Fakie

The story of Cardiff getting its first proper outdoor skatepark is a long, tiresome one that has its roots in the first days people would get kicked out of the Welsh Offices. The idea would be knocked around and years would pass and there would still be essentially no where for skateboarders living in capital city to skate. Of course, the skateboarders of Cardiff were lucky to exist in a growing city that blossomed into a notorious street skaters haven. In a way, this in fact brought the skateboarding community of Wales even closer together, eventually spawning the hugely tight and unsurprisingly seminal Cardiff Skateboard Club that’s gained unofficial ‘members’ from across the UK. But with more street spots come more security guards, more angry pedestrians and a plethora of students getting in everyone’s way. Sessions would too frequently be cut short and it wasn’t until 2009 that the unanimous decision was to go to the council with years worth of evidence and support and demand a skatepark be built in this city.

In July of 2009, Nick Richards (of Nick The Bastard fame) organised a protest outside county hall that attracted local and regional newspapers and more importantly, the attention of Cardiff Council. In a well-planned protest, the skateboarders of Cardiff demonstrated the need for a skatepark in the way that anyone in a skate scene living in a currently neglected town can do. Patience (Cardiff had enough of that…) and genuine desire goes a long way. The Cardiff Barrage Plaza was swiftly becoming a realistic idea and the typical poorly designed council parks will likely be skated for the last time in the months that followed.

Just six months later and the skatepark was confirmed, with £140,000 in the pot for the beginning round of development. The CSC then liased with various skatepark designers so that the plans for the park followed something that the skaters of Cardiff actually wanted. Marc Churchill’s Gravity team got the contract with a design that not only made everyone wet their pants a little (and launch the CSC blog into the stratosphere of comment section tomfoolery) but made full use of the budget and space available. From having to rely on an increasingly cracked area of flatland with a flatbank that only five people in Wales can actually skate properly, the CSC and extended CSC fam would have one of the UK’s most innovative parks in one of the sexiest locations imaginable. Apparently we do like to be beside the seaside.

Below: Caradog Emanuel – F/S Bigspin Heel

After 8-10 weeks of solid graft from Gravity, the park was made and fences were to be hopped! Ahead of schedule, when the Ipath crew turned up expecting somewhere to skate, the fences came down and everyone could officially skate the park. Needless to say – you’ve seen the plans, the pictures and by now some videos too – from this point on, the collective CSC facebook wall-to-wall read nothing more than “plaza?”, “skating the plaza?”, “when are you getting to the plaza?” and “plaza today?” I can’t imagine this will change any time soon. Well… not until it rains at least. And it will rain. It’s Wales.

But for when its dry, the Cardiff Barrage Plaza is genuinely the most fun thing I’ve skated since I can remember. The design is lightyears ahead of its competitors in regards to both how well it flows and the sheer amount of people you can shove into the place without it turning into a game of human pinball. Even on the opening jam, where at least 200 attended in another one of UK skateboarding’s most infamous sausage fests, I didn’t collide with anyone. Not even a kid. It’s almost magic. Though, judging by how universally friendly Porno Paul’s lexical choices were when MCing the event, there must have been something in the atmosphere to make everything so…nice?

Rather than read superfluous descriptions on how rad the park is – see for yourself. Nick Richards has worked his arse off putting the building of the park in motion, but filming an absolutely banging edit, exclusively for Crossfire, of all the sessions that went down in the first month. LSP local Harry Deane also jumped in with his VX and shot another edit for us focussing on the locals and younger crew, you can see his edit here. Let this story be part of the motivation for you to get something similar done in your town. It CAN be done. And just look at the results…

Big up to Gravity, CSC, Crayon Skateboards and City Surf for working hard to make this happen for the capital of Wales. Dai iawn! If you’re stoked on this park and the edit then share it on Facebook and get your mates and plan a trip to Wales because great parks should be skated and not just talked about.

The plaza is located next to The Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre, Harbour Drive, Cardiff, CF10 4PA – or you can check the map.

TCTV does Norton

Today we enter a Norton time capsule constructed by Tim Crawley, who is currently piecing together snippets of the Norton skate scene history as it flourished and bloomed over the years prior to getting one of the best skateparks in the UK.

We’ll be putting a Spot Check of the new Maverick park in Midsomer Norton a little later but here’s a little history for you to sink your teeth into beforehand. Hi-8 tapes and small town spots, the things dreams are made of…

Random Clips from Norton Skate Massive – Circa ’98 from TCTV on Vimeo.

New Grinderman Video

Attention reader: you are all to stop what you are doing and watch the new Grinderman video. Even if you aren’t too keen on Nick Cave’s grimey and groovey garage rock troupe you should spare five minutes of your time to enter the batshit insane world of Heathen Child, a video directed by John Hillcoat.

Imagine a topless voodoo dancer, some wolfmen, a wolf, a hair-monster, a dog composer and a gun-totting, lazer shooting Roman warrior version of Cave and his crew collectively taunting an eerie girl in a bath that’s seemingly possesed by a director with ADHD. Now try to pretend you’re not excited to watch it.

Wow.

Really, just wow.

‘Join Us’ Premiere

30th July
Dempsey’s Bar

A walk through Cardiff’s St Mary’s Street on a Friday night may land you into some pretty surreal situations. If you’re lucky you won’t be glassed outside one of the more unfriendly bars and perhaps you’ll find your way to Dempsey’s, the warm location for tonight’s premiere of Christian ‘Pirate Man’ Hart’s latest inexplicable audio/visual creation and the first ‘proper’ CSC video ‘Join Us‘.

No one throws a premiere quite like the Welsh. Tom Hobson put on his finest dog outfit for his role as DJ. That’s if you call putting on a track and then twenty seconds later changing it and then leaving an album on for a bit and then skipping through songs so the 150+ attending heard five second clips for a couple minutes DJing, I know I bloody do. Everyone was so out of their minds at this point anyway, getting increasingly paranoid as the boxman surrounded them. A couple had to double check themselves as the junior CSC were in attendance and the balloons that were scattered everywhere caused a few people to wonder if they’d accidentally entered a very illegal brothel.

Drunks and children aside, tonight was defined by one of the most out-there yet entirely compelling scene videos I’ve ever seen. Pirate Man has regularly shunned conventions in the past; the Hi-8 cut and paste bonanzas Labyrinth and First Blood mix skating with clips of films, adverts and other things even he isn’t too sure about. But ‘Join Us’ takes these ideas and compounds them into something that’s not only weird and funny, but very watchable. The skating summons both the weird and the gnarly too, resulting for a must see for not just those interested in the constantly growing and forever friendly Welsh skate scene, but those interested into how far the boundaries of a skate video can be pushed…into the gutter. Expect a proper review when a DVD arrives and I can remember what happened because I don’t think anyone there could accurately recall what happened, if it even did happen. The pictures taken say the dream was real…

The skate video pre-drinkathon at Chateau Ridout


Boxman’s house was raided! By Wham?


CSC heads bringing the hype

Tom Hobson moonlighting as DJ iDog

A packed Dempsey’s was blown away by Christian’s collection of weird shit

Gibbsy congratulates the director while Rhys Whaley and Chris Jones get better acquainted.

Nick and Stanley descend into a media circlejerk.

My totem kept spinning as I saw Gibbsy show off his dream sponsor…

The lost boys had no intention of being found tonight.

Show me your dirty face.

Still spinning

New Charlatans video!

British rockers The Charlatans have posted a video of their new single ‘Love Is Ending‘ which is to be released on August 2nd.

The video was directed by Douglas Hart of The Jesus And Mary Chain and features an blossoming oxymoronic relationship between ballet and alternative rock. Expect the usual catchy choruses and a fuzzy jingle jangle that blends darkness with optimism seamlessly, the perfect sound to accompany the contrapuntal visuals.

The band will release their eleventh studio album ‘Who We Touch‘ on September 2nd.

www.thecharlatans.net

Klaxons ‘Echoes’ Video

Spacey synth rockers Klaxons have posted the video for ‘Echoes‘ the opening track on their upcoming album ‘Surfing The Void‘.

The video features the band playing a dizzying jam, filling the vaccuous desert landscape with their unmistakable sound. You can see it all below.

Debut single ‘Echoes‘ will be released on August 16th. ‘Surfing The Void‘ is due on August 23rd.

www.klaxons.net