Monday, 20 May 2013

Progressives – Not So Keen On Actual Progress…

The first time I went to the undercroft at South Bank, the spiritual home of UK skateboarding, I was 11 years old. I had a little blue plastic Rolling Star board. It was 1977, the height of the skate craze.
Savour that. An 11 year old wandering London alone. How times change, eh?
Like a unit of forgotten troops left behind after the action had moved on, we were our own dedicated urban ronin, masterless samurai drawn together by our love and devotion to this thing, this simple rolling piece of wood that delivered such joy, valour and freedom.
No. You were a bunch of kids playing with a wooden board with wheels.
Despite the banks and legendary wall being closed off some years ago, the undercroft remains an icon of global skateboard culture – a culture that still inspires talent and creativity across the arts, in film, TV, visual culture, sound culture and alternative spaces. The visionless proposals to replace the undercroft with yet more soulless glass-fronted corporate retail units is an attack on our communal spaces and ability to lead creative lives with spontaneity and a measure of freedom.
Funny, so many people seem to be perfectly able to 'lead creative lives' without demanding the world be left stuck in amber to help them achieve this...
These qualities are the bedrock of creative possibility. Our culture industry is envied around the world. The people currently making all those 'cool' adverts, innovative designs, original music – the kinds of creative arts and theatre that makes the chattering classes feel so smug and excited – are mostly of the generation that was inspired by pirate radio, warehouse parties, street skating, graffiti: all those urban activities that are necessarily messy and unstructured and that allow playfulness and creative exploration room to flower and blossom.
Yeah. Now they've grown up, and got jobs.
There is no reason why the existing site cannot be accommodated into plans by developers with vision and a sense of continuity. By doing so the South Bank complex would remain an exciting, multidimensional urban space that includes all aspects of culture, high and low, street and salon, loose and structured. This is the sort of public space we need, not another glut of privately owned, heavily regulated opportunities to spend what little money we have left.
I don't seem to have problems spending my money...
Moving the skaters to a purpose-built spot along the river misses the point. Reclaimed urban spaces are more than just bits of forgotten concrete. They have memories. They resonate with ghosts of the past. They contribute to the richness and diversity of our lives. Their value cannot be measured in material terms. We need South Bank.
So, who is this fearless warrior for the non-corporate way of life, anyway?
Crispin Robinson is a skater who was sponsored by Madrid and Santa Cruz Skateboards from 1986 to 1990.
Ah. Clearly, corporations that give him money are ok...

10 comments:

Bucko The Moose said...

I'm sorry. I read that twice and I still can't figure out most of what he's babbling on about.

The Stigler said...

It's amusing just how conservative the progressives are.

I remember skateboarding taking off. Kids just found a place to do it, and did it. If the council closed somewhere, kids wold find somewhere else.

I think most "heritage" is a plague now. We preserve far too much today. There's museums open near me that you walk into on a weekend and there's maybe 3 people in there at a time.

Twenty_Rothmans said...

It seems that he discovered another new toy a few years later with which he cannot stop playing.

Moreover, anyone seriously using the terms 'richness' and 'diversity' in the same sentence - no - in any way - should be sentenced to five years in Tower Hamlets.

There is no reason why the existing site cannot be accommodated into plans by developers
There is no reason that Crispin cannot ask the developers for a set of their plans, print them out onto A3, roll them up, kiss them and twist them up his jacksie either.

Dr Cromarty said...

***Adopts weary tone*** Oh, do grow up Crispin.

Andy said...

Well at least he didnt say "vibrant".

God,I`m really starting to hate that word.

John Pickworth said...

If you listen really, REALLY carefully, you can actually hear his bubble pop!

Today's architects, city planners, urban developers and pension fund investors - are mostly of the generation that was inspired by pirate radio, warehouse parties, street skating, graffiti.

Tip: The only time you should listen to someone with a masters’ degree in ethnomusicology is when they've got a pair of bongos between their legs... and possible even not then.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Savour that. An 11 year old wandering London alone. XX

Evidence that it was "alone"?

I went swimming, but my "Parents" (as the called themselves) were there.

Was I ALONE???

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX These qualities are the bedrock of creative possibility. Our culture industry is envied around the world. The people currently making all those 'cool' adverts, innovative designs, original music – the kinds of creative arts and theatre that makes the chattering classes feel so smug and excited – are mostly of the generation that was inspired by pirate radio, warehouse parties, street skating, graffiti: all those urban activities that are necessarily messy and unstructured and that allow playfulness and creative exploration room to flower and blossom. XX

AYE! And the same MFCs that are still banning bikers from their pubs.... to say nothing of smokers....

Arseholes.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Right. Hold on, and apologies for the third post.

The trouble IS here, housing schemes were FULL of "skate board parks" in the 80s.

And what happened?

Queenie babes turned up, cuit a ribbon, they all took photographs, and fucked off.

Two weeks later, these "skate board parks" were a haven for Vandals ("Greaffitti" rats), heroin addicts, dealers, whores, old pissed on matrasses and dog shit.

We have been there before arsehole!

Fuck off!

MTG said...

Great comments, Furor. What luck to have regained use of the index finger after giving a straight barman your Vettel-style order for one Tropical Cherry Rum Runner with a Mango Splash.