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NEWS & FORTEANA

A skate punk's lament

By society editor Wolfgang Bang

Posted April 13, 2012
skate boarding becomes fashion skate punk wolfgang bang not happy
Skate or die: It is at this precise moment that most skaters wonder whether they've left the iron on. © Ignatius Rake

Once the preserve of the outcast, skateboarding has increasingly become yet another fashion tool with which to prise cash from the wallets of the gullible.


When I was 13 years old, I remember a vivid and terrible sensation.

It was the wool being pulled away from my eyes.

It suddenly dawned on me that, like rats in a psychological experiment, we were being conditioned, controlled and neutralised into painless, passive consumers.

The classmates around me, who already ostracised me for being different, now took on the role of dupes in a game they barely understood.

Punk took over from the heavy metal I listened to and three years later I started skating.


ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY
Those were the halcyon days of the sport.

Skateboarding was closed to the public, who couldn't care less about the activities of a few idiot teenagers.

Most of my so-called peers were more into the niceties of girls, cars and discos.

Skaters sneered at them, revelling in downhill runs at 3am or congregating in droves at some concrete paradise during burning summer days.

Somewhere, though, the rot set in.



skate punk wolfgang bang laments the way skating has gone
Look, dad, no belt! In a frenzy of adrenaline-fuelled mania this headless skater attempts to snap his board in two. © Ignatius Rake

BUYING THE UNIFORM
Fashion was reduced to Vans for the lucky (only three varieties!); a few T-shirts from your favourite companies; jeans; army surplus.

Cheap.

Functional.

Then the very people who despised us started skating.

Skateboarding for pleasure?

F--k off.

Learn the latest variations.


Camaraderie?

Nah... he can't do kickflips.

Sod him if he's got a good opinion.

Kickflips count.


Not bothering with wasting cash on victim street wear?

Stale, pal.

He's not fresh.

Not like me.

I'm different from the other people.

I wear Stüssy and Jimmy'Z.

I'm not conditioned, controlled and neutralised into being a passive consumer... because I'm different.



THE TILLS ARE ALIVE
Someone's made money out of these people.

They're everywhere now.

Media fuels it.

Skateboarding has become corrupt, bloated and indulgent, cute and sanitised, washed clean of downhill runs at 3am or slappies on a curb.

Or your own ideas (militant, hardcore or otherwise).

There's a façade of alternative lifestyle, but peel back slowly and see... greed, pretension, lies and the rich, smooth taste of big business.

I'm old, negative and stale.

But I love skateboarding.

For myself.


See also There goes the neighbourhood, posted 5/7/12.




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