JLC 2014.

Last weekend some of the Soul Surfers crew made the 500 or so mile journey down to Cornwall to help out at one of the UK’s longest running surf contests. This year’s competition was sponsored by some of my favourite surf brands – Nineplus and Finisterre together with Riz Boardshorts and 360 Photography. Whilst sponsors often seek to badge events by inserting their name into the contest name as some sort of payback for endorsement, this competition retains its original name – the Jesus Longboard Classic.

Now, before the name puts you off, let’s set some context. A small local contest was hosted in Croyde, North Devon in 1991 with about 25 locals competing in two categories: the Juniors and the Open surfing titles. The event was organised by Christian Surfers UK (CSUK). In the subsequent 23 years the event has grown into one of the UK’s largest surf comps, so much so in fact that seven years ago they decided to run a longboard specific contest to complement the established Jesus Surf Classic. The Jesus Surf Series, as the two comps have become known, is highly regarded by the UK surfing community. One of our country’s most prized surf authors, Tom Anderson, wrote an insightful and uplifting chapter about his own experiences of it in his wonderful book “Grey Skies, Green Waves”.

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This year there were 90 entrants competing in the: Juniors; Women’s; Masters and; Open categories of the longboard specific comp. I volunteered as one of the beach-marshalls and it was great to be able to chat to the surfers between heats. There was plenty of particularly stylin’ surfing throughout the day. The CSUK guys were working hard as some of the crew simultaneously ran the second leg of the Jesus Classic back up the coast in Croyde.

The day also provided a bit of time to observe from the judges vantage point up on the cliffs and to liaise with the tabulators back at Tubestation. Having got to know so many genuinely wonderful people through CSUK over the past five or six years, it was a delight to catch up with many familiar faces from throughout the country. Some are people who have become close friends and others are folks whose stories I still love to see unfold on social media. Many people describe CSUK like a big family and, despite my initial preconceptions and misconceptions when I first came across the organisation 10 years ago, I can attest that it does very much feel like a big family and one that I am proud to belong to.

We managed to run the entire event in a single day and retired back up to the Tubestation for the awards ceremony. Congratulations are due to everyone who took part. Particular props should go out to Emily Currie who won the Women’s and to Connor Griffiths who was the Open Winner. Sam Bleakley took the highest scoring wave of the day and Master’ titles. This photo from my good friend, Kris Lannen, might give you a flavour of the prowess on display.

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I have long loved Sam Bleakley’s writings and I continue to miss his adventurous travelogues to far flung shores as recounted in Surfers’ Path. Sam shared some really genuine and heart-felt words about his own participation in the Jesus Surf Classic comps over the years and his gratitude to everyone who had worked so hard behind the scenes to deliver such a well run and enjoyable event.

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The vibe and spirit of the Jesus Surf Series are unique within the UK surfing calendar. As Dave Westwater of the British Longboard Union commented, “if only you could bottle this stuff”.

Kris also captured something of the essence of the day in this beautiful little video.

 

Good times!

B.

There Once Was A Man Who Changed The World.

A sweet little video from Lewis capturing something of the larger community that some of us feel part of and from which other little smaller communities and extended families have been birthed. A nice little cameo from fellow Soul Surfer, Josh too.

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A guest post…

As I posted the other day, one of our crew who helped lead at SUrf Camp last summer decided to fundraise for SU by entering his first ever 10K at the Great Scottish Run last weekend.

Today, I received a little personal account of his experience. So, here it is in his own words:

“I’m going to try to write this without sounding cheesy or self-congratulatory but on Sunday I ran the Great Scottish Run 10k challenge and felt carried through each kilometre and counselled by the Holy Spirit in an hour and five minutes of my life that genuinely felt like my own personal worship event, with Rend Collective as my resident band and “The Art of Celebration”, the chosen set list.

I didn’t sleep at all well the night before and come 3 am we got our usual visitation from our son who wouldn’t just lie still but wriggled and squirmed well into the night. My alarm went off at 6 am and the thought of driving though to Glasgow to then run 10k didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore!

To add to that my well planned 10k challenge 8 week running plan had been put off the rails by a persistent dose of man flu and then a bout of eczema which meant that I hadn’t been able to exercise for 2 weeks. On Saturday 4 October I felt ok and tried to run 5k from my house to the beach and back and failed miserably but at least I had shaken off my cold and skin was looking much better. I decided that even if I walked the 10k I would do it to honour the people who had sponsored me.

So I reach for my bible, bleary eyed at around 6:15 after putting my alarm on snooze a couple of times and read this;

‘But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ Isaiah 40:31

I found it funny but then flippantly prayed that if that was the case God, I was going to ‘run and not grow weary!’ I decided not to set a time target but to just run and if I managed to complete the course without stopping then I would have achieved my goal.

As I waited at the starting line I read some of the t shirts of people around me and they were so humbling. ‘Running for daughter who has cancer’ to ‘Running for my baby with Leukaemia’ or ‘in memory of my Dad’ every person with a story of personal struggles and causes worth fighting for but each running the same race.

I hadn’t thought too much about what music I wanted to listen to on my mp3 player on the way round but standing there I just wanted to make this challenge all about Him and lift these people around me up. So Rend Collective was the music of choice.

Through each stage of the race there was a marker telling you how far you had run and for me a song of encouragement;

1K ‘The joy joy joy making me whole, though I’m broken, I am running Into Your arms of love’

2K ‘Burn like a star, Light a fire in our hearts’

3K. ‘In my wrestling and in my doubts, In my failures You won’t walk out, your great love will lead me through You are the peace in my troubled sea’.

4K. ‘You are the power in our veins, Our Lord, our God, We are more than conquerors, through Christ, You have overcome this world, this life!’

5K only half way! ‘It’s only in surrender that I’m free’ (at this stage my legs were beginning to ache and a slow song wasn’t what I needed but then came…)

6K. ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, What is coming, what is coming, Never-ending joy, never-failing love, You are coming, You are coming!’ (I had not ran further than 6k in my training so I was now running into the unknown)

7K. ‘Yeah, you lift me when I’m sinking, Like the swell of mighty oceans, the power of redemption, Yeah; it gives me wings to soar’!!!!!!!!!!!! COME ON!!

8K. ‘You’re not finished with me yet!’

9K. ‘Stronger than any weakness, You are my fortress!!’

10K ‘Boldly I approach Your throne, Blameless now I’m running home, By Your blood I come, Welcomed as Your own, Into the arms of majesty!!!’

At the end stretch I looked up and saw the Soul Surfers crew cheering me on, which make me appreciate just what a great wee community we have. I had achieved my goal of running without stopping but felt God had shown be so much more than that. At SUrf Camp I remember Stephen Jones had an amazing power point presentation which told us something like 100 facts about who God is, by the end of the talk everyone was just cheering! I felt like that on Sunday, when surrounded by people with genuine hurt and loss it put my problems into perspective, you tell the darkness just how powerful God is and if you run, you will not grow weary”.

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C.

When We Was Rad…

I remember being sat around our table a few years back, sharing food and life with a bunch of friends who used to come around every Tuesday evening. Somehow we got to talking about inventions and how we couldn’t imagine an existence without the internet. One of my friends suggested that the most important invention in mankind’s existence was something much simpler – the printing press. I recall screwing up my face, but as he began to elaborate I found myself understanding the thought process.

Words are hugely important things. The tongue is difficult to tame and from it little sparks can spout which lead to metaphorical wild-fires. There are times when we’ve said too much and times when we’ve not said enough. There are words that all of us over-use and others that we simply love the sound or meaning of.

But, back to the printing press. It put words and information, stories and philosophies into the hands of ordinary people. Provided that the process was coupled with increased levels of literacy, then that had the power to shift the very power-base, to encourage engagement and reasoning. If that, in turn, was combined with the power of the idea – then that could actually lead to a collision point as combustible as humans making fire for the very first time.

I’m reading the beautifully presented Long Live Southbank book at present. It is a work of art and of history capturing many voices, stories and opinions through photography and font in its 400 plus pages. I found myself reminiscing of hours spent with friends pouring over the words and photos of the underground skate and bmx scenes in everyday towns and cities across the UK as documented in BMX Action Bike and R.A.D in the mid 80’s to early ’90’s. There were quite a few forays into the places we travelled to throughout Scotland too. I have so many fond memories of devouring and re-reading those magazines, of condensation on my bedroom window as a mob of sweaty teenagers would grab a cold drink and flick through skate mags in my room before heading back out to ollie and slide our way around the often damp or frosty winter streets under the cover of darkness and streetlights.

This week I re-visited a website that remains an unfinished project with an initial plan to create an archive of all of the editions of R.A.D. I’ve looked at it often over the years, but this time I thought I’d leave a comment of gratitude – a few choice words of thanks. Truthfully, I’d lost myself on the site and within a happy state of nostalgia and it was pretty late when I quickly typed in my comments without spell checking.

Anyhow, the next day I received a genuinely lovely email from Tim Leighton-Boyce who had been the editor of R.A.D magazine back in the day. He told me a little of what life looked like now, of how much he had enjoyed a half hour or so reading my blog and my musings upon the surf scene in the north. He briefly regaled a tale of an odd moment he experienced at a deserted beach somewhere to the east of Loch Eriboll. He shared my joy at what the Long Live Southbank campaign had achieved. He talked about how there was still a lot of the old R.A.D magazine ephemera kicking around including some examples of original paste-ups and even some repro “film” for some pages. He mentioned how he would one day like to curate an exhibition so that people who have grown up with digital design can see how very physical things used to be. Now, that would be rad!

All of that just made me feel really appreciative of the things and words that have influenced me, of old-skool magazines that actually ended up documenting parts of our lives in an age when we didn’t have cameras with us regularly, let alone smartphones and digital platforms to record and share seemingly everyday occurrences that would one day become the fondest of memories.

Words that I most over-use?

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B.

 

Run for it!

I’ve said it many times, but when we first started out with Soul Surfers five or so years ago, we had a bunch of ideas and little clue where they might lead to or what, if anything, would evolve. Much of the first year involved things being rubbed away as we returned to a blank sheet of paper and, in many ways, I find us in a time of transition again. Some deep friendships have been forged alongside many other cherished acquaintances. A few unexpected partnerships have emerged and continue to be cemented.

Today a few of us from Edinburgh filled up my car and headed over to catch up with a couple of the crew based over in Glasgow. We met on a sunny but crisp autumnal morning in Glasgow Green. We cheered on those taking part in the Great Scottish Run. It made me realise how many of those competing or taking part where doing it for a specific charity or loved one. How many untold stories were literally running before our eyes? We whooped particularly loudly for our very own SUrf CHamp, Craig, who had taken it upon himself to raise funds for Scripture Union after he and his wife and kids helped us in our inaugural SUrf Camp this past summer where we partnered with SU Scotland. A great effort for his first ever 10k – well, done that man!

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The day provided time to chill and chat and catch up on what is going on in one another’s lives – the highs, the lows and the inbetweens. Smiles, laughter and frustrations and wrestles were all shared in the authenticity of friendship and community.

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B.

The Sea In Between.

I’m a firm believer that life is about making memories. When I turned forty a couple of years ago, my parents were keen to mark the occasion with some sort of keepsake. There was little that I particularly needed or wanted so, upon recognising that we all still had our health and strength, I proposed that my sister and they joined us on a family holiday to Cornwall. I wanted to share with them the people and places that we have fallen in love with and to which we make the 1000 mile round-trip pilgrimage more frequently than many of my friends can comprehend.

My actual birthday was spent making memories on a beautiful sun drenched day in the company of people whom I hold very dearly in, quite simply, one of my favourite places in the world. A fellow surfer who has become like a brother to me of sorts ended up spontaneously calling me up to the front of a gathering at Tubestation and asking me to talk briefly about the Scottish surf scene and the small part I play within it. He then got everyone gathered to raise a chorus of “Happy birthday” before we prayed for surf and surfers. Upon milling about afterwards, I caught up with another of the Tube Crew whose conversations have had more influence upon me over the past five or six years than he will ever know. On this particular occasion he was talking enthusiastically about a couple of new albums that he had discovered, one of which was called “Love  & War & The Sea In Between” by Josh Garrels.

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That was then. This is now.

After far too long out of the surf, I washed much of a fairly challenging week  at work off in a downpour of rain on the cycle home from the office on Friday evening. After getting the kids to bed, it was a delight to crawl into the creative cocoon that was the visual and sonic feast of the film “The Sea In Between”. Whether or not you are familiar with Josh Garrels’ music, I would highly recommend that you check this film out on iTunes or vimeo. If you enjoy music, artistic expression, creativity and the grandeur of nature – then you will love this. Here’s a taster:

And with that, it was a joy to see our daughter join a flock of enthusiastic children being offered their first free guitar lesson courtesy of Creative Scotland on Saturday morning. On another day when headlines on the news give me headaches, may self-expression bring joy and help this lot make sense of the world they inhabit and  to find their own unique voice with which to make it a better place.

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B.

Blind Faith?

Surf movies have come a long way since the all time iconic Endless Summer infected its viewers with a sense of wanderlust and counter culture 50 years ago. Today, if your social media feed is anything like mine, status updates are less likely to relate to mood or sentiment and much more likely to contain a video clip. I find it interesting that the first thing I see stated is the length of the footage. How much time am I willing to spend snacking on the fast food videography that a friend has recommended?

The advent of Go-pros and editing apps have made it possible for a host of film to be shared almost instantaneously. There is a place for these things, undoubtedly, but they are not the same as a movie that you really cherish and keep coming back to.

Back in July, I was privileged enough to be treated to a sneak preview of the new Walking On Water film, “Beyond Sight”. It is an utterly captivating surf documentary about blind surfer Derek Rabelo. Whilst many sponsor-endorsed movies try to pull you in with big name surfers, this film differs – although I am sure Derek will continue to become a more and more widely recognised name and the film includes significant contributions and participation from the likes of Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Damien Hobgood and others. This film stands on the power of the story, not an adaptation, but the true account of quite remarkable proportions.

This is a film that any surfer is gonna love, but the appeal stretches way beyond that. I hate to think of films and creative expression in terms of target markets, but this is a film that really explores the wider notion of overcoming the obstacles that life can throw at each and every one of us. It’s emotional and beautiful.

Derek is  attending a small series of European screenings in coming days. If you happen to be in or near any of the venues, then I would strongly recommend taking the time to grab a rare opportunity to not only see this on the big screen, but also to do so in the company of its central figure. I understand that there will also be a Q and A session with him at each screening.

The dates and venues are as follows:

Newquay Lighthouse Cinema – 3rd October.

Arnoifini, Narrow Quay, Bristol – 5th October.

The Prince Charles Cinema, London – 6th October

360 Beach ad Watersports, Swansea – 7th October.

Remaining tickets can be sourced by clicking here and following the links.

Go see it!  Personally, we’re trying to work on bringing it to Edinburgh in the not too distant future…so, watch this space.

In the meantime, here’s another video vying for your attention. I hope that it whets your appetite and that you also get the chance to see the full movie at some stage.

B.

 

They Couldn’t Move History.

My previous post was an ode to a 27 year long-distance relationship of sorts…

Whilst the events I wrote about will be moments that I long hold fondly in my memory-banks maybe, along with many others, we played a small part in a moment in history. Some things are worth standing up for. Here’s the official statement that was released by Long Live Southbank:

After 17 months, we can announce Southbank is finally saved – a massive thank you to all who stood with us. Happy reading…JOINT STATEMENT:
LONG LIVE SOUTHBANK AND SOUTHBANK CENTRE SECURE
FUTURE OF UNDERCROFT FOR SKATEBOARDING AND URBAN ACTIVITIESFollowing 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.”

In addition…
Long Live Southbank would like to thank all our supporters and we would like to thank the Mayor of London for his intervention and Southbank Centre for its constructive approach to the negotiations that have achieved this outcome.

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They couldn’t move history, but I guess it was time to move the table that has nurtured so many conversations and galvanised such support.
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I’ve just purchased the Long Live Southbank book. It is a thing of beauty. I’m not sure whether it should be filed under “Art” or “History” – both gush out from the photographs, font and recollections contained within its 400-plus pages. I’ve got beautifully lost inbetween its covers and felt as if I am rolling across the marble-like floors of a concrete art exhibition or gallery of sorts. There is such a rich and vivid collection of photographs of various phases of the Undercroft’s story and of times that pre-date it too. Some of them are images I recall from magazines of old, others are of gaps in my own knowledge or appreciation. There are eloquent and wonderful reflections from those who have inhabited the space at different points in time and from those who appreciate the vision of the original architecture and the desire to create a sense of place and what that place became in terms of community. I’ve barely been able to put it down and I’d highly recommend you do the same. It can be purchased here.

Long Live Southbank

B. 

A Brief History of Mine…

I can clearly recall the first time I came across Southbank. Photos of Eric Dressen replete in blue Thrasher hoodie, Air Jordan’s and a back to front flat cap appeared in an article in what I think was still BMX Action Bike (or possibly an early incarnation of its re-branding as R.A.D.) circa 1987. Despite living about 550 miles away, in an era before each of Britain’s towns and cities had their own purpose-built skatepark or Council provided mini-ramp, it felt as if we knew these far off spots. Latimer Road, Meanwhile and Southbank became part of our vocabulary.

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Southbank in particular sent us out searching for something similar, for architectural features we could see through a different lens and where we could unlock new potential.  We discovered the tight transition of the brick banked walls at Denburn Health Centre, a couple of mounds of concrete in Bridge of Don, an empty fountain in a public park, the smooth concrete of multi storey car parks, flights of stairs, hand rails, benches and walls that we would regularly wax. We dotted around our city on buses, on foot and by skateboard re-marking the map with new place names and spots we could session. In a pre-internet or social media age, it still baffles me how we found some of the places or people that we did. We began to scour Scotland after hearing rumours of fly off ramps or home-made half-pipes. Our trips took us from Aberdeen to Dundee and Livingston and to little known places far from the beaten track….to fun comps in Elgin or Keith and a host of other places.

I stopped skating at some point in 1991. Life was transitioning, but skating never really left me. I would regularly look at flights of stairs, curbs, embankments or a host of other pieces of public realm and find my mind subconsciously mapping out the possibilities. Flurries into snowboarding and surfing were all probably derived from the simple pleasure of the glide, so beautifully captured in the short video below.

On the relatively rare occasions that I’ve been in London over the years, I’ve often walked along the Southbank to watch those skating at the Undercroft. When a few of my surfer friends bought longboard skateboards for those landlocked or flat days, there was huge appeal coupled with a degree of self-consciousness. Whilst I found a new form of self-consciousness if caught rolling along on a set of 78As by parents of my kid’s friends or work colleagues, it was altogether usurped by a long-lost love of skating. One thing led to another and I began to skate the local skate park under the cover of darkness or when it was relatively empty. It’s funny how many other elder-skatesmen I have met – either those who never gave it up in the first place or others, like myself, who have had the stoke re-kindled through surfing or through their kids discovering skating for themselves.

Southbank’s creative arc has extended far beyond its natural reach over the past couple of years. With the Southbank Centre’s proposals to create a new festival wing at the cost of redeveloping the Undercroft, the struggle that has ensued has seemed like one of David and Goliath proportions and, yet, one that seems inherently conflicted. Why seek to foster and promote creativity and culture at the cost of decimating a rare place where those very things have abounded organically for close to 40 years? Southbank is a living British example of words penned by Craig Stecyk back in 1975, “Two hundred years of American technology has unwittingly created a massive cement playground of unlimited potential, but it was the minds of 11 year olds that could see that potential”. There have been plenty of points over the past 24 months where it has looked as if the Undercroft would be replaced by retail units and lost forever. I’m sure that I’ve regularly bored people about this on my social media feeds…

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Last year one of my surfer friends took his family to London for the day. In recognition of the threat facing Southbank they bookended their day with a visit there.They were so moved at seeing and experiencing things first hand. Their two young boys really engaged with the skaters at the Long Live Southbank campaign table. Paul wrote me a lovely letter all about their day and the impact that visiting Southbank had upon them as a family. They also very generously sent me a T-shirt, badges and a pile of stickers. A plan was hatched that we would spend a day in London as families and that the day would include a visit to the Undercroft if it was still there. At that point I genuinely wondered whether its fate would be determined before the end of 2013.

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So, this weekend we made the journey and, quite simply, had one of the most perfect weekends I can recall. There were many highlights and I’m amazed at how much we crammed into a single day. The kids all got skate lessons at the hugely impressive House of Vans whilst Paul and I also managed a free skate session in the amazing indoor concrete bowl and street course there. We surveyed London’s staggering skyline from the vantage point of the London Eye and made it out to Moredon Park to catch a rare London gig by The Grenaways which also gave us the chance to carve out some sacred time with a couple of very special surfer friends from Cornwall. In amongst it all, we made it to Southbank.

After enjoying the patter of the street performers and a quick look at the Southbank Centre’s “Festival of Love”, we ambled along to the Undercroft from where the sound of wheels rolling on flag-stones and the thwack of ollies was drawing us.

On Saturday, for the first time we became participants rather than spectators. My tricks were far from technical and I found myself flat on my back on more than one occasion when I failed to land a re-entry out of the bottom of the banks. What struck me, however, was how welcoming and respectful the vibe was. There was no sense of it being for locals only or of there to be some sort of rite of passage or initiation process. Our kids rolled around and no-one seemed in the least bit put out by that. There was an authentic sense of acceptance and community. I was so stoked to be cruising, popping and rolling along the banks that have accommodated the wheels of many skate legends and locals for almost as long as I have inhabited this earth.

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As we headed off to the London Eye, there was just enough time for my daughter to add her signature to those supporting the campaign to save the Undercroft. As I proudly watched her choosing to add her voice to the campaign, I noticed that I was stood next to pro-skater and contemporary artist, Ed Templeton who was doing exactly the same. I overcame my natural disposition not to engage and told him how much I have thoroughly enjoyed his curating of the latest edition of Huck magazine. He was engaging and I spent a few genuinely beautiful moments chatting to Deanna and him about some of the things their articles and work have caused me to think about and be inspired by. I wrote a blog post about some of that last month and you can read that by clicking here. Ed was happy to pose for a selfie and then helpfully suggested how I could shoot a better one which we then took. As if I wasn’t stoked enough already! What a happy coincidence.

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So, there you have it. The ramblings of a 42-year-old who has been in a long-term long-distance relationship with Southbank for more years than I care to remember and who eventually got to skate it this weekend. Sharing that experience with friends, family, strangers and people whose contribution to skate culture I have respected for years was pretty sweet!

You can’t move history.

Long Live Southbank.

B.

Telling tales…

After the success of our collaborative SUrf camp this summer (which you can read about by clicking here), we were invited to join SU Scotland at their Big Celebration this weekend.

Davina the camper-van operated as a mobile story booth. She was rigged up with studio lighting and a couple of cameras.  We simply opened up her doors and invited people to share 60-second stories of their involvement with SU this year. As I ambled at various point throughout the day, I was struck at how she just fitted in – not bolshy or seeking to be the main event.

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I really was unsure how many people would interact with her. At the end of the afternoon, however, Neil who had been responsible for the camera-work said that he had been busy and that Davina had provided the perfect setting. Many people don’t want to be in the spot-light or seen to be blowing their own trumpet. He had a sparkle in his eyes as he commented on how he had been able to almost eavesdrop into conversations or to capture stories that may otherwise have failed to reach an audience.

I was musing upon these things and others as we meandered back home looking over fields that were white onto harvest as a rainbow arched above us.

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Upon nearing home, we pulled into a small supermarket car-park to pick up a couple of essentials. We were flagged down by two guys in a car who were waving and giving us “thumbs up” signs. They came over and we chatted for 10 or 15 minutes about camper-vans and something of Davina’s own unique story and how we find ourselves somehow written into that. As they took photos on their mobiles I noticed another woman hovering at a near-by car. Once the first two guys and I had parted company, she also wandered over to complement the van. It turns out that she has a more modern Volkswagen camper and we got talking about all that they conjure up. Once again, we found ourselves very naturally trading tales of shared experience and re-telling something of Davina’s story.

I find myself thinking about how effortlessly people are drawn to us and how easily conversations seem to spring up when we are out and about in our mobile sacred space – being open, undistracted by time and bringing smiles to faces. We are story-tellers and, just maybe, new ones are beginning to be written.

B.

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