Posted by:on March 28th, 2016
There used to be “no scene,” and it was sometimes hard to find people to skateboard with, especially if you were in smallish semi-rural towns, even if they were college towns. One the things I used to do instead of, you know, going to class, was making flyers for a “Mass Thrash” to try and attract larger numbers of skateboarder that I assumed were all hiding in the woodwork somewhere. How could you not like skateboarding and punk rock? It seemed absurd. The law of averages demanded that there would be more kindred souls out there, not going to class like me. We would hold these events right outside the student union, on the quad. There were so few skateboarders on campus that it was actually not a bust to skate there. The logos and skateboarders on the left were all transcribed from the black and white newsprint pages of the advertisements in the back of Thrasher.
On the right is a flyer for a contest held by our local skate shop “Frames and Thangs” which was actually a bike shop with a small counter full of skate gear. I felt guilty copying art from Thrasher that every skater would know, so I decided to do my own doodle. Great contest flyer right? Man, did I choke horribly at that contest, made more embarrassing by fact that I had fabricated myself as a “sponsored skater” and we had a special division in that contest with just 2 (count ’em) entrants. Respect me. There were actually good skaters who travelled from about an hour away, but didn’t enter because they thought you actually had to have some sort of legitimate sponsorship. I learned the art of self promotion from Malcom McLaren, and lack of follow through from Sid Vicious. So my apologies to the Decatur crew, Doug “Drug” Delong and Bruce… (last name?) I kept that 2nd place plaque specifically to remind me of humility. Most times I forget I have it.
It’s now decades later. I’d be surprised if you could still skate the ledges and steps outside the student union at the University of Illinois. I heard they were planning on building a skatepark of sorts on campus a few years back. There was a very, very crappy public skatepark built there at some point around the new millennium. It was truly horrible, but we probably would have loved it, if it had been around in the 80’s. After all, we once drive an hour and a half to skate in a very mediocre ditch on the side of a highway. I imagine there are more skateboarders there now than you can shake a longboard at, so be careful what you wish for.
Leave a Reply