What I Wore Today: Skateboarding

What I Wore Today If you don't know, What I Wore Today (drawings only) is a Flickr group started by Gemma Correll that encourages people to regularly draw self-portraits wearing, well, whatever you're wearing. It results in a nice mixture of both drawing and fashion styles.

My outfit choices are worryingly repetitive so I usually try to add a wee activity in there too. This drawing is from a few days ago on a visit to my parent's house - it was the first time it had been dry enough to go to the skatepark in 6 months. I grabbed my board and nipped round for a wheech about. I was a wobbly old man. My legs are still sore.

Also, I've recently started a What I Wore Today section on my site where I'll try to archive all of these daft things.

Petition to Rebuild Stirling Skatepark

The Bowls, King's Park Stirling 1996Me at Stirling Skatepark circa 95/96 during a misguided rollerblading phase.

SHORT VERSION: to secure important funding, a short-timescale (before Fri 10th February!) petition has been set for the rebuild of Stirling Skatepark. If anyone who thinks this would be a good idea could show their support, I'd really appreciate it. You can sign the petition here.

Despite moving to Glasgow over a year ago, I still get through to Stirling as often as I can. When I'm back, I'm catching up with my parents, Alex's parents or friends (or all of the above). While that doesn't usually leave too much spare time, I do try to head along to the wee skatepark if I can.

Stirling Skatepark aka 'The Bowls', situated in King's Park, is a small, rough concrete affair that has seen better days. It's badly designed and not much fun to use. I love it, though. It was my park growing up and, as far as I'm concerned, it's still my park. From 1994 through 2009, I'd say that I visited that little grey island almost every (dry) day. Some summers 12hr+ sessions were the norm. And, even though my usage has shrunk to a handful of visits a year, I reckon there's a good chance that I've spent more time in that skatepark than anyone else in the whole wide world.

My mum and dad live nearby, you see. I could get there in 5-10 mins and nip home on a whim if I needed to. If the skatepark was a pub, I was a local. Whenever I go back, I half expect to be greeted by bunch of friends but instead it's a new bunch of young folk who make me feel like the old, crap skateboarder that I am. And that's fine. That's the way it should be.

Proposed design by Wheelscape.

Anyway, the reason I'm bringing this up is that there are plans afoot to renovate the park. For the past few years, BMXer, park regular and all-around good dude Ali Hair has lead a campaign to secure funding, planning and permission to, y'know, make the place less crappy. He's close too. Really close. There are plans, there is permission and there is almost funding. A last-minute hitch, however, has required a petition to allay any doubt that the park might not be popular enough to justify the expense. That's totally understandable. To a lot of people a skatepark is nothing more than an intimidating eyesore. It's a place where youngsters 'hang out' and do things. Recently, the park has been in such disrepair that it's actually kinda dangerous to use and if there has been any lessening in attendance, I'd blame the design and upkeep of the facilities before worrying that kids don't enjoy having fun anymore. That or the weather.

Regardless, here's something I've noticed in nearly 20 years of using Stirling Skatepark: If it's dry, if it's daylight and if it's not ridiculously early in the morning, there will always be someone using that park. And it's not even a very good park!

When the weather's good, you're all but guaranteed that it'll be busy too. That's all the justification needed. How many other free-to-use public facilities can you say that about? That wee park has kept hundreds, if not thousands of young (and not so young) people entertained, out of trouble and well-exercised for a long, long time. Skateparks are great little social melting-pots. They let kids meet people from other schools, from other towns, from other backgrounds, cultures and occupations. Without Stirling Skatepark, I'd have left school a sheltered, anti-social, uncultured little geek (or at least more of a sheltered, anti-social, uncultured little geek). The park has always been safe, quiet and friendly. Yeah, teenagers hang about there and pull up their hoods but guess what? That's what teenagers do. They do that everywhere. They can't get enough of doing that. Skateparks don't encourage troublemakers and if you think they do, I'm sorry, you're wrong. Kids go to these places because they love riding skateboards, bikes and rollerblades.

So, although I'd be sad to see the old place go, a better skatepark is desperately needed in Stirling. It's a small place; there's not much to do. People get bored. If the city wants to keep up with the rest of the country, we need to be on top of stuff like this. Falkirk has a great park, for God's sake. Falkirk! Skateboarding and BMX have been popular for long enough that there's no excuse for any town not to support them properly.

If you agree, please sign the rebuild Stirling Skatepark petition before Friday the 10th of January 2012. Thanks.

For more information, the best place to go is the Stirling Skatepark Users Facebook page where Ali keeps everyone up to date by announcing the latest developments. Being Facebook, you can also catch up / discover / skate-date with loads of the people who actually use the park. In addition, there is a Stirling Skateboard Users blog that covers key points in the process. The proposed design is by the nice guys at Wheelscape Skatepark Construction.

Gilbert Crockett: Switch Flip Up Stairs

I've been following Thrasher's King of The Road, a sort of skateboarding version of Challenge Anneka, where skate teams go cross-country and try to score points by completing a list of challenges (grind a certain rail / do a trick naked / kiss an old lady etc.). You kinda forget how daft it is because it's been running for years but it always delivers some good footage.

After watching the most recent episode, I made this animated gif of Gilbert Crockett's amazing switch kickflip up 6 (longish!) stairs. Partly because it's a pretty frickin' good trick and partly to see if I could work out how to turn a YouTube clip into an animation. Turns out I could!


With spring a-sproinging all over the place, I took off on my bike on Thursday for the first time in about 4 or 5 months. My intention was to have a little explore of Glasgow's Southside - something I've not really done (outside of Shawlands anyway) since moving here last September. The winter has a knack for keeping a man inside with the telly.

A little bit of searching before I left led me to discover that two (two! can you imagine my delight?) skateparks seemed to live within a 20 minute cycle of my wee hoose and my intention was to discover, if not exactly conquer, both of them along my way.

First up, Queens Park skatepark, pictured above. I was somewhat familiar with this place from magazines and videos, but had never visited and had long forgotten it's name. Dark, rough and sketchy, Queens Park is a real Council mismanagement of obstacles too big, too small or too weird for your regular average-to-crap skateboarder like myself. Actually, even for Dudes Who Are Good, I imagine most of this park is all but unskatable (5' run-up to stairs, anyone?).

The vert ramp is Queens Park's only draw and, well, it looks ready to eat your soul. Show it no weakness. The thing is big - bigger than my photos make out - and scary - scarier than my photos make out. Some people can skate this monster (and skate it well), but not me. I take a look, wave a little white flag and scoot away on my poncey wee bike. I suspect the next time I visit will be to identify a body.
My hopes turned to Rouken Glen (above) - somewhere I'd seen on YouTube, but only recently realised was on the Southside. A 2.5 mile cycle from my house in Shawlands makes this park just about viable as a 'bit cloudy but I'll risk it' option and, I dunno, it could be worse (it could be Queens Park). It was empty when I arrived but as far as I know, there's a wee local scene, which is all good. No sign of any discarded syringes - also good.

Rouken Glen is a small prefab metal park in a nice area. Not exactly inspiring but potentially pretty fun. A mini ramp would've been a nice touch here, or even some lower ledges (the main one is just the wrong side of comfortable, for short-arses like myself). The box looks not bad (bank to ledge!) and there's a bigger hip than you'd expect in a place like this. A decent dick-about spot, I reckon. Good for getting rid of the rusty knees before summer.

If, by a long shot, anyone knows other good places to skate on the Southside of Glasgow, particularly near Shawlands, let me know. I got so used to living 5 mins from a park in Stirling that I find it weird not being able just to nip out for half an hour anymore. Oh and sorry about the cheesy Hipstamatic photos - I got a new phone recently and I can't stop playing with it.

Oh, and along similar lines, my friend Ben has started a blog called Terminal Moraine about skateboarding in Australia, his new home. Give him a wee follow. He's a smart cookie and, if he properly gets into the blogging habit, it'll be a good 'un. His exploring partly inspired this post.

Girl Skateboards: Modern Chair Series


I was on a little nostalgia trip earlier, hunting out old skateboard graphics. They're surprisingly hard to find. I guess they vanish quite quickly because they're typically displayed as little thumbnails for online shops and not as nice big images. Anyway, I made it my mission to find the first pro-model deck I ever bought... and I did, kinda.

The above image is my recreation of the Modern Chair series of graphics by Girl Skateboards. I had Jeron Wilson's (I didn't know who he was at the time, just that his board was the size I wanted). The decks are of course a beautiful tribute to classic Eames furniture and are apparently a bit of a collector's item nowadays. It's hard to call but I think I must've bought mine around about 1999. Does that sound right? It got well and truly destroyed.

It's weird to think that I bought something so 'designy' as my first skateboard, long before I had any interest or idea that I'd study design and become involved in illustration. Weird not because it was some mystical prophecy of things to come, more that at the time an angsty slogan or dumb cartoon would've been way more appropriate to where my head was.

I stitched these together using this graphic and this collection of thumbnails. The typeface was hard to match and is a little off. Still, I think they work pretty well. Click the image for a bigger version.