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Skateboarding in London: The Thames River Monster

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One of the oldest cities in the world that still stand to this date as a reminder of the resistance of the ancient ways in our modern times. London is often described as a two headed dragon which always tend to steer its necks and stare in opposite directions: one looking to the past and one looking to the future. Sometimes the heads quarrel, sometimes they snuggle. The creature however doesn’t have a middle head that can look into our present, and that’s where the skateboard settles in between the two, bringing forth harmony to mend the havoc of the beast. Let’s take a closer look to the skateboarding scene in London.

 

Skateboarding Scene and Scenes in London

It can’t rain all the time in London and, as a matter of fact, skateboarders in the city are not ‘used’ to be dragged into one single skateboarding scene; more likely there’s a communion of ‘scenes’ in London, where each style and different personalities are aiming at different directions but sharing the same ideal; just like the two headed monster. The tradition of skateboarding is dearly cherished, since it was one of the first European cities where it arrived a few decades ago. Right now, campaigns such as Long Live Southbank defend the interests of skateboarders and their culture, and events such as the Girls Night at House of Vans and the Old Man Nite at BaySixty6 are proudly two of the most popular nowadays.

The ‘scene’ is usually seen in the underground, but like literally. The iconic Tube of London is the underground network of passageways and public conveyance where you can stay as long as there’s daylight with a one-day travel card going through sections with mini-ramps and skate spots. There can be rivalry between the different scenes, because some of them tend to monopolize the mayor skate spots and parks in the city, but at the end of the day, they can meet in the underground and grab a pint later.

 

Present Day Skateboard Brethren

There has been a boom in skate parks around the city in all four cardinal points: the Charlton Skatepark, Finsbury Skatepark, Cantelowes Skatepark and many other like the legendary BaySixty6 and South Bank are just a few to memorize and must be pinpointed in London’s map. Most important of all, these skateboarding scenes defy all what the city’s industrialist ideals have maintained since the 19th century. The punk culture and call to action are as rebel as it was back in the day, for it stands its grounds against the forces of order and neoliberal law policies.

London’s skateboarders are amongst them long termed rivals but also long termed allies, they are one single race and movement. They share the same badge and the same principles, and they move along the way into the permanent present that they build between the heads of the dragon. We should not call it then a skateboard scene, or even ‘scenes’, it is a brethren: The Brethren of The Two Headed Dragon’s Board.

 

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