Skaters are Trouble

By Robin Priestley


Skaters are troublemakers, at least in the eyes of the authorities, Rentacop security guards are employed by faceless organisations to keep their buildingÕs clean from vermin. The police like nothing more than to kick us off, and about places. I once even heard that in the City of London skaters had become the number one priority for the police, in the eyes of the businessÕ that reside there. Why are we so despised, why are we so evil? The reason lies not in the wax thatÕs on the curbs and blocks of their buildings, or the chips in the marble, to be honest its not the physical damage at all (although this is the last thing that they will admit). The reason that we are their public enemy no.1 is what we stand for and represent, the mental damage that we do to the institutions image. It is the freedom of movement and lack of restrictions that we show, the adamant refusal to obey their rules.

Architecture more often than not is designed in such a way as to control the experience of the people that use it. Just taking one look at supermarkets or shopping centres provides a prime example of this; every move that you make is closely monitored and controlled, people are employed just to make sure customers are lead to the right areas in a shop. Commercial buildings in the city are just the same, the big impressive marble fronts, the grand entrances and receptions, the faceless glass fronts are all there for a reason. Architects are used to manipulate the attitude of people walking into a building, in order to suit the needs of its owners. You are faced with an impressive authoritative entrance before being lead around corridors and waiting rooms in order to get you into the state of mind that the company wants.

The problem with skaters is that we are all to busy looking at potential blocks and stairs to be skated, to fall into the traps of the architects. We have a completely different agenda when coming across a piece of architecture, we are there to skate and so we donÕt adhere to the rules that corporations lay down with their buildings. This is why we are so evil; this is why we are despised. Its not that we chip their marble, we are far more of a problem than that. By simply being somewhere we are overturning what they stand for, weÕre turning their buildings into playgrounds and ignoring the power that they try to have.

Buildings become known as skate spots and so the impressive and oppressive air of the corporation begins to fade away. Just think about what happens when you are sessioning a set of stairs and a member of the public begins to watch. The stairs are changed into an arena with you performing. This is not what the architect or company wants at all as it detracts from the influence they have over the people that visit the building. There is someone else messing around with how it is seen, someone that they donÕt control. The more we skate, the more their control slips, itÕs like fighting a war for freedom.

So no matter how much the suits shout at us and despise us, were actually doing each of them a favour, were making everyone a little freer. I guess the point of this article is to say that we can and do make a change, and it can all be done whilst having a lot of fun. There is no need for us to listen to the voices that complain at us, especially not the rentacops or even the real ones for that matter. Just keep on enjoying yourself, itÕs sometimes a very good thing to be evil.