Thursday 12 January 2012

Peg Overspill From The Albion Slash Stay The Fuck Out Of My Way.

They just built a new Jury's Inn in Newcastle. A faceless and un-engaging steel and concrete feature with just enough colour to be welcoming. It's mostly frequented by city-break takers wandering collectively in a rabble of drink and tabs pulling wheelie suitcases behind them packed with matching hen night t-shirts and inflatable penis's. It also appeals to short stay businessmen clutching briefcases filled with self importance and empowerment.  8 large marble blocks lie outside of the Jury's Inn. The blocks/benches are arranged in clusters of 2 with varying gaps between them. It's about the most perfect peg spot you could imagine, I mean it's simple, but it's perfect. 
Before the wrappers were even off the skaters had sessioned the marble. This isn't like Euro super marble, but it still slides amazingly. My first smith grind brought with it a fair bit of chip-page, The Count did a good icepick and then Carmine blew out a huge chunk of stone with an overly aggressive feeble. 
After 5 or 10 minutes a really skinny girl came flying out of a kitchen doorway shouting a torrent of indecipherable abuse at us. She had short blond hair, sporadic black tattoos on her skinny and pale skinned forearms, a baggy white shirt tucked into her slim cut jeans and wore a neatly pressed black pinafore over the lot. I could have sworn she was holding a frying pan but all others present that day say she wasn't. If I were the type to stereotype someone at first glance I would have said-angry butch lesbian on a-delusional and overly loyal to the conglomerate-power trip. The girl in her mid to late twenties was incensed, this could only be at most her second week of employment but she was still willing to protect marble blocks in the vicinity of the hotel with her life. From the verbalised incendiaries, spitting and arm flailing, I could make out that her main point was: each of the blocks had cost 4 grand and we were destroying them. 
4 grand for this marble? You've been had, this shit chips really easily, you should have got that hard as hell Euro marble. 8 blocks at 4 grand each is 32 grand worth of seating. Strictly speaking the spot isn't even part of the hotel's land, I found this price tag a little hard to swallow on the council's budget. I was reminded of Road Fools 2 when the security guard throws his walkie talkie down and shouts 'there's thousands of dollars worth of marble here' at Joe Rich. We had to leave the spot temporarily but as we did we saw a bunch of skaters walking towards it. 

Sling the fucking bars, any where, any how, any when.

I don't see the argument, riding, skating and extreme urban pursuits are mainstream, they've been around for decades, they're on channel 4, surely all the architects now know we all dedicate our lives to seeking these spots out.

If you build it, we will come.

Vandalise war memorials. (glorification of war sickens me)

After Hoffman did the first rails, Dave Parrick produced the video Homeless Trash and Rooftop rode to Painted Black in Dirty Deeds street riding and more importantly grinding was commonplace in BMX. With the growing popularity of street, pegs introduced a vandalism aspect to riding. If a cop want's to get serious he can lay a criminal damage charge on you for just about any grind. Your peg still warm from friction and covered in fresh handrail paint is the smoking gun to convict you. 

But destroying property is fun.

When I look around my home town of South Shields I can notice ledges that I have destroyed through grinding nearly 20 years ago still sitting in disrepair, some are part of high ranking listed buildings. I must have cost the council thousands of pounds in damage throughout my riding 'career' with broken sandstone, cracked marble, paint flayed from flat bars, rails broken out of the ground and benches split in half.

If it would grind, I'd grind it.

Grind the fuck out of handrails.

Last year we were out in Newcastle with a 10 strong crew filming at an up rail in a particularly privileged girl's school. The caretaker rolled into the yard in his car and yelled at us about destruction of property, trespassing and all the usual spiel. He was needlessly aggressive. One of our group thought it would be fun to lock him in the yard with the gate, and yes, it was hilarious. We all poured out of the school just as a cop car was rolling past. We got stopped. One of the cops went to let the caretaker out of the car park while the other said we were detained. Not arrested, detained. It was looking more and more serious as the caretaker was talking destruction of property and delinquent behaviour around impressionable teens. The group of riders I was with I would trust with my life, we've rode together for 10 years plus, we're all fast, we're all dedicated and we're all looking at each other like 'should we just do one?' A whisper goes around and the very second the cop looks down we bolt like a cloud of gazelle when a lion pops up. Seconds later and the blue lights and siren are on and we ride one of the fastest quarter miles in BMX history. Kids keep peeling off and eventually it leaves D-z and I with the cop car bumping our rear tyres at 30 MPH. I'm weaving through bins and crossing roads without looking all while heading to a spot where I know there is a lane with bollards and I know the dumb cop can't get through. After what feels like a lifetime and with burning lungs and pounding heart I'm there and I take it. Freedom pours over me like a post road trip orgasm. D-z is not so lucky, he has to do three laps around a pub, take a dead end, fall off his bike and he still managed to lose the cop. Dumb ass cop.

Multi coloured skate-park weight weenies have become afraid of the peg, I say eschew all that and embrace what is beautiful about the BMX. Fit more pegs, more and more. Grind stuff and break the law, be James Dean, be Marlon Brando, be a rebel, be a badass, and be everything those who went before us worked so hard to make BMX about. The peg is a symbol of rebellion, a symbol of aggressiveness, a symbol of freedom, and a symbol of the absolute radness of our subculture. Next time some security guard or some school teacher or your employer tries to get on your case give them 4 steel beauties right up in their grill and argue your right to performance and artistic expression with the tool that is the peg and the medium that is the grind.

If anyone tries to tell you different torture and kill them. I mean it.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome read. Love reading things like this to break up the monotony of the 9-5.