GlasgowLiving – The Real People of Glasgow
I’ve been skating for the last 30 years, I’m 41, 42 at the end of this month, I put a video out last year, just to basically show people in their forties what they can do. Everybody thinks you get old, you’ve got family and responsibilities and all these different things, a lot of people don’t get the chance to go out and skate as much. All my friends that are older definitely, more commitments. It also shows the young guys what you can do as well, keep progressing. Keep up with these guys, still show these guys some stuff, inspire these guys to do stuff, it’s a pretty great feeling. They all seem to accept it so it’s pretty cool.
I’m a dad of one, who’s seven years old, when he’s at school I do a lot of stuff, I come here and skate during the day. I work for care support, I work for Sense Scotland, I’m a care support worker on the night shift. I help people with mental disabilities, my parents are deaf, so I’ve been brought up on sign language my whole life and I work with people who’ve had that sort of disability.
Thirty years ago this (Kelvingrove skatepark) was just a park, it was just a red circle with barriers all the way around it, when we were young, we would come down and do the flatground, skate around the ground like they guys are doing there. We’d come and build our own stuff, but we always came and skated here years ago.
My mate owned a skateboard shop years ago, he doesn’t have anymore, who when the council built this park, put up a big fight to get everything the way we wanted it. It’s one of the first proper “street plazas” as they call it, in the whole of Europe. The whole European blueprint which came from this plaza, was taken from an American blueprint that D.C brought out years ago.
Rob Dyrdek, don’t know if you’ve heard of him, he does Ridiculousness and Fancy Factory on TV, he basically invented his own plaza out in the States, it was the first proper street skater’s version of a skatepark, without as much ramps it was more like the street area. Stairs, rails, ledges, banks, before that it was all just ramps, parks would all be ramps, bowls and transition. So we took the blueprint of that, my mate that owned the skateboard shop Big Mick O’Neil, he took the blueprint and built this.
I don’t know exactly how old this is, maybe only ten years, this park’s only been around for ten years, so we had nothing up until then suddenly parks were developing all over Scotland.
A lot of people had to fight to get what they wanted, the street skaters like me. Guys that were in the scene were a lot older, they all wanted transition, they all wanted poles, they all wanted ramps, but it was more about what the younger kids wanted because everybody was developing more street skills, and that’s really what all these guys here are doing, that’s what they’re into, a bit of everything, but all those older guys were wanting it a certain way and we were like, “it’s not for us it’s for the younger generation coming through and us”. It was a bit selfish for them to say I want all this and that because they kind of parks were all over anyway, they all ready had a good few.
Livingston was the main one near Edinburgh, everybody loves, people come from all over the world, all the pros and different people from Europe, who love that style of bowl and ramp parks. This one was for the modern age, it was a big fight to get it the way we wanted it. It wasn’t perfect, there’s still a lot of things that aren’t right, but we had to try and please people. It wasn’t thought through as perfect as it could have been, but it’s the best we could’ve hoped for.
It’s good though, it’s brought on a lot of the talent, a lot of younger guys, and they all come here it’s a place they come every day, because they can’t get out on the streets and stuff, it used to be that we just skated on the streets, there was nothing we just skated all over, found things in town. Chased by police, chased by gangs, before the days of mobile phones, people just had to meet up on the street, a certain time, a certain spot or outside a certain phonebox, if you didn’t meet the people, that was you, skating yourself until, you bumped into people. Mobiles, phoning people, “where are you” “what we doing”? none of that back then.
I’ve got friends who work in skateboarding in America, people I know who are professionals, they see your stuff on Instagram, follow you, like your pictures and videos it’s good to stay interactive. You can see what they’re doing halfway across the world, it keeps you more connected, but at the same time, you’re never away from it, even though you’re still skating, you’re still using your phone. It’s addictive. It’s my life, I’ve been doing it for 30 years.
It was Back to the Future, Marty McFly from Back to the Future (BTTF) in 1985 that got me into it. I had a mate down the street from me who had a wee rubber banana board from the 70’s, the tiny skinny things, he just sort of messed about on that, I tried to go down hills on my bum, I never really took it seriously, but then Back to the Future come out and everybody had the big boards, and everybody was like wow, look at the these big boards from the 80’s, let’s get into this. Me and my mate started kicking about Blantyre where I stayed, met some older guys who showed me the first Smasher magazine, and I got into the proper skate culture, got a couple of videos from one of my mates, which we used to copy off each other using VCR’s. Watching tapes, reading magazines. That’s how we all got inspired.
There was no step by step instructions on You Tube, or how to do tricks, you had to learn yourself. I’ve got the scars to prove it, snapped my arm before my boy was born, funny thing was it was from a flatground trick I always do, we used to go up the cash and carry years ago, where I met my wife, we used to skate out there at night, cos it was undercover. It was dead icy, near Christmas time so it was a really cold night, and I was doing everything perfect, turned round to do my last trick before home, and slid out on the ground and my arm went the wrong way, snapped completely. Rushed me into hospital, operated on me the next day. That’s the worst I’ve had in all that time.
I snapped my ankle when I was a wee guy first starting at 12/13. You’ve got to remember we used to build the ramps out of wood, jump ramps just to try and get air. People would just get wood and make things themselves, I suppose people were a lot more pro active that way.
Hugh “Shug” Duncan – Kelvingrove skatepark https://www.instagram.com/human_duncan/