Go Skateboarding Day, Vancouver 2010

What an ignorant mess we were. Skateboarders taking the streets back, and public transit too. A critical mass barge of juvenile behaviour. A cacophony of click clacks between streets full of idle cars out of options. Go Skateboarding – and make everyday heroes out of long-haired hipsters and the shy, quiet types.

We packed ourselves into a back-alley fervour that was accented with the smell of piss and cigarettes; dark spots behind buildings where grown men have slept and growing men have found11 stairs and a rail right down the middle, and made it a place of worship.

The pied piper of pious plank pushers hoists his megaphone and tells us where we’re going next. How to fit a thousand skateboarders on a public train? A pure mess of details: narrow escalators, careful instruction, and this business about fares. Police try to check tickets, but this is oil in our water. We will get through, ticket or no ticket.

Trains come and frightened regular passengers clutch their purses closer and are swallowed up. Little old ladies are left their seats, but only to sit at elbow height to a mix bag of tweens and 20-somethings sharing an air space of hot sweat and swear words. At station arrivals, the levee breaks and the session tsunami washes down escalators and out into the streets, down through the McDonald’s parking lot, and in behind the Staples. The shopping public is paralyzed. The manager sits out back with his employees and watches kids jumping up and over embankments and tomorrow, after CTV has run a nice segment, he will feign pride and point at the T.V. and say “That’s my store” but by Wednesday he’ll be calling the police again.

Back to the trains, and finally, a real good clash with the police. Sturdy in their resolve, cops block access to elevators and demand fares, but they have left a weak spot in there wall, and before long, kids are running up the down elevator. Confrontation at the top and a cop drops his bullets. He is laughed at and ridiculed.

Station after station after station and ledge after hip after bowl. Renfrew, Holdum, Sparling, Royal Oak, Metrotown, Stadium/Chinatown. Through alleys, and roads, and bridges. A mechanic wipes his hands on a rag and watches the noisy procession come down past his shop.

By midday, word spreads that Color magazine‘s Sandro Grison had been arrested. The cops stop checking fares and say it was their decision. All good grassroots movements are founded on letting the big guy think he won.

1 Comment

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One response to “Go Skateboarding Day, Vancouver 2010

  1. just so we’re clear, No i didn’t get arrested – just “rumored” to have got arrested. The Police were pretty cool about it in the end, but they kept me back for questioning and then I missed a couple stops on the route because I got a ticket for failing to park off the roadside.
    They told me to tell “whoever is in charge” that next year we should notify the people at these spots and the police so they can make sure it’s all done safely. it’s hard to believe they would cooperate with skateboarders i guess.

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