Oh go away: The Southbank skate spot closure

So this spring, the Queen Elizabeth Hall applied for permission to demolish, refurbish, and undo something very close to a lot of peoples hearts: The Southbank skate spot. It’s not an understatement to say that this space is one of the most famous skate spots in the entire world – Inherited by skaters in 1978, it has since become a hub of skateboarding, BMX-ing, graffiti, and all the culture that comes a long with it. Many famous skateboarders have graced it with their presence over the years, and it provides a place for young teenagers to get away from all the heroin taking and ASBOs that society thinks they’re obviously taking and getting respectively. The ‘man’s’ plan at the moment is to move the undercroft skate space down to the Hungercroft Bridge, but for many, this idea has only caused huge amounts of rage.

Here is some pinprick describing what a terrible, terrible idea this is:

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I’m a terrible skateboarder, but I love the Southbank. I’ve done bad graffiti there before (see below), and a lot of failed Ollies. The Southbank undercroft sticks out like a beautiful graffiti covered thumb among all the overpriced bars, token restaurants, and other capitalist institutions that are rampant up and down our fair river. Is it really any surprise that they want to replace it with another Starbucks, to draw in ‘much needed income’ for the stagnant and boring Queen Elizabeth Hall? If you ever wanted a textbook example of how to marginalise a sub-culture, then this is it. I can’t picture the government deciding to move B’ham palace through to Ealing Broadway because of ‘much needed income’, or shifting a Synagogue to accommodate another Frankie and bennies – but still, the skateboarder’s Mecca is now just another bone for the capitalist wolves to try and chow down on.

 

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There has of course been a huge backlash against this woeful movement, that culminated in a three day event held last bank holiday weekend, to raise awareness, get a few signatures down, and of course, do what the undercroft does best – be cool. It was all large crowds, music blaring, and potheads standing around talking about the collapse of society whilst failing to do kick-flips. They are rightfully annoyed. Skateboarding is one of today’s few subcultures that doesn’t rely on institution, money, councils or bureaucracy – and it is exactly those which do rely on these things whom want to snatch up one of London’s last remaining enclaves of subculture right up from beneath the skateboarder’s feet.

It’s a truly saddening thing to realise that we lost more than just our trust in banks, and of course a lot of money in the recession. We lost our respect for subculture. Inclusion policy is now becoming more and more exclusive.

Sign the petition to shun these bastards back to their costa’s and boring art galleries:

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lambeth-council-southbank-centre-boris-johnson-arts-council-england-stop-the-relocation-of-the-southbank-skate-park

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