OK, I get no one reads these posts about my latest skateboard, but I’m not writing this for an audience. I’m writing it for me. One day, when I’m ancient like Yoda, I’ll be able to look back and have a memento of skateboards I’ve had in the past.
Wish I had at least a photo of the decks I had when I was a kid in the 80’s. That would’ve been cool. As it is, I can’t even remember them all. Not so anymore. Now, I’ll have a permanent record of them all.
For the first time in a long time, I saved up some cash and bought a full, new set up. For a while, I’ve been recycling my trucks (and sometimes wheels) to be as economical as possible. This time, it was new everything – ordered from the very nice folks at Native Skate Store.
Here are the details:
Death skateboards Benson Devil Woman II 8.25″ deck (with free Jessup grip tape)
Independent Trucks 144 Mid Stage II
Death skateboards wheels 52mm
Independent Trucks GP-S bearings
Independent Trucks allen bolts 1″
The set up has been fantastic so far, deck has nice pop and the trucks turn great. I love the graphics by Liane Plant (regular readers may remember I have an 8.5″ version of this deck to go on the wall, and I’m a big fan of Death skateboards). No complaints at all.
Though I’m not going to be able to share this post on Facebook due to the “offensive” graphic…!
Continuing my ambition to document all of my skateboard decks, here’s my latest set up for 2021. My Death “Script” in red got worn out through a load of skating (or attempted skating, ha!), so I needed a replacement.
To take over as my day to day skateboard, I ordered another Death deck, the Benson Devil Woman from good ol’ Native Skate Store. It’s 8.5″ wide, great concave and a spectacular graphic from the legendary Liane Plant.
So amazing is this graphic, that I had second thoughts about skating it.
I already had a Death Patrick Melcher deck that I had bought and was planning to hang on the wall. Fantastic mermaid graphic (by L. Plant again, of course) which I’ve shared before on the Virtual Hot Tub, and I thought it would be great as a display piece.
I was in a pickle: do I set up and skate the Benson as intended, or switch to the Melcher? Both great graphics, great shapes and great boobs – but as classic as they are, I needed something to ride.
As the Melcher Mermaid is 8.25″ wide, that was the final deciding factor. Slightly less wide than the Devil Woman, I felt that this would suit me better. I’ve been right so far – the mermaid feels slightly more “me” than my previous 8.5″ Script deck.
The Patrick Melcher is set up with my Independent trucks and Death wheels – and I love it.
Which means that the Benson Devil Woman will go on the wall as an art piece. At least for now…
Skateboards don’t last forever. A couple of the decks I have bought over the years I’ve bought to display, but I’m not a collector, as I’ve said before. All of the other decks that I’ve bought are to be skated.
Not that I’m against deck collecting, I just can’t afford it!
So in order to preserve my latest deck for posterity, here it is – a Death Skateboards “Script” deck in red and white. I’ll cherish the photos, ‘cos already I’ve skated it and it’s getting beat up (just as it should be). It’s 8.5″ wide and it skates great.
Yet another Death deck, and bought again from the ever reliable Native Skate Store. I also got some new 53mm Death wheels, some bearings, and Native threw in some stickers. I do love stickers.
There we have it: my current set up. And what a beauty it is.
Well, that was a mad old year, wasn’t it? 2020 was more like a bizarre disaster movie than the regular fun ride that we’re used to. A pandemic made hermits of us all; working from home became the new normal for many and travel and events ceased to exist. A year from hell for most of us, though it’s far from over yet.
Here at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, we’ve aimed to soldier on and bring you the very best in blogging entertainment. Be it music, skateboards, toys or tat, whatever nonsense I could investigate was delivered with all the expected wit and style.
As is customary at this time, let’s take a look back at the top ten most popular blog posts of last year. Calling it “The Best of 2020” seems somewhat incongruous, but let’s roll with it for traditions sake.
There was a distinct lack of live music in 2020 (Obviously), but quite a few album reviews for my old pals at Ever Metal. This review of Swedish doom metal band Firebreather’s album was the most read at the Virtual Hot Tub.
Yes, the most popular was this food blog, which benefitted from a genuine traditional recipe, and an idea to recreate a Greek holiday vibe with ingredients from the local supermarket.
As travel wasn’t happening this year for most of us, perhaps it’s no surprise that the Greek recipe blog came out on top. It was written as an ode to holidays and Mediterranean sunshine, something that wasn’t a possibility for many last year. I hope you found some nostalgic comfort from this post.
Usually my annual Top 10 has featured a load of comic con events – or similar – at the top of the list. Those events didn’t happen this year, so the Top 10 has a very different flavour. Who knows what 2021 will bring us?
Whatever the strange pan-dimensional cross flux of crazy brings us next, I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog. Please remember to pop by Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub as soon as you can!
Rather than just write a post about my latest set up – as I have done in the past – I decided it was time to shake things up a bit. You see, I’ve inadvertently become a collector of skate art. I don’t have a lot, but I have a few pieces. Though I’m destroying this art on a regular basis, so who knows how my collection will develop – if at all.
Regular readers will already know that I’ve been partial to equipment from Death Skateboards for a long time. UK based company, great ethos, cool and durable products. You may have also seen my previous blog about my Richie Jackson pro-model. That was where the addiction started.
The art for the Richie Jackson deck was drawn by an artist called Liane Plant. I loved it’s detailed, clear and defined lines – a realistic portrait of Richie the master, done in an art nouveau* style. Very clever and quite beautiful. At least it was, till I skated it and shined the graphics off.
Liane has also produced other graphics for Death (along with other skate companies, bands etc). Last year when I needed a new deck, I picked up the Patrick Melcher model, which has a fantastic mermaid graphic. I was all set to stick the trucks and wheels on, then shred it – when I decided not to. This amazing creation will go on the wall instead.
I’m not a deck collector – they’re too expensive – and to be frank, in a house already cluttered with vinyl, toys and other collections, I just don’t have room. The only deck I have on the wall is a reissue of the classic Santa Cruz Rob Roskopp face, drawn by Jim Phillips. If I had the space and the cash, I’d have loads of skateboards on my walls. But for now the Melcher mermaid remains something of an anomaly.
Then this year, I bought another Liane Plant graphic – Eddie Belvedere‘s iron maiden model. Again, another intricately detailed work. It’s bold and grim, a very heavy metal deck graphic melding hot chicks and medieval torture. Totally in your face. But like the other graphics, I love it because of the realism that Liane has created in the characters.
I set up the Eddie Belvedere deck with my Indy trucks and Death wheels, and I’ve been skating it for a while. Great deck, lots of pop, now with a messed up graphic. Never mind, that’s what skateboards are for.
I am slightly regretting shining the graphics on this one though. Let’s see what my next deck will be. I’ll need something to skate, but will I be vulgar and unrefined enough to defile another work of art like this??!
We’re going back in time in this week’s edition of STYLE. My never ending odyssey to explore the secrets of STYLE journeys to a fabled corner of my wardrobe. We may not reach Narnia, but we do arrive somewhere very special indeed…
Gateway supermarket car park, 1989. Yes, you wanted it – nay, DEMANDED it – and so have I provideth: Skateboard STYLE, circa late 80s.
Amazingly, some late 80’s skate merch still resides in my possession. The pinnacle of awesomeness in this collection are my original Powell Peralta sweatpants. Originally purchased from Split Skates in Manchester, by some miracle I can still (just about) get in them.
You see here the Rat Bones design, with rodent skeletons crawling up the side of each leg. Oh, how I coveted these pants for months before I owned a pair: they cost a bloody fortune, but eventually Mum relented and I got a pair for my birthday. They got some heavy use back in the day; amazingly they still exist (but in a pretty tatty state up close).
Another relic from the past is my Santa Cruz hooded top, again a purchase from Split Skates (on a different trip). This dates from the days when hoodies were a fresh sight on UK streets and were yet to be adopted by chav scrotes. Hoodies are an essential part of any gentleman’s wardrobe, regardless of unsavoury stereotypes. I love this SC dark blue number.
In these photos, I’m wearing a Santa Cruz Road Rider wheels t-shirt. In the late 80’s, I actually only owned two skate t-shirts: a bright yellow Thrasher Pus-zone T and a red Vision Street Wear one with a manhole graphic. Both are long gonenow.
On my feet are a pair of hi-top Vans, which despite being stylistically accurate are actually a more recent acquisition. I could never afford Vans when I was a kid, I had one pair of red Converse and then had cheap Chuck knock-offs for years (‘cos I’d shred ’em in a month).
But God bless Vans, a deeper look into their wonder will no doubt grace a future edition of STYLE.
The look is completed by a Vans trucker cap (again, a newer rehash of 80’s style); a Casio digital watch and a Quiksilver hip-bag. The hip-bag was absolutely necessary as the sweatpants had no pockets (probably would’ve pushed the price up even more). I had a Hot Tuna one back in the day.
As I recall, skaters in the late 80’s pioneered a few fashion items ahead of them becoming part of the mainstream. As well as hooded sweatshirts and hi-top trainers we wore knee length shorts (thus dragging the human race away from budgie-smuggler short shorts). Hip bags became “bum bags” and were fashionable for 5 minutes with everyone, before everyone decided to dump ’em (bring them back!).
As a result, my adoption of skate STYLE did little to reduce the ridicule received from my peers that I had suffered previously. But I didn’t care ‘cos I was a skater and outside of their world by choice. Plus, I always had the last laugh when six months later, they were all wearing Converse, knee length shorts and surf wear.
Sometimes we stumble upon STYLE. Sometimes STYLE just happens along when we least expect it, enraptured by something else. We just need to roll with it and remember that fortune favours the brave.
NOTE: Yes, I look a bit chubby in these pics – but how many clothes from 30 years ago can you still fit in?!
You can read about the Santa Cruz Street Creep shown here on this blog.
A few weeks back, I got a new deck and (eventually) set it up to ride. I took some photos to commemorate the beautiful graphic and general awesomeness of the full, set up skateboard. Here it is, for our mutual enjoyment.
Again, I opted for a Death deck – and again a Richie Jackson model. Great company, inspirational skater. This is an 8.25″ wide model.
According to the graphic, it’s a Richie Jackson “Collectors Shred Sled” – but this particular baby ain’t going on the wall. Oh no, it’s for shredding, not collecting.
The deck was ordered from Native Skate Store. The merchandise arrived with no problem at all, everything was perfect.
I also ordered a set of 53mm Death wheels from Native. Together with a new set of ABEC 5 bearings, and my previous set of Independent trucks, I was able to piece together the work of art you see here.
It’s a great set up and I’ve really enjoyed riding it so far. No complaints whatsoever. The deck width is perfect for me for me these days, so I’ll stick with that for now. The wheels are rolling well too, I’d forgotten how nice a feeling it is to ride a new set.
These photos were taken a few weeks ago, and this skateboard doesn’t look as fresh as it used to. There are quite a few scrapes from concrete and the number of those marks is growing. But hey, that’s the way it goes. It’s great to skate and that’s all that matters.
Still, it’s nice to be reminded of that brand new, virgin set up in these photos. There’s just something incredibly rad about getting – and skating – a new skateboard. I never get tired of it.
Time for another new deck. I got this Death Skateboards Richie Jackson deck a while ago, thought I’d share some pics of it for posterity.
I bought the deck from Native Skate Store, who provided a really good online service. I requested that it was gripped (as I’m crap at gripping decks) and it arrived all done and looking pristine. It was very affordable and delivered quickly, no pain at all.
Regular readers will already know that I’m a big fan of Death Skateboards. I’ve had several Death decks and I’ve loved ’em all. A very cool company with a rad, individual approach to skating and a great aesthetic – their products are tough and reliable, always up to the job.
This time around I opted for the Richie Jackson pro model. Richie is an inspirational skater who constantly evolves and develops new ideas. His innovative style is just ridiculously creative and constantly forging new ground. Google him now!
The extraordinarily detailed Art Nouveau graphic is breath-takingly detailed, I probably should’ve just kept the deck to put on the wall. I’ve skated it and the graphics are shined from rock’n’rolls on curbs. Should’ve bought two, I guess. Such is the transient nature of skateboard graphics…
This phenomenal art is by Liane Plant, and I think her work is incredible. Some of the best art I’ve seen on a skateboard since the eighties classics. I apologise whole heartedly to Liane for destroying the graphic. It may well be a crime for a skater as bad as me to defile something so beautiful.
So anyway, the deck is 8.25″ wide and I set it up with my trusted Independent trucks and Death wheels. So far, it’s been a blast.
Thanks to all the above, long may you roll!
The Death Skateboards website is here. Go take a look.
Richie Jackson is all over social media, just search – you won’t regret it. There’s some stuff on the above Death website, too.
The amazing art of Liane Plant can be seen here. I need some T-shirts and stickers.
You can visit Native Skate Store for all your needs by clicking here.
And finally, here’s a picture of me being a total dork, trying to ape Richie Jackson’s style, rocking an old paisley shirt. Just thought some of his psychedelic magic might rub off. I bought that shirt back in 1990, knew it was worth keeping hold of… And no, I didn’t really wear the shirt to skate in, I chickened out. As great as Richie is, even I am a little old for hero worship on that level…!
Come with me as I take a roll down skateboarding memory lane, ollieing the cracks as I go…
Santa Monica Airlines Jim Thiebaud
This classic deck dates back to the late 80’s, I picked it up in 1989 if I remember. At the time the Chester branch of Milletts, the camping and outdoors shop, were stocking skateboards for some reason or other. They had some pretty rad stuff, too.
When the time came to replace my worn out deck and get a new one, I saved up my pennies/swapped vinyl records and got myself this Santa Monica Airlines deck from Milletts.
At least I think that’s where it was from, I can’t remember. Either way, I didn’t support a skater owned shop on this occasion, to my shame.
SMA were really blowing up at the time, and Jim Thiebaud had been on my radar since I saw the (criminally minimal) footage of him in some of the Powell vids.
Thiebaud was – and is – a supremely cool skateboarder with a smooth, rad style. He was one of those original street pros that I really admired. Along with Gonz, Natas, Guerrero and Vallely, JT was a bona fide street skating pioneer and innovator.
The shape was perfect for me at the time, exactly how I wanted a skateboard to be. It’s still a classic shape now, I really like it. Nice size tail, comfy wide deck – but not too wide. Great street deck of the era.
This deck also had the cool comic book style superhero graphics which I loved. I’ve always been a big fan of superheroes.
However I wasn’t cool enough to get on this particular wave of popularity earlier. If I had, I might have picked up the previous variation on the graphic, which featured a bad guy designed to resemble the Joker. The Batman movie was out around that time, so I guess the whole theme was prominent back then.
So the Joker version had to be scrapped due to some issue with DC Comics, I believe the story goes, and I ended up with the purple suited thug instead.
No matter – cool graphic or not, this deck was to be skated. I transferred my Indy trucks and OJII wheels and was ready to go. Well, when I’d also added the Powell Rib Bones as well. Not to save the graphic, mind – in those days the received wisdom (at least amongst my friends and I) was that the rails helped you slide better.
This particular set up was particularly long serving and loyal. It was like a magic carpet that seemed to respond perfectly to my wishes. Honestly, I remember learning tons of tricks on this finely shaped beauty. Footplants and Boneless variations were (still are) major tricks in my arsenal and I learned several on this very set up.
Biggest of all though, was the kick flip. We called it an “ollie kick flip” back then, and it was a pretty desirable trick to own. I learned kick flips on this gorgeously wide beast and was unbelievably stoked. I still remember that first one.
It was well skated – in fact the tail is worn to a sharp and splintered point – but this set up is still skateable. It’s still around as it was replaced with thinner decks and trucks as shapes evolved; thus I never swapped it.
The SMA Thiebaud is still on the garage wall, still looks great, and still gets a roll every now and again. Classic.
Take a close look at the photos and you’ll notice some interesting features:
Madrid Fly Paper grip tape (note the fly shapes cut out)
Rad SMA top graphic
Santa Cruz Cell Block riser pad
A couple of cool stickers from back in the day still hanging in there
The trucks are fitted with Grind King reversed kingpins, there’s even a sticker on the front hanger…
You can see some of the bands I was into at the time from the grip tape art, which I did with Tip-Ex…
It’s summer, which inevitably means that I attempt some skateboarding yet again. So far this year, I’m happy to report that I’ve learnt/re-learnt some new tricks. This does however mean that my ankles are wrecked and I can hardly walk.
I needed a new deck, so I paid a visit to my old friends at Lost Art skate shop in Liverpool. After a bit of an adventure finding the new shop, I picked myself a new deck and got it gripped up while I was there. A great service – really helpful – and a profesh grip tape job. Very happy, nice one again, Lost Art.
I had been skating a wider deck for a while, over 8.5 inches – and while this gave me some added stability, it wasn’t as easy to do tricks on.
So I opted for something a little smaller, and chose a 7.75″ Death skateboards deck. Fixed up with Independent trucks, Indy truck bolts and Death wheels, it’s a formidable monster of a skateboard and is preforming fine (unlike me).
The whole set up looks really cool, though it didn’t look all nice and shiny for very long.
Regular readers may recognise this deck – I’ve had one before. Exact same size and everything. Which means that this blog post is a waste of time. Unless – of course – like me, you love looking at pictures of skateboards.
Death have always been a really reliable, quality company and it’s no surprise I’ve decided on another of their decks.