SK88: Old School Skateboard Playlist

Best years of my life? 15/16 years old, skateboarding all day and hanging around with my friends.  It was the late 1980s, and the days of the 180 Boneless, No Comply and learning to Ollie.  Back when kickflips were the raddest trick in the car park – except we called them “Ollie kickflips” back then.

This was also the time when I started to really veer off the obvious track as far as music was concerned.  Skate videos and Thrasher magazine began to open up a whole new world of music.  Sometimes these bands would enter the mainstream a couple of years later; sometimes they never did.

I remember hearing a great song on a Vision video.  I had no idea what the song was called, but worked out from the credits that it was most likely performed by the Descendents.  I recorded the song onto cassette off the TV as there was no other way to hear it.  A few months later, on a skate buying trip to Manchester, I stumbled across a record shop that stocked a few records by the band.  I had to buy one: taking a gamble on “All” as it featured a song called “Coolidge”, which fitted the lyrics of the track I loved.  I was so stoked when I got home, played the vinyl and heard the song I was hoping for!  Great album, all in all.

This practice of researching and hunting became a big feature of my relationship with music ever since.

Skating all day, then listening to music in the evening was a big part of my teenage years.  This playlist is designed to reflect those days: music I enjoyed back then and became the soundtrack to that time.

Some songs featured in skate videos (McRad, Odd Man Out).  Some were checked out after I saw them advertised or reviewed in Thrasher (The Cult, Misfits).  Others were just part of the current soundscape, and are forever linked with those halcyon days.

Here’s the playlist I made, split into a two CD format:

Part 1

  1. McRad – “Weakness”
  2. Odd Man Out – “Four Thirty One”
  3. Descendents – “Coolidge”
  4. Sex Pistols – “Holidays in the Sun”
  5. Devo – “That’s Good”
  6. Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
  7. Motorhead – “Killed by Death”
  8. Faith No More – “We Care a Lot”
  9. Misfits – “Astro Zombies”
  10. Hard-Ons – “Don’t Wanna See You Cry”
  11. The Stupids – “Skid Row”
  12. Beastie Boys – “She’s On It”
  13. Circle Jerks – “Wild in the Streets”
  14. Spermbirds – “Something to Prove”
  15. Dead Kennedys – “California Uber Alles”
  16. Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed to Skate”
  17. Generation X – “One Hundred Punks”

Part 2

  1. The Cult – “Wildflower”
  2. The Damned – “Love Song”
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Higher Ground”
  4. Fishbone – “Freddie’s Dead”
  5. Iggy Pop – “Cold Metal”
  6. GBH – “Too Much”
  7. Mudhoney – “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More”
  8. Ramones – “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”
  9. The Stranglers – “Peaches”
  10. Bad Brains – “Soul Craft”
  11. Gang Green – “Church of Fun”
  12. Metallica – “The Thing That Should Not Be”
  13. Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Purple Haze”
  14. Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  15. Jesus Jones – “Never Enough”
  16. The Skids – “Into the Valley”
  17. Fugazi – “Blueprint”

Some of the above tracks I owned on vinyl or cassette back in the day; some I found in later years.  There are still plenty of other bands from skate videos that I either still haven’t tracked down, or as I didn’t own them at the time I’ve omitted for now.

Instead, this is a basic playlist to represent my late 80s skateboarding days, boiled down to the bare essentials.  I hope you enjoy and these bring back some memories.

And this sin’t an exhaustive list: how Anthrax and Run DMC didn’t get included is baffling.  Maybe I can expand with some more for a Part 2…

Halloween Horror Fest House of Horrors

Ring (1998)

OK: so here, we’re talking about the Japanese original movie, Ring (or Ringu) – not the Hollywood remake.  I’m not making any kind of elitist statement, I’ve just never seen the American version. 

Mrs Platinum Al introduced me to this creep-fest some years ago; I’m only surprised it’s not been viewed as part of our Halloween Horror Fest sooner.

A cursed video tape is being passed around; whoever views it dies a week later.  A reporter is investigating the story, and finds that the video isn’t just an urban myth when it strikes close to home.  With time running out, she must determine the origin of the tape and find a way to stop it.

Ingeniously creepy, Ring takes a novel idea – that sounds like exactly the type of urban legend that could be out there – and capitalises on it.  Watching the English subtitled version ads to the sense of mystery, as the viewer slowly pieces the facts together along with the protagonist.

Recommended for its imaginative premise and macabre scenes, you won’t want to watch Ring alone!

8/10

The Exorcist (1973)

I first saw The Exorcist as a student, when I was about 19.  This was in the days when the film wasn’t on video or allowed on TV, and thus it held a reputation beyond all others as the scariest film anyone would see, ever. 

A late night showing after a week of anticipation left me, at the time, convinced that this notoriety was justified.  I slept with the light on for several nights after.

But then a year later, I persuaded some other friends to go and see the movie too.  They found The Exorcist amusing more than anything, and I too was wondering what had frightened me so much.

I’ve not seen the film since then, other than catching parts of it whilst showing on TV (times have changed).  I was unsure what I would make of it.  Surely, its ability to horrify would have decreased still further after all these years?

Whilst I wasn’t terrified watching the movie again, I was greatly impressed by the whole spectacle.  The Exorcist is scary, but it’s also a very engaging and brilliantly told tale.  The acting is top quality and believable, and most of those infamous scenes still have the ability to shock.

Film critic Mark Kermode reckons this is the best film ever made.  I wouldn’t agree with that rating, but The Exorcist is a terrifically thrilling film.

William Friedkin, the Director, succeeds in making a movie which seems horribly realistic – and thus very believable.  Still powerful after all these years.  Essential viewing!

9.5/10

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #5

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 4th December 2015

Unlike the last event, I didn’t have a theme for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night this time around.  Just some tunes I fancied playing.  I hadn’t even decided exactly what they would be till the show was on.

For anyone still uninitiated, the night is hosted in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales.  There are two turntables and each participant gets to play 15 minutes of whatever music they want, vinyl only.

I had myself a couple of beers and rattled out this selection:

Motorhead – Ace of Spades

When you buy your first Motorhead album, you know you’ve entered the world of grown up music.  Big, nasty unapologetic rocking grown up music.  A song that never gets old, I was introduced to “Ace of Spades” when the band performed it on the classic “University Challenge” episode of The Young Ones.  It’s just a non-stop, joyous racket that simply will not stop or slow down for anyone.  Absolute perfection.  I played this in memory of drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, who sadly passed away recently.

The Vapors – Turning Japanese

A New Wave/Punk Rock classic, I was donated the brilliant “Turning Japanese” by a friend.  Thank you, Simon.  It was supposed to be part of a tribute set that I’m still working on.  It was going to be hard to follow up the adrenaline rush of the previous song, The Vapors pulled it off here though.  A great power pop song that kept the pace of the set nicely.

Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene

A slight fast forward to the late 1980’s for this next track.  The first track on Dinosaur Jr.’s album “Bug”, this track nicely covers the appeal of early American alternative rock.  Born out of punk and hardcore, with one foot in old Black Sabbath and one in jangly pop; Dinosaur Jr. constantly delight.  Reminds me of my skateboarding youth.

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

I couldn’t decide which track to play last, so I let the audience choose the album.  The Beastie Boys “Ill Communication” won hands down, and I chose “Sabotage” as the track to play.  Another unrelenting monster of a song, “Sabotage” has a funky groove delivered with a rocking style.  Again, a song I never tire of.  Plus the Spike Jonze video, with it’s 70’s cop show homage, is a work of genius.  It’s been over twenty years and I still want to dress up and play Sabotage Cops for a day.

My buddy Adam strode up to the decks next, and delivered another fine set.  It went something like this:

  • Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
  • The Blasters – I’m Shakin’
  • Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
  • DJ Kool – Let Me Clear My Throat

Four top songs from Adam there, the Queen track was a load of fun and had me doing my world renowned Freddie Mercury impression.  It was nice to hear a modern song on vinyl too, with the Ronson/Mars number.

Great night, great songs – well done all on another fine evening’s entertainment.  I’m currently stumped what to play next time.  I’ll work on it.

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all of the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.