Friday, May 18, 2007

Slim skates sideways

It makes you wonder why anybody would bother trying to help out their fellow man, doesn't it? Fatboy Slim made a generous payment to try and help bring a skateboard park to Hove Lagoon.

The residents got worried. Skateboards? Aren't they full of drug addicts on drugs, drugs bought by the proceeds of stealing old ladies' handbags?

Norman tried to persuade the company managing the project, Skate Expectations (a company name that sounds like the sort the lost-in-suits of The Apprentice might come up with) to meet up and talk through the resident's concerns. But they wouldn't.

So Slim asked that the money go to a different good cause instead. Great Expecskateions just sent the money back, and now skateboarders are turning their ire, in turn, on the dj.

Norman Cook sighs:

I tried to get Skate Expectations to meet up with the residents and they refused.

"They didn't seem to be listening to the local community.

"I was going down there with my son and people were saying things like 'you're not really welcome here'. I just didn't want to be associated with something people didn't want."

The skateboard lobby is being represented by Outreach worker Graeme Reece, who isn't exactly reaching out to Fatboy:
The 34-year-old said Mr Cook was 'two-faced' because his own events have encouraged hedonistic behaviour.

He said: "I attended his party on the beach where there were lots of people drinking and taking drugs. In fact at most of his gigs you would expect to find people doing all kinds of illicit drugs."

So... people take drugs at music events, so, erm, musicians shouldn't worry if they're funding an organisation incapable of communicating with its neighbours? And isn't his role more to point out that it's a bit of a lazy stereotype to suggest that skateboarders are going to be eating heroin and mugging, rather than nodding and saying "yeah, but what about people who take drugs in nightclubs>, eh?"

Reece then starts to rave about the Man:
He said residents might feel threatened by a sudden influx of young people to the skate park, but their fears did not necessarily reflect reality, and said hiring security guards to police the area was not a good idea.

He said: "Any young person who skates is likely to be a bit rebellious and they will not react well to a man in a uniform telling them what to do. It would be more effective to employ an adult skateboarder - someone straight-talking who they'd respect and listen to."

But surely the point of having a bloke in a cap is more to reassure residents that the Hove Lagoon hasn't suddenly turned into a hellmouth; and, if we were fifteen, we'd have had more respect for a security guard, however cheap his nylon uniform might have been, than some middle-aged bozo who thought they spoke our language because "I'm a skatie too, check?"

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