I was asked this the other day - was it a book? Something noble – the erudite and concise language of 1984? Or did you have a trippy epiphany reading Hunter S Thompson during your late teens? Nope it was Skateboard! magazine. Search online and you'll find many references to the original seventies version, which had quite a hobbyist vibe to it. That's not it. For me it was the relaunch in 1989 by editor Steve Kane.
In much the same way I miss the Observer Sport Monthly, Skateboard! took a completely different approach to reporting its subject. Well, it did for me as a twelve year old growing up in the fens. Thinking back on it, I suspect Skateboard!'s editorial approach was squarely in the gonzo camp. The writers were the skaters. When they travelled to comps, they hitched, crashed on impressionable teen's floors and raided the fridge before they left. And this fed into the writing. I can still remember the vivid article about Dogtown where an imagined and exasperated father explains the importance of South Californian style to his son after he complains of Stacey Peralta 'waving his arms like a spaz' in an old Bones Brigade video. 'You take that back son! That's goddamn blasphemy. That's the roots and a tree without roots is a pretty dead fucking tree'.I have thought about tracking down old copies on eBay, but that way lies nostalgia, and there's too much of that around. Instead, I'm reading the flippin' inspiring Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell. This is a tight, evocative tale and just the sort of thing to spend a bath with in this black metal weather. Or you could watch the film.