wear your SKars with pride

17th Dec 2014 by john tait

A couple of foot of wood, 2 bits of metal and 4 rubber wheels makes for a whole load of memories.

And scars.

It's circa 1977 and the sun is shinning like it always did in the summer holidays back then.

The Sex Pistols were threatening to upset the apple cart of the Silver Jubilee by having the audacity of getting to number 1 with God Save the Queen, and I'd just picked up a brand new skateboard. Not just any old skateboard mind - I'd had my fill of the bits of wood with the roller skate nailed to the bottom as well as those plastic jobs with the placa wheels as hard as stainless steel with about as much grip. Nope, a REAL skateboard - A Skuda LA.

One of the major selling points of the LA were the wheels - Touted as being the fastest skateboard in the whole wide world, Skuda's SK wheels were the urethane equivalent of a Ferrari, albeit in a fetching shade of orange as opposed to rosso red. It also had a wood deck made up of ash and mahogany giving rise to the local nickname of The Cheeseboard.

I think it cost about £60 - Way, way more than I had, or could realistically expect to get, for quite some time. But thanks to the generosity of my Mam and Kays catalogue's attractive weekly terms, the bugger was mine and boy was I gonna ride it.

Skateboarding in those days was an elegant, smooth and graceful art not like the click-clack, flippy grind irritation of today.

The aim was to carve the tarmac like a wave, feel the wind in your hair (when I had some) and get the hell off with as much style as you could muster before you flew into a parked car. The Cheeseboard was a dream for this style of riding, and Jesus, was she fast! In fact it was really too fast for some of the inclines I was attempting. But thanks to experience and some judicious power slides, I managed to escape relatively unscathed.

And the board got noticed.

In fact someone else turned up with one. Shilling was a couple of years older than me. One of the big lads. He had a Peugeot racer for Pete's sake that made the ride to the airport just that - a ride. Rather than the expedition's we used to embark upon with our Grifter/Chopper troupe.

It was inevitable really, he had to head for the big hill.

The one that was not only the steepest, but which had at the bottom of it, a curving S bend to add to the technicality. I remember skating to the hill to watch. To the foot of the descent where the S bend started. We were all in T shirts and jeans. Not an ounce of protective equipment between us! He pushed off from the summit, a silhouette like Christ the Redeemer gazing over the sprawl of Rio. And he picked up speed. I shook my head. He wasn't carving the road to take some of the speed out of the descent. Nope, not a bit of it, he was plummeting the hill like a skydiver. He was about thirty yards from where we stood when the speed-wobble struck.

I'll bet he was doing well over 20mph.

It was so fast, so utterly out of control that he had no chance. It was like he was trying to stand on the back of a great big slimy eel. But one hurtling down a road. He came off virtually level with us. And we gasped as he flew. Now the grace returned as he arced through the air like a circus tumbler. Just how the hell did he get so high? Gravity was against this honeymoon of grace being sustained and the initial impact did little to take out much of the momentum.

This wasn't graceful. Nope, not one bit.

It was a blur of white limbs and matted shoulder length hair (it was the style) as the intermittent contact with the tarmac sucked the energy out of the fleshy projectile until it was spent and he lay there in a heap. We ran over and collectively picked him up. The damage was more than a plaster was ever going to stretch to, so like soldiers retrieving one of their fallen comrades, we carried him along the street to my house to get my Dad to take a look. 5 minutes later and we were all sitting in A&E of the General Hospital and the swelling had set in making Shilling's face look like a blood splattered dough ball.

A couple of days later, he was back out with us. But I can't ever remember seeing his skateboard again. Think he went back to the Peugeot before discovering girls. I still went out on mine, the love affair was still as passionate as ever. The Cheeseboard did on occasion, bite me, but I knew her moods and what the potential and roughly, the odds, for disaster was and made my choices. Some were smart. Some not so smart.

I've still got the Cheeseboard and sometimes even still ride her. She's in the porch at work.

After all these years and after retrieving her from cousins who have their own, sometimes painful memories of her. She still, on occasion, bites back. My best pal broke his ankle on her after a bought of drunken, "I've still got it" activity demonstrating clearly, we didn't.

But I wouldn't be without her, the memories, the lessons or the scars she's left me with.

Experience, real experience found from the doing rather than learning is surely the most valuable asset of any professional service.

When planning a venture, if you can find someone who has been there, seen it and delivered a positive outcome it stretches your odds of success enormously.

At Lazy Grace our business is founded on practical, not theoretical application. We know how hard it can be to launch a profitable business because we've done it. We realize how much you need to think about when selling online because we've done it. We've taken the orders, packed the boxes, shipped the goods and even dealt with the problems of poor delivery. Activities which are way beyond the gamut of most design agencies, but we've done it to pick up the experience, and the scars, to help us help our clients become successful.

Building a business is never easy, but sometimes speed-wobbles can be avoided by working with people who've been their before and who have the scars to prove it.

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