Skatedork #4 |
by Stephen Voss
Before I talk much about this zine -- you need some background.
I know nothing about skating. In fact, the only time I ever attempted to get on a skateboard was when I was 8, and I ended up getting fourteen stitches in my knee after having a run-in with some particularly full trashcans. I gave it up after that, deciding that there are certain activities that are much more suited for the type of person who has coordination.
Recently, in my small hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska, there has been a movement to ban skateboarding in public areas (parks, city streets) that's drawn a lot of outcry from the little punks toting boards. I sympathize with this movement -- my favorite park in town had to be closed down and paved over after skatedorks proceeded to destroy the landscaping and the benches with some kind of move that scrapes the bottom of the board across stationary objects. (I have no idea what this is called -- banking, maybe?) It's a move that quite literally decimates the object over time, crumbling concrete, splintering wood. And it's rude.
Out of the blue, Skatedork #4 arrives at my house, and I have to groan. A skateboarding enthusiast zine? After all these negative connotations? I hate to admit it, but I went in with a pretty bad attitude, thinking I'd find a lot of nonsensical drivel and articles about how to destroy things with only a skateboard and a smile.
Surprisingly, I was impressed after the first few pages. Not only does Steve Voss lay things out well, in a grunge sort of style that's still readable (something a few zines fail to do), but he can tell a story. He's also a great editor -- picking works by other people that make Skatedork into something that isn't run-of-the-mill. It's the personal side of this hobby, and I have to say, after reading it, I'm not so convinced that all the little board-toting boys in Norfolk are hell-bent on destruction.
In other words, this 'zine actually changed my stance on a political issue, and trust me, that's kind of like bringing the mountain to Mohammed.
Technically, this is a well-put-together, 8 1/2 x 11, cardstock-covered zine with a website and marketing (t-shirts, etc.). The photographs are halftoned well, so they don't necessarily have the awful photocopied photo graininess, and there aren't any off-topic advertisers (something that annoys me to the depths of my soul in partially-commercialized zines). Creatively written, Steve's got a group of authors who aren't half-bad, and were this venture better funded, could probably launch into mainstream writing without a hitch. The product reviews were pretty much incomprehensible to me, since I wouldn't know the difference between good wheels and bad wheels if you hit me in the head with them, but they seemed relatively comprehensive.
Skatedork #4 is available for free in skateshops (thanks to advertisers), or for $2 post-paid elsewhere to Stephen Voss, 221 Spring Ridge Drive, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922.