London Calling: Four Days of Legends, Lectures and Leisure in the UK

LondonCalling Mike John Southbank HeaderPhoto: Mike John

Over the course of four days in August, the LONDON CALLING! event played out as one of the most significant get-togethers in skateboarding’s relatively short history. Skaters and fans from the 1970s through to the 2000s came together to pay homage and respect to the UK’s trailblazers, the ones who helped establish one of the biggest skate scenes outside of California at the time.

On their annual return trips to the UK in early in 2023, skate industry giants, ex-pros and UK-to-USA transplants, Steve Douglas, Bod Boyle and Don Brown discussed how to pull off a bigger-than-usual blowout with some old skate faces. Then a chance meeting in California with ’70s UK skate enigma Jeremy Henderson fired up Steve’s imagination to pull off a more significant event back in London.

Steve’s drive and passion for all things skateboarding and the personalities that have made it happen, rapidly evolved from boozy London get-togethers into an ambitious program of British skateboarding celebrations—a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of many of UK skateboarding’s most significant heads from it’s formative years. LONDON CALLING! was to be a tribute event to show respect to those 1970s UK-based skaters that laid the foundation for arguably the most influential skate scene outside California.

Skateboard collectors were contacted, vintage photos scanned, forgotten film rolls digitized, artifacts gathered and long-lost skate heroes hunted down. Then we got celebratory tees printed, magazines written, special limited-edition Van’s created. Flights from the USA, Australia and Europe starting booking up. The modest exhibition of long-lost ’70s skate photos first proposed had now evolved into four days of events, product releases and a month-long gallery show. See how it all played out.

Day One Sub Head 2000
01 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 001Pure Evil Gallery, opening night

Day one kicked off with the opening exhibition of vintage British skate photography, ephemera and artifacts put together by Dan Adams from the Read and Destroy archive and Juergen Bluemlein from the Skateboard Museum in Berlin. All this generously hosted by the Pure Evil Gallery.

02 j young Opening 002 1500Pure Evil Gallery, the foyer featured a collage of rediscovered photos from British Skateboard! mag. Danger, indeed

03 Dan A Opening 0003First looks at the display by Juergen Bluemlein and The Skateboard Museum

04 j young Opening 004Team Logos reunited, Simon Napper, Bobby G, Ben Liddell and Alex Turnbull

05 LC DanA Opening 0005Decades of stoke

06 LC DanA Opening 0006Don Brown and "King" James Cassimus

07 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0007Jeremy Henderson introduces his former self and a Cassimus outtake from the famous 1979 Skateboarder shoot

08 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0008Reunited for the first time since 1979, Marc Sinclair, James Cassimus and Jeremy Henderson

09 LC DanA Opening 0009Marc surveys the shots stolen by Jeremy from Cassimus’s desk in 1979

10 LC DanA Opening 0010Cassimus hears for the first time that jeremy had stolen several photos from the Skateboarder offices back in ’79

11 LC DanA Opening 0011Henderson highlights from the missing photo stash

12 LC DanA Opening 0012Shut down the neighborhood. Gallery overspill, opening night

17 LC Don Brown Opening 0017Henderson reveals more of his secret photo stash to Tim Leighton-Boyce

18 LC DanA Opening 0018Don Brown attempts to join the Benjy team AND Team Logos. Benyboards teamsters Paul Sully, Kadir Guirey and Jeremy Henderson, with Don Brown and Team Logos’ Ben Liddell

19 LC DanA Opening 0019Tim Leighton-Boyce and legendary London skateshop Alpine Action alumnus Sid

20 LC DanA Opening 0020The ’80s/’90s gang comes to check it all out: Ace photographer Wig Worland, Unabomber boards supremo Pete Hellicar and RAD mag cover star Yogi Procter

21 LC DanA Opening 0021Pig City crew alumnus, Tim Dunkerly name checks the rest of the Brighton boys

22 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0022Going all the way back to the earlist days of Southbank and Skate City, Henderson and Alex Turnbull reconnect

23 LC Don Brown Opening 0023Bod Boyle, Dan Adams, Tim Leighton-Boyce, Steve Douglas

24 LC DanA Opening 0024TA now and then. Opening night and and back at the Mad Dog Bowl in 1978 shot by Wynn Miller

25 LC DanA Opening 0025Mark ‘Floater’ Maunders and his younger self hucking an Ollie back in 1979 at Rolling Thunder

26 LC DanA Opening 0026Two of the UK’s earlist skate lensmen. Tim Leighton-Boyce and Jerry Young meet for the first time

27 LC DanA Opening 0027Steve Van Doren mingles with the opening night masses

28 LC Mike John Opening 0028Leading lights of the ’70s London scene, left Marc Sinclair and right, slalom ace Jim Slater

29 LC Spike Opening 0029Benjyboard collector Adrian Wink, packing original Henderson signature deck meets John Sablosky, Paul Sully, Neil Harding

30 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0030Benjyboard display at the gallery

31 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0031North of England crew with Sheenagh Burdell and Darren Burdell

32 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0032Display cabinet ephemera

34 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0034Closer look at the cabinet display celebrating the reproduction shoe created for the event

33 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0033Mad Dog Bowl team rippers Seth Gittins and Raf Makada

35 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 00351980’s VIPs, Steve Douglas, Shane Rouse and Derry Thompson

36 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0036Skate City originals John Sablosky and Bobby

37 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0037James Cassimuss and Bod Boyle

38 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0038Champ of the British 1980s vert scene and former Dog Town pro, Lucien Hendricks

40 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0040Sablosky signs a collectors board on display

41 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0041Gallery display in quieter times

42 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0042Without the crowds, you can still hear the wheels screech

43 j young Opening 0043 15001970s Team Logos slalom ace John Shayer

44 j young Opening 0044 1500Benjyboards teammates Paul Sully and Kadir Guirey

45 j young Opening 0045 1500When flatland freestyle met downhil slalom—'80s slayers with '70s roots, Shane Rouse and Tim Panting

47 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0047Display of the now famous Benjyboards ad featuring Henderson and Sablosky and the LSD logo

46 j young Opening 0046 1500Henderson and Sinclair with a LOT of catching up to do

48 j young Opening 0048 1500The King's Speech

49 Spike LC gallery Opening 0049Powerful words

50 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0050Henderson signing

39 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0039Last look at the opening-night overspill. What a scene

51 LondonCalling Mike John Mike John Opening 0051After the party is the afterparty. Sablosky and a very hyped Tony Hallam (who travelled from Australia for the celebrations)

52 LondonCalling Mike John Mike John Opening 0052Late-night antics with Joe Evans, Steve Van Doren, Don Brown and Shane Rouse. But isn't it someone's birthday?

53 LondonCalling Mike John 0Mike John Opening 0053Sinclair shocked

54 LondonCalling Mike John Mike John Opening 0054Douglas presents THE cake

55 LondonCalling Mike John Mike John Opening 0055Marc Sinclair at Marina Del Ray shot by Ted Terrobone 1979, immortalised in edible icing

56 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0056Rolling Thunder skatepark heavy hitters Brian Murray, Shane Rouse and Mark Maunders

57 LondonCalling Mike John Opening 0056.jpgBenjyboard brothers Marc Sinclair, Jeremy Henderson and John Sablosky

The celebrations continued into the night with a VIP afterparty punctuated by significant birthday celebrations for Marc Sinclair, crowned with a cake decorated with his famous 1979 Skateboarder magazine full-page photo by legendary photographer Ted Terrebone (RIP).

Day Two Subhead 2000
59 LondonCalling Mike John 0001The Forum fans gather. Sablosky, Sheenagh, Burdell, Sinclair and Henderson get ready to spill the beans

Late night celebrations were no deterrent for skate fans and personalities alike to gather in the morning of day two for a three hour forum with the ’70s icons on stage to spill the beans on the behind the scenes memories of those formative times.

A full house took notes as Jeremy diffused the Pig City and LSD rivalry of old and Sinclair recounted hosting Shogo Kubo in his London apartment. A lively discussion took place on how the early London scenesters translated skateboardings surfing origins to an altogether more urban pursuit. And secrets were unlocked to the original discovery of London’s legendary Southbank skatespot.

Watch the whole forum as the pioneers take the stage and recount the early days in UK skating

60 LondonCalling Mike John 0002Don Brown makes the introductions

61 LondonCalling Mike John 0003Henderson,Sinclair, Sheenagh Burdell and Sablosky, tell it like it was

62 LondonCalling Mike John 0004Alex Turnbull, Kadir Guirey, Simon Napper and Ben Liddell

63 LondonCalling Mike John 0005Mark Baker Zooms in from Bali

64 LondonCalling Mike John 0006Good hang

65 LondonCalling Mike John 0007Henderson holding court

66 LondonCalling Mike John 0008Steve Van Doren, TA, Cassimus and Bod Boyle get the lowdown

67 LondonCalling Mike John 0009Sheenagh Burdell tells tales of the North

10 LC DanA Opening 0010The 300-strong audience eat it up

69 LondonCalling Mike John 0011Skate City skatepark reunion. Left to right: Johnny Turnbull, Thea Cutts, Marc Sinclair, Sheenagh Burdell, John Sablosky, Alex Turnbull, Bobby G, Kadir Guirey, Simon Napper, Ben Liddell, John Shayer, Paul Sully and Max Kirsten

70 LondonCalling Mike John 0012Next panel, Henderson, Cassimus, Sinclair, Sablosky and TA

71 LondonCalling Mike John 0013Henderson, Cassimus, Sinclair, and Sablosky remember the best of times

73 LondonCalling Mike John 0015Cassimus blows Benito Schwarts’ cover

74 LondonCalling Mike John 0016Alva reminds us all just how bad British food was in the 1970s

75 LondonCalling Mike John 0017Tour talk with TA

76 LondonCalling Mike John 0018And of course, Henderson and TA get to sparring

72 LondonCalling Mike John 0014"King" James signing limited edition prints of the 1979 Skateboarder Magazine shoot

The eager and engaged 300-strong audience enjoyed plenty of laughs and even came close to tears when British ’80s pro skating icon Sean Goff, took to the mic and got emotional as he paid a sincere tribute to the pioneers. In this spontaneous moment he spoke for the entire audience in expressing his gratitude for the lives that those on stage had inspired.

58 LC Spike Opening 0058Douglas and Tim Leighton-Boyce re-connect in the "411 Pub"

Close by, the festivities continued in the London pub forever known by Steve Douglas as The 411 pub AKA the Crown and Anchor. It was here that Steve was first inspired by British skate mag editor and legendary British skate photographer Tim Leighton-Boyce to think about the idea of a video magazine. The seed was sewn for what would eventually become the groundbreaking and influential 411 Video Magazine of the 1990s.

Day Three Subhead 2000
78 LondonCalling Mike John Southbank 001The decades align as Southbank alumni gather

Day three brought more get-togethers starting with a morning skate session at Bay 66 skatepark. After decades off the board, Marc Sinclair was inspired enough to dust down his wheels and revisit his West London roots to hit the transitions.

The afternoon saw the heads gathering for the 10th Anniversary Southbank Reunion at the world famous Southbank Centre skate spot. Skaters from every era of Southbank’s rich history arrived to find ace London skate snapper Wig Worland capturing portraits for posterity whilst Alva, much to everyone’s delight, took to the board and threw down a few lines.

79 LondonCalling DanA Southbank 002Wig Worland and Andy Simmonds record five decades of Southbank regulars for posterity

80 LondonCalling Mike John Southbank 003TA slash at SB

81 LondonCalling Mike John Southbank 004Don Brown takes the technical route

Later that evening and with gas still in the tank, a large skate contingent trekked across London to witness every ’70s punky skater’s favorite band, Devo in concert at the Apollo Hammersmith. It was Devo that had provided the soundtrack to many a skate session in the ’70s and early ’80s. For the superfans among us, Steve D wrangled passes to the soundcheck. The result was a mass skate around the empty dance floor as Devo played on. The epic night was capped off with an afterparty hangout with the band.

Day Four Subhead 2000
83 LC DanA CP 002Widen Your Horizons Tee at Crystal Palace bowl

Rounding off the weekend was an all-day Sunday skate session at Crystal Palace skatepark. The location has born witness to top-flight skateboarding since the staging of the first “National” skate contest in 1977 where Sablosky, Henderson and Guirey first made the pages of Skateboard! Magazine. Cab and McGill hit the ramp there in ’82, followed by a host of US and international skate VIPs throughout the 1980s.

Everyone packed their quiver, old school contest style, to hit the pool, haul ass through the slalom cones or whip up a Casper flip with the freestyle contingent. The pool session was buzzing and the good vibes racked up a notch or three when Henderson dropped in for the kill. The stoke was high as he attacked the coping with all the gusto and flair of old. The “still got it, kid” adage never looked more at home. It was a fitting end to a few unforgettable days.

87 LondonCalling Mike John CP 006Sam Gordon carrying on the CP hill traditions

88 LondonCalling Mike John CP 007Tony Campbell charges the cones like it’s 1984

84 LondonCalling Mike John CP 003CP local charging

85 LondonCalling Mike John CP 004Aussie New Deal vert destroyer Tony Hallam, cruisy double trucking

86 LC Mike John CP 005Nostalgia overload; The ’80s Palace ramp crew joined by ’70s rippers and friends re-visit the site of the orginal CP vert ramp.
Back row left to right; Alex Turnbull, Noddy, Bobby G, Rob Ashby, Jeremy H, Simon Napper, Steve Douglas, Phil Burgoyne, Darryl James, Neil Brighton, Bod Boyle, Dan Adams, Jay Podesta, Paul Atkins, Mark Lawyer, Sean Goff
Front row left to right: Dickie, Paul Price, Shane Rouse, Simon Porter, Sid, Dean Bennett, Mike John and Twiss Enwright

82 Sean Goff Henderson CP 001Jeremy Henderson dazzles with full attack frontsides in the pool

89 LondonCalling Mike John CP 008Raf Makada brings the Mad Dog Bowl flavours

90 LC CP Sean Goff Iain Borden CP 009A fired up Sean Goff locks in for multi-block grinds

To the movers and shakers of the 1970s British skateboard scene, skateboarding owes you a great deal. Thank you for carrying the torch and lighting the way.
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