Watch and learn. By Gareth Sweet. Follow on Twitter or via RSS.

  1. Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator

    Possessed To Skate

    I grew up in the eighties in a shitty little town in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere populated by meatheads and the teenage mothers who chased them for child support.

    I hated sport, I hated the terrible top forty music the local FM radio station played, and I was a long way from getting laid.

    Aside from going down to the train tracks to smash empty beer bottles and smoke cigarettes stolen from friend’s parents, my one source of pleasure came from shoplifting magazines from the local newsagent.

    One day, I went down there and what I found to shove up the front of my t-shirt was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It literally looked like it had come from another planet. It was Thrasher Magazine.

    What I found in those pages was not only a sport that celebrated individuality instead of suppressing it, like all of the team sports I’d been exposed to up until then, but it had a look and an attitude unlike anything I’d experienced before.

    And while I well and truly sucked as a skater, it turned me on to all sorts of important things like punk rock, hip hop and the fact that there was a much bigger world out there, beyond where the town limits turned into scrub bush.

    Now there’s been a few good docos about skating during the eighties and even a couple about skaters going off the rails after the fame dried up – but nothing quite compares to the story of Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski.

    If you’re not familiar with the story then I won’t spoil it for you, but as a record of that time and a cautionary tale about fame, it takes some beating. And, if you’re anything like me, it’ll take you back too.

    To get you in the mood here’s a classic jam from the period.