From Sidewalk 200 – May 2013
Sidewalk issue 150 : March 2009
Cover photo: Leo
So Mackey – the cover we’re talking about here is the frontside rock from Sidewalk 150, March 2009. What was going on in your life when this cover came out?
– No idea to be honest mate. Probably filming for the Blueprint video, I didn’t have a boy back then…other than that, not a clue (laughs).
What do remember about going to shoot that particular trick with Big Leopold Sharp?
– Well I shot it originally with Ollie (Whitehead) when Tony (Da Silva) and a few others were over from Manchester, but nothing ever happened with it, I don’t know why. Leo was up for some reason and I was like, “come on, we’ll go shoot this thing”, so I shot it again with Leo. I filmed it that day with you Rye, then I had to go back and film it again with Magee in HD, but I tried to front 360 off the bench after the front rock and snapped my tail off (laughs).
Over the years, how many covers have you managed to rack up and which would you say is your favourite of them all?
– Two Document covers, a Sidewalk cover, and the cover of the ‘Independent on Saturday’ magazine (laughs) doing an ollie over the hip at Fort Miley that Sam Ashley shot on a trip to SF. That was sick, that. My friend Kev called me and said his mum had rang him to tell him, “your mate Mackey’s on the cover of the magazine in the paper”. I didn’t believe him but he brought it in to work on the Monday and gave it me (laughs). I was like “what the f*ck?”; that was pretty funny.
My favourite…I’m probably going to say my first Document cover, because it was my first ever cover and it was a spot that was there for years and nobody had looked at it, and it’s not there any more. I remember saying to Kingy, “I’ve got this spot in mind” and we went there and he laughed, he didn’t know what I was talking about. I explained, “you ollie in here then you ollie back out there” and I think he thought, “I’ll just humour him”. I made it and he rang Percy straight away; it was the cover the next week.
Do you remember the first skate photo of yourself that ever got printed in a skate mag?
– Yeah it was in RAD, the Liverpool issue with Mike Carroll on the cover. It was f*cking tiny, smaller than a postage stamp (laughs), it was so small. It was a tweaked indy over the hip in the university, and the caption read “Mackey may not be demented, but he certainly is a tweaker” (laughs). I don’t actually own it.
What do you think are the most striking differences in the Liverpool scene between when you first started skating and today?
– Kids don’t push, that’s the one thing I’ve noticed. Everyone used to push like f*ck; nobody landed anything but everyone just f*cking ragged about, which was ace (laughs).
We used to get into town at 8, 9 o’clock on a morning and we’d skate every single spot in the city; there’d be 30, 40 people out, and that just doesn’t happen any more, it’s really low key. There are no big groups of skaters and they really only skate a few spots, they don’t skate around the city finding spots to skate, they mainly congregate at tramline spots. Which is fair enough. And they don’t push (laughs), but then they do tricks that are very technical, they just don’t rag it about.
On the other hand, what would you say are most notable similarities?
– All the skaters that have ever come out of Liverpool have always been really humble, even down to the little kids that are just starting. Everyone knows their place and nobody gets above their station. They’re down to just skate, keep their heads down and get on with it.
Also, there’s still very little footage that ever comes out of Liverpool. For the amount of kids that are incredible here there’s still very little footage. That’s going to change obviously, people film quite a lot but other cities seem to be flooding the Internet with clips every day (laughs), and Liverpool just doesn’t.
“What? There’s no skate scene in Liverpool…?”
You were very instrumental in the introducing of Korahn Gayle to the masses during the East era – give us an amusing Korahn story from back in the day that most people reading this have probably never heard.
– My God, (laughs). His lists were always amazing; he’d always have a list of things that he’d have to take with him, and he’d draw a box and inside the box would be a tick or cross depending on whether he’d got the thing he needed for the trip. It was always random shit like a bag for his shoes to go in, (laughing). Not like a toothbrush, it was always random things that’d make you think, “what the f*ck goes through his head?” He’s something else.
Were you present in the vehicle when Matthew ‘Dykie’ Ryan blew his car up with a plastic spoon?
– (Laughing), he didn’t blow the car up, but I was there. We were traveling back from Scotland – me, Tony and Dykie, we’d been up to see Ferg. The spoon was there because Dykie was trying to get a tape out of the tape deck with it, and the spoon snapped and went inside the player. So we’re driving along with no music and just the radio, it’s the middle of the night, and there’s this bang!, this huge explosion, and I was like, “what the f*ck Dykie?” and Dykie was gripping the wheel, scared cat style – I wish, I wish I had a video of this – the car is bouncing around all over the place. To any logical person you’d think, “shit, I’ve had a blowout, I need to slow down”, but Dykie turns to me and goes, “d’ya think that’s got anything to do with the spoon?” (Laughing). I was like, “No! You’ve had a f*cking blowout! Pull over!” So he pulls over, and honestly, all of the rubber had come off the wheel and it was down to the f*cking metal he had drove that far (laughs). You couldn’t write half of the shit that Dykie’s said.
So Lost Art has served the Liverpool scene for well over a decade now – do you ever wonder what you might be doing or where you’d be if you’d never decided to open the shop?
– I don’t often think about it. Probably living in Southport, still working in Morrison’s or something (laughs). I used to be an ‘In Store Vehicle Manager’ (laughs), that’s the title I gave myself but I actually just collected the trollies. I’d probably still be doing that.
Recently you added Geoff Rowley to the ever-expanding Lost Art rabble, which is obviously a massively positive move for everyone involved – how and when did that come about?
– It’s a weird one because Geoff’s always been into the shop, when he’s in Liverpool he’s come in and asked for a t-shirt or I’ve sent him a t-shirt. He was driving back from Arizona and he called me and said, “I really want to ask, can I ride for the shop?” Obviously, my immediate reaction was, “f*cking hell, can you ride for the shop?” (Laughs). Obviously I was super stoked to have Geoff ask to ride for Lost Art. There was no real talk of it prior to that, but he’s from Liverpool and he’s definitely down for what we’re doing and I guess he wants to be part of that, and it’s amazing; I can’t believe it, still.
We’re going to do an interview with him so he might choose to say why he’s decided to ride for the shop, but I’m f*cking over the moon. It’s a great honour to have one of the best skaters in the world ride for your shop, and he’s a good lad. I’m obviously very stoked.
How do you manage to juggle being a shop owner, a sponsored skateboarder, a father and a family man? Do you ever have any free time?
– Not very much! It’s hard; my family and my shop come first now but obviously riding for The National has relit a flame for skating, whereas before I was kind of over it. Now I’m into it again so I’m making time, but it is difficult, as you know.
You’ve being actively involved in skateboarding for most of your life with a lot changing over that time, trends coming and going and the whole thing evolving almost constantly. With that in mind, how does skateboarding look to you right now? What do you like/not like and why?
– I think it’s amazing right now; so many kids are starting to skate, it’s a great time to start skating because you won’t get any shit off people in school or randoms in the street; everyone knows about skateboarding. Parks are everywhere, there’s so much to skate; it’s a hell of a lot easier.
It’s a hard one because I try and watch skateboarding now but there’s just so much of it that you get bored very quickly – “Johnny So and So switch tre this, that, the third”…I don’t care (laughs). Honestly, I don’t.
I tend to look at previous skateboarding. It’s quite funny actually because I’ve started to watch older videos again – ‘Streets on Fire’, all the Bones Brigade videos, the SMA video ‘Debunker’, the G&S video…I’ve started to watch all of those again and appreciate them in a completely different light. You watch them and you’re like, “I didn’t even get on to this” because you were obviously looking at them like a kid – “Skateboarding! F*cking yeah!” – but these guys were older or a part of something that was different at the time, but you didn’t get onto it, you were just looking at what tricks they were doing or what tricks you could learn. Whereas now you look back at them and see their personalities coming through and it’s much nicer for me to watch that; I definitely have more of a connection with it.
I’m not one of those jaded old dudes that’s going “f*ck that new shit” though; skateboarding is incredible right now. Some of the best companies ever have appeared in the last couple of years – Polar, The National, Palace…small, homegrown companies that people from America are looking at. It’s a great time to have a skateboard brand; art direction is amazing on skateboards again, it’s not just a bloody logo on a board…it’s f*cking rad.
Prior to the much publicised collapse of Blueprint late last year, you’d already jumped ship to be involved with setting up The National Skateboard Co – how did that switch come about? Did you foresee what was going to happen at Blueprint or did you just feel it was time for a fresh start?
– I actually haven’t officially left Blueprint yet because I haven’t put out a letter on the Internet or an Instagram post saying I’m off, so I might do that soon (laughs). I’m pretty much still on, I just haven’t had any shit from them for a while (laughs).
It wasn’t for me; once people started leaving – Baines had gone, Magee had gone, Colin was retired, Paul was obviously busy in The States doing his thing and keeping it all going – all the team was based in London and I just didn’t feel a part of it at all. I was over it a long time before The National was talked about and when I was asked to be part of it I was instantly stoked because of all of the people involved, and I felt it was time for a fresh start. And I’m f*cking stoked that I did…’cos it’s rad.
In your opinion, what’s the gnarliest trick ever done in Liverpool?
– H catching his board with his teeth – the tooth sweeter at the Police Banks.
Or H’s ollie at Everton Valley when he first did it; that was ridiculous.
Geoff’s switch tre down Lime Street 9 at a time when people weren’t doing switch tre’s on flat really – that was insane. Jimmy Boyes got gnarly here too (laughs) but it’s got to be H.
Actually, the f*cking bench-to-bench ollie H did at Pier Head. That’s the gnarliest thing I’ve ever seen on a skateboard, and not just in Liverpool (laughs). I’m going to go with that…or the tooth sweeper. Why would you ever attempt that trick? (Laughing). It makes no sense.
Out of all the slams and falls you’ve taken over the years, which ones stand out to you as being the worst/most amusing?
– F*ck- ing hell…that one today was pretty sick, (laughs). The one in Holland at the start of my East part was a killer, that was horrific, but I’d have to go with the SF slam that we were looking at tonight.
It was the first day of a two-week trip to San Francisco and we were skating around by Embarcadero and Hubba. I can’t remember who our guide was but he took us to this 18-stair handrail with a gap out to it, and he actually told me the only person to ever try it was Lennie Kirk and he broke his ankle trying it (laughs) so I thought, “I’ll have some of that”.
I’d never skated an 18-stair handrail before or since (laughs). I spent about half an hour rolling up to it, psyching myself up, and then the first go I tried it I managed to land on my balls, I then fell onto my face and slid down the handrail on my face with my knees hitting every rung, and then I forward flipped off the bottom (laughing). And I didn’t have any health insurance either. That definitely stands out (laughs). That’s the worst and the most amusing at the same time, and if you need the photo then Sam (Ashley) has it.
Actually, at the Law Courts when they used to have the bench and the gap – you’d do tricks over the gap, down the drop. I remember flying at it – I don’t know where I was going to ollie to, I’d have f*cking cleared half of Liverpool if I’d have made it, but about ten foot before the wall my board stopped in some bricks and I Superman’d over the wall and down the drop (laughing). I cleared about 30 feet (laughing)! That was pretty funny.
Are you able to imagine a life without skateboarding?
– No, not at all: I’ve done it for well over two-thirds of my life, I can’t even remember not skateboarding, It’s granted me the life that I live now and I definitely couldn’t imagine a life without it.
The guy in Warrington today kind of summed it up – “aren’t you too old for that shit?” (Laughs). No. You’re never too old. It’s f*cking incredible.