First destination was an obligatory Urbis session which already had a hefty crowd by the time we arrived. Mancunians, West Yorkshiremen, Liverpudlians, Londoners and skateboarders from various other places put metal to marble under the sun. It’s worth mentioning here how glorious the weather was, especially after setting off at 9AM wrapped up in three layers, a woolly hat and grasping a cup of coffee for warmth/dear life. Driving over, the moment we hit the Pennines sunshine beamed down on us which prompted the unanimous question of “When is it ever sunny in Manchester?”
Starting out on the bottom ledge, Notorious A.L.A.N. aka Dr Tre delivered a bolts bluntslide pop out just as the megaphone got amped up. Rob Smith threw in a few lengthy lipslides, dodging pedestrians on the way, while Sexual Stu repeatedly collided into other skateboarders before riding away from a boardslide shove. In the first of what would turn out to be day-long onslaught, Harry Lintell sacked kickflip to back tail variations off to instead stomp a switch frontside heel over one of the marble blocks from flat. Likely due to the lack of a competitive vibe, kids of all ages were keen to get involved in the session which saw a fair few learning new tricks and also bagging themselves some prizes. Extra props to the kid who did a frontside 360 off the step three times as the bossman missed it due to munching out on a sandwich…
With the weather perfect, the only thing looming overhead was the question of how long until people began skating Urbis’ ‘stairset that should not be a stairset’ – the challenge of which is evident by both how little run up there is and how few tricks have been done down it. Never wasting any time when there’s Tinder swipes to be had once hammers have been delivered, recent Haunts recipient Robert ‘Rooney’ Woodward flung his reborn-blonde self down the set first go. Others chose the more sensible path onto the bottom step, with countless spills taking place as wheelbite took hold and bodies were flung from a moment of triumph down the last step. Eddie Belvedere delivered from first to third with a picturesque kickflip and Nev brought his camo clad quick footed co-ordination by popping down and backside 180ing off before battling a bigspin for the rest of the session. Bystanders joined the crowd in awe as Rasheed Osman nailed a frontside shove down to the bottom step then quickly set his mind to a hardflip which, while not landed, was stuck near enough every time and offered up some spectacular slams.
Ben Grove appeared to be sizing up a backside flip but it turned out Terry Tough Tits had pulled his groin skating flat so Rooney stepped in for his hero; ploughing himself into the ground trying to cling to a backside 180. Nearby builders even came to see what the fuss was about, though there’s every chance they saw the sunshine glisten off Rooney’s hair and assumed there would be some peroxide blonde to cat call at. In came calls of “ten minutes left, starting now” which naturally turned to “right, last go…Yeah go on then, have another go…” Eddie Belvedere, appearing out of nowhere since his kickflip, dropped a first go nollie down to the bottom step much to everyone’s delight. Eventually Rooney rolled away from a backside 180 but wasn’t satisfied. Maybe because it was hands down, maybe because his after bang wasn’t on point – we’ll never know. Quickly hurling another backside ollie down the set but with hands going down again, the thought of another leap was likely enough to make Roon move on.
Moving onto the next spot, the streets flooded with wood and wheels was one of the highlights of the day; simply pushing around the city en masse. Props to every skateboarder (which was basically all of them) that was polite enough to dodge the public and apologise for any near collisions. However this didn’t stop some gobshite uni student mouthing off at me – ‘yes love, course I’ll tell all two hundred of these people to watch where we’re going, maybe don’t in jump in front of the guy tanking it down the street away from everyone else and I won’t have to. Safe.’
Arriving at the Bridgewater rail, Harry Lintell put his new equation for figuring out NBDs into effect by getting straight to an early grab boardslide that would make Spicy Kev weep. Shout out to Ricky Roberts for having the disregard for common sense to try to roastbeef early grab the stairs, we hope your knee isn’t too busted up mate! Curtis Munton finished things off with a kickflip over the rail with relative ease, along with an outstanding tre flip deservingly rewarded with a pair of Emericas. Just before leaving, a bystander asked Woody “are you in charge here?” met with the classic “depends who’s asking…” response. However, this person was simply interested in what the day was about and it’s pretty hard to believe that not once all day was there any hassle from police or pedestrians aside from the minor grumbles fading into the distance as we skated from spot to spot.
On route to the next destination, Lewis Threadgold saw fit to terrorise a Tesco handrail. Aware that it wasn’t the most conspicuous place to skate thanks to the glass wall of the shop, Lewis wasted no time caveman jumping into bluntside on the handrail, roll-up in mouth too. Sacking off Granada Studios due to there being way too many cars, Castlefields was the next point of call with Rob Smith telling CJ that as photographer it was his job to get someone down the rail. So ensued remarks about getting Woody to throw himself down it again, he is probably sick of hearing about that day…
It turns out that persuasion wasn’t necessary as we had Harry Lintell. Starting out by throwing his board onto the rail, the hype kept growing as he went a bit further each time. Eventually Harry made it to the top, I don’t need to dramatise how heart in mouth it was to watch Harry attempt the rail as anyone that sees the photo or footage will feel it. But there is literally no safe escape. Slip back – you’re fucked. Jump to the bottom – you’re fucked. Jump to the side – you’re really fucked. Since Woody originally fought the good fight the only known trick delivered on it was from Australia’s Blake Harris and, not to dismiss his feeble grind entirely, but riding in and away from this with the help from wood does make things easier. Anyway, Harry being Harry stuck every attempt and five goes later, with nothing but one push for speed, rolled away on the awful brick surface to be met with roars of applause.
Exactly how to follow on from something that insane was a puzzle, so to build on the hype a product toss began with Rob Smith launching a prize towards the river which saw someone actually take the plunge. The things kids will do for a free beanie… With everyone thoroughly stoked, last events of the day called for a laugh as it’s safe to say the last hammer had been dropped. Fastest kickflip carnage quickly ensued, as did the absolute hilarity that goes with it. Some of the Pumpcage’s wooden ramps had also been brought along in a van so rigging a quarter up to the wall saw some action from Threadgold along with Rob Smith doing a wallride grab off that sort of looked like a slam dunk. The MVP here was definitely Eddie Belvedere, who charged the run up like Road Runner then proceeded to blast higher than anyone else while going frontside.
Wild in the Streets definitely lived up to its name, it went off! We couldn’t have asked for more with the amazing weather and the lack of hassle was a great bonus too. I’d like to think that’s down to the skateboarders having the common sense to be polite to the public (just pick your fucking litter up from Urbis next year, yeah?), as a two hundred deep skate session could probably be considered a riot and lead to a premature end quite easily after a few cock ups. Massive props to Woody, Clare and Emerica, Joey Pressey and Snowy for providing some well deserved Landscape wood as prizes as well as Dickies, Black Sheep and NOTE. Finally, big ups to all that attended and if this is on again next year we’ll be sure to see you there.
Wild in the Streets. MADE in Manchester.