From Sidewalk 199 - April 2013
March 21, 2013
Some might remember Charlie from the mid 2000’s as a pocket-sized ginger ripper killing handrails and stairs at the ripe old age of 12/13. After several years out of skating thanks to the usual lure of drinking, smoking and of course the lurvely ladies, he’s been back on it for a couple of years now and you’d be hard pressed to tell he’s been away. He’s still short, ginger and murdering the streets as if he’d never left.
I met Charlie for a beer in his fine home City of Cambridge to find out a little more about him.
So Charlie let’s go with the usual starters. How old are you, and where are you from?
- I’ve just turned 21; I’m from Waterbeach near Cambridge and I’ve been skating for about 7-8 years.
A Cambridge gent: Spending your spare time punting down the river in a top hat and drinking Pimms then?
- Ha, ha I don’t know about that, with beers maybe! Cambridge is actually a welcoming City with a pretty diverse crowd.
Do you spend a lot of time in Cambridge?
- Yeah I guess. I tend to go out most weekends with the boys but try to get away to other cities in the week, as Cambridge is a bit boring to skate if you’re there all the time. But I still do enjoy spending time here. I don’t generally drink in the week so we tend to make up for it at the weekends. I usually regret it when I’m hanging on a Sunday skate though.
- I’d hang out with my older brother and his mates, going BMXing and f**king about. Then they started getting skateboards and I’d be like the kid who’d blag a go on one of their boards then I’d disappear for half an hour. I was hooked instantly.
I got my first skateboard for Christmas when I was around 9. I still remember the set up Blue Print board, Venture Trucks and I think some Pig Wheels.
My dad tried getting me into Motocross as he didn’t really see what skating was about and as I was constantly in the wars, so he thought it wasn’t good for me like most dads do. He bought my brother and I bikes and it was so f**king fun while it lasted but our bikes got nicked a year or so later and that was that. My mums always supported me when she could but my dad was a bit harder to convince. He’s over it now though obviously, what can he say? He seems quite stoked on it nowadays, which is rad!
How’d do you get by day to day?
- I’ve just been working a couple of days a week at my Aunt’s shop. It’s not much but works out well and gives me plenty of time to skate. It pays enough to keep the car on the road and get the beers and green in.
I guess having a car is pretty important living in the sticks?
- Yeah it helps a lot. I can just call the boys, pick them up and just go skate. It also means I don’t have to rely on public transport, which can be a pain in the arse.
Most of the local spots aren’t actually in the city centre and are on the outskirts and in surrounding villages so you really need a car to get a good skate in. There are a couple of little skate parks in Cambridge which helps keep the scene together, but we could really do with a proper skate park, maybe somewhere indoors out of this shitty weather.
I’ve heard you’ve found yourself a sweet little warehouse recently?
- Yeah it’s a little way outside Cambridge. We actually skated it a few years ago but the police got wind of it and shut us down. Then a mate phoned and mentioned he’d found this warehouse spot and it turned out to be the same place: pretty weird.
We’ve been making launches and using old filing cabinets for ledges. Hopefully we’re going to get some quarters in there, rails, pole jams etc, just so we’ve got somewhere fun to skate while the rain’s here. It’s pretty ghetto. All the windows are smashed in, graffiti everywhere; glass and nails all over the floor so you’ve got to be careful. Just glad we haven’t found any dirty needles in there, (laughing).
I just hope that the police don’t get wind of it, as it’s real fun and the only place to go when it’s wet!
Isn’t there a new skate shop opened in Cambridge recently?
- Yes it’s called Hourglass; I’m hyped on it. Its run by some good mates of mine who have been local skaters for quite some time who realised we haven’t got a proper skate shop with a skater feel to it. We just had the more ‘yeah we sell skateboards as well as toys’ sort of shops in Cambridge so I’m glad these boys are doing it. And you know it’s for the love of skating and the scene more than anything else, which is what its about! So yeah a skater-owned, skater-run shop purely there to back the skaters, give them somewhere to go when it’s shitty outside and in a sense a sort of HQ for everyone to meet. Nice one Dec and Matt for making it happen!
I hear it’s on the Market Place?
- Yeah it’s a market stall. You can just drop by, have a smoke, read skate mags and catch up with the locals over a cuppa. Just a real chilled out vibe. Dec and Matt are two of the nicest dudes and always happy to see you and help out. It’s also got the benefits of having the burger bar and noodle joint on tap.
So tell us about those years of skating before the lure of the ladies?
- Lure of the ladies? Ha! Yeah I had the sickest times. I was fortunate enough to get hooked up by Hoax, which at the time was so surreal and I wouldn’t have been able to continue skating if it wasn’t for their help sorting boards, shoes etc. They helped me out a lot and I can’t tell you how grateful I was and still am. There must have been maybe 6 of us on the team, all really good friends, who skated together all the time, which made it that much better. I was the youngest so I got looked after pretty well: along with the usual, ‘bully the youngest’ sort of routine..
So the local scene was pretty tight back then?
- Yeah the Cambridge scene was pretty big with around 3-4 different crews all working on local videos. Hitting the city you’d always be crew deep with up to 30 heads or so on a busy day. So things could get pretty manic! Me and a few mates from my village would jump the train to Cambridge every day after school just to meet up with everyone and have a laugh. These were some of the sickest times!
Cambridge has got some rad spots but being a historic city there’s always something to put you off whether it’s a cobbled floor or a straight bust from the minute you get there. Cambridge security is on it; they don’t want you ruining their perfect city. But I guess you get that wherever you go.
Charlie gets his with a dipped feeble and swan arms.
You travelled a bit too didn’t you?
- Yeah man it was mental. I went to Barca and Paris when I was like 11 or 12. I’d stay in rented flats with all the crew. Getting pissed and smoking, climbing from flat to flat outside f miles above the ground, pissing out the windows. Chucking beers out the back just smashing on the road and shit. I probably wouldn’t do that now but back then it was what everyone was doing. The vibe was as fun as the skating. Standard.
Shout out to Seb’s and Luke’s parents for looking after us and letting us run wild on these trips!
That’s insane. So what got you back skating again?
- I guess I was always thinking about skating watching videos and playing Skate on Xbox etc, and like at the time I wasn’t really doing anything with myself other than working so I just thought f**k it, I need to start being more productive and decided to dig my board out from my mates garage, (been there for a good few years) and go for a skate.
That was probably 2 years ago now, I heard an old mate Joe was skating again so I hooked up with him, locals Ed, Steve and a few others. They had planned on heading to LDN that weekend so I went with and had one of the sickest days I’ve had in ages. So from there I was hooked again. Now a few of them are at Uni and/or working, I still see them but not as much.
Where have you been hitting recently?
- I’ve been hitting MK loads, which is how I met Swampy, Selley, Bushy and the MK locals. It was probably around a year ago now. Just skating the Bus Station and having good times. My First Light actually came about from skating with those guys. It was one of the first times I skated with them, and since then we’ve been meeting up as often as we can; chilling, skating, having laughs and getting photos along the way. Nuff respect to all those guys.
So MK’s one of your favourite places to skate right now?
- MK is definitely a favourite. The MK scene is so hyped. So many spots everywhere and everyone is fun to skate and chill with! Norwich is pretty dope too. There are a lot of crazy untouched spots and the scene seems pretty tight. London obviously – I want to spend more time there.
Saffron Walden for a park is so much fun too which is only a short drive from Cambridge. I really want to start hitting spots up north too as it seems there are some really sick stuff there.
Switch crook for Buddha.
You’ve recently returned from injury?
- Ah yeah. I did it pretty much once I knew my Haunts was coming up, ha. I got ligament damage in my foot trying to shoot a photo and was out for two months or more over summer. I was back and forth from the hospital loads as they kept misdiagnosing my injury. After hassling my doctor and more hospital visits I finally had it confirmed that I had torn a ligament in my foot. I got referred to Physio and just kept working on getting it better but took a fair while for it to feel comfortable again.
What did you do in that time you were out?
- Not a lot other than chill in the sun for the first few weeks with my foot in a bucket of ice just chilling, lurking YouTube on my phone all day. Then my mates would come over when they finished work and we’d just get blazed or whatever, as well as just spending time with my girlfriend at the time. It was depressing though as it was in the peak of summer. Then when I could walk alright with crutches I would get her to take me into town most days just I could go chill with all the boys and watch them skate.
And then the Norwich set injury?
- Ha, yeah I was back for about a month. I then stupidly tried ollieing a 15 in Norwich straight out the car and badly bruised my heel and was out for another month or more. Probably not my best idea.
Is the ankle all good now then?
- Yeah it’s getting there. I’m still a bit cautious but only because I don’t want to go back there again. Not being able to skate sucks. I’m starting to get my confidence back again now which is good!
Frontside bluntslides on handrails will always be trendy.
(please give generously to help us buy Charlie a new left arm)
I hear you tried your first double kinker with Swampy?
- Yeah that’s was pretty gnar. I needed to meet Swampy for this Haunts. He took me to this rail in Northampton after the spots we planned on hitting that day didn’t work out. I managed to hype myself up to try it and got to the bottom a few times. On one attempt I ollied on and my front truck didn’t lock in and I stacked it onto my ribs pretty bad. I had one more attempt after a sit down as if not I would have been scared to try any rails like that again. So for me the best thing to do is try it once more to avoid mental blocks in the future when trying similar shit. But I didn’t get it! Hopefully go back there one day soon though and get it done.
How’s life at the moment?
- Yeah life at the moment is pretty good. Obviously stoked on getting my Haunts. Getting fit again and back on my board. I’m going to be getting away a lot this year, which I’m so hyped on.
What are your plans for the year?
- I’m heading to Berlin with the Super Toxic crew this month. Can’t wait for that. Also going to be getting away with the Milk crew. I just want to get around the UK and Europe more this year. I’ve just started filming for the Super Toxic video and the full Milk edit too. I’ve got a scene video section coming out pretty soon that I didn’t even really know about until recently. I think me and James ‘Bushy’ Bush are sharing a section so I’m interested to see how that works out. He’s gonna smash it for sure!
You’re really into the UK scene. Who’s hyping you at the moment?
- Ah, there’s too many people to say for this one. Obviously the Super Toxic and Milk Crews, and all of the people I go out skating with. Also people like Korahn Gayle, Kris Vile, Nick Remon etc, there’s loads of UK skaters killing it at the moment. Hyped on seeing anyone just having fun with skating too!
You want to shout out to a few folks?
- For sure: Big shout out to Sidewalk. Powell and Horsley.
And of course Swampy who has kind of made this happen. Thanks a lot man. Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister and the rest of my family. Nathan, Alex, Shaun, Tom, Ed, Adrian, Jed, Joe, Jacob, Jack, Kizaa, Callum, Joe, Ross, LLoydy and all the other Cambridge boys, too many to name! Swampy, Selley, Bush, Andy, Brownie, Mark, Zee and all the MK crews. Bury and Norwich lads. The Colchester boys, you know who you are! Luke Petty. Alex Diss and Mr Radman. Reece Leung. And of course Mike and all the Super toxic boys. The Milk Crew especially Dan, Aaron at Dozen. Harry and the boys at Ramp Rage. Matt and Declan at hourglass. And I better mention Hoax for everything they helped me with way back when. Sorry to anyone I’ve missed, peace!