The ramp in the park

Aberdeen is on the North East coast of Scotland. The harbour there, at the mouth of the river Dee, has been in commercial use since 1136 according to records, but the Dee estuary was probably utilised as a port for many moons preceding that. For a long time Aberdeen’s economy was centered around fishing, textiles, shipbuilding and paper making. These were over-shadowed in the 1970s by the discovery of large deposits of crude oil just off the coast in the relatively shallow waters of the North Sea. I have a feeling that this discovery catalysed some sort of civic mutation. Today Aberdeen seems like a small town set on overdrive. If it was a type of music rather than a city it would be some sort of electrified folk band playing pornographic reworkings of traditional ballads through the amplification system of a 1980s glam metal band, amongst other things.

In the late 80s Aberdeen City Council allocated some money to a ramp building project. Although that could be incorrect. If correct then who campaigned for this to happen? I don’t know. If they did campaign for this, then why? I can only guess. Who was employed to build these generic structures? That’s another question I can’t answer. All I know for certain is that one of these ramps was built in the north east corner of the park around the corner from my parents house and me and my friend Martin were psyched (elated).

In Peter Pan Captain Hook’s hand was eaten by a crocodile. Hook can tell when the crocodile is near because he can hear the ticking clock that the croc also swallowed. This image has recurred in my imagination for a long time. The crocodile, an emotionless harbinger of cold, snapping death, inspires mortal terror and announces itself by the incessant tick-tocking of it’s internal time piece. Tick-tock the floorboards rot, or whatever. The inescapable passage of time and specifically what may result is also the consideration of Science Fiction. In On The Edge of Blade Runner Rutger Hauer quotes Ridley Scott. “The future is old it’s not new.” This is an astute and discerning statement. The ramp in Westburn park now is a tribute to that clever, counter-intuitive assertion. As of this writing it has deteriorated into an evolutionary gift pack containing such treasures as iron oxide, tetanus and rollerbladers.

The above video part was mostly filmed in and around Aberdeen in the late 20th, and early part of the 21st, century. It includes a couple of moves on the ramp at a time when it was less likely that you would lose a thumb or contract a flesh eating disease by skating it.

17 thoughts on “The ramp in the park”

  1. Written very well as per usual John. I remember reading the article you wrote about King of the Road some time back and admired your use of the word 'necronomicon'. I knew you had a degree in physics before, but it was refreshing to read your work. And of course all your video parts are well-done, it's inspiring to see someone who skates transition and street so well and simultaneously values the pursuit of knowledge.

  2. So great to see these clips! Loved the mach 10 flip in n out manny. Great usage of your surroundings my friend.



  4. John. I can't seem to stop reading this in your voice.

    I suppose that's appropriate though.

    What was that first link? It looks like someone used illustrator to recreate that third picture you have there without the rollerbladers.

    1. The voice thing is normal.
      The pdf in the first link, yes some poor soul did in fact spend hours manipulating node after node in an attempt to represent the old ramp in the idealised world of adobe illustrator. Madness, OCD or boredom, what do you reckon?

      1. Yes, the voice thing is not bad. Since you've probably never heard my voice, why don't you read my comments in the voice of someone equally intellectual, but with an American accent. Kermit the Frog perhaps?

        As someone who has also spent time tweaking bezier anchors and handles, among other things, I can only imagine that this feat was driven by the incessant desire to purge the otherwise peaceful park setting of rollerbladers. Though sadly, this great endeavor may never be accomplished.

        1. Haha. Will do. Kermit is one of your greatest cultural exports. Along with Star Trek, Thundercats and Wu Tang. I might try reading stuff in either Jim Kirk's, Cheetarah's or Method Man's voice every now and again too.
          You're right about the beziers. It was the result of a fixation on an unattainable ideal. Anyway I'll share a spot with some bladers no worries, they're highly entertaining.

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