The boys out of Livi

After world war 2 the clock continued to tick and human ingenuity focused in no small part on road building. In the unfolding story of life on earth we had entered a glorious phase. The age of the Motorway or, if you prefer, The age of the Freeway. This phase is perhaps a sub phase of the broader age of Petroleum.

Would anyone debate that the 110-105 interchange in Los Angeles is not a formidable example of our ability to build some roads?

In Scotland we were lucky enough to get a 60 mile strip of nicely poured concrete called the M8 to drive on. This footbridge in Glasgow was started so people could walk safely across the brave new road. I’ve never known how it came to be such a perfect example of a footbridge fail but I love it. Who wants to be a pedestrian?

One of a number of motorways built in Britain between 1950 and 1980 the M8 connects Edinburgh and Glasgow, replaced the smaller A8 road and bypassed many a small town along the way. One of those towns was Livingston.

If post world war 2 Britain was an anxious teenager with access to all the oil she could consume then the M8 was it’s Gothy studded choker, and if you are a skateboarder then Livingston is an important stud on the edge of that indulgent strip of petro-centric flair.

The following video is a brief look at some of the extraordinary humans I have got to know as a result of travelling to Livingston’s distinctive park. It’s a small edit of some stuff I shot over the last while with Stu, Benson and Div, in Scotland and on a road trip in Oregon.

If you like you can watch it with the idea that we are to a large extent products of our environment,

Or you can just blankly stare at it. It’s designed to brighten your day.

You can take the boys out of Livi, but can you take the Livi out of the boys?

One thing world war 2 had proven was who was boss in the Age of Petroleum. It could be argued that it was the people who best managed their oil.

Many thanks to John D. Rockerfeller, Edward Doheny and the other industrialist pioneers of the Age of Petroleum for helping to make this all possible. “No pain no gain” goes the saying.

10 thoughts on “The boys out of Livi”

  1. Great edit….
    I for one am a little more optimistic regarding our future, for another 6 billion years anyway when the sun goes supernova and cooks us all. After the oil age comes the fusion age, with the large hadron collider on the Franco-Swiss border snapping shots of man made big bangs and trying to pick through the waste produce to find the Higgs Boson and recently the first cold fusion reactor being built (in France if I remember right) to a level in which they can sustain the uncomfortable environment in which fusion occurs, I pray to the stars that free never ending energy will create a free from work society.
    Then and only then we can be free to evolve ideas and stop feeding the remains of monsters to machines.

      1. Freedom isn't free. It costs a buck o five and if we don't all chip in we'll never pay that bill.

        1. Why pay the bill when you can just start a fresh? Why should it be so hard to topple the present economy? The banks are doing a good enough job even though it is the fruit that feeds them and the only crutch that supports their dated view of existence.

          “I’m glad mushrooms are illegal. Because you know what happened when I took ’em? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, ‘My God, I love everything.’ The heavens parted, and God rained gifts of forgiveness onto my being, healing me psychically, physically, and emotionally. I realized that our true nature was spirit not body; that it is only an illusion that we are separate from God or that we are alone. The reality is that we are at one with God and he loves us. Now if that’s not a danger to society…I mean, how are we gonna keep building nuclear weapons, you know what I mean? What’s gonna happen to the arms industry once we realize that we’re all one? It’s gonna fuck up the economy! The economy that’s FAKE anyway!” Bill Hicks

          Money is such an outdated and now in this day and age irrelevant concept. We will have the means to feed, cloth, house and provide energy to every living person in a few years to come and I bet religion aside the worlds population would be a bit more manageable if they were provided the basics needed to live in the 21st century. These are not my ideas or even new ideas but it will take something like cold fusion to change this world that drastically. From what I know of human nature I feel this beautiful vision of the future even though totally possible will probably never happen. We are all just to happy to roll over and spread our legs for the controlling powers, this is something France always had right, if you don’t like someone shitting on your door step rub it in the fucker’s face and see how they like it.

          “The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think that it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question – is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us. They say ‘Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.’ And we…kill those people. Ha ha ha. ‘Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride. SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and family. This just has to be real.’ It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter because: it’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings, and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourselves off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here’s what you can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defense each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, for ever, in peace.”
          Bill Hicks

          1. That Bill Hicks missed out on Bush Jr and Obama is a real shame. But there are people carrying his torch in comedy today I reckon. Freedom costing a buck o five is from the team america song that I have a feeling it refers to post 9-11 flag buying? (and maybe the idea the Bush admin. suggested that shopping more would help boost the American economy but I could be reading too much into it?)
            The economy is definitely fake. It's an imaginary agreement we have with each other and it's a tough game we're forced to play. It sometimes seems like like the ostensibly civilised high-ape version of big-cat jaws clamping round the throat of the slow Wildebeast. I don't blame you for disliking it (how it seems if I'm reading your comment correctly?).

            Wonderful as it sounds I have to contain my excitement with regards to Cold Fusion, although I do hope it bears some serious electric fruit. I have to concentrate on learning decent switch back tails. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

          2. I forgot to add the Money = Slavery example.

            The economy is like Santa. He only exists if you believe in him. A piece of copper, nickel or a bit of paper won't save your life when people stop believing in it's magical power.

            The only time that you are truly free is when you don't have a dime in your pocket. You've got to grab a hunting knife and run to the hills. Oh, I never could do switch back tails, I guess that's why I'm learning to fish.

  2. “Here, haud ma Buckie wee man. Ahm gonna show ye a trick!”

    What era comes after the Oil Age?

    It’s like when you go camping, and one group of neds have loads of firewood and burn it in one big fuck off fire and the other group has a small stash that they burn slowly all night. But the neds come over and decide to nick the wood from the other group and burn it all in one go and everyone freezes to death during the night.

    The world is going to become a scary place to live when we all have to start foraging for wood in the dark.

    1. After the oil age I'm not sure. The bicycle age? Recycled tires? The vegetable age? After a bit more war, some more pestilence and famine here and there. Smack use increases. Population declines. Then an idyllic world of organic farms nestled amongst the skeletal remains of the obsolete infrastructure of the unbelievable time in which we dug and sucked all this ancient concentrated sunlight energy from the crust of the earth and burned it. A brave new landscape neither bucolic or urban but some curious hybrid. With wind, wave and solar powered web servers. Sounds almost rapturous.
      Unless there was just enough carbon locked up in all the oil and coal we burned to really let the handbrake off the greenhouse effect. But that option is no fun whatsoever.
      In the meantime I don't want to have to forage for wood in the dark either. Not when there'll be so many zombies wandering around.

  3. As I'm stuck in the university library grafting over my dissertation on skateboarding within city spaces, I still managed to have quite the chuckle even though I was unable to hear what was said during that edit. This to me is genius, tremendous work John!

    1. That is the wonder of subtitles. Did you see the "that's my fuckin' bush" youtube clip? Might help you with your dissertation.

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