After a Friday night out with Chins and his female friend The Mute I was greeted on Saturday morning by a heatwave, so I decided to lounge round in the garden of my Sidcup palace. After a while the Sidcup Hotline began to ring, it was the G-man and he was eager to get to the UBI event at Docklands Arena. Whereas the day seemed perfect for dossing in the sun, I was less than psyched at the prospect of being indoors watching skating all day. However, I don't like to miss a laugh so I headed on up.
On entrance we met up with Matt and Dave and scoped out what looked like a brilliant street course and a shoddy vert ramp. As we stood and talked we were harrassed (not for the last time) by over zealous security folk to move along. This pretty much summed up the event for me and I already wanted to leave, Manimal seemed to be of the same opinion when I spoke to him later. Also mixing rollerblading and skating comps together seemed like a bad idea to me, I think this definitely affected the amount of people that showed on Saturday. If you've never been there, Docklands Arena is a bit of a shithole to say the least. Any way enough of my meaningless bitching and on with the show.
There was some amazing skating going on both on street and vert, especially Sebastian from France on street, and on vert Jocke Olson (from Sweden), Ali Cairns, Dave Allen, Matteus aka "The German"( from Sweden) Pete King,Terence Bougadour (from France) and Jussi (from Finland).
The skating in the vert comp was nothing short of ridiculous and the few people that saw it were treated to a fine display. The MC did a pretty good job at trying to whip up a bit of enthusiasm from a smallish crowd in a huge venue. Ali did twists and and his usual high speed shit, Jocke went about 30 foot high, Sean Goff pulled some old school specialities, Pete delved into his bottomless bag of lip tricks and went the distance, Justin Ashby died on a 540 attempt, Terence Bougadour went insane, and Jussi pulled out some unreasonable stuff:- 540 varial, b/s kickflip, every possible varial, heelflip gay twist and a cab shove-it to name a few. I'm not 100% sure on the results but I'm think they went like this:
Big money comp = big money prizes. Pete was stoked to have made into the dollars under some serious competition ($500), the first prize was in the thousands. Next up was the Clown Skateboards Best Trick comp. I would have liked to watch it but I couldn't really face being in there any more, so I went outside for a doss with the others. Matt was in a hyper mood so me and him went off on a mission to find stupid stuff to skate (which isn't hard around Docklands). We found loads of sets of banks and set about having a good laugh. This was the highlight of a bad day for me. I took a weak slam and fell on my shoulder, which although didn't hurt at the time, rendered me half paralised on Sunday morning (I couldn't move my head or left arm). After a while everyone decided to make a move into the city for a night out, I decided to call it a day and went home.
The rest of this story is as told to me by Matt:
On the way for a meal a group including Matt, Pete, Manimal and "The German" were skating down the street when a bloke in a car shouted at Manimal to "Get out the f**kin' road". If you're a Manimal the obvious response is "F**k off, you c**t!". The car then screeched into reverse down the road at full pelt and into another car. Everyone does a runner except the German gets caught. Matt left his board with the others to go back and see what's going on. It turns out that both cars are undercover police cars and they explain that Manimal (not the drivers short temper and erratic driving) just caused a nasty accident. The German explains that he is from Sweden and doesn't know who the others were and after a while they had to let him go.
On Sunday I woke feeling wellrested but I couldn't move my head or arm and was in serious pain. My original plan for the weekend was to go and see the plumbers band 'Plato' at the Rock Garden (Covent Garden) and then onto UBI. However due to my injury and my low opinion of the event I went to see the band then for a meal and then home. On the train home we were treated to a display of intelligence by some football fans on their way home from a match. It was painful to listen to, classic quotes went roughly like this: "Have you been to Fat Pete's bar in Turkey, you know it's got all those pictures of the fighting on the walls, it's brilliant" and my favourite "I was in the family enclosure with my boy, it was shit, you couldn't do no shouting or swearing, you couldn't do nothing" and "at half-time you'll never guess what this family sitting next to me did, they pulled out a fucking gateaux and started slicing it up and passing it around, a fuckin' gateaux, I'm telling you mate I couldn't fuckin' believe it!"
UBI could have been so good but, in my opinion, it wasn't. Give me the Urban Games any day. If it comes back next year I hope that they do some serious promotion (because no-one seemed to know anything about it) and maybe change the venue.
If you have a different opinion please feel free to let me know (e-mail: ).
Back to more stories
As a foot note I spoke to a few other people who said that on Sunday it was much better.