Not so long ago, Non Stop Sports, OG Nottingham skate emporium and lunchtime lurking destination of choice, undertook a major refurb - transforming itself from the gloomy den of wonder that typified indie skateshops of the 1990s to a modern-day airy, white-washed boutique perfect for displaying trainers and 5-panels to entrance time-served skaters and fashion bastards alike. It is now somewhere my wife is happy to stand with me while I shoot the breeze with Robin, Ant, Elliott et al - when she previously felt a panic-inducing lack of air and sunlight. Good work brothers. Go there to get all the good stuff.
From the mid-1990s until the early 2000s, the walls of Non Stop's two fitting rooms were where we shared our photos of skating accomplishments, and where Non Stop staffers dutifully curated the achievements of Nottingham-based heavy-hitters - so badly composed photos of your mate from Beeston could sit comfortably alongside pictures of Gaz Jenkins conquering mighty rails and stairsets. That the new, improved and updated Non Stop no longer has a place for possibly germ-ridden layers of incremental photo montage is probably no bad thing - both for the respiratory health of Robin and co, but also because the new generation are prolific in sharing their recent achievements via Instagram and Facebook, and through the city's excellent Varial photo magazine.
However, some heavy shit went down in those more innocent, pre-digital times, when paucity of facilities kept us on the streets in our various suburbs every week night and then together in mass in the city centre every Sunday, as comrade D-Bevs so eloquently recalled in the recent 200th edition of Sidewalk. Although we (and I mean me in particular) photographed this stuff with a level of incompetence that younger, more skilled local photo dudes like Tom Quigley would rightly delete without hesitation - we snapped away with a lot of heart, if not any working knowledge of exposure and shutter speeds. The walls of Non Stop's fitting rooms thus acted as an archive of our youth and a pretty significant slice of time in Nottingham's skate history.
Ant Orton, long-time Nottingham skate socialite and Non Stop brother number 2, has been kind enough to 1) keep hold of all these old photos; and 2) lend them to me to share on this terrible blog.
So, with no further ado, here is the first batch of photos from them days. Please bear in mind that many of these have been pinned to a wall for 10-15 years, have been drawn on, stickered over, etc.- they are what they are, old photos from a changing room wall - the skateboard version of damp porn found in bushes - so they are faded, ripped and marked. They also make me really happy.
|Ally Couch - front nosegrind/over-crook on the Sneinton school rail - famed for Rushbrooke's back 5.0 Sidewalk cover. Photo credits for this one go to Michael Wright, who did and does know how to take a decent photograph|
|Matt Blanchfield, big popper from a recent poppa - over road cone and curb gap/into little ramp at the close of the 90s.|
|Paul Langlois (AKA 'Guernsey Paul'... Nottingham's answer to JB Gillet), 50-50 across the driveway round-rail at Derby Storm, c. 98/99. He tried this switch as well and dislocated a couple of fingers in the process.|
|Ally Couch, D-Bevs (in his 101 era Jason Dill/Billy Valdes phase) and Neil Turner - some pub in Lenton, probably around 2000-2002|