The return of skateboarding By the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank, a group of skateboarders are practising their manoeuvres while, a few feet away, passers-by take in the view of the Thames on this bright summer's afternoon.
These skateboarders are dedicated guys. And the spins and leaps, when they succeed, are impressive. But there are many more misses than hits, and when I heard one onlooker mutter, 'Not very good, are they?' I was inclined to agree. Then I was corrected by Alan Glass, who was making a video of the action for a skateboarding company.
'Not everybody gets it right the first time,' he explained. 'You might need a lot of attempts. Even with the guys you see on MTV doing incredible jumps, you have to remember all the misses that have been edited out.'
Skateboarding's roots in the UK, legend has it, lie in the long hot summer of 1976, when it was a kid's toy, nothing more and nothing less. It's been in and out of fashion ever since, but there are two aspects - apparently contradictory - of the latest craze for it that are significantly new. One is the degree to which skateboarding has developed into a way of reacting against government policies: it has allied itself with the forces of urban protest and with a youth culture that has succeeded in retaining some of the spontaneity and integrity of the sport in the face of growing commercial interest. The other is the way it has been taken up by a new generation who have been sold an image of street credibility through music videos and computer games.
At 24, with more than half a lifetime of skateboarding behind him, Alan Glass bemoans the way it has become cool again. 'For me and my friends, the best times were when it wasn't fashionable. No embarrassing adverts on TV, no awful boy bands posing with boards on the cover of magazines, nothing. Just me and my friends skateboarding while you lot were at work, blissfully unaware that we were out there.' So speaks a true fan. And to give you an idea of Alan's credentials, he broke his leg skateboarding in a Safeway car park a couple of years ago. 'How uncool is that?'
1 The manoeuvres of the South Bank skateboarders are
b not very skilful.
c frequently unsuccessful.
d always spectacular.
b Their unsuccessful jumps are not shown.
c Their first jump is usually successful.
d Their most dangerous jumps do not appear.
b It was popular in hot climates.
c It was an immediate success with teenagers.
d It has been continuously popular since the 1970s.
b It is no longer a spontaneous movement.
c It has become linked to political issues.
d It is an entirely commercial activity.
b He enjoy the attention being given to the sport.
c He prefers skateboarding in a livelier environment.
d He dislikes the media image of skateboarders.
2 You signed a contract, so you must be prepared to ______________your rights if they do not keep to the agreement.
3 It was getting dark so we decided to______________ the nearest village and find somewhere to stay.
4 After an unhappy time in his first job, Dave decided it was time to______________and try something different.
5 The bank said they were sorry that there had been a problem with my account, and they would _____________it immediately.
6 I won't bother reading that detective story now that you have______________ the ending!
7 So you'd like to rent the spare room in our flat? Great! When can you______________?
2 Be careful not to discuss Mark's surprise party if he is ______________earshot.
3 I was so embarrassed when I spilt coffee all over the tablecloth, I just wanted the ground to open up ______________me.
4 I am really looking forward to hearing______________ Sue, she has not contacted me since our holiday!
5 After he failed to obey an order, Sam was demoted _____________ a lower rank in the army.
6 The caged bird pecked _______________his reflection in the mirror, he must have thought it was another bird.
2 I've tried phoning Jim but there's no answer. He ______________(get back) yet.
3 I've never seen Mike in that jacket before. He ______________(just / buy) it.
4 I feel really bad about arriving late. I know I ______________(ring) and let them know.
5 I______________(run) all the way to the station. The train was ten minutes late.
2 The waxworks in Madame Tussaud's____________ (visit) by over two million people a year.
3 Trafalgar Square looks much better now that some of the buildings____________ (clean).
4 People______________ (not / allow) to sell food for the pigeons in Trafalgar Square any more.
5 It is estimated that after it is re-opened, the Millennium Bridge______________(use) by 4 million people to cross the Thames each year.
3 I _____________ (go) to the disco if I ____________(finish) my work.
|1||A It will be dry, cloudy and windy.|
|2||B A very cold night is expected in most places.|
|3||C It will be quite cold today and wet tomorrow.|
|4||D The weather will improve during the day.|
|5||E Snow is a strong possibility overnight.|
|F Fog may cause problems in certain areas|