Everyday Hybridity

Dr Paul O'Connor
Anthropology/Sociology/Cultural Studies/
Hong Kong/Ethnicity/
Skateboarding/Everyday Life

Lecturing in Anthropology at CUHK

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cuhk.academia.edu/PaulOConnorFollow me on Academia.edu
@peejayohhsee
everydayhybridity@gmail.com

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  1. A look at skateboarding in Hong Kong courtesy of Hoyeung Lam and the filming of Alex Rodriguez. This evocative video provides a glimpse of skate culture in Hong Kong and the thoughts and passions of a skateboarder and their environment. 

    They did a great job.

     
     
  2. As a skateboarder and an academic working on skateboard ethnography, this old excerpt from Powell Peralta’s Public Domain (1988) is poignant. I remember watching this as a teenager with friends and being amused at the attempt to try and intellectualise skateboarding. The piece is intentionally done in jest, and is typical of Peralta’s flamboyant videos of the time. 

    I read this parody as a preterition, highlighting something by omitting it. It both introduces an academic interest in skateboarding, but by turning it into a joke it rejects its. It makes fun of the suggestion that skateboarding has mores and social structure, a relationship with the city, but at the same time it celebrates such ideas. 

    Currently I am placing skate culture in a reading of social theory that touches on Bourdieu, de Certeau, and Lefebvre. What seems absurd in doing so is the disconnection between the playful, almost pointless pursuit of skateboarding, and the recognition that it has a much more intense meaning. Skate culture and its guarded authenticity is a subject most worthy of this sort of academic scrutiny, not least because it has sophisticated methods for self-refelction and adaptation whilst remaining void of a rulebook and a dominant controlling institution.

     
     
  3. One of the really eye catching projects of skateboard philanthropy in recent years, is that of Skateistan. This remarkable NGO is an amazing vehicle for the promotion of skateboarding in Afghanistan, but it is also one of the most profoundly successful NGOs in Afghanistan. It has had huge success.

    There is plenty of information about on the project and I have posted on it twice before. However, today I am posting about the amazing book that the project has published. It is full of excellent photographs, and inspiring text. We get to hear the stories of the skaters, the volunteers, and insights into everyday life in Afghanistan.

    Highly recommended.

     
     
  4. More skateboard philanthropy. Hong Kong Board Rescue is asking people to donate old boards, wheels, and even bolts to help kids who can’t afford or get access to a board the chance to get skateboarding.

    This Saturday at Tseung Kwan O skatepark it will be Hong Kong’s ‘Go Skateboarding Day’ celebration. There people can also donate their old hardware.

    本星期六(6月28日)的香港滑板日於將軍澳滑板場內將設有舊滑板回收收集箱,
    請把你們用舊了的滑板或滑板配件帶到將軍澳滑板場捐贈給HK Board Rescue,
    我們會把滑板維修後轉贈給沒有能力購買滑板的朋友。
    現在我們有康民處管轄的免費極限運動場,但仍有人因各種原因而不能擁有自己的滑
    板,
    希望這一個小小的動作能帶給其他人玩滑板並非做壞事的訊息並能給他們玩滑板的機
    會。

     
     
  5. Hong Kong Go Skateboarding day postponed till the 28th due to the bad weather.

    Hong Kong Go Skateboarding day postponed till the 28th due to the bad weather.

     
     
  6. Skateboarding has traditionally been close minded in regards to sexual orientation. We still don’t even have an openly gay professional skateboarder. Because of this atmosphere, Sam wanted out. His plan was to leave skateboarding at age thirty, come out on Facebook and live judgment free in Iceland.

    Sam turned thirty last week, and we are happy to report that he never went through with his plan. Instead, he decided to come out and to share his struggle with the world. This is Sam’s story.

     
     
  7.  
     
  8. This year’s ‘Go Skateboarding Day’ is scheduled for Sunday the 22nd June - Beginning at Morrison Hill and then on to the new TKO park. Check out the promotional video.

    Fingers crossed that the rain keeps away, otherwise it could be pushed back one week.

    Spread the word.

     
     
  9. A short and amusing video that shows how urban design tries to exclude and how it only provides a more creative challenge.

     
     
  10. "You didn’t quit skateboarding because you got old, you got old because you quit skateboarding." Jay Adams 
A new documentary called 'My Knees Hurt' tackles the topic of skateboarding through the representations of older skateboarders. Frequently any academic work or news report on skateboarding is framed by the notions of youth culture and sport. The pan-generational ludic element of skateboarding seems to be overlooked.
Last week I was at a skatepark talking to a visitor from Holland in his late twenties. He asked me how old I was, when I replied ‘thirty eight’ he said ‘wow, hope I am still skating when I am your age.’ He was already starting to worry about getting old and complained the he enjoyed smoking and drinking too much and was concerned that it would eventually take its toll on his ability to skate. It is an amusing juxtaposition that the tokens of rebellion, ‘smoking and drinking’, are regarded as something to compromise on in order to continue skateboarding.
It was surprising also to hear someone in their late twenties concerned about themselves still being able to skateboard as I have always felt that once you make it to adulthood, and you are still riding a skateboard, there is no difficulty in continuing. However, it is a comment that I have heard from the mouths of eleven year olds and teenagers alike, ‘I hope I still skate when’ I’m 40, when I am a dad, when I have a job etc. Generally, skateboarders don’t have a problem with age, and they see hope in the fact you can age and skate.
A recent article in The Telegraph newspaper provides a more cynical account of older skateboarders. Lee Coan writes…

Skating when you’re old enough to have a mortgage or haemorrhoids is not a good look. That said, I’m not sure if my utter disdain towards the gnarly hipster is born out of jealousy or disgust. Do I hate him because he’s an utter fool, or do I hate him because secretly I want to skateboard too?

Such is the general negativity from the writer that even the Telegraph has followed up with a more positive counter argument. However Coan’s article finally finishes with the conclusion that even ‘cool hipster dads’ will eventually fall off their boards. It is just such a comment which really highlights the division of thought. It is generally very well accepted that skateboarding is about falling off as much as it is about moving from A to B or pulling tricks. As Kelly, Pomerantz, and Currie note in their work on female skateboarders, ‘to skate is to know how to fall’ (2008, 116). 
 

    "You didn’t quit skateboarding because you got old, you got old because you quit skateboarding." Jay Adams 

    A new documentary called 'My Knees Hurt' tackles the topic of skateboarding through the representations of older skateboarders. Frequently any academic work or news report on skateboarding is framed by the notions of youth culture and sport. The pan-generational ludic element of skateboarding seems to be overlooked.

    Last week I was at a skatepark talking to a visitor from Holland in his late twenties. He asked me how old I was, when I replied ‘thirty eight’ he said ‘wow, hope I am still skating when I am your age.’ He was already starting to worry about getting old and complained the he enjoyed smoking and drinking too much and was concerned that it would eventually take its toll on his ability to skate. It is an amusing juxtaposition that the tokens of rebellion, ‘smoking and drinking’, are regarded as something to compromise on in order to continue skateboarding.

    It was surprising also to hear someone in their late twenties concerned about themselves still being able to skateboard as I have always felt that once you make it to adulthood, and you are still riding a skateboard, there is no difficulty in continuing. However, it is a comment that I have heard from the mouths of eleven year olds and teenagers alike, ‘I hope I still skate when’ I’m 40, when I am a dad, when I have a job etc. Generally, skateboarders don’t have a problem with age, and they see hope in the fact you can age and skate.

    A recent article in The Telegraph newspaper provides a more cynical account of older skateboarders. Lee Coan writes…

    Skating when you’re old enough to have a mortgage or haemorrhoids is not a good look. That said, I’m not sure if my utter disdain towards the gnarly hipster is born out of jealousy or disgust. Do I hate him because he’s an utter fool, or do I hate him because secretly I want to skateboard too?

    Such is the general negativity from the writer that even the Telegraph has followed up with a more positive counter argument. However Coan’s article finally finishes with the conclusion that even ‘cool hipster dads’ will eventually fall off their boards. It is just such a comment which really highlights the division of thought. It is generally very well accepted that skateboarding is about falling off as much as it is about moving from A to B or pulling tricks. As Kelly, Pomerantz, and Currie note in their work on female skateboarders, ‘to skate is to know how to fall’ (2008, 116).