Who are they? What do they mean to you? Today? In thirty years? Do you remember those of them that did the little things? Those that kept you drawing breath without even knowing you cared for them?
Tracy Weller is a Good Fucking Bloke.
Tracy, when I met him around ’86 was busy being Tracy. This was Dallas, Texas. There was a strong English contingency…and the core still remains. The Abrook brothers, Billy Smith, assorted peyote munching limey drunks…and Tracy. The Abrooks could ride, Billy was cool…but Tracy had style for days. The infamous fiberglass vertical playground, the “Blue Ramp” was parked in a fucked-up parking lot behind a Del Taco on Bachman Lake. The reason it was there, was a black cat named Melvin was pimpin’ some alright late twenties/early thirties white whores. MISCEGENATION!! He had a front-business known as “Skate Time” that was by appearances a roller-skate rental shack that also sold skateboard equipment. That’s how the ramp came to be placed there….a natural extension of his business, and a further entrenchment of his surface legitimacy.
It boggled my mind as a 19 year old that this ghetto-ass black dude could just be blatantly pimping these white bitches in broad daylight in the bible belt’s very buckle. I used to smoke my shitty Mexican brick weed, one gram of which wound me up in jail with rather serious legal consequences that haunted me for decades. (not to mention that it cost my family what was to be my college education fund….perhaps I learned more with the education that I did receive). Anyhow, there Melvin sat collecting his cash as the broads cruised the lake. Sometimes on skates, but generally rolling in various high end GM coupes such as Cadillac Eldorados, or Oldsmobile Toronados. They carryied faux cut crystal tumblers beading with sweat from the cocktails they stirred with painted pinkie nails…air condition blasting over their frosted locks. Car dealers, various mid-management junior executive wannabes, and a seemingly endless array of douches with bad comb-overs were their steady customers. Each afternoon when their tricks were at their end, the ladies would roll back to Melvin’s shack with their rental skates and wads of cash for Melvin to spray with his aerosol can, and tuck in his pocket…respectively.
Outside, some of the most important professional skateboarders in the world would be throwing down the hottest cutting edge maneuvers, and inventing new ones each day into the evening. The whores would pop their gum on their way back to their freshly washed cars, and I would wonder when the skinheads would show up. Yeah, skinheads at the black dude’s whoring operation….
Like I said, the place was full of oblivious numb nutted dumb fucks that actually believed they were on a mission, yet they worked in concert with someone, whom ostensibly was their sworn enemy by definition. They all lined up to play ball with the crafty black man. Racists, religious zealots, anti-prostitution types, anti-drug crusaders, hate criminals, you name it.
There was Tracy…it was hot, the air had stopped moving.
We just looked at each other….and laughed. He was tripping, and I was coming on to some acid. We had to get away from the crazy scene..we were tripping hard…it was just too much. We jumped in a skater’s vehicle to skate a pool…it was a hearse.
It was a few years later, maybe ’89…I had moved to Austin, Texas and returned to Dallas to race BMX bikes with my buddies when I saw Tracy again. I remembered the location of a perfect pool, and decided to see if it was still skateable. I hopped the fence, heard sounds of skating, and saw the crew ripping hard.
There was Tracy….it was hot, the air had stopped moving.
We just looked at each other…and laughed.
Tracy was with an all star cast of pro skaters riding a great right hand kidney shaped pool that was in an abandoned hotel. The pool never left my mind…it was the best pool I had ever ridden. The session was epic. Jeff Phillips was going-off doing early release frontside airs on the sidewall….yes that means he skated regular-foot. Monty Nolder was doing his patented backside grinds to exaggerated perfection. Craig Johnson almost ran my head over when I snapped a photo of him from below. Only his cat like reflexes saved me from serious damage. Jeff threw a broom as Craig was pulling a sweeper…and yelled “SWEEPER” as Craig had his wheels impossibly locked on the outer lip of the coping. Just a sheer death position. Somehow, Craig stuck it out, and sucked the wheels back in flawlessly….
We all cheered.
It reminded me of the English yelling “SLAM BEFORE BAIL!!!” when Craig rode the ramp years earlier….it was Craig’s ethos.
Then, Tracy dropped in the bowl immediately pulling into a backside double axle carve grind…on one foot. Yeah…get your mind around that one.
Just gangster shit.
So, I made a vow that I would keep that in my heart…that afternoon, that moment.
Fifteen years later, I built a smaller replica of that bowl in my yard….and now twenty two years later, I am looking forward to Tracy and his wife Jennifer visiting me here in California to put that one footer down on my coping. In the mean time, Tracy is a half-ass sponsored rider for the micro skate company, Speedlab Wheels/ Shibird Skates I founded and ran for over a decade. ( www.speedlabwheels.com ) The new owner, Alan Keller, is another Good Bloke.
We stay in touch, and I am very proud that we are still friendly and both very much alive. I know Tracy probably had no idea how special he was to me for just those short moments, and how closely I carried them with me all of this time….
Because that’s how Good Fucking Blokes live.
They just get it on….and stay Good Blokes.
” A thousand nights, I’ve spent alone,
Solitaire, to the bone,
But I don’t mind, I’m my own best friend,
From the beginning, to the end,
My life, my heart, black night, my star,
December’s child, the only one,
What I do, is what I’ve done,
I realize, I get so cold,
When I was young I was already old,
My life, my heart, black night, my star,
I always knew, the only way,
Is never live, beyond today,
They proved me right, they proved me wrong,
But they can never last this long,
My life, my heart, black night, dark star,
“Capricorn” by Motorhead