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Inauguration: Mark Baines

Mark Baines, Sheffield, September 2022. Photo: Will Linford.

R.A.D. Issue 123 – September 1993

Photo: Alvin Singfield

When this interview comes out, it will have been just over 29 years since your first photo was published. So, with that in mind, what was going on in your life back in September 1993?

I had only been skating for a year and half at this point, so I was probably still playing a little football, but I pretty much stopped playing football around this time as I was just consumed by skateboarding.

Can you remember the day that you shot this photo? How did the opportunity to shoot this shove-it heelflip come about? It is a shove-it heelflip, right? Or is it a nollie 270 heelflip…?

It’s 100% a nollie 270 heel attempt, but it’s not even close to being a make. I remember Alvin coming to Worksop to shoot with Carl (Shipman) and some of the older Worksop heads, and I just tagged along, pretty much. We will have skated B&Q and this school - called Valley - which had a bunch of different stuff to skate. The photo is pretty awful, but I was stoked on it when it came out. I’ve got a decent get up on in it - adidas shell toes, baggies…and Shipman’s in the background.

Didn’t you attend Valley School yourself? Where else could you be found skating around Worksop back then?

I went to Valley, like pretty much all of the other Worksop skaters. There were quite a few different things to skate in the school. There was a good four set next to the hip in the photo; Carl had an amazing backside heelflip photo down it around this time as well. It had a huge flatbank that I tried to kickflip and ended up snapping my leg, which sucked. All of the gates were locked so I had to be lifted over and taken to hospital. We would also skate this industrial estate that had a sick little gap, and obviously B&Q kerbs; that was the go to spot.

You had a bunch of footage from Valley School and the B&Q kerbs in Rollersnakes’ VideoLog 1 VHS around the same time; was that your first nationally released footage?

I think it probably was the first stuff I had out; Lee Shipman might have filmed it all. I’ve only ever seen that video a couple times, but I remember some of the Valley footage.

Carl Shipman can also be seen strolling in the background of the photo; how was it being around Carl and his brother Lee back then? This was the year before A Visual Sound was released; was Carl around Worksop much, or was he spending more time in the States?

Skating around both the Shipman brothers was amazing. We got to travel with them, and obviously we all got opportunities to shoot for mags and film just by being with them at this point, particularly Carl. Photographers would come visit and we’d all be out skating, or we’d go to Radlands or Nottingham; we all met so many people through Carl. He was one of the best dudes in the U.K., so everyone wanted to shoot with him, and we got to see it all. When he went to the States it was pretty exciting to see; the fact dudes like Danny Way and Jason Lee all wanted him on their brands was unreal. Stereo was sick back then, and suited his skating for sure. I remember when he came back, it was a big deal; ‘our guy made it’ was basically how we saw it. A Visual Sound was so good, Carl’s part was amazing

The jeans were 34” or 36”, and I would think the wheels are probably the same (laughs).

What are some of your best memories of the Shipman brothers from this era?

Trips to Radlands were always amazing. We would get there most weekends. Lee would drive and it was sometimes a battle to get a seat in the car. Northampton seemed so far away to me. We’d hit up KFC at Leicester Forest East on the way back. I loved it, being so young and hanging out with the older guys. We would hang out at Carl’s parents’ house too; they were so mellow with everyone being round there. They had Sky TV, so we got to watch MTV and other stuff you didn’t get on the four channels that we had.

You’d only been skating 18 months when this was shot, and it wasn’t long after that you started to acquire sponsors. Why do you think your skating progressed so quickly back then?

I was one of the younger guys in the scene, but I was just hooked on skating so I wanted to progress like the older guys were. Obviously Carl was an inspiration, but the other Worksop locals - Piggy, Smiggy, Nunny and Hirsty - were all amazing skaters. Nunny was like our own Ron Knigge back then, and Hirsty was a smooth operator. Worksop had a really strong scene for a small town, and that pushed me. Seeing what Carl was doing made me think that I could do that too; I could travel, and I could shoot photos and film.

How long after landing this Intro was it before sponsored skating entered the equation for you? How did things progress from riding for Bigspin, to being involved with the first incarnation of Blueprint a few years later?

I’m not too sure, actually. I think I did well in a Radlands contest and Faze 7 sent the prizes out to me; pretty much from then on they hooked me up. Bigspin was first, until I broke my leg, and then I had to have six months out. I came back and started getting flow from Experience and Pure Wheels, via Faze 7 again. I rode for NonStop in Nottingham for a little while, then I rode for Sumo as I was spending all my time in Sheffield, and then obviously Blueprint started and I was one of the first four riders on there.

The outfit might fool you, but the wheels don't lie. 1993 nollie 270 heelflip, plucked from R.A.D. obscurity, scanned and restored by Neil Macdonald - @scienceversuslife

Do you remember seeing this Intro in print for the first time? What did you think of back then? Did you show your family?

I was stoked. I remember thinking the photo wasn’t great as the board is pretty much credit-carding me, but it was the start of something. I can’t remember if I showed my folks; my dad at this time wasn’t hyped on me skating, but that did change when he saw some videos I was in, and the opportunities I started to get. It must have been weird for them, to see me go from being a football mad 12 year old to a skateboarding obsessed 14 year old wearing size 36" waist jeans.

Are those jeans actually 36”? And what size are those wheels?

The jeans were 34” or 36”, and I would think the wheels are probably the same (laughs); there’s nothing to them. I would always buy shell toes then as they were 30 quid. I would wear them for school, and when I got new ones, the old ones would be for skating in. It’s crazy seeing some of these trends coming back now. Skating always goes in cycles.

What’s the best thing you saw go down at the B&Q kerbs?

I remember Shipman did a frontside flip noseblunt the full length of the kerb at B&Q, that was nuts. I don’t think it was filmed or anything, but it was unreal.

Have you got a copy of Carcus Me Mars, the Worksop video you mention in the Intro? What can you tell us about that vid? I’d love to see a copy of it.

I don’t, but I think Lee will have it somewhere. It’s sick; I’d love to see it again too. I’ll ask him.

Over the course of the last three decades, you’ve had an absolute wealth of photos printed in magazines all over the globe. Which three photos would you say stand out to you, and why?

I had a nollie switch crook photo that Wig (Worland) shot at the Design Museum handrail that I always liked. I’d sanded the graphics off my board and just whacked an éS sticker on there, which was pretty dumb to be honest, but I loved the photo as it was the first time I think I did that trick down a rail. The first cover I had - which was also shot by Wig - was a tre flip down the Beige in Milton Keynes (for The Sidewalk Surfer issue 7, June 1996), and I had a few photos in Thrasher that I was hyped on, just because they were in Thrasher. That was a big deal for me, and one sequence in particular - another nollie switch crook on a handrail - (Jake) Phelps told me how hyped he was on it, so that was a big deal to hear that.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Have you any final thoughts on skateboarding in 1993, or this time in your life?

Everyone wants a piece of the 90s these days, but growing up skating back then was amazing; it felt like it was the start of the next progression within skating, not just tricks, but with the brands that came out around this time as well. We were still generally hated by the public, and in Worksop we used to get so much shit from non skaters. I would be chased by lads giving me grief for my long hair and baggy trousers. It was great, you felt like you part of something special to be honest, and all the kevs and townies were clueless idiots stood around watching their mates rev their Ford Escort engines. I think everyone is nostalgic about when they started skating no matter when it was, but I’m just stoked I got to grow up skating in the 90’s. It was the best; no Instagram, no fashion brands wanting a piece of what we had, skating was just this weird thing to everyone else who didn’t skate, and it was better for it.

Follow Mark - @bainzito

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