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Pulling teeth & limp bacon: real UK Tour.

Peter Ramondetta sat on a cement block in downtown London, pulling on his teeth. "What the hell are you doing?" I yelled from a distance.

"Pulling my weird tooth out," he yelled back. Peter recently had his missing front tooth replaced with a silver one. Why he chose silver, I don't know. Maybe he'll need to use the tooth someday as a silver bullet. You never know when you're going to come across a vampire.

I WENT OVER to him to see what his tooth problem was. It turned out the weird bread we ate earlier knocked the bridge in his tooth loose. So instead of leaving it alone until we got home--where he could get it repaired--he ripped it right out of his face ... which is way cooler. Missing teeth just gives you more character.

Now with Peter looking meaner we were ready to begin our tout" of England. We were supplied with a tour guide and a tour bus. The bus came with a driver. And the driver just so happened to be an ex-pro from the '70s. He brought his old Z-board that hadn't seen daylight in 30-some years. We tried to ride it, but the trucks seemed to be seized and wouldn't turn at all. So the board went back into the van, never to be seen again. A man has to turn.

We had demos set up in several different towns all over England. In each town we also went to all sorts of spots. Ernie was the newest guy on the team so, as usual, he had the most to prove. He skated every spot like it was his last session ever. It's great to skate with someone that has that kind of energy; the whole team can feed off it.

BROKEN FAST

Each day we started with a good, old-fashioned English-style breakfast. This is where we were able to enjoy large plates of muck. The bacon was one of the best things on the plate--limp, shiny and set next to a pile of baked beans. There was also toast soaked in butter and, of course, fried eggs. This is the fuel that slows you down.

THE TOUR WAS SET UP for us to end in Liverpool (the town where the Beatles are from). This is where we had one last demo. But this wasn't your average skatepark demo. It was a totally psycho skate jam that turned into a lock-in at midnight. There were nearly 2,000 kids all crammed into one of the biggest and longest-lasting snake sessions ever. Fittingly, they call this annual event "Night of the Living Dead," and it's one of the coolest things I've ever seen in skateboarding. Every kid is skating hard. People are colliding all over the place. Blood and beer coated the floor. I loved it.

At midnight the doors were shut; you could no longer leave. Now it was serious. In the bowl they had a Texas Death Match, which was a 15-minute free-for-all contest. Anyone could enter. The last man standing won. Then add about 500 half-empty beer cans thrown at the riders. Now we're talking danger. After the winner was presented with his prize we had a product toss, throwing out boards, wheels and stickers. Just like we do at any demo-type thing. The difference was this time we were in England--each board tossed out caused a full-on fight. I mean people losing teeth. Then, pig hearts were added to the mix of stickers we were tossing. Only in England can yon get away with this.

I was given the pig hearts to throw by the guy running the event. Do you know how crazy it is to throw pig hearts to kids at a demo? Kids were running around with the things in their months. Some were picking up the hearts and throwing 'era at other kids. Others were fighting each other for boards. The unfortunate kids were only getting trampled trying to pick up stickers off the floor. Total mayhem.

After the Night of the Living Dead was dead to us we went back to our hotel. We tried to sleep, but putting each other in drunken chokeholds seemed to be a better idea. We hit each other through the rest of the night until it was time to hit the road. Our flight was scheduled for early that next morning back in London, which was a four-hour drive from Liverpool. So back to the bus one last time. The tour was over. Now back to the land of lawsuits. I wish we could start a new tradition of the pig heart/product toss at each demo. I don't think it would go over very well in America. Hey, it sure would be cool.
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Author:Phares, Jasin
Publication:Thrasher
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Words:794
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