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The Answer Is Never: A Skateboarder's History of the World. (Zine Thing).

The Answer Is Never: A Skateboarder's History of the World. Jocko Weyland.

New York.' Grove/Atlantic, 2002.

Skateboarding, for skateboarders, is an intensely personal pursuit. Every single skater on the planet, from the highest paid pros to the guy who started skated yesterday, has his or her own version of the history of skating. As in any history, there are facts and figures that are, for the most part, undisputed; the event took place, it is up to the historian to make the interpretation. Jocko starts off his book with some of the early facts and interpretations: The origins of surfing, the origins of skating, Dogtown, the rise of various phases and downturns in skating. These sections, like the rest of the book, are well-documented and written lucidly. The reader is drawn into the story of the Z-Boys blowing minds at Del Mar, and others.

Somewhere along this line of history, from the beginning to the end, we all enter the fray. Jocko's history takes a turn that is decidedly more personal when the intersection of Skate History intersects with his own history of involvement. When skaters start immersing themselve s in skate culture, there is this feeling of discovery that is unmatched. Remember when everything was new and you were naive to the ways of skating? Jocko captures this as skate history becomes his history. Throughout the book, however, Jocko does well to contextualize his history of skating within larger movements at the time: economic downturns, punk rock, the explosion of "Extreme Sports," which is one of the reasons this book is so compelling. The history of Dogtown somewhat echoes the recent movie, but is nevertheless good reading. And the fact that Jocko has compiled the facts and figures from the early history of skating through interviews and old magazines make his take an especially well-informed one (check his list of sources from the back). There is an unmistakable awkwardness in trying to wirte a book like this, essentially placing your life in the context of a greater movement, without trying to sound too self-conscious or attempt at aggrandizement. Toward the end of the book Jocko goes through what 99-percent of all skaters will go through at some point: realization that skating may not be the be-all and end-all of their lives-they are not going to become pro, and although skating may be a life-long pursuit for some, it doesn't mean there aren't other things in life. The alienation of this realization, when the younger kids move in, when the older guys can't keep up with the latest tricks, is universal. Jocko provides a hardcore testimonial to skateboarding and what it means to one member of the tribe, but the lessons and wisdom are there for all to catch. This book is so much better than so many others that try to cash in on skateboarding's popularity. Leave them alone and get this.
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Lundry, Wez
Date:Dec 1, 2002
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