Saturday, March 29, 2014

No Cheese!


The Stupids, England's premier skate punk band, team up with Aussie punk legends The Hard-Ons on this Australian tour 10". It was put out in 1988 and is a joint release by Waterfront (AU) and Vinyl Solution (UK). The EP features 3 tracks by each band and 2 tracks by "all star" bands which are made up of members from each band as well as some roadies. The record consists entirely of cover tracks, with the 2 all star bands covering traditional songs; The Stupids covering The Hard-Ons, Minor Threat and The Ramones; and The Hard-Ons covering The Stupids, AC/DC and the UK Subs. There is also some inter-song banter that consists primarily of the bands making fun of each other.

The cover features caricatures of the band members and roadies on a gigantic pizza. Hidden amongst the toppings are various items such as a broken record, a beer can, rats, cats and, partially obscured by Stupids bassist Ed Shred, a skateboard.


The insert consists of a comic detailing some of the bands' misadventures through Australia, including the below panels where the bands watch "classic slammer" Dave Ross.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Portia Porcupine


The Get Along Gang was a series of characters created by a greeting card company in 1983. You don't normally think of greeting cards gaining all that much traction but they apparently got big enough to get their own cartoon for one season in 1984. I have no recollection of this cartoon but these guys remind of the Shirt Tales, which was a pretty banal cartoon but aired on Sunday mornings, a time when I would watch any animated show no matter how terrible. 

This character is Portia Porcupine, whose character trait is apparently "gets upset easily." The figure is from 1984 and was part of the Fun Wheelin' Wind-Ups series. Various figures were sold with the skateboard, which is detachable and held on by the standard tab/hole-in-the-foot. The front truck pivots but the wind-up mechanism is broken so I'm not quite sure if she rides in circles or just turns randomly.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Skaterock (Bubble Bus Software, 1986, C-64)

Before the first Tony Hawk's Pro Skater arrived in 1999, skateboarding hadn't found its video game voice.

Though there were dozens of games that included skateboarding, it was usually as a cheap trendy gimmick or a half-baked vehicle that had little to nothing to do with the sport.

Only a couple of games were truly about skateboarding. Bubble Bus Software's Skate Rock is one of them.

Now the first thing you're thinking is Oh shit, a Skaterock game? Like...with Christ on Parade and Condemned Attitude? Blazing wheels and barking trucks and shit?

It's not skaterock like that. It's skaterock in the sense that it's skateboarding that has the devil-may-care rock and roll attitude of Fred Smith, who is pictured on the original package.

It's the type of skateboarding where you do an acid drop off the side of an unfinished bridge and then do the "king tut" when you land it.
King Tut
It's about building a slalom course in the middle of the main street of your town during rush hour, and hauling ass down it while a remote control airplane threatens to knock you to the ground.

It's about being ugly and not giving a fuck.

Or to quote a review in Zzap64 magazine in 1987:
"It has to be said that the single most striking feature is its ugliness. It looks awful."
Another reviewer in the same magazine said it looked like it was "built with Duplo blocks."

It is hell on the eyes.

As a young skateboarder who also loved video games, I had this game when it was still new. Or, to put it more accurately, I had a pirated version of this game that my brother downloaded off a local BBS.

Because it was pirated, the already horrible graphics had a nightmarish, headache-inducing flicker any time the screen scrolled.

You know what? I still played the shit out of it.

I loved the plonky drumbeat music, I loved the useless hippie jump trick that is required AT NO POINT in the game, and I loved the animated drunk guy.

He is beyond question the drunkest guy in any video game.

Drunk.

This game gets really really hard, and I played it all the way to the end. The tenth level must have taken a hundred attempts, complete with eye-crossing flicker that gave me a headache that would have made a migraine question its masculinity.

I pushed through the pain until I finally crossed the finish line with a second to spare, and became an official Slime Rat Skater.

Though this game could also be called "Paperboy on a Skateboard," that could set unrealistic expectations of cartoony fun and pithy TMS 5220 dialogue. I always tended to think of it as Up N' Down on a skateboard...

I blame all the flags.

It's a game that reminds us that skating doesn't have to concentrate only on tricks. It can be about going as fast as you possibly can even though you will literally die if you touch a traffic cone.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Risketos


This bag of Risketos comes via Matt of Smash! Records, a connoisseur of all savory snack foods. Risketos are made in Spain and are similar to Cheetos. Instead of a cheese-fueled tiger mascot they have personified Risketos. Normally I'm all for the anthropomorphization of food but these things are weird. Maybe it's because they don't have legs so they end up looking like Mr. Hanky. The skater grabs top billing here along with the lesser demographics of girl on cellphone and thumbs-up dude with headphones.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thrust


Thrust were a late '80s punk band from Gold Coast, Australia. This 7" was self-released and does not have a date of release on it (nor can I find much info online). They released 2 LPs, 1 in '88 and another in '89 so I think this 7" was released around then. The band plays some poppy riffs and has a bit of a Hard-Ons feel, and according to the description in the youtube video below the drummer was in a band called The Dead Rats which eventually morphed into the Hard-Ons. This cover has a lot going on, but a monster playing guitar while riding a spiked-wheeled skateboard with flaming exhaust through space is pretty rad.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gremlin Pin


This unidentified gremlin is wearing full pads and a yellow tank top (no pants though). He's even rocking a nosebone! This pin was made in 1991, shortly after Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Even without the nosebone he's riding a pretty dated setup. The original film was released in 1984 and did feature Stripe riding a skateboard in one scene. Perhaps they created this pin with that scene in mind.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Scooby-Doo


Scooby-Doo seems a bit too gangly to skate, and he certainly looks awkward, but he appears to be pulling a pretty decent slob air here. Scooby's debut appearance on BPA comes in the form of a rather large keychain. The figure is not designed to stand up so he is pictured partially suspended by the chain. It is was made in 2001 and put out in conjunction with Cartoon Network. I don't think this ties into any specific incarnation of Scooby-Doo but was probably made to promote Cartoon Networks re-airing of various vintage episodes (the live action movie did not come out until 2002). In addition to a skateboarding Scooby they also made keychains of him holding a burger, holding a bouquet of flowers and rollerblading. As ungainly as he looks on a board the rollerblading version is far worse (but what would you expect?).


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Blank Expression


Blank Expression were a mid-'90s punk band from Orlando, FL. The Born to Skate 7" EP was released in 1995 on Bluntpunk Records. As far as I can ascertain it was their only release aside from 2 compilation appearances. The cover features a zombie pulling a nice sized frontside ollie in a crazy-8 pool with pretty tight hips. A Mohican skeleton watches from the side while a 2nd skeleton chills on the far side of the bowl. The music definitely sounds like mid-90s DIY punk and reminds me a lot of music I was discovering at that time as I started going to shows in Baltimore (it even includes a ska punk song).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Weeble


This Weeble is much larger than the ones from the '70s that I played with as a kid. Those smaller ones, although not all that small, were probably lumped in with Fisher Price Little People as choking hazards and removed from American larynxes for a generation. After a couple decade hiatus Weebles returned as non-egg shaped toys. When those failed they returned to the classic egg shape but went about twice as large. This figure came out in 2009 and was paired with a soccer playing boy in the "Sports" 2-pack. Even in egg shape they managed to get elbow pads and a helmet on her (which is pretty odd considering they never fall).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Smurf Mug



The Smurfs make their 4th appearance on BPA with this mug featuring Smurfette and 2 unidentified Smurfs. This is Smurfette's 2nd appearance; she has previously appeared in figure form as part of the Surfin' Smurfs set. The mug is from 1990 and was made in France. It appears to be part of a set that includes various other sports. Other previous Smurf appearances include Skateboard Smurf with "Halfpipe" and Roll-Along Smurf.