This is the way ‘zines are supposed to be. They show up in the mail, bruised and broken from being force-fed through the US Postal Service delivery machinations. I’m not really sure how I got so lucky, and I don’t really care (although I’m almost certain that Lew Ross had something to do with it); I’m just glad that it arrived in my mailbox and made my day. The stamp is on the back page, my address hastily hand-scrawled in the center, and the cover is torn in the corner. It’s taped shut, but it’s still falling apart everywhere (because unlike most glossy magazines, there’s not a single staple in sight holding the pages together).
This is Do-It-Yourself publishing, as it was meant to be. This is Neverwas Skateboarding.
Hailing from America’s Breadbasket of Overland Park, Kansas, Neverwas is a serious read. Sixteen half-size pages of insights, stories, philosophies, and observations from a clearly aging skate demographic, this one lacks the finely honed photography of a “real magazine”, but more than makes up for it in raw, uncensored, brain-bruising ideas.
“I am humbled to be able to share the words in this ‘zine with you. The following articles show a skater’s birth. They show a skater’s discipline. They show a skater’s morals, and a skater’s commitment to continue to worship at the great concrete altar. I am also humbled to continue to help provide a place for all skaters of all disciplines to engage in an exchange of ideas.”
There’s a consistent theme here. The “official” theme of this installment is “The Where We Are” issue, but the de-facto theme is one of staying the course, even when all the odds are stacked up square against you. It’s a study of defiant determination, a neverending quest to find a quiet joy and a tranquil peace of mind through the physical torture-chamber of skateboarding. There’s a certain joy to be found here, of course. That joy is called “prevailing”.
I’m not sure if I got all the writers right. Anarchic tendencies yield incomplete credit sometimes. But looking at the photos, I’m guessing that the guys responsible for this might well be Brian Czarski, Kenny Harrison, Jim Lee, Chris Sedition, and a must-read interview with Jason Renn of the South Austin Curb Services crew. You probably don’t have a crew like this in your hometown, but take it from me: you need one. Now.
Somehow, I got the distinct impression that Neverwas is either influenced by, or derived from, the old Luchaskate ‘zine. At Luchaskate, they (apparently) had a tradition of running a picture of Chad Crawford in every issue. Being a sucker for tradition myself, I took to Facebook, found the same exact photo, and stole it so that I could include it in this article. “Just remember: he rips, and so do you”.
If you’d like your own copy of Neverwas Skateboarding (and trust me, you do), send a couple bucks to 11325 Marty Street, Overland Park, Kansas, 66210. Tell ’em that Everything Skateboarding sent you; maybe they’ll be impressed enough to let me write a story for them someday.