Occasionally a project comes to light that takes us away from the everyday tasks of designing cool toys, awesome films and the occasional groundbreaking illustration. A project that gives us time to not only reflect on our youth but also bring a part of that youth back to life.
Back in the summer of 1988, I (Jamie) had saved my hard earned paper round money to purchase my first, quality skateboard. I had been attempting to ride skateboards for a few years before but my measly teen budget had limited my buying skills to little more than a plank of wood with roller skate on the bottom, well near as damn it!
I knew exactly what I wanted purely based on the design, for me the aesthetic was everything. The fact it was huge, about as concave as an ironing board and almost impossible to ollie meant nothing to me. I was buying a Powell Peralta – the very best skateboard brand there was. I had chosen the Powell Peralta Bug, Tracker Ultra Light Trucks and a set of Santa Crux OJII wheels, this was going to set me ahead of my peers and obviously make me a far superior skater. In reality I was no better than I was before I had bought it, but I now had the gear to at least stand toe to toe, or deck to deck with my friends.
As the summer of 88 rolled past (pun intended) ‘Bug’ had taken many a bruise, a kerbing to the trucks, a scuff to the deck. The perfect graphics and artwork that had once adorned its perfect wooden body now looked back at me almost unrecognisable. Over the next year or so the artwork would be replaced with a myriad of sticky pop cultural reminders of yesteryear.
When skating had been replaced by a bike and then a car, Bug sat in my parents shed, destined for an unsatisfying death at the local rubbish dump. I had moved on with life, attempted to become a man and started a family. Bug on the other hand had been left to vegitate, a momento of a youth once gone and never savoured.
Many years later it caught my sons eye, and he asked if we could bring Bug home.
For ten years ‘Bug’ would be used to move heavy objects around the garden or through the house. He would hibernate in the shed through winter and then be rolled out to help with whatever homely duties were called upon him until this year, 2018.
I had begun to realise that ‘Bug’ had more than a special place in my history as well as my heart, he deserved to be bought back to his former glory and that is what I intended to do.
For two weeks across the summer of 2018, in my spare time I would work on Bug. Once stripped of the trucks and wheels, I realised that the deck was in pretty bad shape. It took quite a lot to patch the holes and the tail ended up being almost half filler, but he started to come back. As soon as the first primer coat went on, I could see his former shape in all its glory and what needed to be done.
I had already set John up with his extra curricula task of recreating the artwork, the hardest part was getting the shape of the deck correctly into the software so we could set the cutter guide. Many a sheet of paper was harmed in the making of the template but a worthy sacrifice it was.
John, once again beautifully crafted the artwork for both back and front of the deck from a collection of reference material and old photos. By this time I had rubbed down and filled up the deck more times than I could shake a can of soup at, but once the ultra blue paint started to go on I knew Bug would be ok again.
We went back to our trustworthy sticker printers ( http://www.grafitt.co.uk) who once again delivered the goods. They were responsible for the quality prints we used on the Back to the Future hoverboard and the Space Invaders arcade machine projects.
Both sets of artwork were applied, new grip tape was cut and fitted and I moved onto sanding the trucks down and re-spraying them. A few hours later and they were like new again.
New sets of bolts and wheel bearings and everything was ready to go back together; and together they did.
Bug, who only a couple for weeks earlier had sat on the worktop in a very sorry state was now back to new, almost 30 years to the day after I bought him.
If only now I was able to apply the same treatment to myself.
Bug now takes pride of place on the studio wall, a reminder of forgotten youth but one that has and will stand the test of time, welcome back Bug.