Bumbling South Bank outfoxed again by skaters

Bumbling South Bank outfoxed again by skaters


norman lebrecht

September 19, 2014

After 18 months of fierce opposition, London’s South  Bank Centre has dropped plans to evict the skateboard park from beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The relocation was part of a £120m redevelopment project that has been denounced by the Mayor of London, the head of the National Theatre, prolitical groups on the left and right – everyone, in fact, except the supine Arts Council England which acts as godfather to the failing arts centre.

The South Bank chief, Alan Bishop, is a former advertising man and New Labour flunkey.

He needs to be moved on.

Read the skaters’ triumph here.

skateboard south bank  skateboard2


  • Will Duffay says:

    In what way is the South Bank Centre a ‘failing arts centre’?

    But this is infuriating. The skaters shouldn’t be holding up a major project like this. It’s completely humiliating. They were given an option to move to a bigger skate park and refused. Tough. Move on. But instead they were indulged and permitted to stay. Mind you, the alternatives for that space were yet more bland retail outlets, so perhaps the skaters and their ever-evolving graffiti are the better option…

  • Halldor says:

    It’s been instructive to see how so many people who regularly protest so loudly that classical music is not elitist react when a more marginal culture stands in the way of their money-making plans. But not exactly edifying.

    Three cheers for the skaters – this is a true underdog story.

    • Will Duffay says:

      It is indeed a sort of underdog story. But what’s interesting is that this is a street culture which most of the time rejects being pinned down and being establishment, and which enjoys using the forgotten and neglected spaces, partly to annoy the stuffy establishment. And yet here it is being supported by the establishment Mayor – who, of course, is a political opportunist and believes only in private money and getting elected – and achieving victory as part of the establishment against an art form which is now derided and marginalised at the highest level, on the whole.

      Of course, this isn’t classical music v skaters because the SBC does far more than put on concerts of classical music. This is about media-savvy middle-class adults getting a victory over lumbering bureaucracy which has to work to different rules.

  • David Boxwell says:

    Us sk8ters fink vis is, like, you know, rekkinition 4 r art 4m, geddit?

  • Alexander Hall says:

    If you are looking for people to blame at the Southbank Centre, look no further than Jude Kelly. A super-ego but clueless about most things, and the arch dumber-down of what was once London’s premier classical music centre. But oh dear, we can’t criticise a woman in these politically correct times, can we? Tut, tut, that would never do.