James Burke

James Burke

Interviewed on 01.01.1970

Listen to the interview:

Download a PDF transcript of the interview
(87.3 KB )

Adobe® Reader® required.
Get Adobe® Reader®

[TRACK 1]

 

AJ CREEDY:

We’ve got James Burke, local Hebden Bridge skateboarder. It is Hebden Bridge isn’t it? Anyway, hello.

 

JAMES BURKE:

Hello.

 

AJC:

How are you doing?

 

JB:

Not too bad, yeah.

 

AJC:

Jolly good. So, what is it you like about skateboarding?

 

JB:

Well it’s just exercise really; it’s something to do when I’m not working and that, but now I’m working a bit I don’t really have the opportunity to go as frequently as I’d like to, but still I get to meet a lot of people so it’s summat to do, like actively seeking to extend the skate park as well. That gives everybody ideas and gets everyone together so it’s like….everybody comes from the community as a group, you know what I mean, so it’s quite nice.

 

AJC:

Brilliant. That’s really good. So, what kind of skating do you actually like best?

 

JB:

…..mainly street skating and that, but since they built the skate park and that in Hebden it’s all sort of congregated there, so we don’t really skate anywhere else and that, but, yeah, the skate park’s really good for it now, you know what I mean, they’ve built something for us so it definitely gets used a lot more.

 

AJC:

Brilliant. So,what skills do you think you need to be a good skater?

 

JB:

……just determination really more than anything. The skill comes after a bit, it’s just patience really because it’s taken me ages to do stuff, but like you see all t’little kids that are just doing these amazing tricks and it’s just, well, furious anger, but no, it’s just determination really. if you’re patient then it will come to you, so…just bid your time and you’ll learn

 

AJC:

So just patience and determination really. I’d go with that. Which skate parks have you actually visited then?

 

JB:

Well, not really that many cos I used to just mainly cruise around spots on the streets and like different towns and that, but been to one in Brighouse and that….that’s alright, but when I went round all t’other skate parks like back in t’day I couldn’t really do anything so it weren’t really that much of a great experience, you just stood in t’corner and all bikes and stuff and that, but now…just a handful and that, not that many.

 

AJC:

So which one do you like the best then, do you think?

 

JB:

Probably Hebden cos I can walk there in like two or three minutes, so it’s alright. If I get a day off and like everyone’s at school, there’s no-one there so I’ve got it to myself.

 

AJC:

Fabulous. How do you like Hebden Bridge skate park then?

 

JB:

It’s good for what’s there, but now we’ve had it a while and more people collectively skate on it like, and say at weekends, everyone’s off school, everyone’s off work you know what I mean, so everybody’s crammed in to this small spot, so like, when you get the opportunity to skate, you’re stood around like, because there’s too many people there. Apart from that it’s a really good like little spot, what we’ve got you know what I mean, so

 

AJC:

I mean that’s a disadvantage isn’t it, that it gets very crowded, but what would you say, if you could pick one good thing about it, what would you say that was?......A real advantage?

 

JB:

I’d just have to mention the fun box really. I just love that little pyramid we’ve got; like, that’s my favourite but it’s like the only thing I really skate.

 

AJC:

You’re not the first to have mentioned that.

 

JB:

I’m not? A lot of all t’kids and that, they all like skate the vert ramp and like the half pipe and stuff like that; I stay away from that mainly like; I’m usually a flat ground skater and just cruise about doing manuals and stuff, but yeah, that like fun box is definitely something I’m fond of and use quite a lot, but when everyone’s down you’ve got a big line of people on top of it and you just can’t get past or whatever, you’ve got to wait your turn and that, so that goes back to the patience and that, so you’ve got to be a bit calm about it you know I mean, and wait your turn, but everyone down there is rather nice about it, you know what I mean, so, just naturally everybody sort of waits their turn, you know what I mean, some order sort of naturally forms, you know what I mean, one after t’other and that, and everyone gets a go on that, so

 

AJC:

So that’s one….is there any rules and conventions do you in skateboarding, cos that’s almost an unwritten thing isn’t it?

 

JB:

I would imagine it’s different wherever you go, I mean like, obviously like if I went to another skate park that I’d not been to, the locals might be a bit like ‘oh we’re more important’ - skating in front and that, but like sublimely that sort of has an effect in Hebden slightly, but then it’s sort of not at all, cos once you get skating and chatting to everyone it’s sound you know, I mean it’s just another person from Hebden you know what I mean, so it’s sort of good

 

AJC:

Yeah…..would you say that…here’s a strange question – do you think skateboarding should be an Olympic sport?

 

JB:

…….yeah, I’d like it to be. I don’t reckon the British Government with their Health and Safety Policies would agree, but definitely it should cos there’s a lot of skill involved, you know, I mean, definitely professional skatboarders and that; you just look at Mike Wright, you know what I mean, some of t’stuff he does is just like mind-boggling you know I mean, and it’s like, he definitely should be applauded you know I mean, a pat on t’back for that.

 

AJC:

Absolutely.

 

JB:

So I don’t know – yeah, if you can do it, like if people are that skilled they should round up people and just get them together you know I mean?

 

AJC:

Yeah, I’d go with that. Is there a good skateboarding crowd generally then?

 

JB:

Round Hebden Bridge, yeah, definitely like, but as I said with work and that I can’t get about all t’time, but whenever I come down it’s like, you get people from like Sowerby Bridge and Halifax and Huddersfield and they all come down; everyone recognises each other after a couple of trips down and that, so it’s just like chilling with people from t’Bridge and that, so….it’s good.

 

AJC:

So, what famous skateboarders or teams do you like, and why?

 

JB:

…..well…..it’s been a while since I’ve really watched any like videos and that, but…..like any skaters and you know what I mean, little edits and that, I usually just see what people find on You Tube and that, but I don’t know…..I think there was a guy called….from Brazil…..he’s called Fabrizio Santos or summat, it’s going like a couple of years back; he’s absolutely incredible.

 

AJC:

So, what other things do you do besides skating?

 

JB:

Well I work a lot, working on tumble driers and that – they’re well fun, but I’m in a group, a hip hop collective called ‘Recorded Filth’ and that, we’ve been doing a lot of gigs recently and that, but it’s sort of slowed down a bit so we’re gonna work on some new material and that, but apart from skating, working….yeah just earning money and that, performing and stuff you know I mean, yeah it’s quite fun

 

AJC:

That’s great. Skating and ‘Recorded Filth’ and working

 

JB:

‘Recorded Filth’ yeah

 

AJC:

So, what’s the job then?

JB:

It’s…..I build tumble driers basically. Don’t be confused with washing machines – it’s tumble driers [laughing] I tell all my mates and they like ‘oh are you still at the washing machine factory?’… ‘it’s tumble driers!’ [laughter]

 

AJC:

A common question then. So, how often do you skate and how long?

 

JB:

Well I used to skate practically every day before I got my job, that’s before I got my job and that, but since I’ve got my job I can’t really afford to injure myself until I’m a permanent worker, so I’ve had to ease off a bit skating – I bray my knees all t’time, I’m a bit silly like, falling over and stuff, but like it’s usually like I get a good day’s skating like every two week or summat. If I time it right, like a lot of other people go to other skate parks so it’s a lot quieter, so I can get more done you know what I mean, like I can just work out tricks and that, but recently like, I’ve been coming out of t’pub and that and seeing people with skateboards and that – they’ve had a day skating round t’streets and that and I can still do stuff and it’s like

 

AJC:

What even after the pub?

 

JB:

Yeah, I can do it better after the pub than I do like….cos with t’heat and stuff I come down, I’m not used to t’heat, you know what I mean

 

AJC:

Even with the tumble driers?

 

JB:

It’s bad in a factory and that, but you come down to skate and I end up laying on t’grass most of t’time just like…..and you feel fine, you get on t’skateboard and it’s…..dripping with sweat, you know what I mean, so if it’s got a nice breeze you know what I mean with it then it’s alright and I can do stuff, but you don’t have the energy half the time when it’s weather like this, so

 

AJC:

I know what you’re saying, yeah, it’s been getting to me today has the weather actually. So, what about music then? You say you play with ‘Recorded Filth’ or you perform with ‘Recorded Filth’ – but what kind of music do you like and are there any skate videos that you are actually into?

 

JB:

Well, skate videos-wise…that ‘expand the Hebden Bridge skate park’ video, I mean check it out….I’m chatting loads of nonsense and that, but it’s just like…..little edit with like….unsigned skateboarders and stuff like, cos….sort of the same aspects like I think with music and that, like I’m not into what’s in the charts and stuff, like I find the little gems – you’ve got to look for them rather than it just being provided on t’radio or this is what you should be watching at the minute like, so if you look for it you’ll find that stuff and you find a lot of talented people, like just searching, do you know what I mean? Skateboarding – You Tube’s great for it you know what I mean, like you’ll find all sorts on there and that, but off t’top of my head I couldn’t really like name any, but I’ve got a big folder saved off You Tube and that of like videos like, but like I say with working and stuff you don’t get the chance to watch them and that, but

 

AJC:

What about music? What kind of music do you like?

 

JB:

Music-wise I’m into a lot of hip hop and that like with being in ‘Recorded Filth’ so I’ve just grown up with it, you know what I mean, although drum and bass, I’m a fond fan of drum and bass. At work with my play list I’ve got a big hip hop one and then I switch over to drum and bass and do a bit of work, and then slow down and play some hip hop and that, so….I like anything really, providing the effort’s gone in to it then I sort of like listen to it, but I don’t know….if it’s stuff on t’radio, I can’t stand it, it’s like people get paid so much for just untalentness nonsense you know what I mean, it drives me mad really you know what I mean, you’ve got….but I know a lot of local bands are a lot more talented and a lot more effort goes in to what they’re making and producing than like stuff you hear on Top of t’Pops and that, you know what I mean, it’s like I’ve stopped watching telly; I just can’t stand adverts and anything like that you know what I mean

 

AJC:

I think you do right actually, yeah

 

JB:

I just don’t like being force fed stuff you know what I mean like, I’d rather find it myself and do it myself, so

 

AJC:

That sounds great. So this piece of footage you’ve got on the internet then; is there a link to that?

 

JB:

It’s on You Tube. I think….I can’t fully remember what it’s called but it’s summat along the lines of ‘Help Expand Our Skate Park’ or summat. If you search in Hebden Bridge like after a bit, clicking through t’videos you’re bound to find it and that; it’s just a little interview of a few people. Kim Blackburn’s on it and like Mike Wright and Tony Allen are skating and stuff like that, and an old…..like a youth worker, James, do you remember James?

 

AJC:

I do remember James, yeah

 

JB:

He’s on it and Kim

 

AJC:

In fact I know all of the above

 

JB:

Yeah yeah, I think you might have been on it as well, you might have seen it back in t’day

 

AJC:

I think I probably did actually, a bit of it anyway.

 

JB:

So yeah, it’s just there, all of us lot trying to get together and we just arranged a day out, like bring everybody down - bikers, skateboarders, roller bladers, whatever, whoever wants to come, just show this is that many people who’ve used this and we sort of really need it a little bit bigger, and just to sort of express why we want an extension and all that you know what I mean, so….I don’t know – it was just good to get different points of view from people and that you know what I mean, and so…yeah I enjoyed it, but You Tube it.

 

AJC:

Thank you very much.

 

JB:

Alright, yeah, it’s a pleasure, I’m glad to have helped.

 

AJC:

And don’t work too hard, don’t get too hot and enjoy your skating when you get round to it.

 

JB:

I will yeah, it’s been fun

 

AJC:

I’ll catch your gig sometime. Cheers mate.

 

JB:

Alright, no worries.

[END OF TRACK 1]

 

About Us

Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

Get in touch

Pennine Heritage Ltd.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge
HX7 8DG

Phone: 01422 844450
Contact Us