Interview with Mark Calape
Mark, nicknamed Swarf, moved to in Milton Keynes in 1990 because his father got a job with Milton Keynes Council. Mark was introduced to skateboarding through his father, who tried to show him how to make a board jump. His first skateboard was a cheap £20 board from Argos. Marks friends then took up skateboarding and they would regularly skateboard outside his house, where his stepfather built them a box with metal casing on the edge to do tricks on. They would then go to Station Square on the weekends and do all the tricks they had been practising on the box. Mark says skateboarding meant no strict training guideline; ‘it was just hang out with your mates and skate’.
Mark comments on how diverse his group of fellow skateboarders were, but how they were all connected on the basis of skateboarding a hobby which embraced individual style. Mark remembers learning new tricks from VHS videos he would watch in the shop in the City Centre called ’Shotgun’. Mark comments on the negative side of skateboarding in Milton Keynes when his friends would heckle security guards and the security guards would make racist remarks. Mark explains how Milton Keynes evolved the sport and that Olympic skateboarding today is based around the architectural mould of Milton Keynes- with ledges and banks.
Mark says how he was made to choose between skateboarding a dancing. He explains that his worst experience whilst skateboarding was when he fractured his foot during a photoshoot.
Mark returned to skateboarding through his son who wanted to start skateboarding. He feels it has taught his son persistence because if you fall, you get back up. Mark now teaches skateboarding, where he can teach between twenty to fifty children at once. Mark concludes that skateboarding has taught him to not be afraid to try things and to be different.