The Flowerpot Man - the English skateboarding equivalent of the American dream.
Barney Page did it. The English skateboarding equivalent of the American dream, he came from a forgotten little town called Exeter with a generic pre- fab skatepark (the Flowerpot, about which more later) complete with crappy surfaces and a skate scene you could count on two hands. Today he is a top boy, mixing it with the elite of international skateboarding and holding his own amongst them. In earlier generations of British skateboarding, it was possible to get ahead just by being better than average at one aspect of skating: Stinker- Tech, Super- Pop or Team Manager’s Favourite.
Not any more. To come up today you need to have the full complement- power, bravery, style, imagination, the lot.
Barney did it, because Barney has it.
Hey Barney, how are you doing?
All good, thanks- yourself?
Very well. What has you in Switzerland at the moment?
I’m with Etnies right now- cool trip so far...
And are you just coming off the back of another one before that?
Actually, I just went home for a little bit before I came here- first time in about eight months.
Back to Exeter? You’re going to miss the opening of the new Flowerpot park this weekend...
Maaaaan....I know! (Sounds deflated)...the day I got there, they took away the old park and I watched them rebuild it and like one week before it opens, off I go again!
Still (cheering himself up)... it’s not going anywhere.
Do you have mixed feelings about it, what with the memories of the old one?
Yes, I do- I have a tattoo of a little flowerpot. I grew up skating there with all my friends- maybe eight or nine years.
Was the old park the one with the hipped mini ramp?
Yeah, that’s it man- it was Skatelite; the ground was pretty rough though!
But you’re a carpenter by trade- theoretically you could knock yourself up a mini ramp?
Yeah that’s right- I did carpentry for a few years when I left school; I’d like to think a could knock a ramp up- never actually tried, mind you... maybe someday.
The first time I saw you was via Rob Selley at Motive Skateboards; do you think Motive was one of the great “Nearly-Could- Have- Beens” of British skateboarding?
For sure, man. Not really sure what happened there, to be honest…
It was a bonkers team, really…
…yeah, that’s exactly what I thought as well, and I guess a lot of other people did too, but for some reason it just didn’t work out. Kind of gutting, really.
There was you, Dave Snaddon, Dylan Hughes…
…Sean Smith, Jack Edwards, Leo Smith. Such a team. The sad thing was, we only actually did one trip together but it was one of the best trips ever.
So now you are on Enjoi and Etnies- how did that all come about?
Originally I got boards from Sami (Seppala) at Dwindle, but then I went out to San Jose to stay with Ben (Raemers) at Jerry (Hsu)’s house for about three months. I was with Mark Suciu in LA at the Transworld Cinematographer project premiere and I bumped into the Etnies Team Manager who invited me on a trip, we went around a handful of states- and it basically went from there.
Do you feel like it improves your skating to be alongside the highest level dudes, or is it more pressure than you were used to?
Well…( rolls the question around) I try not to think about it too much, to be honest. I mean, there is a sense in which it hypes you up and makes you try harder when you are surrounded by people who are just killing it. It’s fun to be around that.
You ever get homesick?
Not so much- but that’s why I just went home just then. Sometimes it’s nice to have somewhere to go back to and chill… get off other people’s floors for a while.
Was this part of a plan?
No, no- not at all, actually. I was just having fun and it built from there…somehow! I was fortunate, I guess. I try not to think about (plans) too much really because that’s when it gets crazy. When you start taking it too seriously, life gets harder. You just have to chill out and have a good time.