by Joel Patterson

I root for Manchester United. I drink Guinness. I understand the relation between the stopper, the sweeper, and the keeper. I know the Spurs don’t only play in San Antonio. I can use the phrase “tracky bottoms” in a sentence. I know how I take my tea. I can hum the tune that accompanies the lyric “Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough.” I know the locations of the following places: the bog, the Vetch, the Mumbles, and Old Trafford. I read When Saturday Comes, and I get excited when I see a piece by Harry Pearson. And I hate Cardiff. Wankers.

I have, in short, become a tiny bit British. But not because my last name is the name of some sheep-infested hamlet in Scotland (whose isn’t?), and certainly not because I envy their weather. I’m part Limey because of my association with a Welshman named Paul Phillips. His friends call him Skin. He prefers that.

Four and a half years ago, Skin took a job as the assistant editor at TransWorld SKATEboarding. He came to the U.S. and began shooting lots of skate photos. He also wrote stories, and gossip columns, and biting responses to letters. He married a Welsh girl named Jo, and they lived in Carlsbad. Ah, I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was yesterday.

Well, change is constant-or so they tell me-and Skin and Jo have returned to Blighty to live in London and watch footy at night (not 6:00 a.m.). But don’t give up hope, Skin is still an integral part of our machine, and his moving there will hopefully expand our coverage of Europe beyond the horribly repetitive summer contest circuit articles-of which, oddly enough, I wrote the latest installment. You’ll find it on page 133 of this issue.

Other changes include the demotion of Mandatory Information from two pages to one column (thank God), the addition of a new section called Tangent (“aren’t lifesyle pieces fantastic!”), and heavy use of the second-person narrative (you nod your head approvingly).

Is all this over your head? That’s a change, too! Welcome to Volume 17 of TransWorld SKATEboarding-Skinless, but full of bones.

I’ll get me coat.