Loyalty To The Scene – Andrew Currie

Andrew will never abandon skating in Sydney, nor suppress the karaoke beast.

I’ve just finished typing out a conversation I had with Andrew Currie a month ago. In these words he talks about what Australia means to him, and what it takes to make your own scene on your terms. I think that’s important and something that gets overlooked, because if there weren’t skaters with the integrity of Andrew Currie, there’d be no local scenes and eventually no scene at all.

How come you never ended up living in America?

I’ve been over there four times. The longest period was for six months. It was good and I enjoyed it, but that was enough. Realistically, it’s hard; you have to get visa approval and all that stuff. I knew enough people who had tried to do it and it just seemed like such an effort-such a nightmare basically. I like Australia; I like the lifestyle here; I like to be around my friends.

Did you not click with people in America?

I have a lot of good friends over there, and some of them showed me a really good time. But it’s different than being around the people you grew up with. Those are the people you’re really close to. I’m married, so it’s not just me making a life for myself. Debby has to as well. It’s a lot easier for me, because I have skateboarding as a common denominator to meet people. For Debby to make friends over there it’d be really hard.

What’s the difference between Australian skateboarding and American skateboarding?

Skateboarding in America is taken really seriously. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing-that’s why it progresses the way it does. People take it seriously because they have the potential to make some serious money. Whether you like it or not, when money becomes involved, it becomes more of a profession. Whereas in Australia, it’s not that people don’t try as hard, there’s a lot of potential. But at the end of the day, no one is making any money. In a way that’s kept skateboarding kind of pure-not to sound like a wanker or anything. If you’re still skateboarding in Australia after a couple of years, it means you’re doing it because you enjoy doing it. There’s no contract to uphold, that’s a big difference.

Why do you choose to live in Sydney?

It’s big, so there’s a lot of different areas to go street skating, which is the same in Melbourne. The way skateboarding is right now, it’s good to be close to a city.Outside of the major cities there doesn’t seem to be that much to skate. When everybody comes to the city, do you think that hinders local scenes?

No, it’s the same in America. We’ve got six or seven capital cities, only three of them are good to skate. In America there’re 50 states, out of them maybe twenty are good. It’s all relative. I don’t think anyone outside of Sydney misses out.What’s the Australian attitude about?

You can’t generalize a whole race of people. It’s like saying all Americans are ignorant. I could say that Australia’s really laid back and everyone’s here for a good time. But that wouldn’t be accurate, because there’re people here who take skateboarding seriously and want to get ahead. For me, it’s my friends. Even though it’d be good to make thousands of dollars from skateboarding, at what expense? Going to another country and trying to become friends with the right people and all that crap, for what? Here I don’t have to fake it. I don’t have to be someone I’m not. I’m with the people I know and that’s what it’s about.Explain to me what an “idea man” is?

Without passing any social commentary ’cause I don’t have the right to, the Australian as an “ideas man” is definitely circumstantial. Basically we’re this big island in the middle of f-king nowhere. We’re a long way from anyone else and resources are pretty good for modern times, but in other ways resources are limited, so thus has stemmed the ideas man. The Australian has a good capacity to make good with what he’s got. We’re so far away from any scene, it’d be pretentious to act like we’re part of another scene. We figure, “F-k it, we’ll have our own scene.” That’s what you’ve noticed. The majority of us don’t want to be like anyone else. It’s more about having our own scene with what we’ve got. Time is a kind of stepping stone. It’s a collaboration of ideas men.

You seem like a quiet, easy-going guy. When Westy Christian West told me you went off doing karaoke, I didn’t believe him-until I saw for myself. Do you only go off around friends, or is there something we don’t know?

I think everybody harbors some sort of beast within.

And you have a karaoke beast within you?

It is burning, Skin, that’s right, from deep within. There’re nights when I wake up early in the wee, wee hours with the desire to just shake a move on the mic, and do what I do. There’s nothing I can do about it.

If there were one song to karaoke to, what would it be?

I’d definitely choose Simple Minds, “Don’t You Forget About Me.” It’s the 80s connection, I can’t fight it.

What does your wife Debby think about all this?

Well, Debby’s a professional singer, and as far as she’s concerned I’m all right.