I’ve been in Memphis for 6 days in the hospital now. Yesterday I decided to venture out into the outer regions of Memphis. In the process of exploring the city I discovered a hidden d.i.y. mecca for skateboarding right next to the railroad tracks, deep in the heart of Memphis.
I met a man named Swampy and had a conversation with a fellow named “Jungle” about a northern chinese skatepark with bowls as far as the eye can see. Jungle went on to tell me about how he had smashed a bottle on a man’s face the night before, and that’s how he ended up with the light black eye he wore on the left side of his face. A friend named Garner gave me the run down on the how the spot known as Altown came to be and showed me his broken finger from the brawl the night before.
A group of kids from the neighborhood came by and Jungle gave them a lesson on how to ollie and do a kick turn on the quarterpipe. I ended up giving the kids a board I had and continued to tell them you need to put grip tape on it before you ride it. Chad, another local of the spot, continued to mash around and front bluntslide this hump shaped feature as a couple other friends poured bags of concrete and water together to shape a new object to eventually slap their boards on.
I examined the walls surrounding Altown, and after an ok from the locals I spent a few hours painting one of these cement canvases. I felt honored to leave a mark on such an epic hole in the ground.
Night fell and we had a fire in the park. Swampy threw a couch onto the flames and the fire began to explode and shoot large pieces of concrete into the air. Each explosion shot sparks into the black sky and the locals began to skate and howl in the fire light as the night went on. I came in as a stranger into their memphis paradise and walked out a friend. I won’t forget this place anytime soon. -May 27th, 2014 Memphis, Tennessee