Casa da Musica is a major cultural landmark in our new home of Porto. It is also an improvised skatepark. Skaters and other tricksters come from all over to carve the splendid ‎undulations in which this hard edged concrete crystal palace sits. That’s one of the things I love about this town. A ‘live and let live’ attitude (or even ‘live and let thrive’), that sees skate punks side by side with classical musicians. All over town, renovations are geared to keeping an interwoven social fabric, so that urban renewal in the heart of town does its utmost to keep old folks and students living side by side, with artisans and even – why not? a yuppie or two. But that’s not what this post is about. Back to the skaters.


Watching their rolling parade and pirouettes with the girls the other day, I was reminded of my daily grind with my brother in the 80’s. We would be out in the street, or the banked tennis courts near our house, every single day, practising tricks until we had them dialed. That involved a lot of falls, and the requisite bumps and bruises. “How can we teach our kids grit?” asked a recent article in the US press. Can you teach grace under pressure, or smiling in the face of adversity. Watching the skaters executing their tricks, some flawlessly, some flailing, I was reminded of skateboarding’s most eloquent ambassador, the godfather of contemporary streetstyle. I can think of no better lesson than his observations about falling down. Here it is in full, with a few iconic shots by Hugh Holland, of when Rodney and his crew of contemporaries were still kids, falling and getting back up again, over and over.