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Document falls victim to the credit crunch

Well yes, the current economic climate’s over-eager scythe did have a good slash at us, but in the past ten years of making skateboarding appear on paper our sturdy legs have been kicked from under us more times than you could ever bear by various forms of monetary tree felling, and yet until now nothing ever got to us.


Well I guess essentially we were always small enough to duck a good shot and skinny enough to wriggle free of a tight chokehold. Our problems were always our own, we got ourselves into them and we again sorted them out!

As the years progressed people wanted more from us and so we gave them more, swelling in pages, readership and distribution. We soon began to notice that our size had made us an easier target and we started getting pulled on certain comments we’d made & articles we’d done, or rather not done.

People were paying more to be a part of the magazine and so I guess they had a right to voice an opinion. But when it came down to it, we stuck our backs against the wall and fought hard to do it the way we wanted, the way we as skateboarders thought was right.

Document was never going to be a promotional pamphlet for the people who had the deepest pockets; it was the news source and core opinion for the skaters who were lining those pockets.

That’s where people still get it all wrong, the industry doesn’t dictate the market, skateboarders do and without sounding patronizing we felt like we were voicing the delights and concerns of what skateboarders in the scene were feeling. We felt that was the essence of our role.

As I struggle to remember my life before skateboarding and now struggle to see my future within it, I start to doubt myself. Maybe we should have changed the way we did things, maybe we should have pandered to advertisers a little more. Maybe our priority should have been to appease those forty year old guys who sit in offices, sweating into their lattes over Power-point presentations on why something they don’t do isn’t selling.

Maybe we shouldn’t have kept ignoring all those calls from PR girls trying to place some faddish junk in the mag and maybe then it would still be going, maybe we could have been surfing high on a wave of marketing and the adulation of all those ex-skateboarders.

Fuck that… I’m glad its done, I’m glad we never bowed, I’m glad real skateboarders read it and called it their own and I’m glad the memory of Document is always going to be clean.

We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Percy Dean

Return to simple

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008


Return to simple

Return to simple
Nature is my passion – it’s been my obsession for as long as I can remember.

When I left the academic world to become a pig farmer a couple of years ago I was determined to get back to a more simplistic, natural way of life. My plan was to live and work on my own farm, raising free range animals and growing food as nature intended. I wanted to get back to basics. The idea was to put into practice some of the more traditional British farming methods. I wanted top quality, seasonal, fresh produce so I set about creating an environment and infrastructure on the farm to support this.

The type of farming that we practise here on the farm was commonplace before the Second World War; free range, low intensity – oh yes, that good old-fashioned farming. Five years on and I am proud to say that our farm produces rare-breed pork of the highest quality from slow-grown pigs that lead a completely free range life, roaming over pasture and woodland where they are able to root for wild garlic, chestnuts, acorns, tubers and grubs.

The variety and quality of food harvested from our nation’s countryside is one of our greatest assets. We have a wealth of farmers and small producers who grow or raise some of the best meats, fruit, vegetables and cheeses in Europe. The heartening thing is that there is much more interest now in where our food is coming from, how and where it is produced and who has produced it, not to mention the plethora of manuals and cookbooks out there telling you how to cook it! The growing interest in the provenance of food, environment and healthy diet means that people are more aware of what they are buying, cooking and eating.

It is cheering also to see that in many parts of Britain we have viable, lively local food economies, which bring together the farmers and consumers via small convenience shops, butchers and farmers’ markets. It is a growing trend – farmers’ markets are starting up all over the place, food festivals and shows draw larger and larger audiences and, at last, we seem to be waking up to the fact that it is not particularly difficult or expensive to eat real food. It occasionally takes a little bit of effort to seek out and maybe a little thought and time to prepare.

So, once home with a bag full of these wonderfully fresh, seasonal ingredients, what to do with them? I like to do as little as possible – one of my favourite dishes has to be slow roasted belly pork. A superb piece of free range pork, skin scored and sprinkled with sea salt to produce crunchy crackling, slow roasted for a couple of hours produces one of the richest, most comforting meals you can think of. Served with steamed vegetables, a dollop of creamy mash and the juices from the pan, this is a simple, traditional and wholesome supper. Fabulous!

Jimmy Doherty

Of the 5 million pigs in the UK, only 33,000 are organically reared.

Chew on this

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008


Chew on this

Chew on this
In these days of carbon counting, our focus is often guided toward what we believe to be the higher impact aspects of life – heating the house, flights and car journeys mostly. But what about the food 
we eat? The term ‘food miles’ is often banded around, but do we really know the entire story? 

The truth is our shopping baskets are spewing out more greenhouse gases than we first thought. In fact, scientists now know that our love for food accounts for up to twice as many emissions as our love for driving. So, is the simple answer to shop local? When you look at the supermarket shelves and see grapes from New Zealand, tomatoes from Spain and apples from Africa, locally-grown produce sounds like a logical answer, doesn’t it? 

Well, it does until you learn that the term ‘food miles’ is solely focused on the products’ CO2 emissions. But, when you throw other harmful gases like methane and nitrous oxide into the equation, then the food production process becomes a whole lot dirtier. Those two gases alone are known to be way more harmful to our atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Research shows that farm to fork transportation accounts for only 11% of food’s total carbon footprint, with up to 83% of the emissions coming from the food production process itself. The remaining 6% going into wholesale and retail, refrigeration and lighting.

The most emission-intensive foods are red meat and dairy. That’s down to the amount of fertiliser and food that farmers use to rear cows and the amount of CO2 and methane they expel (the cows, not the farmers). You might be surprised to know that the carbon footprint of a tasty steak is the equivalent to that of a 19-mile journey in a 4x4 and that a simple bowl of cereal creates the equivalent stink of driving 4.5 miles (the main culprit in your bowl being the milk rather than the cereal itself).

So, one way of reducing your carbon food-print could be to give meat the chop entirely. Switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet could cut your annual carbon footprint by the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per person. That might be a bit too much of a leap for some meatlovers, so perhaps another way could be to simply reduce the amount of red meat we eat. Maybe replacing it with a nice free-range chicken. Chickens eat less grain and fart out less methane, so, in turn, cause a lot less damage to our atmosphere.

I guess there’s no simple answer and we all have to make our own choices in the end.

Just some food for thought.

Fertilisers and manure release nitrous oxide, which is 296 times as good as CO2 at trapping heat and remains in the atmosphere for 114 years on average.

By 2050 meat consumption is expected to reach 465 million tonnes per annum.

Why I Ride

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008

Why I Ride
I ride my bike for selfish reasons.
I ride my bike so that I am not one of the ordinary people.
I ride my bike for the adrenaline, for the confidence it gives me, to feel empowered.
I ride my bike to be different, as a mountain biking woman you are something of an enigma.
I ride my bike to take me away from being a mum, an employee, old age, to being just me again.

I ride because I can.

Belinda Tarling
9 x National Masters XC Champion
2 x World Masters XC Champion

Why we need a real bread campaign

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008


Why we need a real bread campaign

Bread facts
What’s in a loaf of bread? Flour, water, yeast, salt and maybe some seeds or flakes? Wrong. 

Take a look at the label of an ordinary sliced loaf and you’ll find some other ‘ingredients’. You may wonder what ‘flour treatment agent’ is and your tongue may get tied over ‘diacetylated tartaric esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids’. But allow me to let you into a secret: there’s something else in your bread – and it’s not declared on the label.

The big ‘plant’ bakeries together with the instore supermarket bakeries account for about 95% of the bread eaten in the UK. And the vast majority of this is made using undeclared industrial enzymes. Amylase, xylanase, lipoxygenase, protease, hemicellulase and others, singly or in combination, often produced using GM technology, derived from cereal, fungal, bacterial or animal sources and added to bread in forms to which the human digestive system has never before been exposed – these are British bread’s tawdry little secret. Why aren’t they declared on bread labels? Because the law treats enzymes as ‘processing aids’ which, unlike ‘additives’, don’t need to be disclosed.

They may be perfectly safe, of course. Trusting folk will, no doubt, be content with assurances to this effect from the regulators – the very same regulators who allowed other additives like potassium bromate to adulterate our bread for decades until they were suspected of causing cancer. The more curious may wonder why, if added enzymes are so safe, the big bakers want to keep the good news that they are in our daily bread from us. Could there be a connection, some may wonder, between the cocktails of enzymes designed to make bread stay squishy for weeks and the growing number of people complaining of ‘bloating’ and other digestive sensitivities?

Research is needed into the effects of eating enzyme-laced bread. But people are unlikely to support calls for such research if they don’t know enzymes are in their bread in the first place. And anyway, isn’t it everyone’s right to know what they are eating?

Making food choices without all the necessary information leaves us confused and manipulated. It’s time to get real about bread. Enough of the additives (hidden or otherwise), the endless ‘healthy eating’ masquerade of charging more for sticking supplements into the same basic dough and the nostalgic marketing suggesting that bread is ‘as good for you now as it’s ever been’ when in fact modern hybrid wheats, bred for intensive farming, are less rich in micronutrients, when white flour is so depleted by milling that it has – by law – to be fortified with chalk, iron and two synthetic B vitamins, and when bread is mixed and baked so fast that there is no time for fermentation to make it more nutritious and digestible.

We’re starting a Real Bread Campaign, to encourage more people to make, buy, share and enjoy proper bread. If it’s going to happen, we need to make everyone aware of the adulteration that’s going on. The labels on most loaves are deceptive and incomplete, so let’s stick one on ‘em!

Real bread activists might arm themselves will little blocks of sticky labels, printed with the missing information about enzymes. On visits to the supermarket, they might spend a few moments peacefully making good the information deficit on those loaves with the hidden additives. And then we all might open our eyes and make a real choice.

Andrew Whitley

Author of Bread Matters (Fourth Estate)

and founder of the Real Bread Campaign.

More info:


Our Farmer

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008


Our Farmer

Our Farmer
Our Farmer, who art in Devon,
Hallowed be thy tractor's name,
Thy supermarket will come,
Their orders will be done,
On time as it is in their quote,
Give them this day our daily milk,
And forgive us our overheads,
as we forgive those who trespass on our land,
And lead us not into bankruptcy,
But deliver us by tanker,
For thine is the dairy,
the Jersey, and the Friesian,
for Tesco and Asda,
Ooh Arrmen.


What happens when you wake up one morning and have no oil?

What Happens when you run out of oil?
The USSR collapsed in 1990/91. Cuba’s ability to feed itself collapsed with it. Overnight it had 80% less oil and no money for imports. The next two years were called “Special Period”. They were not that special. Everyone ate less.

They had no choice but to grow their own food and go organic. Oxen replaced the tractors. Old ways replaced chemical fertilizers. Every bit of land that could possibly grow something, did.

These small organic farms and gardens located in urban areas became known as Organiponicos. 

They learnt to be farmers again.

Cuba now leads the world in sustainability in urban locations. Cuba’s infant mortality rate is lower than that of the US, while at 77 years life expectancy is the same. Approximately 90% of its food is organic.

How would we cope without oil?

The total oil imported into the UK per day is 1,084,000 barrels.

Here’s to the slow guy

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008


Here’s to the slow guy

Here's to the slow guy
The Slow Food international movement officially began when delegates from 15 countries endorsed this manifesto, written by founding member Folco Portinari, on 9 November 1989.

Our century, which began and has developed under the insignia of industrial civilization, first invented the machine and then took it as its life model. We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods.

To be worthy of the name, Homo Sapiens should rid himself of speed before it reduces him to a species in danger of extinction. A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life.

May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency. Our defense should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavours and savours of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food.

In the name of productivity, Fast Life has changed our way of being and threatens our environment and our landscapes. So Slow Food is now the only truly progressive answer. That is what real culture is all about: developing taste rather than demeaning it. And what better way to set about this than an international exchange of experiences, knowledge, projects?

Slow Food guarantees a better future.

Slow Food is an idea that needs plenty of qualified supporters who can help turn this (slow) motion into an international movement, with the little snail as its symbol.

Push the bees where they want to go

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2008


Push the bees where they want to go

Push the bees where they want to go
A stinging insect that evolved 35 million years ago collects nectar from plants. It converts this into honey and stores it so that it can survive the winter as a social unit. To protect this store of honey, each worker bee is armed with a sting which is capable of producing severe irritation, and, at worse death.

There is no substance in nature (unprocessed) that is sweeter than honey. In a world without sugar, bees’ nests were prized discoveries and great efforts were made to steal the honey. Some of the earliest cave paintings show men with ropes and ladders, and flaming brands, climbing up to bees’ nests to hack off some of the comb to get at what must have seemed like an impossibly sweet substance.

Now it all seems so much more civilised; bees are kept in wooden beehives, managed by beekeepers who have an intimate knowledge how the social organisation of the hive works, and are able to manipulate them to their own advantage, to produce colossal crops of honey and also to provide much needed pollination to the huge acreages of crops like almonds, oranges, apples, courgettes, tomatoes, etc.But in fact it only seems that way. Anyone who works with bees knows that you are really only a bystander. Bees still do what they want and their behaviour is ultimately determined by the weather.

If you keep bees at the bottom of your garden, you are sharing your garden with a wild animal, which, like most wild animals, lives a precarious life at the margin of survival. It will swarm if it wants to and go to live elsewhere, and will only produce a honey surplus over and above its daily needs if the sun shines. And this is actually the point. Keeping bees gets you honey, but is also gets you a way into the way nature works. By understanding the way bees respond to all the different aspects of the natural world, the beekeeper is able to recover his own relationship to the natural world through bees.

Beekeepers are much more sensitive to things like the weather because they understand the importance of sunshine to the bees’ ability to gather nectar. You soon come to realise that you can only get what nature gives you.

Around 15% of our diet consists of crops which are pollinated by bees.
The honey bee will visit up to 500 flowers in any one day to collect nectar.

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