A Book of '80s Skate Shop Photographs by Francis Makiej
PHOTOS BY FRANCIS MAKIEJ
SPOILER ALERT: I Made a Book/Zine
Facebook sucks. (Full stop). If I were to think of something valuable about the platform or “product” as some call it, I wouldn’t try to kid you with claims about “connecting the world” or “providing a space for people to share ideas.” Nah. It’s not that. If I collected things, I might say Facebook Marketplace is kind of great but I rarely use Zuck’s creation. However, several years ago a page appeared with the images above, along with a grip of other equally stunning, weird, cool, and innocent photos of kids and their (mostly) new skateboard decks. I may not be a collector but I’m a digital hoarder so I downloaded them all, contacted said admin, and waited.
The photos are from a shop called Mackies Skateboards and Bicycle Shop but for the skate of brevity, we’re going to refer to it as Mackies Skateboards. Notice there’s no apostrophe? That’s how it was written back in the ‘80s and I’m going to honor that. Mackies was located in Lowell, Massachusetts. I went there once. All I remember was that they had a great board wall and low ceilings. I don’t remember who told us that Lowell was a great city to ride skateboards in but it was, so one Saturday we convinced an older cat to drive us there and he did. That’s huge. He even took us to RRR Records and I bought a Uniform Choice cassette for $3.99 (the good one). Anyway, we were skating some stairs and I broke my board.
One of the members of our ragtag crew was convinced he knew where Mackies was and he kind of did. It took us about 15 minutes longer to get to the shop but we made it, I secured a new board and we were back to spot hunting. No, I don’t have any romantic recollection of the smell of the ink on said board, I don’t even know what board it was. In fact, the only detail I do recall was this older guy who drove us there being cool enough to spot me the 50 bucks to buy the board until I got home. That was a miracle. I didn’t have a bank account, let alone an ATM card.
That was a day in 1990 and now we’re in 2022. Time travel, it’s fucking amazing. Anyway, I was so obsessed with these images that I wanted to put them into some type of book situation and for years I messed around with layouts and asked a few friends to mock things up, but nothing ever happened. I spoke to Mackie and his son, and got their blessing, but for some reason, I was overthinking the whole shit.
You see, I do this. I was stuck on the title: INCOMPLETE. COMPLETE. ABOUT FACE (you know, graphics had a lot of faces on them back then and so do kids!). BIG CHOICE.
I got to that point where everything sounds like both a great and terrible title all at once. I shit you not, I was walking around and thought, “Boards… you know, you’re choosing your identity! Not necessarily choosing your ADVENTURE, you’re choosing your pro!” Don’t worry, I didn’t go where you think I might.
Instead, I fired up my bootleg copy of Illustrator and got what could be a book to the finish line… almost.
Then I had the fear. I didn’t want to finally get this thing done and have it look like ass, so I asked Adrian Koenigsberg to help design it. As a fan of her design work and handling of type, I knew she’d knock it out and she did.
There’s even info below:
60 Pages First Edition Soft Cover | Premium Photo Paper | Perfect Bound | 5.70 x 8.26 inches
“When you bought a board in the '80s you were finding an identity. Graphics remained in circulation for years and your board was supposed to last. Basically, you're stuck with that fucker for a while and people are going to judge, so you better choose wisely.”
Makies Skateboards is a collection of photographs selected from hundreds of images taken in the 1980s by Francis “Makie” Makiej at his skateboard and bike shop in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Thank you to Adrian for her design work.
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Thanks for peeping and maybe purchasing the book.