Consortium Black

The Terrible Company started at a small prefabricated concrete skatepark at the War Memorial Park in Coventry – known to some as Covpark. Over the course of a few summers, some friends had spent time learning to ride skateboards and BMX bikes at the skatepark, and by 2003, we decided we wanted to try and make our own video. This is the story of that video. 

Before we begin... You won't find Consortium Black online anywhere. My videos are pretty amateur at the best of times but Consortium Black is something very obviously made by a bunch of teenagers who didn't know what they were doing, and I don't think it holds up compared to some of the other older videos.

Covpark, in its original incarnation (which still stands at the time of writing), was never very good. However, the scene down there has always been good, friendly, inclusive and indicative of what makes Coventry skateboarding great. At one point in time, the skatepark was central to the whole skate scene, and on any given Saturday afternoon you would find the most notable names within the scene at the time down there. 

My introduction to the skatepark came shortly after it was built in 2001. Fresh off of playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, I had managed to convince my mum to invest in something to go use at the skatepark. My mum was concerned about how much damage I could cause to myself skateboarding, so a compromise was made, and I got a BMX bike – I already knew how to ride a bike, so what harm could doing some jumps on a BMX do? I spent a considerable amount of time riding, but I also would constantly borrow my friends skateboards and learn the basics of pushing around car parks, pumping quarter pipes and getting the tiniest of ollies.

By the time 2003 rolled around, I had convinced my mum to get me a cheap Toys R Us setup, and gradually updated it with an Element Bam Margera board, and scrounged some Venture trucks and Spitfire wheels from my mates. We were visiting the skatepark every day that we could – but we were intimidated by these really good local skaters at the park. There were loads of super rad people who would turn up, like Chris Mander and Ralph Cooper… Hey, they sound familiar…

I don’t have any relevant photos from this time, so… Here’s a picture of that Bam deck I had at the time.

To avoid embarrassing ourselves in front of the really good skaters, we used to go down at 8 in the morning. Seeing as we all lived in the neighbouring areas to the park, this gave us a significant advantage: we didn’t have to travel far and we had the park to ourselves for practically all morning. We had done this for a couple of years quite successfully dodging any embarrassing encounters with people who might dismiss us as posers. But the time we got was never enough, I just wanted to skate all day, every day. 

Immersed in skateboarding culture, we became obsessed with videos like “The DC Video”, Flip’s “Sorry” and Girl’s “Yeah Right!”. Eventually a group of us got together and thought “Hey maybe we could make one of these?”. That group included Andy McKinlay, James Smolka, Richard Sherwood, Gavin Thompson, Tom & Rob Birchall, and myself. Apart from the odd couple of BMX riders, we were all skateboarders at the time. Even still, our shared use of the skatepark meant we all just threw in footage of whatever we were riding. There were no barriers thrown up in our friend group, everyone was involved. 

Rich Sherwood’s dad had an old video camera from 1998 that we had managed to get our hands on – Rich brought it down to Covpark and we started filming each other’s tricks. None of the tricks were particularly impressive (mostly ollies on, over or off things, with some basic lip tricks as well), but it was exciting to be out filming our own skate video. The comical quirk of the video camera we used was that the date was constantly on display, and because the date had never been set properly it was always showing as “1.1.1998”.

We would vary up the terrain by filming mini ramp tricks in Rich’s backyard, where he had a 4 ft high mini ramp at the bottom of his garden, with a 3 foot high micro built into one end. As we got braver, we would venture into the city centre to discover street spots and film whatever we could do there. The more we filmed, the more we enjoyed it – this was beginning to feel like a real video. 

We thought we had a pretty great lineup for our video, but through our early morning sessions we had met some other locals who enjoyed the early morning vibes at the skatepark. Richard “Rosko” Chambers and Ryan Stanway would turn up and skate the park, for the same reasons we did. We quickly became friends with them and began to film with them at Covpark too. Rosko in particular had some really good tricks that impressed us straight off the bat, and before we knew it he was filming a last part for our video. None of these tricks stand up to how good Rosko would become later on in the blog’s life, but at the beginning it seemed awesome in my eyes. 

After a few months, we had a selection of tapes filled with antics and tricks from the summer. Our camera recorded to a VHS tape, which then had to be put into a VHS player, hooked up to a PC. Sherwood, Andy and myself would sit and painstakingly capture the footage, and then we loaded it onto several CD’s for me to take back to my house and edit. 

I had a super basic family PC, and Windows Movie Maker. I managed to throw this video together, and in a moment of madness envisioned a future where we had our own skateboard company, where we printed pro boards, our own t-shirts, our own stickers, and distributed them out to other locals. I definitely got ahead of myself. Part of this also prompted me to make a website which went into more detail. It’s essentially the foundation for what this blog is today. The finished video was called Consortium Black. Consortium was meant to be the name of our new skateboard company, starting a recurring theme for this blog of using very corporate language in a subversive, daft way. 

And to cap things off… Here is the bare minimum snippet of Consortium Black that will ever be online.

The making of this video actually started several different threads within my life. Not only would this blog begin with that video from 2003, but my extensive experience of editing videos began by making Consortium Black, and the pieces were put in place that would lead to my career as a graphic designer. Consortium Black is a fun little project made by a bunch of teenagers that inadvertently changed my life forever, but the things that are best about it are the things you will find in any Terribleco video: good mates, good times and just having a laugh with skateboarding.

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