The Tale of Billy Askim

The Tale of Billy Askim

Back when I was a Glasgow skater there was a guy we looked up to. His name was Billy and we didn’t know his second name, so someone named him Askim (as in ask him his second name). The guy was a dude, always mysteriously turning up and upstaging the other skaters. There was one tale of Billy taking on the deadly hills of Patrick.

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Apparently it was a dark foggy night and Billy had been up all night enjoying himself. He set off home to his bed; feeling the need to navigate Gardiner Street as this was the shortest route and potentially a bloody good ride. Pointed down the hill, lying back down to the board, he looked back to his mates whilst they looked on at the ensuing craziness. There were cars on either side and he couldn’t see for the fog. Progressing at breakneck-speed he entered that moment of tombstoning where there’s no turning back, to get off would involve a more serious accident than just bashing into whatever came his way. It always had to be this way, only a total nutter would attempt this hill. His friends were looking on but had lost him some time ago, no screams yet. Then a screech as a car pulled out from a road nearer to the bottom of the hill. Billy Askim had the skill to swerve out the way at the last minute and arrived at the bottom by Dumbarton Road. He got up, sighed and had arrived home.

For this painting made for the Museum of Transport I was trying to link this crazy story with some of the fantasy type artwork of the 80‘s Powell/Peralta era, George Grosz cityscapes, mediæval hell paintings and the graphic art of Mexican day of the dead. Not sure how successful I was but I did have a good time painting it.

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