...Either that or they've just taken a crash course in Gonzo journalism. How else to explain the hellish visions paraded before us on this morning's Breakfast News. And, no, I'm not talking about Kate Silverton's pastel pink, Nehru jacketed twin set and wedge heels combo - although, for the record, NO KATE, NO! It is 2009 Ferchrissakes and you are not, repeat *not* Audrey Hepburn auditioning for the role of Mr. Magoo's even more short-sighted wife.
No, the disturbing hallucination passing for a an interest-worthy news item was a bizarre film about a Christian ministry aimed exclusively at the devotees of that persistent and timehonoured craze-cum-hobby commonly known as Skateboarding. That's right, for some reason known only to the drug-/Hunter S. Thompson- [delete as applicable] addled mind of the film's creator, we are introduced to our guide through this satyricon on wheels; I'm only slightly exagerating when I tell you his name is Ulysses Gongolphus Anthracite Moon Harbinger III. You've probably already guessed that our Ulysses is of American extraction and may or may not have been John Belushi in a former life. He's also been given an 'awesome' opportunity to extend the ministry of Christ's teachings to those who would ordinarily be too immersed in being raced to casualty on a drip-feed after coming a-cropper in mid-triple-overhead somersault to pay any mind to the Good News of Risen Lamb of God. That's right - this is no ordinary church: this is Ramp Camp.
And so powerful is the appeal of Ramp Camp that even hard-faced, heavily tattooed blonde ladies who look as if they know their way around a few darkened alleyways themselves are sending their spindly, board twizzling progeny into the care of Ulysses PuffAdder Macrame Knee Botherer II's tender care. So, rather than waste precious hours that could be spent in spiritual improvement and the contemplation of the infinite mindlessly swivelling a piece of balsa wood that's had some roller skate wheels stuck onto it beneath their feet, they can wheel into 'Ramp 48' (I'm guessing that's what they call their place of worship instead of 'Church'), pick up a tatty paperback Bible with a scary cartoon (presumably of Jesus - although with the beard and the piercings, it could be someone from Slipknot I suppose...) on the cover and....again, I'm guessing here.....mindlessly swivel a piece of balsa wood that's had some roller skate wheels stuck onto it beneath their feet whilst Ulysses P. Orridge in Kanchelskis XIX prattles on about Jesus.
This next bit is more guesswork, I'm afraid, as it's far too early in the morning for a delicate and - let's be honest - booze-addled mind like mine to fully comprehand what's going on in this obscene inferno with the first cup of tea of the day still barely even sipped. Matters are made worse by the fact that the crazed Gonzo mind behind this has eschewed the habitual narrative voice that would drone on over these images of scrawny yank kids in baseball caps and baggy t-hirts and give them some kind of thematic unity with the other images presented. Instead, we're left with these odd, disconnected voices talking, alternately, about skateboards and religion and we just have to assume that these people actually exist somewhere in the world and have valid reasons to be the way they are, instead of being allowed to ignore the item altogether and distractedly wonder what Kate Silverton's like in bed, as one usually would.
It's a bizarre temple, is this. You see, where there would normally be pews and those little block cushions you can rest your knees on whilst your praying (or, more likely, pretending to pray whilst wondering if you should take a punt on young Jack Wilshere in your Daily Telegraph Dream Team...) there's what can only be described as a ginormous, curved piece of even thicker balsa wood - sort of life size, wooden version of those hazardously curvaceous bits of yellow plastic track you used to be able to race Tonka toys on, when you weren't using them as a hand-held microphone and pretending you were Irish Eurovison song contest winner, Dana, obviously. This contramption is presumably the aforementioned 'Ramp'. Around the walls of this... arena is the only word that comes to mind given my ignorance of the terminology for the skateboarding equivalent of a velodrome, are grafitti-style paintings of allegedly Biblical allegories - although they look to my untrained, apostate eye to be more concerned with the Passion of Lemmy from Motorhead than of the Lord. It's at this point that I have to depart to the bathroom. Even my insufferably lengthy ordeal with the interdentals is preferable to this bizarre combination of skateboard screech and evangelical self-righteousness.
It's neither skateboards nor Christainity that are the problem. Rather, it's the facile and peculiarly modern conceit that somehow a set of religious beliefs that have been handed down with little deviation from each generation to the next suddenly needs to be contorted to fit the monosyllabic needs of this current, over-indulged and ill-prepared youngsters. "We give thanks, oh Lord, for our boards, and our ramp and our helmuts..."
Christ on a bike... where's the morphine???