From local rippers to travelling pros: if you skate in Bristol you’ll almost certainly end up at Dean Lane. Our documentary about this legendary park was released to widespread acclaim in the skate scene and has since been watched by hundreds of thousands all over the world.
Nothing Meaner started life as an innocent suggestion that someone should make a ‘Best of the Deaner’ montage to mark the 20th anniversary of the Dean Lane Hardcore Funday – an annual skate jam hosted by the locals. That idea quickly snowballed into a 45-minute documentary covering more than 40 years of skateboarding history, beginning in the spring of 1978 when Bristol City Council built Dean Lane skatepark on a hill in the south of the city.
So many skaters have devoted large chapters of their life to Dean Lane skatepark. We soon realised that, if we were to do the story justice, we couldn’t just scratch the surface. Over the course of eight months, we spoke to hundreds of skaters about the park but there were three people who really made the documentary possible: Dylan, Tidy and Spex.
Dylan has devoted more than his fair share of blood, sweat and beers to Dean Lane over the years. He contributed countless interview ideas and leads. Tidy Mike has been filming at Dean Lane for around 20 years. He generously gave up hours of his time to dig out some legendary pieces of Dean Lane history buried deep in his archive. Spex is one of the original Deaner locals and made a lasting mark on the park’s history with his inimitable style. It was amazing to pick his brains about sessions that took place there back in the day.
Numerous other Deaner locals contributed to the documentary in different ways: all the music is from producers or bands who have skated there over the years, the animations were created by Ricky and Fudge from the legendary Crap Times crew, and archive material came from all four corners of the country.
Nothing Meaner swiftly attracted the attention of local publications including Bristol24/7, Bristol Cable, BBC Radio Bristol and the Bristol Voice. The coverage snowballed from there. Legendary skate brand Vans hosting the London premiere at House of Vans and Thrasher skateboard magazine broadcast the film to a global audience via its website.
It’s been amazing to see the film striking a chord with skaters of several generations. Building on this incredible reception, Clockwise launched a fundraising campaign to help improve the park and secure its future. The response so far has been incredible, with close to £10,000 raised.
“There is so much more to Dean Lane than I could fit into a 45 minute film but hopefully people will be even more hyped to skate there knowing a little more about it’s rugged history. I’ve come to realise that, while the park’s structure has evolved over the years, the attitude and ethos of the people that skate there has remained the same. Go fast, skate hard, eat shit and have fun. In these modern days of marble smooth skate plazas, places like Dean Lane are rare: its imperfections are what make it so endearing.”Creative director Dan Higginson