Dave Wilton Atkinson worked for Slam City Skates in different capacities, starting in 2012. He did a lot of good while he was here. He managed our Covent Garden shop and then went on to be our buyer as well as lining up some awesome collaborations along the way. He now resides in Switzerland where he works as a merchandising manager for Vans. We are stoked Dave took some time out of his schedule to put this 5000 words together which focuses on his time at our Neal’s Yard shop…
Casper & Blondey
When I started at Slam as the manager in December 2012 Casper was the Saturday boy. I always enjoyed hungover Saturday mornings in the store with Caspy talking about his current gear crisis and fear of girls. At the time Blondey was hanging out in the store a lot, had just got on Palace and was keen to work in the shop as the Saturday boy, I guess he was 16. This picture is of Casper handing off the Saturday boy torch to Blondey on his first day. Turned out Blondey wasn’t cracked up for retail and he only lasted one day, luckily it turns out he’s pretty good at a few other things.
Man & Women on the bench
I arrived in the store early on a Sunday morning and chucked the bench outside in Jake’s Alley before we opened up for the day. Before long a couple that looked relatively normal, other than the fact that they appeared to not have gone to bed since the night before, took a seat. At the time we had a one way graphic on the window and I proceeded to spectate as some fairly explicit making out escalated into the lady putting a studded dogs leash round the guys neck, and him reciprocating with a hangman’s noose round hers, then him slipping into her red heels. As the make out levels were rapidly escalating into full daylight sex, and I thought I was going to have to intervene before kids started turning up at the shop, they got up and walked off, still holding each others leash/noose.
Luigi & Vita
A strong competitor for the greatest Slam employee of all time, Luigi was the glue that held Slam together while I was manager and the reason I got to take days off. For a three-month stint he was also dog sitting Vita, a goddamn adorable Pomeranian. Vita came to work with Luigi everyday and soon became the main focus of all activity inside the shop. Side note: Around this time when asked who his favourite skater was Luigi replied ‘Me, & Ryan Sheckler’.
We were very lucky to have Dylan visit the shop and get to watch him skate Southbank in the summer of 2013 alongside the HUF team. On top of being one of the most incredible and stylish skateboarders of all time, he was a true gent: when confronted by quite literally hordes of obsessed Dylan fans in the store he took the time to politely chat to every one of them. Gone but never forgotten.
Another contender for greatest Slam employee, Jin is seen here enjoying the luxurious surroundings of the mailorder ‘office’: A small shelf at the back of the basement stock room. This was Jin’s last day at Slam and the boys got him a pint from the Cross Keys help to him quench his thirst until closing at 7pm when we would all enjoy his all garage ipod DJ sets.
Khi & Asap Rocky
16 Neal’s Yard was no stranger to celebrities. During my tenure we welcomed Nick Cave, Steve-O & Thom Yorke just to name a few. Palace at this time was still only really available through Slam and we got a visit from Harlem’s most famous (but third best*) rapper A$AP Rocky. To our surprise he came with no entourage, was very polite and even thanked Jin for his help with his enormous Palace mail orders (as well as ‘copping’ most of the Palace items we had available in store). I knew Khi was too cool to ask for a photo, so I did, and forced him to get in it.
*Cam’ron, Big L
Paddy & Ladder
Day to day operation in 16 Neal’s Yard always came second to elaborately invented shop challenges. During my time most of these were invented by Paddy. Here we see an upgraded version of the ‘climb as high up the closed step ladder as possible’, where it is also balanced precariously on the bench behind the counter. A classic.
The Penultimate night in 16 Neal’s Yard
On the 31st April 2015 the team, staff new and old and friends of Slam got together one last time in 16 Neal’s Yard to drink, catch up and share stories of their time there – it was amazing to see all the generations of Slam together back in the store. Fittingly and somewhat predictably, Luigi closed the proceedings by taking off his shirt, mounting the counter and singing Wonderwall. Seen in this pic: Big Man, Chris Bull, Paddy Pellow, Blondey, Sam Earl and myself.
Thanks to Dave for sending us these photos which will make many of us reminisce about good times in our old Covent Garden address.