Sunday, 26 December 2010

Danse apache 1934 (Apache dance, Parisian style)

I think this dance needs a revival but my girl will need some convincing

Monday, 20 December 2010

Doghouse

Replayed in slow motion again and again I feel the cold, flat steel of the Swiss Army Knife as it efficiently glides through the flesh of my finger end. The blood was slower to arrive than the cold sweat but when it came it was sufficiently copious to tear me from my reverie (if you can call a waking nightmare that) and get me to hospital. Once the nurse had steri-stripped me back together and I had got my head around the fruits of my stupidity I started to compile the long list of things I could no longer do. Soon enough a few things on the list rose to the surface as things I really was going to miss. Two days ago I tentatively returned to slapping the doghouse bass. The damaged digit is on the finger-board hand so placing it carefully I could get away with playing again albeit a little stilted. A major problem will be unlearning the 3 finger method I've developed in the absence of my first finger. Walking basslines might take a bit longer especially if you want them played in tune but I'm happy to be back playing again.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Dirt


I ate it big style, I mean like starter, main course and pudding. Man was never meant to fall down mountains while holding a bicycle. I tried to make it look like I was in control, at one point I thought i might even pull it off, but the realisation dawned pretty quick that I was not riding out of my boots- I was now totally out of my league. The details are sketchy about exactly where and when I lost it completely but everyone agreed I made an impressive dismount. I've developed a new measurement system to measure your actual impact on the environment; and I mean physical impact on the soil and flora of the earth generally while using a bicycle. It's called carbon face-plant and mine just grew substantially. If you look carefully you may see where the bike helmet saved my noggin.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Even more bread

Since last update I've had a few successes and a few failures. It seems production of the better examples has a very thin margin of error. This little beauty is the product of yet another drunken chat round a campfire in between jamming and drinking. Among the various subjects bread-making came up completely unbidden by me. My music pal Eddy is also a bread-maker as well as a fantastic guitarist/singer. We traded experiences and tips. This loaf is still made with my home caught sour dough yeast, kneaded hard into a good tight dough but now I'm using much less of a different type of organic flour. Now, thanks to Eddy, I'm proving it in the airing cupboard in a plastic bag of all things. The first two I tried this way rose so fast they almost exploded so it was lucky they were in plastic bags- otherwise I'd have a shit-load of emergency washing to do in secret before my girlfriend discovers I've got dough all over the clean sheets (explain that one). This one I nursed gently to keep it tame. Finally I baked it on a much reduced heat and stayed close by to keep an eye rather than play on the Internet til I smell burning. Presto: best bread yet. Truly, blessed are the bread-makers.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sunshine

Sunday 11.45pm. I return home a little defeated, a little deflated. As I sat contemplating, my PC threw up this little ray of sunshine on the screen-saver and took me straight back to Linkert Attacks. So many cool bikes. This is one that stood out for me...


... understated but still gorgeous Pre Unit Triumph chop. Is it finished? I sort of hope so. Never found the owner but I got a couple of good shots of the bike. It lifts the heart.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sunrise



6.30 this morning and I'm being gently prodded back to life after half a bottle of whiskey finally dispatched me to bed at 2am this same morning. I'm not a morning person at the best of times so this morning was never going to be easy. Nonetheless I got up-and-at-em with little fuss. I fought to put on the muddy, wet gear from the fast, loose and muddy ride to the remote hostel and put on what dry gear I brought with me while trying to defend myself against daggers from people who don't think they snore- I myself heard snoring in the bunk room before I found what little sleep I was going to get so I can't be totally to blame. The cold, dark morning was quite a contrast to last nights rain followed by mist followed by dense cloud followed by lashing rain and the onward ride, for once, was mostly downhill- a payoff for last nights hellish climb. Lights lit and we push off into what was shortly to become a fine sunrise; the four of us all had to be at work despite the previous nights partying. My bike cut through the trail like a dagger with only the distant clicking of the freewheel and scuffing of the singletrack coming through the din of the wind rushing past my ears. Thankfully I found the culprit of the maddening front brake squeek that was torturing me over the weekend; brand new brake pads dragging their leading edge against the front disk. I chamfered the edges like you have to do on old Harley drum brakes, problem solved and sanity saved. Slabs of jagged rock and freshly swollen rivers punctuate the flowing trail as the rhythm gets faster til i'm going as fast as I dare down the last death-or-glory descent. Once again I didn't die and once again the glory is purely personal. People just don't get it unless they themselves do it so there's little point in trying to regale them with the stories. I'm content; the meal we went there for was nothing short of a miracle, the company was excellent and I got five minutes of peace this morning for the zen hosing down of the bike. One day I'll try to explain why I ride a single-speed in the mountains but I'll have to figure that out for myself first.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Zombie

... and tonights lucky winner is...

Mosco Mule in Zombie mug by Tiki Racer. Nice.

Friday, 15 October 2010

New Metal

I've worn jewellery for about as long as I've ridden bikes and got turned on to the classic biker skull ring after seeing Jake "The Captain" Turner sporting two full fists of assorted skull, stone and eyeball rings. I remember clearly standing at Chelsea Bridge and being offered the Great Frog ring by a girl whose name escapes me right now. She rode a big old Suzuki and if I remember correctly played Oboe in a proper orchestra. She had some problems, depression I think. Later, possibly in a fit of depression, she asked me to give the ring back to her. I said no; I'm not a bad guy and while I wanted to be cool about it, the deal was sound at the time, the ring was mine. Anyhow the deal was struck and I turfed over the cash and got my prize. It was a bit shabby when I got it and would only fit my little finger but I wore it a bit. Strange thing was- every time I wore it something really shit happened to me (curse of the Oboe girl?). Eventually I put it aside as I was rapidly running out of lives. Many years later I decided to get it resized with a thicker band, thinking it would look better on another finger and possibly the reworking would fix the curse. The jeweller thought I was mad, I agreed- I thought I was mad too. However, it worked; curse lifted and I've worn it ever since.

The middle ring is from Portobello Market and is a monkey skull with a bone for a band. Girls hate it, many times I've been told it's ugly and "couldn't you find a nicer one?"- nope, I like it. When I bought it I just knew there wouldn't be another one like it and I was dead proud of my new ugly monkey skull ring. Some time later I was out with the Mean Fuckers and saw Matt Davis (pre Dice Magazine) with the exact same ring on. Oh well, I was in good company at least.

The right hand ring and newest of them just landed in the post today... The Mean Fuckers ring, and I'm touched Jake thought to ask me if I wanted one and I'm proud to own it. I never really counted myself as a Mean Fucker because I was still on Jap bikes at the time but we sure hung out and we rode together. Happy days with a like minded bunch of guys not hung up on the whole macho biker thing. They are a smart bunch of cookies who ride some very cool old scoots with a straight up mellow attitude and I'm pleased to call them friends. Among many other things they introduced me to Von Dutch years before the first (albeit very cool) clothing range hit Johnsons in the Kings Road never mind the bullshit populist cult that was to follow. They got my lazy ass off Jap bikes and onto Classics. Craftsmen, designers, artists, they shared an interest in the details that make some shit better than other shit; music, clothes, bikes, etc.
I left London many years ago and they're about the only thing I miss about the big city- tearing down Gower Street from rockin at the Russell Arms to drink crazy expensive Cappuccino at Bar Italia while dodging Black Cabs driving like arseholes on Old Compton Street, talking shit about old bikes. Mfffmf.

(On a side note: check out Crazy Pig Designs. Armand Serra, creator of the famous Great Frog skull ring, set it up after leaving the Great Frog. He is very diplomatic about his former employer so it's not my place to gossip.)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tiki interlude

Tiki mask for the front of my tiki bar. The original design started out as a sugar skull with a card suit theme and slowly morphed into a music theme til it changed from a skull into a tiki after it took on a life of it's own. It was only after I had it rendered in ink in my flesh that I remade it in MDF.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Johnnys garage


Further to Guys recent post on his blog I thought I'd dig up something from the archive. This was taken outside Johnny the Mooks legendary garage circa '95 when I was skinny and had more hair. Taken by the equally legendary Part B (Ben Part; currently of Sideburn fame amongst other things) as a mock up of the riding position for Johnnys Honda CD175 Benley project, code-name the Hornet; a labour of love, the bike was a mastepiece in my view. Puzzlingly only saw it on the road once... hmmm.
The garage was different back then- a huge square. I loved it and would have lived there quite happily. To this day my dream home bears a resemblance to Johnnys garage.
Reminds me of a time when I first cut off my ill-conceived greebo hair. I would have loved another quiff but my hair-line had already scuppered that idea. Still smoking the fat stogies tho.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Harmony

1970s USA made Harmony classical parlour guitar. Solid top, solid back, solid sides; I've always wanted an all solid shitbox guitar and more recently have been drawn to the warmth of nylon strung and the sound of a smaller body. This one fit the bill in all but looks when I first saw it but since it landed from ebayland it's grown on me; much nicer than I expected to find. Very cute and lovely sounding.

Monday, 27 September 2010

More bread

Still using the sour dough and White flour but being really gentle with the dough once it's risen. This one has risen much more than the last one and while it's not exactly light and fluffy it is better than last time.. Next time I'm gonna "knock it back" fiercely and allow it to prove and see if that makes any difference.
Tastes good.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Shed picture #1

As I stand in my shed smoking a big cigar I see my spanners, cold, covered in old grease but always faithful. An odd assortment collected together through many campaigns. Some of them were my dads, stolen when I was a punk kid trying to keep my crappy jap bikes on the road. Back then, of course they had no sentimental value; I just pinched them hoping he wouldn't notice. He didn't. Others were obtained through other dubious means no doubt, some I think I even bought. I have learnt, through using them, mechanics enough to keep my current stable functional. It's too cold in here now to even contemplate turning a spanner on a bike so I just stand here smoking and musing on what these slugs of metal mean to me. They're my tools and I love them.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Bread

Third time lucky. First effort was a mess, the second was such a car crash it went staight into the bin without seeing the oven. I changed my tack to white flour (organic, of course) with this one as the wholemeal flour was defeating me and I'm pleased I did. Immediate improvement. The yeast I'm using I caught myself using age old techniques. It's amazing but not surprising when this shit starts to work; people have been catching and using yeast for centuries. I've heard of sour dough yeast cultures being kept alive for over 60 years. But don't get me wrong, this is no pet- it's livestock.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Flip


Do you remember Flip? Kensington market back in the 80s. About the best place to get any kind of vintage clothing before everything went Retro. Well, the thing is, there is still one of the original franchise left (yes, it was franchised way back before it folded and turned into Phlip or the other one in Edinburgh) and the cat that owns it still has the same ethos as the original Flip. I was just in there today and he is a solid gold guy with a real love of the cloth- the good stuff. I was gutted because i had not one penny to spend and he had lots of lovely stuff to buy. I fought with myself and the sensible part of me won over- I did not get my wallet out. If you are ever in Newcastle drop in on John and see what wonders he has.

http://www.flip-clothing.co.uk



Weld and grind...

... and weld and grind and weld and grind and so on. Sometimes you wish you'd never started as you flake off perfectly good paint to reveal fresh air. Even on the lowest setting the welder is like a plasma cutter blowing holes straight through the wafer thin metal. It's a very good lesson, for a fella who is more used to clagging stuff using a stick welder, in how to weld thin steel with a MIG and i'm slowly getting the hang of it. That is a good thing because there is plenty of welding to do. By the end of it I should be able to stitch tin-foil together.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Dirtbagging

Travelling light; blanket, bedroll and tarp. Even then I over-packed- I didn't need the bedroll or the tarp. Crashed out on a hay bale under a blanket after beers and jamming til 4am with some very cool people at a local mini festival. There's a good scene here when you look for it and make the effort to get to events. Notes to self; hay bales are not comfortable, absinthe is brutal.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

You got the teeth of the Hydra upon you

The Pistoleros lay down a blistering set of the most complicated Led Zep you can imagine together with some kick ass T-Rex at Stormin the Castle. Skinny as a rake and with his foppish dark curls the lead singer/guitarist is perfectly placed between Bolan and Page in looks as well as talent.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sunset

The sun slowly sets over summer.

It always feels like summer is over after the Stormin the Castle rally because it's the last big event on my social calendar for the year. It's been a quick summer packed with some of the most awsome events you could hope to go to. There might yet be the prospect of an Indian Summer and some local blasts through the countryside, a local party or two- it might be time to peruse the options for further afield and head to the Smoke for some bigger gigs and other events.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

I got my mojo working...

... Hanging on the rear view mirror of the van. Work is progressing albeit slowly. Hell of a lot to get done and my welcome has nearly expired up at the college so I'm going to try rush it through an mot so it can rot outside my house instead of up there. I got some good mojo tiki in my van so that should help.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Freaky Rico

He's Freaky, He's Rico, He's Freaky Rico. Crazy-ass riding a Pan chopper with no front brake taking pictures the whole time; I love it. Cheers for getting my ugly mug in Wild Magazine.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Holiday Snaps

I can't quite believe that in just 10 days we took about 500 photos; ah the joy of digital photography. Every once in a while it does the soul good to immerse oneself in the great outdoors and do wholesome activities rather than just music and motorbikes. Don't get me wrong- I took a guitar and was pining for a motorbike the whole time. Beyond that we climbed mountains, cycled over big hills, scrambled up and down avalanches (for want of a better word) and finally barbecued on beautiful white sandy beaches while smoking big cigars and drinking fine whiskey. Sure we had midges, a force 11 gail and some rain but I kid you not, the rest of the time was almost tropical. I also came back with some of the finast Harris Tweed known to man to satisfy my cloth fetish.













Saturday, 21 August 2010

Kelvin

Alas, try as we might, we could not rescue this poor fellow from his misfortune; and he only 40 miles from his final objective- Folkestone to Stornoway by 1970s racer in the finest Harris Tweed. Broken down in Tarbert due to defective tyre.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Skye

August in Scotland infers midges, rain and deep fried food for some.
For me an Islay Single Malt and a Partagas D4 will have to suffice.
The sun shines on the righteous normally but today it's shining on me.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Secret weapons testing over Ullswater

Orange P7 One. Single speed. No bells, no whistles, all bike.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hayride Cycle Cruise 2 (prologue)

This shot was taken by my lady riding pillion- on the fly and almost by mistake. It was taken just before the last video I posted and it tracks Dave as he goes through the pack; probably just after he's held the traffic for us all at a roundabout or some such malarkey. Great shot.

video

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Hayride Cycle Cruise 2010

video

At about 2pm on Saturday 31st of July this was where it was at. If you weren't there you can watch this and try to dig the vibe of how cool it really was. Good times are usually followed by a hangover and feeling blue. The best of times leave you feeling high for a good long time. I'm still high as a kite from hanging out with the best people in the world riding the best bikes (and cars) like they were always intended to be ridden. The motors, the music, the clothes and the people make the Hayride an almost holy occasion for me. Hayride 2010 was the best.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Together again

I took a couple of shortcuts so the work took me longer than expected but she's back together again after much cussing and smashing with a hammer. Started her up and she sounds great but the shakedown run is going to have to be the trip to Maryport Blues; not ideal, I'd rather go for a little local spin but I'm sure she'll be fine. Next trip after that will be the Hayride.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Project

I have seen the future, and the future is steam.

Hat

Tired, depressed, lonely... Things were bad and set to get worse.

Then this hat arrived in the post and everything was ok again.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Engine

I'd hoped that this work would have waited til the end of the short but busy riding season of the North of England but with a pissy oil leak spreading oil all over my barrel and heads to burn on in an unsightly mess I could stand it no longer and took up the spanners. Engine apart to replace pushrod tube oil seals, check pistons, tappets, etcetera, followed by putting on a shiny new seat and replacing steering head bearings both of which I was sure I'd done not so long ago (read 5+ years, possibly more). All of this goes against my better judgement of fixing bikes just before you plan on heading off on a long run somewhere but the works gotta be done and there's no time like the present. I stoked up a fat stogie and before I knew it had run out of time. Engine back together but pipes and tank still to do and then to finish the seat and head bearings. I think i'll be working into the night later this week.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

My precious

So precious I dare not use it, this objects function is made obsolete by it's value. But what value does it have if i am not brave enough to use it for the purpose it was intended and take the chance it could damage in so doing. Surely the joy of such an item is not just in its posession but in its use. Be brave, my boy, and fill it full of hooch so you may enjoy the object in its entirety. Smoking Tiki Hip Flask by Von Franco for Scarlett and Tim.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Take it to the bridge, take it to the bridge, take it to the bridge.
Taken from the bridge motherfunker

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Canners

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fighting Fish Canners! Boys of the Green and Blue! Go Canners! Fish Canners memorial Zippo

Goon don't smoke though, does he?

No, but if he did you'd betcha it'd be a proper stogie lit with a proper petrol flame.

But thats sacrilidge; you'll taint the tobacco

I'll fill you full of lead, Slackjaw.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Linkert Attacks



The heat and the distance seemed almost unbearable but with warm breeze in our faces and spent miles clocking up at our backs we pushed on. Bikes rattling, shaking, popping and banging we hurtled along in close pack formation. Five bikes, seven bikes, nine bikes, a hotrod, a truck and a van as three lanes turned to two, turned to one and we arrived with only one bike down- a second went down the following day. We begged what tools we didn't have and threw everything we had at the bikes; one of which just did not want to come back to life. Beer was spilled and tobacco burnt and after a haze of music the return journey was upon us. So we did exactly the reverse but with everything different. An improvised fix got rubber back on the road and a smile on the face. And when we were home we tried to retrace the moments above and beyond what the photos capture that epitomise the spirit of what we had just done; a bonding through the shared experience of a 400 odd mile motorcycle ride- strangers become family.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The End of the Road



I'd been watching far too much TV and I had plenty to get on with, but I also had a very sore head on a very nice day. I had to blast the cobwebs out and get some place, any place... I let the bike take me somewhere- I just shut my brain down and let her ride. The road got narrower and then ran out completeley, turning to the mud left by melted snow. I was cold to the bone with the sun heating up the waxed cotton as I stood still. Five or so paces from the bike I dropped my helmet to the ground, turned and shot from the hip.......