Sunday, 26 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Sunday, 7 November 2010
... 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
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
Friday, 15 October 2010
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
Friday, 1 October 2010
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Monday, 27 September 2010
Friday, 24 September 2010
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
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
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.
Sunday, 12 September 2010
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
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
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
Monday, 30 August 2010
Friday, 27 August 2010
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Thursday, 5 August 2010
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.
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
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
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
Monday, 12 July 2010
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
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
Sunday, 4 July 2010
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
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
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.......