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


... 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.