Thursday, 19 December 2013

Dr Q

Got another Dr Q pedal cos why wouldn't you love something called a Dr Q? I sold my last one cos I didn't 'get it'. Now I've got another one. I hope I 'get it' this time or there'll be another super cheap Dr Q going on eBay.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Internal bleeding

In my finger end from playing double bass. One week later and it's still not healed. Three gigs this weekend- it's going to be painful.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Same as it ever was

I don't know how it happened but I'm playing a Christmas season. Playing to fat drunk people who have no interest in music. We are trying to keep it real... in between the Christmas songs that is.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


What energy is stored within an object when it is changed from its base material into a defined form?

From the electrical spark that jumps neural pathways and generates ideas to the calorific furnace of muscle action, the human body is an engine of great physical and chemical reactions with the potential to imagine concepts and then bring them into existence. Energy itself cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed or transferred and I feel that things wrought by hand must carry some of the energy of their own creation within them.

Such is it with this creation (now sadly sold out). As I carefully extracted it from its swaddling of bubble wrap and Subsculptures t-shirt I felt, in my hand, what I can only describe as a low hum of energy. Sure I was excited to get it but this was beyond that, some esoteric shit was going down. You don't have to believe it because I don't either but that's what I felt. My friend made a tiki mug. You don't get to say that sort of thing every day. I love tiki stuff, not least because it involves drinking exotic cocktails while listening to lounge jazz. This new artifact of mine is beautifully cast with its deep earth tones just visible beneath a subtle blue/green glaze, it is primitive yet delicate, it is earthly yet Divine. Beg him to make some more, it'll only make mine more valuable. Thanks Jonny, I feel a Tropical Storm coming on.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Dirty Crosser

Good use of an autumn day getting totally shit up.

Thursday, 31 October 2013


Just like a speakeasy, from the front of the bar you wouldn't know anything was going on but open the back door and there is the steady thump of the bass and wail of hot brass.

TJ took a break from his rigorous international touring schedule to jam with some of the most exciting young musicians in the north. Typically humble, he excused the bands sloppiness as it was the first time they have played as a unit; you wouldn't have known. A chance meeting landed Danny on fiddle, an unexpected but perfect cross-pollination. Just another quiet Wednesday in small town Britain.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Time spent in a warm climate is good for the soul especially for an Englishman getting ready for winter. Don't get me wrong; I love winter, I just don't like the slow deterioration of the climate to get there.

An excellent week was spent in Sardinia exploring the coast by kayak and snorkel, the mountains on foot and by bike and the culture by taste and smell while the dark and damp days creep nearer the biting cold I enjoy. Roll on winter, I'm ready for you now.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


The sort of drink you drink when you're very drunk.


... or road sign?

Looks just like a Lichtenstein to me.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Monday, 2 September 2013


It's easy to be a critic and I think if, like me, you've never built a bike from the ground up you should keep your opinion to yourself. So was it at Stormin The Castles custom bike show. In truth I never expect a great deal and over the years I've been pleasantly surprised. Mostly with tidy classics or understated choppers.

This year I perused a new crop of bikes and, at first, wasn't much taken with any of them. A race replica 750/4 was my first choice, a classic Chinese bike that looked like it had a copy of a Harley XA engine caught my eye, a brightly coloured chopper lured me in but eventually disappointed, chopped down race bikes left me a bit cold, and a custom paint job made me down-right angry. (The only other motorcycle that has ever actually made me angry was the one featured on a picture thread of the Jockey Journal where the ape-hangers go all the way up just to come straight back down leaving the rider in just about factory standard riding position. Still to this day I can't look at that picture without laughing at myself because my piss is starting to boil.)

And then I stumbled upon Urban Surfer. At first glance it was right and the more I looked at it the more right it got. Once I'd given it a good look over I turned to the next bike and then turned right back. This bike was lush! Someone at this rally has a very good eye indeed. I used to say to Johnny that some bikes were built in too small a shed; so you couldn't really stand back and take a look at the overall bike. This bike had the sweet scent of time and space about it. Time and space well spent gathering, arranging and then standing back to ponder. I was gonna shake this man by the hand if I met him. Imagine my surprise when I find myself shaking the hand of a man I already have the pleasure of knowing- Spindle. I shook it twice. Once to say hello, and once to congratulate him on winning best custom. Nice work mate. He duly praised the ever talented Boneshakers Benny and Zip for making his vision come to life.

Other things to report: I finally met a man who truly did not look like he gave a fuck, our favourite music tent is no longer a closely guarded secret, and Evel Kinevel once again crashed. Always a blast.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Identity parade

Yes, I like Stone Temple Pilots. No, this is not their merchandise. Yes, it is the engine treatment product. No, I don't actually use it.

It's been a long time since I retired a t-shirt. That's how long it takes. I've just had a massive t-shirt folding session to get them off the floor and came across this old favourite... again. Every time we meet I know I will never wear it again. It's completely yellow and not in a good way. Looks really grimy. Be brave fella, take it out to the shed and consign it to the t-shirt graveyard.


I didn't sign up for the ISDT Centenary ride in the end, I just didn't have the spare cash at the time. I had visions of riding my Harley off-road for a good distance but I think, in the end, it was only the enduro bikes that did that. All others went on tarmac swathed in cloaks of hi-visibility. Information was a bit sketchy both before and during the event; even the riders didn't seem to know any information beyond their own class. But they all looked like they were having a hoot.

We got to the Filling Station at around noon, expecting the first riders to turn up shortly but, as always with older machines, time is a relative thing. As you would expect from the ISDT a fairly steady stream of mostly enduro machine arrived and settled in to a pasty and chip lunch. Once lunch had settled they were quickly off again to go around Lorton and Buttermere. Fortunately I had the pleasure of riding that loop two weeks ago albeit with a stinking hang-over after the Iron Ore Rally. On the way home we had our own little ISDT; taking the long route through the Caldbeck and Mungrisedale commons. Andy flings his little AJS around like its an RD250.

I was down at the sun-drenched Ace Cafe the week previously for a classics day and I have to say that we had more classics at the Filling Station and we weren't far adrift of the total amount of bikes present. The food is still of the highest standard and the crack is always good. It is a source of great pleasure to me to have such a great biker specific cafe on my doorstep and to know that it is not only surviving but thriving. Keep up the good work.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Stolen bike in a small world.

The old Harley world is a very small world so this is likely to turn up sooner or later. Direct repost from Benny Boneshaker:

Some scumbag has just stolen my mates ironhead chopper, It was taken some time today from Port Dundas in Glasgow, Scotland, it's a 79 sporty with a weld on hardtail, repop springers, please can you repost this where ever you are, even if you are not in the U.K people here still read your blogs, if you get offered this bike or any part of it please contact me on 07913325297. We want it back

Friday, 16 August 2013


Summer streets at night,
After the haze of a band,
My shit is perfect.

Songs in the key of beer

Last night as we played some excellent old-timey music my Closedmondays bottle opener had its first use as I'd forgotten my bottle opener comb and Leatherman micro multi-tool. I thought I had too many bottle openers til I saw my mates flip-flip bottle opener- I kid you not, flip-flops with a bottle opener in the middle of the sole. It's a neat gimmick but I prefer mine attached to my keys for hygiene reasons. I'm looking forward to my new wallet once I've saved up enough pocket money. Get stitching Gav.

Monday, 12 August 2013


I don't generally 'bro' people easily so when I say these people are family it means that they are some of the best people I know, not just ride with. So much so that I scraped myself off my sick-bed and drove 5 hours to London, endured the cheery banter of the multicultural Underground system to go to Jake and Dixies joint birthday. Joint with Ian who it was a pleasure to meet for the first time. The hugs turned to chatter which turned to drinking which turned to dancing which ended in lunacy.

It was nice that they personalised the toilet doors for the Mean Fuckers. Either that or it was a vague reference to gender.

The cake was amazing and the beer was copious- even at Camden prices. I didn't feel too bad til the next day, sat in the Ace Cafe feeling woozy. I took a very abstract photo of the shadow of the back wheel of a lovely Indian. Lets face it, in a shit way, it's quite good.

Friday, 9 August 2013


Today's puzzle: how to make a vacuum petrol tap work from its constituent parts. It's been a long time since I've had to think in Japanese but I think I did it.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Killing in the name of...

Song 2, Gay Bar, War Pigs- slowly I got hooked and reeled in by the band. The Iron Ore Rally crack was good, meeting old pals and new. I won a prize for my bike being over 25 years old which I would have probably given to the CBX which is also well over that age. I heard from several sources that Johnnys chop has landed in safe hands and is getting the care it deserves. (Johnny won that prize last time we were here and he is still remembered fondly)

What I'll never understand is how you can meet someone when you're sober and yet still doubt that you remember the name correctly- Kev with the brown 'flake shovel forgive me if I've got your name wrong. And yet every sordid details of a Scotsmans wild drug fuelled sex romp told to me while I could barely stand will be burned into my mind forever.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

I'm going down-hill fast

New 661 full face
New 100% race goggles
Beefier new frame
Same old bad line choice.

If you don't hear from me again, it's been nice.

Next stop the alps.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Things to ponder on a sore head

The morning after. Foggy, just a bit. Too much Doris' 90th Birthday Ale at a very small music festival. After the work was done and all the PA equipment was packed away the drinking began in earnest. It's not that I hadn't been drinking since 2pm- I just sped up. We played music well into the night until the whole thing became a bit of a mess. Stood by Doris' own chair, eating free chips and trying to concentrate on calculating chords on capo-ed guitars, banjos and penny whistles I looked up to this poignant message on the bottom of a tankard hung from the ceiling. Sobering.

There was a one-eyed dog called Seymore there (see more- geddit?). Was he named after he lost his eye? Was it ironic he lost an eye? Or in a completely philosophical way could a one-eyed dog really see more? He was a sweet dog whatever.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Hey Gav

I've just squeezed into the 'wishful thinking' hole. Don't know if its temporary tho.


Friday, 12 July 2013

Gator Grip

This little beauty has got me out of a pinch again. I bought it some time in the 80s at the London Motorcycle show and I'll be damned if it doesn't do exactly what the demonstrator claimed. This time I was being defeated by exhaust clamp bolts. After years of hot/cold, wet/dry, tighten/loosen the bolts finally got to a point where they were rounding before releasing. This Gator Grip just grips what's left and holds it very firmly. Excellent piece of kit.

And, no- of course I didn't put the old ones back on, they were way too far gone this time.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Romeo, Romeo....

...Square Four art thou?

Terrible joke, lovely bike. I don't know which is more rare; a Square Four or a public phone box.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Hey Joe...

... Mexico, baby- where a man can be free.

45cu in, 45mm. Period correct.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Space Ape

... because Rocket Monkeybike doesn't sound as good. There's all kinds of questions you ask yourself about this kind of thing until you hear it fire up. After that the only question is 'how does he stop?'