another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Friday, 14 September 2012

iron horse

mid-nineties britain, the custom bike 'scene' had become big, the show's and rally's had become massive, i had attended the very first 'rock and blues' hosted by the local mc the road tramps in the early 80's, it was held on some waste land in long eaton, the band played off the back of a lorry trailer, bonfires lighting the scene and dancing drunkenly to led zeppelin covers, by the mid 90's the road tramps had joined together with lot's of other club's and become the outlaws m.c. and the event had grown to a full blown festival, proper stage, headlining bands like motorhead, twisted sister, bad manners and the levellers became the norm, there was a second stage with bands playing almost 24 hours in a massive beer-come-circus tent, pole dancers, a funfair, bungee-jumping from a massive crane, a rave tent and hundreds of stalls selling everything from head massages to ethnic bracelets and everything in-between, stunt planes, fireworks and laser's thrown into the heady mix, even the motorcycle action group were getting in on the act, motorcycle high-wire jousting anyone? i can remember me and barse at a rally, late september, team-lard, a local mcc staging their first rally, we were sitting in the beer tent watching a local soul and funk band, playing a blinding set, tight and funky with a great girl vocalist, the bikers present didn't even applaud the effort and sweat of a group obviously just pleased to be playing a gig to a live audience instead of working in the rehearsal room, i can remember one big, beer bellied individual standing up and hollering, 'fuck off, stop playing this shit, don't you 'know born to be wild...' that was it for me, it was over, i looked at barse, he looked at me and i can remember it like yesterday, 'for a bunch of individual's, how come we all look the fucking same mate?' when i got home i shaved off my goatee beard, through away my german army para boot's, my m1a jacket, took my earrings out, threw away my ethnic bracelets but i kept my dutch army combat trousers to paint the house in, i had my hair cut, [look, this was a long time ago when i actually still had some, ok!] i had a smart short back and sides and also varied it with a very short shaved at the back and sides and mini flat-top, i threw away my motorhead-bastards-england t-shirts and started wearing plain white t-shirts, cuffed levi 501's and greasy brown leather dealer boots, no longer did i want to be associated with the stereotypical, leather cut-off wearing, tankard carrying, iron maiden t-shirt, bearded, scruffy biker image, funnily enough at the next years rock and blues i decided not to camp, having scored a weekend pass from a member of the outlaw's, who was a mate. for a job i'd done for him, i rode up on the bike and commuted home at night, i was talking to some geezers who i knew who were members of a local sidepatch club, all very chilled, sharing a beer, having the crack, when some gobby bird started, 'he's a fucking copper!' she slurred, wobbling around after a day smoking and drinking warm foster's, 'eeee's a fucking coppa!, look at 'im, he ain't no fucking biker!, he don't look like a fucking biker to me!' she staggered up to me and jabbed a nicotain stained digit into my cheek, 'just fuck off, pig!', so i did, i dissapeared, sick of the whole thing, i only kept up com's with barse and ammo, i just rode my bike and kept away from anything to do with being a biker except classic bike shows and racing, i even stopped buying the two custom bike magazines 'back street heroes' and awol', one day when i was shopping in belper, i made my usual visit to have a pike at the magazines, one in particular caught my attention, 'iron horse' an american mag, i was aware of it of course, a mate passed me the occasional back issue when he'd read it, to be honest, it was a typical yank mag, almost a poor relation to 'easyriders', [that had dissapeared up it's own arse years ago], back in the day, it was mostly phone-sex adverts and unclad 'biker babe' pictures, very low-rent, when i picked this particular copy up, [and i still don't know why i did], everything fell into place, this was a buzz, like hearing punk, kissing a girl for the first time, getting into a fight or seeing the ram's stuff forest, i got home, put the kettle on and read every word, twice, i phoned barse and told him, he wasn't particularly bothered, he knew the mag from old, he got a copy, read it and we spent a night talking about it on the phone until dawn, yep, it had that much effect on me, [and barson], here was writing at the highest standard, a mile away from the vacuous drivel being punted out by the home grown mag's, it told you to chop up and enjoy what you rode, it was political, it took on the mighty harley davidson corporation, not the bikes, but all the bullshit associated, 'lifestyle t.m' bollocks that accompanied it, it 'flipped' the harley patch, showing it's contempt for the corporation, but still showing it's love of the marque, the writers, genghis, noyes livingston,fritz, j.t nesbitt and the mighty editor david 'snow' snow. they were truly the voice of the alternative bike culture, coolness personified, more like the last gang in town than journalists, they truly cared for what thay believed in and that rubbed off on anyone who read the magazine, like all good things it was a brief affair, [if you are interested in picking up back issues, number's 130- 160 are the crucial mag's], with snows resignation the magazine re-appeared briefly as a sort of 'greatest hit's' compilation with re-printed articles and the return of the pnone-sex advert's, after this the mag was re-named 'the horse', i bought loads of issues but, for me, it never came anywhere near the brilliance of the 130-160 issues, do yourself a favour, track down a couple of back-issue's and it will change the way you think about motorcycles, i promise, i'll give you your money back if it doesn't...........


  1. Concur entirely Jan, great job Lovey, in depth, from the heart, putting it all out there . . . just be you brotherman, it's plenty good enough for the likes of us, and you obviously. Life's pivotal moments, forever a 3D experience, much respect mate, Whitey. XX

  2. Enjoy reading your blog, and catching what things were, and are.. like over cross the pond. If my father had stayed in the military we might have ended up living in England about the time I was in High School. But as it ended up he retired his military service and we came back to sunny California. Being a wee bit older than you, I first read about the "Chopper" scene in Roth's mag. I was working in a "Chopper" shop in the 70's. I still enjoy digging up old dog-eared copies of Easy Rider and other mags from the day. Like you, I got tired of the posers and just plain jerks that seemed to be around...don't let those weekend warriors bug ya. Just keep enjoying the bikes, and taking those great photos. Agree with Whitey-man, gotta be yourself. As you fellers say...Cheers!

  3. jan, hairy, whitey, thank you, i just had to let it out, a bit of a cathartic moment for me i'm afraid, reading it back i can even feel the woman's finger jabbing my face, smell her breath and remember the hate in her eyes, all because i didn't look like a 'biker' the reality is that i actually live and breath motorcycles, [i just don't like the people very much].......