friday dinnertime at work, still full from the traditional friday morning fry-up, i make the lad's a brew and pull out the big plastic box out from under my bench and dive in to find an old magazine to peruse while i drink my tea outside in the sunshine, now, a little explanation is needed here, my name is timmy and i'm a magazine and book addict, [ i can't get my head around reading off a computer screen or i-pad, yes, i've downloaded the kindle app, but, for me i like the real-deal and let's face it, who takes their i-pad into the toilet to read when their having a dump? just saying] anyway, my magazine collection is divided into three sections, the 'essentials' those collections you will never get rid of, 'classic racer', selected copies of 'performance bikes', 'classic bike' and the '70's and 80's 'bike' [especially the 'team bike endurance features], mid 90's copies of the david snow/ghengis 'iron horse' the tattoo magazines, the first fifty copies of 'dice', the first fifteen copies of 'greasy culture' and the first seven copies of 'sideburn' then there's the hotrod magazines, the football fanzines, copies of the punk 'sniffing glue' and '80s style-bible 'the face'. then we have the mag's that just get piled up in the shed, read, flicked through and piled up ready for re-cycling or passed on to one of the many waif's and stray's who happen to visit and pick them up and ask, 'can i borrow this?' and they dissapear, never to be seen again. and then, there's those mag's that don't quite make it into the collection, but are too good to hit the recycling pile, these are the mag's that end up under my bench at work, ready for some long forgotten bike or article to be rediscovered and that's how i found this 1994 copy of AWOL, bloody hell! that's twenty years ago, as i'm idly flicking through, i realise what a different place the world was back then, no internet instant gratification, 'professional' bike-builders could be counted on one hand, everyone was just doing what they could in their shed's, no big, shiny, 'biker-lifestyle' emporiums punting out stick-on beards, pendletons, redwings and wallets on chains to the bro's, no nine-grand 'artisan built' bmw's or bubble-wrap plastic trinkets for your hardly-dangerous, a time when people built raked out lambretta chops, vespa street racers, triumph hillclimbers and went on demo run's to protest against anti motorcycling legislation, not just rode around london in their best suit looking dapper, it was a time of kicking against the jam's, of belonging to something that mattered, not just catching your reflection in a shop window and looking cool, building your own bike, dancing 'til dawn, a crossover of cultures, sharing tin's of co-op beer, 'herbal cigarettes' and idea's, fixing bikes and punk rock, dancing to the fire alarm at a prodigy gig, siphoning petrol from one tank to another, from punky, alternative matt black scooter 'hardly-rideables' a gang of hard riding cut down scooter riding nutters who attended all the big motorcycle action group rallies and protest runs, to the donkey jacket and ncb booted streetfighter boys on hacked gixxers, the rave culture survivors, dreadlocked drum and bass refugees, all searching the next party, AWOL summed it all up really, 'alternative way of life' not the trend driven fashionista, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous fucking bullshit, photo-opportunity, twitter-driven wankers, as a footnote, the last picture is my bmw boxer twin, yeah, twenty years ago, ex-met-police traffic bike, how ironic is that?, i suppose if i'd cut the arse off my bike and put a 'wrench-monkee's/bratsyle seat on it now instead of two-decades ago then i might just have been famous and swapping spit with david beckham? police tank complete with cutout for the phone? let's make a stainless rack for it, just like an old meriden triumph, watch this space, appearing at a trendy blog near you soon, everything old is new again, to quote a great song by the supernaturals, 'every silver lining has a cloud and each piece of good fortune must be paid for by the pound, i've become so cynical these days, i don't know how it started but it won't go away, see the lines around my eyes, see the sarcasm in my smile, you'd better smile, cause that's all you've got left, your life's a mess, you've been cut adrift, you better smile......'