Tag Archives: observations

First Meet of the Season

6 Apr

First meet of the season

Sat outside gazing onto a shimmering, rippling sea. It’s glistening back at me like aluminium in the early evening light. It’s a cliché, how a gentle moving sea can evoke a calming sensation, yet as I sit the gentle wind that’s stirring my hair and chilling my hands; calm is how I feel.

This is at jarring odds to the soundtrack from the 80’s disco. Blaring out as I write we have “Bat Out Of Hell”, preceded by “White Wedding”. The sheepskin bomber clad fifty plus dad, sporting Saville-esq glasses is trying his best to promote some entertainment for the early season bikers who’ve begun their soon to be weekly pilgrimage to Knott End’s Wednesday night bike meet.

The season has been a late starter this year. Since November 2012 through to the Easter bank holiday 2013 there has been snow. White frozen rain has besieged this isle like an outbreak of dandruff plagues a Goth. The isle has been covered with it, sometimes blanketing the roads, other times hiding on otherwise innocent looking stretches of tarmac incognito as it’s silent assassin cousin “black ice”. Most bikers during this stint were tucking their pride and joys away, under heated brick supported roofs, waiting to square of their virgin track rubber in the safety of the summer sun on heated, sticky tarmac.

Me? I’ve been out on those harsh roads all throughout this arctic length winter, wresting my numb digits into service whilst suffering the torment the biting tundra winds were subjecting them to, Blue from a misplaced faith I had in a sunny day glimpsed from the safety of my warm house window. Summer gloves had no place worn this early. Rod Stewart and his Lucy in the sky with a girls best friend blasts across the air, over the sea wall and into my ears; God this music gets more dad disco clichéd by each turn of the decks.

I’ve come out tonight to begin my entries into a new notebook I’ve decided to keep about my person, a veritable travelling thought box; seizing momentary thoughts as they occur. The ulterior motive, as I’m oft reminded I have when I set out on these jaunts is to build a collection of musings to publish on this blog.

So tonight’s thoughts; don’t be so quick to judge a book by it’s cover. I pulled up to the meet, a smattering of bikes parked along the run up to the jetty. Including some police bikers. Damn. My heart invariably sinks at the sight of uniformed authoritarian figures, those public instigators of government laws, pigs to the everyman. However I thought to use this opportunity to strike up conversation with one of them. He was a stereotype of his breed, tall with a stern visage. This was, however, metered out with a peppery shot beard and upon meeting his gaze, youth.

I wanted to find out if my knowledge on bike parking laws was accurate, and if those bastards at the local city hall had a rasher of bacon to prop up on. I discovered, much to my chagrin, that Lancaster Council, a green party fanatical with as much in common with fascism as the BNP, had decided motorbikes could no longer park in the areas with push-bike stands, which we’ve all used for years, and never to any complaints. Now we’re being made to share the parking spaces of the four-wheeled cage plague blighting good ole’ Blighty.

According to my level-headed new-found friend, the law was, and still is, a motorbike can park anywhere so long as no obstruction is caused. He used the analogy of, on a pavement, enough space for a two-berth child’s buggy to pass unhindered. On the road it’s a fire truck. My friend in hi-viz yellow then went on to say I should check out a website called pepipoo, a place, in his words, where all the Bobbies and barristers hang out and will help you to argue that parking ticket miss-issued to you. He carried on to mention how not all the police have a ‘them and us’ attitude, and proceeded to lament the way the force was reducing the number of bike police, as two of his colleagues had been laid off that morning. His opinion was the forces were going to be centralised in the next city over; some 25 miles away.

I had to feel a certain barrier had been broken down during this chat; he was slowly dissolving the façade of authority. He was a biker first, like the rest of us, policeman second.

Funny, I’d come to the seafront meet tonight with intentions of writing an entry on indecision. Oh I often find myself suffering indecisiveness; presently it’s over a new push-bike. But, alas, that’s for another time. My fingers are suffering the telling numbness and indigo colour that says I need warmth. No indecision tonight, just a surprise encounter with an open-book officer.

One last tip; don’t believe the sun.

Bad Days

18 Mar

Bad days: that quintessential collaboration by anything and everyone to just make your day go wrong. I’d go as far as to agree that all gods or spirits must enjoy a laugh at the expense of us humans; but why must they choose a Tuesday?

I guess you could say I got out of bed on the wrong side, however that would technically prove impossible as to my right is the small walkway I have between a wall that cries and my bedside junk depository, and to my left is my darling muse, usually a sweet thing, but liable to flinch and swing with a sleep empowered strength impossible to come from one so dainty. So to say I got out of the wrong side would be to suggest I always get out on the wrong side.

Bad days can usually follow bad dreams or indeed bad nights. Now were getting somewhere- I had a bad night brought on by the realisation that a hobby and source of fantastical escape no longer held a special place in my heart.

I’ve played video games since I was old enough to hold a pad and realise which of the bright coloured dots on the television set had to be stomped on, shot at or raced past, and that initial foray into the fantasy land stored on those first few cartridges had me sold. As I got older and the years brought new advances from the land of the rising sun, I got sucked deeper down that green pipe, swept into cosmos where I was saving the world from the cyborg menace and getting to defeat the evil mastermind with a final dragon punch- uttering the immortal cry “ shoryuken”; the result was more time spent in these lands of fantasy, because what hope did reality have of offering me excitement on par with this? To an overweight yet hyperactive child suffering from asthma, what chance did reality have to entice me back into the daylight?

Zero. Sure I loved to run around with my friends (run, wheeze, stop, click, suck, run-repeat), I had a fearless nature as a cruel blessing so I always wanted to try out any new craze-roller-skating and roller blades, BMX and mountain biking- you name it, I was eager. But though the will was strong the flesh was weak- I tried all manner of different exercise: ranging from weight lifting and aerobics to martial arts. But these all brought me little in the way of a solution. To my mind video games were the answer!

I played them endlessly with my friends; all of who was into video games, so the habit wasn’t just a private thrill, it was a social experience. Multiplayer was where it was going to be at.

This love followed me like my asthma (and weight) into my teens and early twenties, still the games were played, new galaxies were saved or pillaged on my whim, or with the help of my close circle of gaming friends. Technology advanced at a rapid rate and the improvement of the visual L.S.D we were consuming got stratospherically high. Thanks to the rise of the Internet and online gaming services you didn’t even need to interact in person with your friends, you only needed the game.

From around 7 years of age to 29 years of life, I spent far too much of my free time in the fantasy zone, and the dawning of the online age broke that spell. It hurried in a rise of popularity in the games industry, and with it the corporations smelled money. Sure they financed and drove a boom in new technology, creating cinema quality stories, epic firefights and musical scores worthy of savouring in their own right, but they also homogenised the experience. It turned what was once the outcasts favourite respite from reality, once the elite club of space cadets of the mind: the excuse to socialise with friends, into a soulless and mindless ram raid on the senses. Television reinvented for the techno generation. You no longer had to learn any real skill or use your imagination to abscond from reality for a few hours, your now shovelled it to your ever twitching fire button as you rattle off your 8th consecutive hour on Modern Warfare 12. Oh did I mention that’s with your twenty-four hour friends across the globe.

Twenty-nine years of age I finally realise how much apathy I’ve been slowly festering inside for this once loved hobby, gestated on a decade of bitterness and nostalgia. I’m no longer the fat, wheezing (for the most part) and excitable dreamer, I’ve a passion for motorcycles that has been steadily nurtured into an all consuming addiction (don’t we all trade one addiction for another); I’ve a steady girlfriend of 9 years and a creative side to myself that won’t stay subdued any longer. But it still came as a shock last night. I’ve built a lot of my friendships around videogames, and now I need to take them forward with less emphasis on fantasy and more in reality.

Bad nights dreams always follow into bad days. So Tuesday has been one grumpy lurch after another.

Here’s to Wednesday-also known as ‘Hump Day’. Get over that and it’s all about the weekend baby!