Some People, 1962

While hardly Quadrophenia, the neglected British film Some People (1962) remains a vivid depiction of working-class life, the lure of rebellion and the validation of belonging to some sort of youth culture – not that this was the original intention. Pre-dating both The Damned and The Leather Boys, Some People is the first of this… Continue reading Some People, 1962

The Lost Traveller (Review)

Although I’m not shy about broadcasting my affection for New English Library Hell’s Angel paperbacks, I’m going to kick off the ‘Bikers in Fiction’ aspect of this blog with another personal favourite from that era with which you may not be so familiar: The Lost Traveller by Steve Wilson (UK, St Martin’s Press, 1976). Wilson… Continue reading The Lost Traveller (Review)

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood

Coming of age in the early-80s could be a pretty miserable experience. I was eighteen when I left school in 1982, clutching three useless ‘A’ levels, having been rejected – mostly without interview – by every university to which I’d applied. (Unless you were grammar school, which I wasn’t, you weren’t getting in from a… Continue reading It’s never too late to have a happy childhood

The Early History of Flight (My First British Bike)

As I sit here contemplating the intermittently sticking throttle on my BSA, I find myself wondering why I still do this to myself? I can fix it of course. It ain’t the cable or the spring, so I probably just need to clean up the carb. If that doesn’t work, I might have to dress… Continue reading The Early History of Flight (My First British Bike)

Cycle Sounds Part One: Bikerbilly

You’d think that rock ’n’ roll and motorcycles were made for each other, but truth be told for every 1950s banger about bikes there are a couple of dozen about cars if not more. Bike songs were more of a sub-genre of hot rod rockabilly, and, like biker movies, most of them aren’t all that… Continue reading Cycle Sounds Part One: Bikerbilly

The Damned (Review)

By the end of the 1950s, the public perception of motorcycling culture had radically altered in the wake of Brando, Dean and Elvis. Motorcycling was now no longer viewed as the gentleman’s sporting hobby it had been in the early part of the century, when machines were high performance and expensive; neither was it simply… Continue reading The Damned (Review)

Once a Jolly Swagman (Review)

Following on from my previous point about the lack of serious films covering any aspect of motorcycle racing, here is one of the good ones, if not the best. Once a Jolly Swagman is a 1949 British film about the rise, fall and redemption of a speedway champion played by a gorgeous 27-year-old Dirk Bogarde… Continue reading Once a Jolly Swagman (Review)

No Limit (Review)

No Limit (1935) is a British musical comedy starring ‘The Lancashire Chaplin’, George Formby, much of it shot on location at the Isle of Man TT (the year Stanley Woods won the Senior for Moto Guzzi, after an epic battle with Jimmy Guthrie on his Norton). Unless you’re a big fan of Formby, it’s a… Continue reading No Limit (Review)

My First Bike

I can’t remember who went first, but I’m going to guess it was Mick. He was just that touch older than me, though we were in the same year at school (I was born early in the year, Mick late the year before). He started out with a Honda 50, the classic ‘Crunchie’, followed by… Continue reading My First Bike

Grebo Gurus (Finding the Scene)

Fast forward about ten years. Like most places in the mid-70s, my hometown was very tribal. The working-class kids were predominantly rockabillies and skins, the National Front having a strong presence. This pretty much covered the council estate I grew up on. The few ‘rebellious’ middle-class kids at school, on the other hand, were hanging… Continue reading Grebo Gurus (Finding the Scene)