Friday, July 31

A history of the great Deus war, 2007-2009

Thinking about Sydney got me thinking about Sydney's most renowned custom bike store, Deus ex Machina.

I recently found some entries on an Australian bike forum discussing my 'feud' with the store, which was news to me.

So here's the story, from the horse's mouth, once and for all. It's probably not of interest to anyone except me and the other guy involved, but if you like amusing spats, read on.

First, I should explain to you (if you haven't met me) that I'm no businessman and I don't possess very smoothy-smooth social skills. I speak my mind, I bear grudges, I'm emotionally retarded in some ways, and this doesn't endear me to a lot of people (I've managed to get myself into fights, thrown off forums, and into hot water with my most valued advertiser, amongst other things).

Anyway, one of these people I'm not endeared to is the store manager at Deus (or at least he was in early 2007). I was trying to get the magazine into outlets that I thought reflected what I was trying to do and what I was into. I loved the style of the Deus store in Sydney (like a warehouse space filled with vintage surfboards, cool bikes, nice posters) so approached them to stock the mag.

I offered to send them samples of the first issue, but the guy I spoke to told me that they stocked DicE magazine "which covers that stuff", and wasn't interested in my explanation that GK was pretty different to Matt & Dean's mag.

So, no dice. (Sorry.)

Later in the year, when the mag was starting to get some positive press and feedback (and sales!) I was surprised to hear from the same guy at Deus, suggesting they stock the mag after all. Now, someone with the future of their magazine and their own livelihood in mind would have been delighted by this about-face, and would have gone into the store to share a latte and discuss terms.

But, you've guessed it, I (pretty politely) told him to piss off.

(Did I mention I'm not a businessman?)

So that's it. No feud.

I love their Jap-inspired bikes, their design sense, their website, their style. I don't like their prices and I don't have any affinity with the kind of people who wear their t-shirts, but they make money in an unforgiving industry, so hats off to them.

Check the stylish bastards out here, if you haven't already.

Damn, I miss Sydney in winter

He's mine, oh yeah

I found one of our cheapo digital cameras in a packing crate today, and downloaded the photos on it. These shots of our boy are from about six months ago before we left Australia.

These were taken in the space of about an hour: trying to prise the tops off beer bottles, then playing tug of war with one of our Staffies.

Can't wait to see him on a motorcycle.

Monday, July 27

Flipped out

In the 80s, vintage US clothes were as cheap as chips in London. Big E Levis, Schott Perfectos, gaberdine jackets, 50s baseball jackets... all could be had for a song. I worked in a vintage clothing store in Kensington Market, and used to take my pick of the bales that arrived weekly from the States. I even paid for some of it...

This is a photo of me and some buddies taken for some mag in about '88. We thought we were the Lords of Flatbush. Check out the original cut hanging up behind us. I used to find old MC cutoffs all the time... no one wanted them.

Wish I'd kept some of this clobber, but most of it got sold down the years to pay bills and buy cigarettes.

Still on a Roth 'Choppers' tip...

Wednesday, July 22

British chopper with a 43 year pedigree

Went to meet a local fella yesterday to shoot his bike for the mag; it was in DicE a short while ago, but I think it deserves a bit more coverage and a more in-depth write-up, because there's some cool history behind this Triumph.

Pete bought the bike as a rotten heap from some basement somewhere up north, but it turns out it had been a well known bike on the show scene in the UK back in the day (this spread from 'Bike' in '74), and was first put together back in '66...

Anyway, I dig what Pete's done with it, and you can read the rest of his – and its – story in issue 11.

America didn't have all the chopper shops in the 70s

Scorching Comet

Even Vincents with one cylinder are cool. Especially on methanol!

Check out more info on this bike here.

Monday, July 20

'Real Deal'

Garage Company's style and stash of parts are the envy of everyone into old bikes, and this is Yoshi's mechanic's '47 Knuck, freshly completed.

Wow. As Yoshi says, 'Real deal!'.

French Pan

Issue 11 will have a flavour of France ... including Rico's mouthwatering Pan.

Thursday, July 16

Hot Rod Hayride

Haven't been before, but I've heard it's ace ... so am going down next month on the Saturday to see the action on the oval.

Even better, I'll be meeting up with some good chums, some from England, and another from Oz ... Simon Watts. He'll be striping over the weekend, and his work his TOP notch (see pic above)! So be sure to seek him out ... and if you recognise me there, say hello!


Jeff Decker's book is amazing.

Thursday, July 9

Ciao Italia

I'm off to Jesolo, Italy for Alberto's party. I'm hoping it'll be like La Dolce Vita but with more beer.

I'll report back next week.

Tuesday, July 7

More chopper capers – UK style!

Who would have thought 'Motorcycle Mechanics' could have been so hip, baby? These are from Stuka's collection. Thanks mate!

Monday, July 6

New website's up!

Our spankin' new website's up (, courtesy of Ryan at Atomic Industry. I figured it was time to dismantle the decidedly creaky homemade effort that had been up since the mag launched, and this new one definitely reflects the design of the magazine more accurately. It's slicker than the oil sheen on my old Pan's pushrod covers.

Anyway, check it out, and let me know what you think of it!

Stateside Styles

I went to the Rufforth Autojumble (that's 'swapmeet' for our American friends) on the weekend. I took my little boy, who loved it, but we got there too late to pick up any decent bike parts (if indeed there were any).

I did, however, find this copy of Motorcycle Mechanics from October '68. I've been looking for it for a while, with the cool Gary Littlejohn cover, so was pleased to find this perfect copy for a quid.

Always amusing to see how the Brits viewed the styles being created at the time in California: so way out compared to the pudding basin lids and standard BSAs and Ariels in the rest of the mag...

Sunday, July 5

Priceless ... and ridden

Not often you see a Vincent propped up against a tree, but I spotted this one this weekend at a local village fete. This bike may be worth fifty grand, but it was obviously ridden ... regularly. Check out the panniers and the lack of polish.

And it wasn't even on its stand, it was leaned up against the tree on its handlebar. Classy!

I'd have given my right nut to have ridden this home (if you've been reading this blog regularly you'll know I don't really need two any more).

Saturday, July 4

Busy week, and here's the antidote

Issue 10 hit the streets this week, so I've been maniacally busy shipping mags, fielding emails and calls, and rocking the new baby in her cot with my foot while I type!

Next week will be busy too ... got lots more orders to ship, got our new website going 'live' (thanks Ryan!), and I'll be (or my voice will be) featured on Biker Radio Magazine next Friday. I felt kind of stupid being interviewed, and didn't mention people I should have done, and won't be able to listen to the show because I know I'll sound like a dork. But Ken, the interviewer, is a cool dude and I know he'll be kind to me in the edit!

Anyway, with all this going on, I chilled out by staring yet again at Dan's spiffing Knuck, dreaming of one day owning such a cool sickle. (I thought I had a lead on a Knuck project here in the UK this week, but that's another – long – story, involving Albanian gangsters, or perhaps Indonesian scammers...)