Sunday, October 30

Just over a month to the Mooneyes Show in Yokohama!


Can't believe how many people on this video have inspired the birth and ongoing existence of the GK website and magazine.

This event is going to be overwhelming.

I imagine I will standing slack-jawed like last year as a parade of inspirational bikes, cars and heroes pass by.

Can't wait.

Saturday, October 29

Friday, October 28

Still Hot after all these years

I never imagined my kids would have any toys in common with the ones I loved at their age, but both of them go mad for Hot Wheels cars... just like my brother and I did in the late sixties/early seventies.

I remember we had a red custom with a bubble roof like Ed Roth's 'Mysterion'... I think it may still be in a box in my parents' attic. And my son has his favourites too... he definitely favours the hot rods over the muscle cars.

That's my boy.

Thursday, October 27

Wednesday, October 26

Battle of the Knuckleheads

Is it just me, or are there lots of Knucks coming out of the woodwork and changing hands at the moment?

While they'll stay out of reach for most of us, it's getting to the stage where only the really outstanding bikes are grabbing the attention.

Shin's bike is one of these: there is so much cool stuff on this machine that your head will spin. Look for the feature in issue 24 by our Tokyo correspondent and dear friend Mochi.

Tuesday, October 25

596 years ago today

I'm a bit down on England a lot of the time, but I love our history and it was today – Saint Crispin's Day – in 1415 that Henry V orchestrated the crushing defeat of the huge French army at Agincourt in northern France.

For anyone who hasn't heard the story, English longbowmen were the best in the world... so good that if they were captured in battle, the first two fingers of their bow-string hand were often severed by the French so they were unable to use a bow again. As a result, the English bowmen started sticking these two fingers up at the enemy in defiance before raining steel-tipped death onto them; it's a gesture beloved by all Englishmen still.

The English bowmen and the sticky mud on Agincourt's battlefield made mincemeat of the heavily (literally) armoured French cavalry. I've visited the battlefield often; there is a little museum and cafe nearby. Well worth a visit if you're in that part of France.

OK, back to the motorcycles.

All-business XL


Terry is a pretty prolific builder. He put this Sporty together for a friend a couple of years ago.

It's right up my street.

Monday, October 24

Pudding





Ready for Rollerburn?

A few people asked me yesterday if I was going to Rollerburn, which is less than a month away now on 19 November.

Unfortunately I have a prior engagement with the Andrews Sisters, but GKM will be ably represented there by Pete Stansfield on the Eat the Rich UK stand. Come and say hello if you want to buy a back issue or some stickers.

This event is the one to get to this winter... make sure you're there!

Saturday, October 22

I'll be at the Jack's Hill Cafe Autojumble tomorrow

Still trying to raise funds for my Panhead rebuild (if it ever gets done), so I am selling off more stuff that I never thought I would have to.

I'll have vintage chopper parts (lots of Bates stuff, Hap Jones, NOS treasure), Harley bits, vintage jackets and magazines... you'll even be able to buy back copies of GKM!

Raid your piggy banks... this stuff isn't going for pennies, but try finding some of this stuff elsewhere in the UK!

See you there.

American & British Chops & Bobbers Autojumble

Jack Hill's Cafe
A5 Watling Street
Towcester
Northamptonshire
NN12 6ET
8am-2pm

Free entry

Friday, October 21

A good catch in Grimsby



Went to visit Toddy at his workshop yesterday to shoot his extraordinary Triumph and Chubb's Shovel.

The amount of beautiful fabrication visible on both bikes is amazing. Toddy's Triumph in particular is something else: the details are astounding and it's almost impossible to imagine how many hours have gone into its creation.

Toddy told me something I've heard a couple of times before from other top-notch builders; when I asked what had taken longest on the bike, he replied "sitting, looking at it with a fag and a cup of tea." It's hard to appreciate how much thought goes into getting the lines on a bike this right: how the seat profile from above follows the flare of the carbs; how the petcocks emerge from the tank at exactly the same angle as the frame rails.

Inspirational. And coming soon in GKM.

Thursday, October 20

Tokyo Punk Rock

My good friend Mochi has formed 'The Sissy Bars' with other chopping luminaries Gak, Shin, Tomoya and Katsu... and they have their first gig on 28 October.

If you're around in Tokyo... go and support them!

Wednesday, October 19

Knucks, Knucks, Knucks... for sale

In case you weren't aware, Mike 'Born Loser' Davis currently has three Knuckleheads for sale; a cherry '47 with all the doodads, a mostly-there '47 project and a very, very nice chopper.

How often does this happen?

If you're seriously in the market for your piece of the H-D holy grail, don't wait around. You'll find more details here.

Sixties survivor T100

Nothing beats the excitement of uncovering a bike customised back in the day and untouched since.

Anthony Robinson's '52 T100 was modified in the early sixties, then left alone until he bought it. From the Bates scrambler seat to the Stelling & Hellings bars, everything on this bike is as it was when its throttle happy owner (it has a replacement '54 engine) hopped it up 50-odd years ago. Even the tyres.

See more of it very soon in GKM.

Tuesday, October 18

Rockabilly Guy



Well... yeah.

The sound of north London in 1980/81. Tim doing the Royalty bop... Boz with a Double Anniversary when they were still cheap... Rock-a-Cha pegs and box jackets as far as the eye can see.

Be nice to travel back in time for an early '80s Thursday night in Southgate.

Mr Kurpius

I'd talked to Josh Kurpius before on the phone but not actually met him until the Brooklyn Invitational.

Unfortunately for him it was at the Gutter Bar on the Friday night after I'd spent a day on the Brooklyn lager. I was a rambling spitting mess, but Josh was laid back and really pleasant, just sitting on his own at a table away from the melee. I do remember him looking perhaps a little bemused at the state I was in.

Hey, what can I say, I don't get out much.

I don't need to tell you this, but if you only read one or two Blogs, make one of them this one.

Monday, October 17

Hach's Knucklehead

Proper chopper. Coming soon in GKM.

More happenings in Oz

Choppers and cold beer in the bush... beauty, mate.

Karl sent me details. He says: "The venue is in Victoria east of Horsham, in a town call Jung which people can use Google map to find. It's shaping up to be a cool little show in a beautiful bush setting with plenty of live bands, all sorts of two wheel machines and giveaways,
free camping for the party animals, bar price liquor, food ...what more do you need!".

Sunday, October 16

Plastic Sportster

Remember Trevor Wade's Sportster I shot in Brooklyn, here?

Well, here is the plastic Sportster artwork he molded and built, piece by piece. Trevor told me: "The artist I work for is Banks Violette and this sculpture was a memorial piece for his best friend Steven Parrino, also an artist, who was killed on his bike in 2005. I think this piece took us five months to make if I remember correctly. Building real motorcycles turns out to be way more fun and incorporates way less disgusting materials. Enjoy!"

Saturday, October 15

Lots of people ask me where they can find GKM issue 1

Well, there's one up on UK Ebay right now... no bids yet. They don't come up for sale often.

And no, this auction is nowt to do with me!

HERE!

Bike photography... when bikers were bikers

If you read biker mags in the UK back before the trad chopper resurgence of the past decade, you couldn't fail to have admired the work of Garry Stuart. BSH, HOG (which became Heavy Duty), Classic American... he was photographer of choice for 'em all. As well as creating a number of books under his own name and with Caz Carroll.

And now he's set up a Blog to document some of these images, which I guarantee will be familiar. Check out Garry's 'HarleyPics' HERE.

Friday, October 14

GKM at Yokohama, 2011

GKM has been invited to present an award again this year at the Mooneyes show in Yokohama – the 20th anniversary of the HRCS. It's a huge honour.

And what a trophy we have this year...

Created for us by Dave "Neo Dutch" O'Hanlon, it's truly a work of art. Here's a taster; I'll reveal the whole shebang nearer December.

You can see more of David's work HERE.

Thursday, October 13

Industrial strength Shovelhead

'75 cone motor in a late '30s Knuckle frame? 23" & 19" rims? Hand shift, open belt, mids?

Yes, my friends... no bull, made in England and ridden in the rain. Stuart's Shovel, coming soon in GKM.

Saturday, October 8

Bad tattoos

25 years ago, when the photo on the left was taken, there were very few options in north London if you wanted a tattoo. It wasn't like today, with an award-winning artist on seemingly every street corner.

I took the photo of my own upper arm for the thesis I was doing at art school on tattooing and youth culture (that in itself shows how few tattooed people of my own age were around to photograph). Probably unfair to mention the tattooist... but it was someone local I went to in my teens because I couldn't afford the big name on the Finchley Road, Dennis Cockell (who did some of Brian Setzer's first tattoos).

I had the bluebird/swallow done first when I was about 18 in the early eighties, a tentative toe in the water. I followed it shortly afterwards with the pinup girl (the design nicked from the Stray Cats record label). The notes and stars followed later. I remember my girlfriend at the time saying that the girl looked like she had a club foot and was sitting on a potty. And she was right.

I wish now I'd just had one big design done instead of scared little bits and pieces over years, but considering the artist's lack of artistry I don't think that matters now.

I'd wanted a tattoo since I was about five or six, when our neighbour – Jim Thorogood – who had been in the navy in WWII, used to let me study the inky blue designs on his arms that hinted at an exciting world I wouldn't be party to for at least another decade.

I've always been fascinated by homemade, badly done or basic tattoos and the process of their disintegration over time. The photo top right is the same arm today and you can see how the lines have spread and the colour has dropped out of the girl's hair. Those original designs have also inevitably been surrounded by more poorly-applied ink... by that same tattooist.

But the saddest thing is when people get their badly rendered ink covered up; I like mine, it's tied up with my life story and each wobbly line represents a memory I don't want to lose.

Friday, October 7

New GKM shop truck

So, I made an entirely practical decision to buy Dan Collins' beautiful '58 Dodge Town Panel, its arrival to coincide with the winter snow and our highest ever fuel prices. After all that Ventura sunshine, this beast won't know what's hit it.

It's got a 305 Chevy V8 with a two barrel Rochester, HEI igntition, 700R4 overdrive trans, Camaro front clip with power brakes & steering and a Camaro 10 bolt rear. The wheels are rare: 1960s Foresight Indy mags. It also has a top-of-the-line Vi-Air airbag system, so I can do the lowrider bounce in the sleet down to Tesco.

Look out for it next year as I will be getting out and about and selling the magazine at more shows up and down the country.

Tuesday, October 4

The dog's...

Well, I'm just glad I got to shoot Steve's lovely Triumph for the mag (see the current issue) before he decided to flog it. Molly will be sad to see it go.

I know I say this every time, but I wish I had the bloody money... this bike is schweet. For all the specs and illustrious history, you'd better buy the magazine...

SOLD

Oooh... nice 37s!

Remember Mike Bennett's Knuck from issue 1? If you do, you'll know it was one of my favourite motorcycles ever... definitely top five material. Hugely influential. And now he's back with this perfect pair of big-inch flatties... both '37s. The one on the left is Mike's, the one on the right his mate Terry's.

Blimey, can it get any better?

Coming soon in GKM.

Monday, October 3

Invitational: On the street














There were some interesting bikes parked up and down the street outside the Brooklyn Invitational, as you might imagine. Always frustrating at these kind of events trying to track down the owners of machines you want to shoot, especially as the cops were clearing all machines off the sidewalks.

These are a few that caught my eye. Vander's Pan (10th down) was especially nice.