If you caught up with last week’s Friday episode you left our hero (that’s me, that is) with what he thought was a flat battery charging in the office. At 3pm I fitted it and, lo and behold… nothing. The Bitch was quite dead. I internally collapsed, it was due at the bike shop the following day for a massive load of work, the fitting of clocks, a fan, a rear light unit, two levers -all painstakingly acquired from second-hand Triumph spares dealers- a vital oil and filter change and, perhaps of paramount importance, new chain and sprockets. Before I turned into a blubbering heap of tears I suddenly remembered that I had free breakdown cover with my insurance. In the 10 years the BB and I have been in a relationship I’ve never had to use this facility so it wasn’t surprising I’d forgotten about it. I called them up and a van was despatched. At 5pm it arrived, the bike shop shut at 6pm. It was at least an hour from my location and the Friday rush hour was very much in swing. Oh the stress.
The mechanic that arrived with the van wasn’t too chuffed about having to escort me there either, but I forbade him from trying to fix the problem on the spot. Electrical problems can take hours and days to locate and I figured it was better to risk arriving after the bike shop was shut (and the bill for a mechanic to try and tried to find out what the issue was) and save myself a trip the following morning. We set off in haste, right into the jaws of gridlock. I was beside myself. This was worse than finding blood in ones stool.
The breakdown fellow was a biker too and by default a bloody good bloke. We chatted about motorcycles that both relieved and increased my maybe-lack-of-bike predicament. Occasional periods of clear-ish road tantalised my optimism, then it started to snow, heavily, making visibility a problem. Great. I began to give up hope and gazed into my weekend as it stood, no IC, no Black Bitch, just me and the cunting flat which I mentally vacated weeks ago.
But then the traffic suddenly vanished, this was possibly due to the snow, either way at 6 on the dot, just as the shop was shutting, we arrived. Unmitigated joy! I hastily passed all the spares over to the manager with babbled instructions and skipped off into the night with my weekend opening up like something rude and not for here. I caught the train from the conveniently located station, it’s literally across the road from the bike shop, and instantly stepped onto a train bound for Victoria.
The evening plans became reality. I was due to meet Bee and The Scotch in a boozer near Bond Street at 7pm, and at exactly 7pm I arrived just as the protagonists in question were ordering at the bar. Marvellous. I’m rather embarrassed to inform you that I met these two online along with Swineshead 7 odd years ago but I’d never actually met The Scotch until now. Nice chap, of course. We three discussed our dubious means of coming together but in the real world got on as famously as we did all those years ago berating fundamentalist Christians.
I left at a sensible hour and took the tube home feeling rather pleased with myself. I’d got out of having to arise at the crack of dawn to take the BB to the shop, met some pals, drunk ale and had a viewing booked on my gaff the following morning.
On Saturday I fucked off to Sainsbury 15 mins before the viewing was due to take place and did some shopping. I was home by lunch and finally able to eat and relax before setting off again to pick up the BB by 5. I set off at 3; the Northern Line was up the spout so I had to take a bus to Clapham Junction. I’d completely underestimated the time for this journey and an hour and fifteen minutes later I was still on the fucker trying not to cry. I had 45 mins to get to the bike shop before it shut, even though the train journey from Clapham Junction to Croydon was only 20 mins (I’d lazily noted the previous evening) only two trains an hour stopped at the particular station by the bike shop and I’d not checked the timetable assuming I’d have been there in plenty of time drinking coffee on the platform and looking forward to getting my leg over my mechanical girl.
When the bus finally arrived I’d 30 mins before the shop was to close but before that I had to locate the platform, needle in a haystack stuff (I was literally yelling at staff demanding they informed me like I wasn’t very well in the head) and hope the bloody train would just sort of ‘be there’ or I’d be fucked (again). Platform 13! I raced there swinging my crash helmet at the throngs shuffling through the concourse in order to hasten my passage. As I rushed up the stairs to the platform my train was drawing in. I almost threw-up with relief, or was that merely the exertion of getting there. It didn’t matter, I’d made it and with 2 mins to spare gasped into the bike shop grinning like the village idiot. There she was, all done and as a final hurrah the bill was about £100 less than I’d estimated.
Despite the rain and the soggy Saturday evening traffic not one remotely piqued, Piqued giggled all the way home. As I came in Cunt went out, if only IC were here and it would’ve been the best fucking day since leaving school. I made myself a huge supper that consisted of roasted onions, fried shredded sprouts with bacon and roasted chicken and potato, poured myself a glass of wine and settled down to watch the full series of Classic Bikes on DVD kindly donated by Nick Tann (www.nicktann.co.uk) last week. Fucking marvellous, my joie de vivre all aided and abetted by the prospect of a Sunday blast.
After kippers and tea at midday I set off. It was cold but sunny. The engine burbled cheerily, the fresh thick oil contained the clatter of tappets and gears and my slippery chain ran silently over sharp greased sprockets. It actually felt like a new machine, it’s never had any problem with speed but now it was it supersonic. I screamed out of London and onto the A3 hitting a naughty 135 before informing myself to calm the fuck down. I visited my parents, made some minor non-essential adjustments -more for the hell of it than anything- and flew off to my sisters in deepest darkest Surrey where my niece received me without any fuss whatsoever.
It was pissing down with rain on the way home and extremely cold. I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss, I arrived home with adrenaline fizzing in my veins and settled down for a night of Top Gear companioned by a roast dinner feeling all smug and shit.
Before I go I must mention the passing of Lux Interior of Horror-Punk and original psychobilly outfit, The Cramps. I posted footage of them playing at California State Mental Hospital in Napa some time ago and this gives a fairly good insight into their polemic. Lux was married to Poison Ivy, the glamorous chic who played a mean, mean guitar and between them they quietly influenced acts as varied as The Butthole Surfers, The Birthday Party, The Dwarves, The Fuzztones, The Gun Club, Spacemen 3, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Reverend Horton Heat, My Bloody Valentine and The White Stripes.
As is the case I expect their true status as pioneers will became more apparent by their departure and the benefit of considered hindsight. It’s well deserved.
It’s only fitting, then, that we end today’s Piqued with them in happier days.
Lux Interior (Erick Purkhiser) October 21, 1946 – February 4, 2009 RIP