Saturday, 26 April 2014

Suck it, creep! Butt out, punk! Eat sh*t and die!


I bet you're wondering what kind of madness has gripped Miss Melford after her morning toast-and-marmalade. Read on.

I mentioned yesterday that I'd come across some photocopied cartoons up in the attic, dating from the 1980s, and given to me in the 1990s by a biker friend. By way of background, I should explain that during the 1990s I knew of three biking enthusiasts - meaning mo'bikes, naturally.

One was a small, slim, very clever and individualistic young lady called Ceinwen. We had a certain rapport, cumulating in a sunny day out in Kent together, with a yummy cream tea to finish. And then she showed me her monster motorbike at home. Oh! Way too scary! I slid away from further contact.

I think she went on to fulfil her ambition to join the Revenue's elite Enquiry Branch - the team that investigated and prosecuted high-profile people likely to make the national dailies. Not to be confused with the Board's Investigation Office, the feared BIO, who looked into internal frauds and other things, and were beyond ruthless.

You didn't know that the Inland Revenue was full of extraordinarily sharp and intelligent specialists who made the rest of us (myself included) look like silly little girls in pink frocks? Hah! Such innocence. Behind the scenes there was a hard machine that put people away, and gave its victims a rough time with scant courtesy. Not like the urbane and civilised old-school treatment yours truly meted out to her customers. When I retired, several accountancy firms (though not all, of course) expressed sorrow at the severance of a good working relationship. It felt genuine. I don't imagine that the activities of EB, and especially the BIO, generated anything more than fear and hate. But then they were professionals and did their job thoroughly, and with commitment. The sort of people who always do the hidden dirty work, in government departments across the world. We tend to feel threatened by them, but if they were not there some truly awful criminals would rampage unchecked.

I sound like Batman on a rant in the Batcave beneath Wayne Manor: They're criminals, Robin, every one! And we have a mission to defeat them and put them behind bars! Robin: Holy tommy-guns, Batman! Alfred: Dinner is served, sir. A digression not completely irrelevant to this post, or more particularly one to come. Back to my 1990s biker friends.

The other two biking enthusiasts were Will and Mark. I met both when fencing (with rapiers, not larchwood).

Will was a big-hearted, very likeable chap, a Sussex Man to his fingertips, up for anything, whose original trade was agricultural mechanic; but when I knew him he had turned to roofing and bricklaying. He insisted on total honesty in his friendships, and he was the one who actually asked me, outright, as we were driving over to a party in Loxwood one night, whether I was gay. I screeched to a halt, rounded on him, and told him in crystal-clear language that I was not. Which was indeed the truth: women were (and remain) the magnetic creatures in my universe, not men, whatever men's points of interest. That made matters definite for him, and he was reassured. Will was a nice person, but I don't think he can have coped well with what has happened to me. (He would have found out - at second-hand - in late 2008, after M--- told all to his girlfriend) He was a daring biker, riding an old but very powerful Kawasaki ('Who can catch a Kawasaki?'). Apparently he once did 130 mph on the A24, on the way up to Box Hill, where all the Surrey and Sussex bikers like to meet up. The Police were not amused. But not vindictive over it, either.

Then there was Mark, a graduate of St Andrews University, a terribly keen photographer, who, for a career, decided not to follow his student friends into the nuclear industry, but instead ended up - after a spell in another kind of job in Horsham - as the Science Chief at a certain very well-known steelworks in South Wales. Mark was amiability itself. An odd contrast to the mercurial and super-active Will. Although, being men, both could get moody and miffed. But both also liked a drink at the pub, and some droll mutual banter, and both were mad on bikes. Where Will championed his olde and trustye black Kawasaki, and wore ancient leathers and a helmet from the 1950s, possibly his dad's, Mark liked swish modern flash red-and-white racing bikes, snazzy leathers, and a state-of-the-art helmet from the year 2050. When I knew him, he was into Honda's racing bikes, and owned a CBR-Something. And yet, despite such top-notch equipment, Will never believed that Mark had the bottle for a really insane road race with him up the A24. I can offer no judgement. I was never into bikes and their performance - even though very near my retirement I took on an interesting case at work that for a while immersed me in the half-glam world of Superbike Racing. (It was about the set-off of substantial racing losses - one man's personal dream to win the Championship regardless of expense. It contained intriguing legal arguments, and was unresolved when I left)

Anyway, Mark had some old magazines, and these featured an occasional one-page comic strip entitled 'Big Dug's Probing Eyeball', in which a motorbike topic was dealt with on humorous lines. It first appeared late in 1985, and then on into 1986. The strip was the work of the 'Breeden Bros' - K and D Breeden. I haven't been able to find out anything about the Probing Eyeball, nor the Breeden Bros, on the Internet. But there is a female cartoonist called Jennie Breeden who produces a comic strip on life situations called The Devil's Panties (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil's_Panties and http://thedevilspanties.com/) and she has in the past been an occasional blogger on LiveJournal (see http://jenniebreeden.livejournal.com/) I wondered whether she might be a daughter of one of those Breeden brothers from thirty years back, but she was clearly brought up across the Atlantic, and her cartoons are very American. Whereas the Probing Eyeball is dripping with hardcore British bike culture. So a mere coincidence in the surnames, methinks.

I always, and I mean totally always, claim that I have no vestige of humour in me. Miss Panface. But those Probing Eyeball cartoons made me giggle. I really liked the language. Let's look closely at two of the four issues that Mark photocopied for me.

The first one (actually Issue #1) dates from 1985, and offers advice on the key statements to make to other bikers, and anyone else.


For those with impaired eyesight - even though you can click on the picture and see it enlarged in a gallery - I will transcribe the captions, thus:

Do little girls laugh at you? Do taxis park on your feet? If you ride a small foreign motorcycle the chances are you need help. Big Dug has a few tips - HOW YOU CAN BE COOL ON A HONDA C90.

Whenever out on a run yo must always wear yo TRIUMPH T-shirt.

If anybody asks (a Hell's Angels type stops to converse) 'WHY! WHAT SORT OF MO'CYCLE IS THAT, MADAM?', yo must reply 'WHY SIR! A TRIUMPH OF COURSE'. 

Purchase a genuine TRIUMPH spare part, for example, a T120 chaincase inspection plate (part number 572440). It should be glued in a conspicuous position on the motorcycle and pointed to if a bystander doubts the validity of yo claim to own a TRIUMPH. (Doubting bystander: Uh???)

To any other questions yo should always give one the following replies. For example:

(To a blond gay easy rider at the bar, who says 'And what's your name, you big hunky bike boy?')
SUCK IT, CREEP! (actually it's Clint)

Or

(To a shop lady who says 'Fish, chips and peas...that'll be 69 pence, please, luvvy')
BUTT OUT, PUNK!

Or 

(To a Policeman making a polite enquiry, who says 'May I see your driving licence, sonny?')
EAT SH*T AND DIE! (...Officer...) 
And Big Dug adds to this the following advice: NB There is never any excuse for being rude to an officer of the law in the pursuance of his duty. Always address him with respect.'

Next month you'll need two empty squeezy bottles, a roll of sticky-backed plastic, and a pair of dad's old underpants, as we show you how to convert your C90 into a ton-up roadburner.

Interesting things to note here. The use of 'yo' for 'you' or 'your'. Mark told me that for a while there was an absolute craze for saying 'yo' to other people. Oh? When was that then? And was it only a biker thing? Whenever it was, it had never entered into my little world. (Maybe it will come back one day. Who can say? No man) Then there is the price of a fish and chip meal in 1985 - 69 pence! It would be more like £6.90 in 2014.

Here's my favourite. It's Issue #3 from early 1986. Big Dug reveals Kamikazi's latest superbike:


Once again, the transcription:

FIRST WITH THE FACTS - SCOOP ROAD TEST
Wheelie incwedible fiend monster rockets to top of performance twee! Wed hot tester Wild Wild Wally Wathbone got first blast on the tasty new tarmac terror from Kamikazi - the sensational GRX1100RIP. We bring you his scoop test!

IT'S THE BUSINESS
Wow and cor! Kamikazi have come up with a real hit formula cracker this time. From the huge white speedo that only starts when it hits 100 mph to the sporty trick alloy cans, the razor sharp sculptured macho styling says AWESOME-SUPER-CAPABLE from any angle.

SAY-YOUR-PRAYERS PERFORMANCE
Vicious but fair, the great gobs of power lurking in the high-tech mill stomp in pulling like a train with brutal low-down grunt to the outer limits of squash-your-eyeballs hit-you-like-a-brick shrivel-your-balls top-end savagery.

NO VEGETARIAN THIS ONE
Hustling the beast through a cruelly tortuous series of ice-covered hairpin bends at well over the ton shows the GRX is top dog in the throw-it-around-and-pass-the-sick-bag stakes. And the cut and thrust of the urban jungle is all in a day's work for this mild-mannered but merciless marauder.

The only naff spots are the atrociously shaped come-back-BMW-all-is-forgiven designer horn button, and the perfectly padded flip-up bum perch which is embarrassingly loud (Watching crowd at Box Hill grins as tester dismounts from steed with a fart-like PHHLARPPP! noise from said bum perch, and blushes with shame) 

Unfortunately a minor spill prevented us from completing a full test (picture of an elaborate high-speed crash ending in KKKRANG! for the bike, and apparently serious injury for the tester). Even so, the bike's a real state-of-the-art just-the-job piece of shoot-from-the-hip take-no-prisoners future classic hardware. With its flush-fit retractable bungee hooks, on-board head-up computer display, integrated power support systems (IPSS), and ninety-eight way adjustable anti-dive restricted-rise suspension setup (98 WAADRRSS), this easy-on-the-juice up-and-at-'em take-THAT-Englander keenly priced wacetwack wefugee leaves the competition dead on the showroom floor...until next month that is.

More points of interest! The overblown motor-journalist style is a spoof, obviously, but lingers on in Top Gear to this day. Which shows up the age and cultural background of Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond, n'est-ce pas? Actually so much of this 1986 language is still current! Was Probing Eyeball ahead of its time? Note the snide dig at the vegetarian movement. I'm most intrigued about the 'on-board head-up computer display'. What? Something like Google Glass in 1986? Visionary!

Here are the two other issues, #2 and #5, although I won't trouble anyone with a transcription:


It's good to know that when, having consumed an early lunch - it'll be cold tongue, olives, and sweet sun-dried Mediterranean tomatoes today I think - and I drive over to Waitrose in Burgess Hill, I shall have techniques to deal with any situation.

Why! What kind of car is that, madam?
Why sir! It's a VOLVO of course!

And what's your name, you delicious sweetie-pie?
SUCK IT, CREEP!

Your Waitrose bill today is £47.85, madam, less a My Waitrose Card discount of 72 pence, and the 80 pence refund on car parking.
BUTT OUT, PUNK!

Excuse me, madam! Would you like to contribute anything towards the Burgess Hill Food Bank. Either a tin of something you've just bought, or perhaps a little money?
EAT SH*T AND DIE!

Yo can see that my attic discovery could be game-changing.

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