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Filtering against the tide of rushing people at Euston station, I felt like I was from the sticks, which I suppose I am, but rather than making me feel harried, I felt a warmth being back here, this time not on my motorbike but on my bicycle (Fiddy’s idea). Riding to Shoreditch on a warm evening, I let the faster cyclists past and was reminded of a study in which different cities were tested for their ‘time signature’ i.e. the average speed that it’s inhabitants walk around. London is up there with the faster ones, it correlates to the size of the city they discovered unsurprisingly.
Arriving in EC2A at the Shoreditch Studios for the Bikeshed event I was expecting a vibe and London atmosphere analogous to Euston at rush hour yet it couldn’t have been more different. The Friday Preview evening there was wonderfully relaxed and warm. The venue was part of it; spacious and uncluttered, motorbike objet d’art sanctified by the space. A large reason was the company, everyone just really happy to be where we were, enjoying doing what we do with motorbikes and catching up, tending, as we generally do, to disparate existences. The credit for the event as a whole being so relaxed, apart from the fine food and drink, and sun, must go to organisers and Davida enthusiasts, Dutch and his Dutchess who, with Ben, curated, planned and executed it all so well.
It was also a last chance to bid fare-thee-well to Nico, sign painter /artist, of Ornamental Conifer and his partner Steph, who are off to Melbourne and no doubt other destinations. They will be missed in Europe where they have contributed so much to the scene with their style both aesthetic and as people. Nico says he’s looking forward to motorbikes being his hobby again rather than it potentially becoming his livelihood here, he has had his appetite whetted already for the larger canvasses of the big Aussie cars.
It was great to meet Dominik Scherrer and Katie Dain in the flesh having shown their fantastically off the wall opera film ‘Hell for Leather’ at the Lisbon Art & Moto event last month; Davida having provided helmets etc for the film. Dominik is a very skilled composer and filmmaker and it was fascinating to hear the stories behind the production from both of them; suffice it to say, try to avoid sharing an ambulance with a mezzo-soprano who has just had a motorbike crash and is screaming as she had to, never leave home without earplugs. As it turns out, Katie hung out for a while with the Mean Fuckers in the London in the late 90’s and nearly made it as a Mean Mother.
We enjoyed the hospitality of Drew’s ‘Black Skulls’ Hackney garage later on and it was great to be back there relaxing to some great tunes, ‘Television’ kinda stuff as I recall. I heard about a great wind-up that was recently pulled on Drew; his ‘mates’ told him a local boutique had started selling t-shirts adorned with Drew’s manifesto: ‘Keep Hackney Crap’, he was wound up good and proper and ready to go and seek some, not so legal, redress.
Davida’s display was right opposite Maxwell Paternoster’s, now very well known, BSA thumper (he nearly spat his coffee out when he saw a gold-leafed Beemer) and the Kingdom of Kicks bunch right at the entrance to the Bikeshed Event. Sharon and Fiddy were kept very busy by new visitors and old friends alike through Sat and Sun. Henry Cole took a decent amount of footage for his TV series, including an interview with Davida MD, Fiddy.
It was great to see so many well worn and much loved Davida helmets come through the doors and to catch up with Davida Dealers such as Urban Rider, Spirit of the Seventies, Victory, Bikerstore and Cafe Racer, many of whom also forged a significant number of the bikes invited to exhibit at Bikeshed.
Knowing Dick Wilson of Baron Speed Shop was also exhibiting we took along an old photograph of him and his wife Marie, taken of them in 1998 at the Ace Cafe Reunion. It proved really popular and so it wasn’t long into the weekend before it went missing
We were able to give Maxwell a lift home in the Davida van with his valve-stricken, Laser Death BSA at the end of the weekend, fear not, he had the engine apart that evening. He and it will no doubt yet again be emblematic of Wheels and Waves this June. Speaking of Wheels and Waves there were some gorgeous black and white photos from last year’s event on the walls at Bikeshed taken by Sam Christmas who is instrumental in documenting the current scene. I particularly like his series of portraits of the various players in their respective workshops. Also on display was a wonderfully evocative image he took for Davida featuring a flame haired Kitty on a 70’s Kawasaki.
Davida have been around long enough now that we could certainly be described as a true ‘heritage’ brand, still made in England and still sticking to our aesthetic principals. Cress, ‘the lizard king’ (he lives in a hot-house, man-cave of motorbikes and guitars), a veteran of the Mean Fuckers, pointed out that in England this can work against you as this does not create loyalty in the English alternative scene, but rather people get blasé and take it for granted that you’ll always be there. True true. For him though, he thinks of Davida as crucial to the Mean Fuckers germination and style through the years: ‘Davida made the stuff we needed and the stuff that got us looking cool’ was more or less the way he put it. He’s threatening to write about those early years, and the role Davida played in it, soon so watch this space.
From the people I’ve met from The Mean Fuckers over the years, Ben Part, Cres, Johnny Moralis, Conrad Leach, Jake et al, they’ve got the attitude just right. I see it as an attitude that challenges people, yet the challenge is; to not judge the book by it’s cover. They are as diverse, interesting, and non-partisan a group as you could hope to meet in London and I think their spirit is reflected in the burgeoning scene that is developing in motorbike customising, so evident in the eccentricity of bikes and characters at this event. This scene shows no sign of slowing down, judging by this event, and it’s refreshing to see another generation stamping its identity in old metal again, recycling, not just machine aesthetics, but cultural aesthetics and identities too, a vein that is so rich in motorcycling. I see it as analogous to the rise in urban bicycle/fixie culture that has got people looking both, to the past, and to the present to forge their identity.
The post BSMC Bikeshed The Event, London, 17th-19th May 2013 By Jules Watts appeared first on davida news events and features.