Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Whatever happened to voting? Remember that? When we all use dto get off our arses and pop into a polling booth and vote? Ah I remember, '"It wont make a difference who we vote for they are all the same." and thats your excuse is it? Sitting on your arse letting other people run around to do the work and then just complaining because the same old faces get in time and time again.
I hear this so often, "Wont make a difference" "No point in voting for him, he wont get in..." but just think ... what if, just maybe, you voted for someone like the monster raving loony party? What sort of message would that send to the government? I'm not actually saying you should vote for them, thats an example....
Complaining that someone will not get in, so you will not vote for them, does not make any sense! Of course they will not get in if you do not vote. You want to make a difference, you make an effort! Get talking to your friends, ask them what they think and then if you have one friend who sounds like they could do the job, raise some funds and get them in as a candidate. If enough of you do this you could really frighten this current government and possibly get someone in, if you campaign hard enough.
The system in this country is designed to put off timewasters and loonies, but it also stops legitimate people from running as they cannot afford it in time or money, to this end they either have to have a large amount of disposable income, be sponsored by a company, private individual or by donations, but who will give money to an unknown?
If you really want to change things then YOU have to get out there and do some work, find someone you can believe in and support them, help them, even if you just offer a little time. Then talk to your friends and work mates, tell them you believe in this person and get them to help too, persuade them, if you believe they will believe. Enough of you together can change things, but you have want it very badly, sitting back and not helping because you might miss Coronation st or Eastenders, or want to go to the pub instead of handing out a few leaflets, or even not bothering to vote, this is what keeps the current incumbents in power and while you do nothing, nothing will change.
Monday, 30 March 2009
I was very pleased at the Sunday demo, very big and very peaceful, lots of ordinary people came together and showed the government their unhappiness with the way things are being run, problem is, the government does not listen, even with that large turnout, this is why 'others' turn to more direct action, they feel they are not being listened to. In amongst them are those who enjoy violence and this is where it starts to fall down, once the hijackers take over events snowball, more and more people get caught up and the situation deteriorates rapidly, fear makes the less inclined to violence panic, once fear and panic sets in, the ones that want to take advantage make their move.
I really hope there are no problems on Wednesday, I hope that it is a massive peaceful protest that puts across a strong point, but I doubt it, it is too good an opportunity for those with hidden agendas.
If you are going good luck.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
As more and more cases come to light, perhaps we should stop our MP's from having these outrageous expense claims, or perhaps we should stop paying them expenses altogether.
Stop paying them expenses? Think about it, MP's are voted in to work for us, that does not seem to happen any more, they treat it as a job rather than a vocation, in my minds eye I see MP's having a flat wage and no expense's or outside income, by that I mean not sitting on the board of some big corporation as 'an advisor', they should have a flat income from the state coffers and no other income.
I do not like the idea of MP's having 'outside' interests, no matter what they say it must influence them, getting rid of these influences would not stop corruption or the odd 'bung' but it would help.
MP's should become MP's because they want to help and support their constituents, not because they want to make loads of money.
A friend of mine has a son at Cambridge studying politics, when I asked him what party he supports or would join, when he finished his degree, he looked at me rather oddly “Whatever pays the best!” would be the summing up of his reply, he really did see it as a job for life and could not even understand my concerns about his attitude. I remember MP's having some gumption as well, although I did not agree with much of his politics Tony Benn was always a forthright and honest politician, he always believed in what he was doing and saying, how many of today's MP's could you say that of?
The party system seems to have changed for all parties, in days gone by the elected members would have dictated the policy, now the way they work comes down from above and anyone who goes against the party line is not tolerated, I believe the main political parties have got far to big and cumbersome, we need to return to a more independent system, one where local people run as candidates for the local area, no more 'safe' seats, if a politician can not be trusted to get voted in where he lives, then why on earth should he be allowed to run elsewhere?
We also need to make it cheaper for people, who really believe that they can do well for the people in their local area, to run for government, local or national, some of us just can not afford to give up our day jobs to run, why not make it fairer by dropping the amount needed for a deposit and make the candidates collect 500 signatures from registered voters. If they can convince 500 people to sign for them, I think they would be worth listening to.
Becoming an MP is very difficult if you do not have a) Money, b) the support of big party, c) the wherewithal to get publicity. This means, IMHO, that is now an a virtually exclusive club!
Very few people, who are not rich or media personalities, can get through to even get in the voting, this is not fair, there are a lot of people out there who have been prevented from even managing to get far enough to say their piece, I'm not just talking about my failed attempt, I have listened to a lot of people in the last 12 months who have a lot to say and plenty of it makes sense, I'm not saying they are all brilliant politicians (I have also met a few loonies...) who have been sidelined, just that sometimes we need to listen to the man on the street, not the isolated politician with only the party viewpoint and an expense account. When was the last time you saw your MP in the local pub? Or in a local restaurant? In fact when was the last time you saw him on the streets of your town?
Politics needs to change, politicians need to listen to the people again, politicians need to be local, accountable people, people we can see and trust.
Let's take one day some time ago when things went from mildly annoying to life threateningly dangerous, it started with a mysterious misfire on my then ride, which I had bought for a ridiculously cheap price from a friend of mine called Wobbly Bob, it went like a scalded cat but handled like a stoned badger on an ice rink, it was a Kawasaki Z1000ST with stage 2 Moriwaki conversion, it had been bored out to 1175cc with an almost straight through exhaust and Z9 bars. The misfire drove me mad for a few hours then just disappeared, on taking it out for a test run it immediately managed to get a puncture in the rear wheel. 30 minutes later the puncture is fixed and I start off again only to coast to a stop as the engine died completely. Puffing, panting and generally unhappy I pushed the bike back to our workshop in Leatherhead and shouted at it for a bit. Brian then leaned over and pointed out that the vacuum pipe for the petrol tap was hanging down under the tank… after shouting at myself for a bit I tried once more and was rewarded with a run down to Boxhill that, aside from the iffy handling, was good fun.
On returning home as I pulled back into the garage I dropped the damn thing by not making sure the side stand was completely down, no damage except to my pride and the fact that half a dozen mates were standing there pissing themselves laughing. Being a Wednesday it was decided to have a run later to the Mucky Duck (The Black Swan) for a pint, so I headed off home to get dinner and around 8pm I thought it was time to head off for the pub. So I head out for the M25 at Junction 9 and quickly blasted along up to around 125mph just to check the engine was not misfiring anymore, coming to the slight uphill section, a line of lorries was completely filling the inside lane off into the distance, so I had dropped my speed down to around 70mph to enjoy the ride as the traffic was getting a bit heavier. I glanced in my mirror and noticed a black Lexus? (Maybe) with a bloke on his mobile (flash for them days and about the size of a brick) very close, he was about a cars length behind me and I was just going to pull away from him to open the gap when the engine misfired, a slight feeling of panic wafted over me, if the engine died he would run into the back of me before he had a chance to react. So I cracked open the throttle in the hope I could clear the fault, the bike took off and as the revcounter hurtled across the dial I moved into the outside lane and shut the throttle down a bit, nothing… it didn't move, the bike was still accelerating, I glanced at the speedo which was approaching the 135mph mark and tried to pull in the clutch, that didn't move either!
The bike was still running as if the throttle was fully open, I squeezed the brakes to try and reduce speed to get near the hard shoulder, as the speed dropped to nearer the 100mph mark flames suddenly appeared between my legs… I let go of the brakes… I had a full tank, about 4 gallons of fuel on board!! Because of the lorries in the nearside lane I had no chance of getting on to the grass verge at this speed and there was now vapour coming from the fuel cap and my arse shouted, "Get off now!" so I jumped…
The idea was to jump straight up on the pegs and let the bike go its merry way, bend me knees and roll with the impact, I should have realised this was not my day, as I tried this the bars twisted in my hands and sort of Irish‑whipped me over the bars in front of the bike, which promptly crashed on top of me, I looked at this flaming lump of metal that was crushing my ankle into the tarmac and put my hands down on the road to try and drag myself from under the bike, this worked but I was still moving at well over the speed limit as my right glove was torn off and I watched a line of my skin and blood appear on the tarmac, the bike carried on down the motorway and as I came to a stop I realised I was still in the fast lane! I half dragged half rolled myself under the barrier of the central reservation as cars came pass with brakes squealing. As I lay under the barrier there was an almighty "wooommppphhh" not an explosion as I had expected, like someone slapping their hands over your ears as the bike blew up, it covered both sides of the M25 in burning petrol.
Laying there, I could not feel my right leg from the knee down, my left arm would not move and as I raised my right hand to lift my visor I took one look and put it down again, I could see it had no fingertips, part of the palm was missing and I could see tendons and bones in the wrist joint. I thought I would just keep still and wait for an ambulance. Strangely at this time I felt no pain, just numbness all over. I heard someone shout, "Quick, get his helmet off!", I shouted back "If you touch me I'll fucking kill you!" and someone else then knelt down and asked if I was alright! Silly bastard! Things got a bit hazy after that, and the next thing I can clearly remember is being put onto a backboard, then as I was put in the ambulance the pain hit, I never want to feel like that again.
Final score, shattered collar bone, ground off right kneecap, ripped and torn right hand/wrist, just under a pound of flesh gone from right buttock, and an unbelievable number bits of flesh removed from various bits that hit the deck; both ankles, elbows, and shoulders. You name it, I scrubbed it; and I truly believe the Aria Giga I was wearing saved my life. The only things salvageable off the bike were the front brake callipers and, weirdly, the tail light bulbs. I found out a few months later that one of the cameras on the M25 had videoed the last few seconds of the accident, I declined the offer of a copy.
The point of this tale is to try and decide at what point I should have written the day off as a bad one, do you think that maybe the bike had been warning me all day with its little foibles. I don't believe in fate or any other of that predestined shite, if life is predestined then there is no point to it. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind I do feel that something was warning me not to use the bike that day, do I heed those warnings these days? Nope, because I only recognise them as warnings in hindsight and that's where this all becomes annoying, you have all had the feeling when riding that you know something is wrong, sometimes it's a slight tremor through the bars that indicates the bike isn't that well, sometimes it's a feeling that you should slow down or turn off of the road you are on, mostly I think we take those feelings seriously and do consciously or unconsciously change the route, slow down or stop the bike and take a look at what could be wrong.
To illustrate this I was once chasing a mate on our Bonnies through Battersea one night, when Dave just pulled over and stopped, I pulled in behind him and as I did a car came straight through the lights we would have been stopped at and smashed into the shop on the corner, he would have taken us out had we not stopped 50 yards short of the lights, Dave could not explain why he stopped and was completely puzzled. I have no explanation either and probably never will. We hear about this kind of thing all the time, but it is nearly always in hindsight we realise what has happened, realise is the wrong word we associate the event with the warning after the fact, although how many times do we have the feeling and nothing happens, as bikers our senses are much more attuned to the world around us, we have to be if we want to survive out there, millions of tiny little bits of information are processed through our brains every millisecond and even more when we are riding at speed, this subconscious information is also processed as move through the day, stuff that we never realise we had even picked up on consciously, it must be enormous amount, we could never bring that information to the forefront of our minds as our conscious minds would collapse under the pressure of it all. It's like breathing, totally automatic and hidden in the background.
So do we really sometimes have visions or thoughts that are warnings of future events? Do our brains process unconscious information then past it on as a felling of unease? Or is it all just co‑incidence? I don't know but I wish it worked with the lottery numbers…
Most seem intent on stirring some form of trouble or spreading rumours, I have already had a couple of 'virtual' run ins with two of their ilk, to the extent where I have sent a private message, including my address, asking for theirs in return with no response at all. Both seem to have disappeared from those forums, although I suspect one has reappeared in a different guise (I am watching you) what was the point of coming on all keyboard warrior? Did they not think they might be caught out?
They could talk the talk .... and thats it, these keyboard warriors are starting to really annoy me, they feel safe behind their keyboards, in their little fantasy world they feel secure, they feel they can insult and deride anyone they like, to what purpose though? I really do not understand what they are trying to do, is it that their own little lives are so boring this is how they get their kicks?
Well if they want a little bit of adrenaline they have to remember a couple of things, some of the bikers on the internet are experts in computer technology, most keyboard warriors are not, tracking people down via IP addresses is not easy, but combined with a bit of intelligence and the fact that most keyboard warriors let a few 'facts' slip it can be remarkably easy, if you know how, to track people down.
So Bad Dog Triker or Dave ******* of Ruislip and Phychorider (SIC) or Clarence (I kid you not) ********** of Dudley, be very careful, some one is watching you.
Friday, 27 March 2009
I listened to a group of early 20's punk‑looking blokes couple of years back, in a bar talking about Tony Blair, slagging him off, going on about the war and how no one does anything for the youngsters, after listening to this for about 20mins I asked them what they were going to do about it, the blank stares told me a lot, they didn't understand why 'they' had to do something, they thought sitting on their arses complaining would do it for them. One of them had a t‑shirt with the anarchy symbol on it and I asked him what it meant, he replied 'no rules' so I asked him what would he would do if I hit him, he looked worried and his mate said he would call the police, I laughed and walked off.All youngsters today seem to do is get a) drunk b) stoned c) pregnant d) lazy, I did my time as an 'activist' and don't see why I should have to go back to it to help these lazy arseholes, but I do worry that no one is really questioning what government is doing any more, take the smoking ban, I agree with it to an extent but the number of people who have been complaining about it is huge! So why haven't they done anything about it? No marches no dissent… nothing! Is it because they are all stoned?
I blame the New Romantics, before them we had punk, rock & roll, OI and Ska, all types of music designed to make you feel something, go back far enough and you will find songs that stirred the blood, marching songs that called everyone together and helped them fight as one! What song have you heard in the last 20 years that has made people stand up and be counted? Ones that hit the news! I'm not talking about the odd song that a few people get up and dance to, but about songs that hit the headlines, the last song I can remember that caused some proper consternation was 'God save the Queen' by the Sex Pistols and how long ago was that? Since the New Romantics came along and made everyone go a bit wishy‑washy music has become bland, exicting music just doesn't get the chance it used, most money is made by churning out pap for the chav generation, rebellion is being choked for the sake of cash and our kids are letting it happen!
What happened? did the whole country go to sleep and never woke up? Where is the gumption, the tenacity, the sheer bloodymindedness that the British were famous for? If we all did get up and protest, we could paralyse this land of ours. 'Land of ours'? not any more, you are all too lethargic to do anything but moan.Well, at least thats what it feels like to me; were the 70's and 80's the last decades of rebellion? Are you all now rebels without a clue? Then fuck you all, you kids on your scooters, chavs in your Saxos, just you let your freedoms get eroded away, I did my bit and now I have no cause left worth fighting for, my generation is either deserting the country for pastures new or being ground down from lack of support. But I still sling my leg over my black rat of a bike, I still shout the odds when I can and most of all I know I can say that I once stood my ground for what I felt was right, can you say the same?
Read this while you are still allowed to…
(Paraphased from an article from Motorsickle, written by me)
I reproduced this article because with G.20 coming up I feel that people should take notice of what is happening around them, see the history of protests that have disappeared, I have recently seen posters around encouraging people to turn out and attack banks, bankers and worryingly, bank staff, why attack people doing their jobs?
Attacking the banks will solve nothing, but it will give the government more fuel against us, ultimately it is the fault of the government, show them how you feel by writing to your MP, tell them they no longer have your support.
Protest if you must (or while you can) but peacefully, every time someone on a protest commits a crime, it gives the government more ammunition to stop any protests or demonstrations.
Also to be sucessfull you need to mobilse lots of people, unfortunately that will not happen until it gets really bad and by then it will be too late.
While people are content to sit back and let government erode away their freedoms, then it will slowly become the country that no longer allows you to do anything 'for y0ur own good'.
"I have nothing to hide, doesnt affect me!" is so shortsighted, does no one study history any more?
Well I think its time to get out of this country, as I said in the article above, no one will care until its too late. Good luck and thanks for all the fish.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
This is when you enter the ‘Dance of Death’ with your world firmly closeted around you, you step off of the pavement straight in to the path of my 600lb motorcycle.
The (luckily for you) very loud Fiaam horn breaks through your bubble to inform you that the rapidly approaching object WILL KILL YOU!
Thus begins the ‘Dance of Death’, forward onto the left foot, then back onto the right, repeat this action faster and faster so you end up looking a bit like someone from Riverdance, but with no style. As indecision cuts in, fear starts to push harder and harder, which way will the bike go? Which way should I go?
Paralysed, you just freeze as the front end of the bike dives hard, the rear wheel starts to leave the ground and at the last second I flip the bike around the back of you and skid to a halt.
What is your reaction? You start shouting abuse, swearing and flipping me the middle finger, it then dawns slowly that the bloke you are giving all this abuse to is walking towards you, wearing an armoured jacket, denim cutoff, black crash helmet and wearing armoured gloves, people on the pavement start taking bets on your survival rate. Your heart rate goes through the roof, the fight or flight adrenaline takes over and your survival instinct cuts in, you run away, and in those stupid trousers that hang lower than your knees, you run like a girl.
I raise the front half of my helmet and laughingly bow to the audience on the pavement, one man starts applauding, within seconds 15 people are clapping and laughing, one even cheered, what a great start to my day.
Stay safe out there
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
This morning I nearly ran into a car in the fog, I was doing 35 in a 50 with dipped beam on when I glimpsed something in front of me, it was a grey or silver car doing 20 miles an hour in the outside lane of a dual carriageway with no lights on!! When I sounded my not very discreet horn he looked at me as if I was mad, at the traffic lights I shouted across to him "Lights!" he didn't respond, so I got off the bike and walked across to him. As I approached him he wound down his window and said "What's your problem mate?" I asked if he realised why I had sounded my horn, he looked blank, I told him it was because he was driving in fairly thick fog with no lights on, he still looked blank and then replied, "Well I saw you ok." What was that supposed to mean? at this point a very polite man asked me if I could move my bike as the lights had changed, I just walked back to my bike and rode off.
I pondered the reality of that moment when I got to work, that driver had no idea how invisible he was, which got me thinking about how visible I was when riding. I pass one of the other workers nearly every night in his car and went to ask him how he saw me on the road, his answer made me think a lot, he said when I come up from behind he can see me very well due to the way the headlight shines out of the fairing and from the back the twin bulbs show up well, but he said from the side he can't see me at all in the dark if there are other lights around. I ride a matt black FJ 1200 and tend to wear dark clothes, denim cut‑off and black helmet, I had never even thought about how invisible I looked from the side, I have a 55/100 headlamp bulb and twin bulbs at the rear (that are soon to be changed for a set of high intensity LEDs) this got me looking at some of the other riders on the way home, since the weather has turned a bit chilly, a lot of riders have disappeared, although there is a hard core still out there. Tonight I tucked in behind a very obviously advanced rider (sticker gave it away) now I usually catch this bloke on the way to Hampton bridge in the morning, a very good rider if a bit (IMHO) over cautious, so I thought I would tuck behind and watch how traffic reacts to him and how they appear to see him on the road.
The rider didn't stick strictly to the limits but 'made progress' not nearly as much as I would though, but then I have also done the advanced and was a courier in London for 15 years (insert big wink here).
He was wearing a high visibility jacket and rode a big Beemer with dipped beam on. After following him for about 10 minutes I was bored silly, he sounded his horn only to get cars to move over a bit, I do that by roaring up and locking the rear wheel, he waited for gaps I could get a mini through and eventually I got bored and sodded off, I rarely exceed the speed limit by more than 10 mph in traffic yet that's enough to get me home in around 25 mins. I once rode home obeying every law to the letter, it took me 45 mins and I got hooted at, shouted at and swore at by a myriad of cars drivers not to mention some odd looks from the riders I usually overtake.
Undoubtedly he would be seen as a much safer rider than me…. but is he? The last time I crashed was because of a driver who didn't bother to look out of his driver's window while I was alongside him when he did an illegal right turn, the one before was at ten mph when the front tyre let go on a flattened coke tin that was hidden in a puddle (broke my bloody leg!!) and one more when a car stopped in front of me then suddenly reversed straight into me…. that's it in the last ten years or more, none of which could have been predicted, all the ones I did predict I avoided.
I ride between 15k and 25k a year in all weathers and conditions, I know a bloke down the road who only rides to work (about 10 miles there and back) and crashes about once a month, never serious but still worrying.
But back to the point, how visible was I and is it all about what you wear? When I ride I imagine a circle around me of about 50ft in diameter, this circle changes depending on how I am riding, in town it's a perfect circle of which I am (hopefully) aware of everything around me, on the motorway this circle would deform into a cone that is projected out more in front, the faster I go the further the cone extends, inside this cone, which takes in anything that could possibly be a danger or obstruction, I create a map of everything that is there, every few seconds the data is updated in my brain. Now most of you will do this without even realising that you are doing it, when you ride (or drive) most of you will go into automatic mode and do this without thinking, I make a conscious choice to think about this on the bike. This is what I feel keeps me safe. Thinking about how I ride made me list the things I do on automatic things that I thought I thought about, one is watching drivers faces in their mirrors, if they don't look at me I assume they haven't seen me, I ride in the places that I can see them in their mirrors because it means I'm not in their blind spots, at junctions I place myself so I can avoid anyone who can't stop from behind me, when stopping to turn right from a side street I stop slightly before the white lines in case someone cuts the corner (isn't that right Jay?) Lots of little things that I really should think about, I do on automatic, which means that my mind is not fully on my riding, tomorrow I shall ride to work with all my senses on full blast and see what happens.
So does it matter what we wear? Do we need bright clothing and lights on? I agree with having your lights on during the day because there are a lot of myopic twats out there, but I'm not convinced about the bright clothing, some time ago I stopped wearing my filthy denim cut‑off to work for about 5 working days, during those 5 days everyone and his brother pulled out on me or cut me up. The following week I put the cut‑off on again, no‑one and I mean no‑one did it, I know the cut‑off does not make me more visible, but it sure makes the drivers think something.
I wish I could bottle it I'd make a fortune.
So I have reached no real conclusion regarding this, I need to do a bit more research, trouble is that to research it properly might endanger my life, another catch 22 for the biker…
Nothing. I just made it up, all the ones I wanted have already been snatched and used (very badly I might add) for the most ridiculous of pastimes... blogging.
As you may have guessed this is my first blog, I have no real plan for it, except maybe to rant a bit and reproduce some of my inane ramblings from other websites here. Hopefully this will keep one or two of you amused for a few minutes, maybe it will make one of you think, whatever it does I hope it will, if nothing else, help me remain sane. There are things that I sometimes need to get off my chest, ranting to my mates on the forums I belong to does not seem fair on them, so I'll just post on here and save them the barrage of vitriol thats exudes from me everytime I see an MP on the television.
As for the title, perhaps there is a method in my madness, we shall see.