Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Top gear for bikes? or something similar.

Top gear for bikes?
or something similar.
For some time Jamie and myself have tried to get someone interested in a project like this. In fact for four years now, with no success, we get the occasional interest from media companies, either no one wants to take a risk, or they just don't listen to us properly. Yet loads of people want us to make it, the ordinary biker in the street thinks its a great idea, there is even a Facebook group called 'The BBC should make a Top Gear for bikes' so on these bits of information it should be a popular programmes.

We worked out how to make a pilot at minimal cost, of course we will not discuss the details with anyone until we have some sort of agreement, that would be foolish. The idea is pretty simple, but you have to be a biker to understand why it would work, there lies the problem, the last company I had a meeting with to discuss the project, kept saying "How can we get it more like the Mcgregor – Boreman thing?" Yet when questioned, he had not even seen it. All he knew was that is was successful, the whole point of the our project is to move away from that kind of show, make it more like 5th gear or Top Gear than travelogue, but with a twist that would make it appeal not only to bikers but the general public as well.

Now you could say why don't we make it ourselves? Yes, we could, but unless we hired a load of expensive equipment, it would not look professional, the videos Motorsickle put up on Youtube are made in a short time scale; with pretty primitive equipment. As we have always said, we are professional bikers, not journalists, everything we have done so far, we had to learn from scratch. And to be honest, I don't think we have done that bad, considering the constraints and handicaps we have worked under.

With some decent equipment and a couple of professional people, I think we could make a pilot that would capture the interest of bikers and the public, we have been offered quite a few bikes to feature, getting a famous biker to appear would help immensely, although most seem reluctant, or least the ones whose agents I have spoken too, to get involved with a new untried project. No one wants to be associated with a failure, plus some want stupidly high fees to appear!

Getting bikers interested in a 'Top Gear' style programmes for bikes is difficult, while most are saying that they want one, strange that while a lot of programmes feature bikes (Hairy Bikers, American Chopper, Long Way Round, and recently David Jason riding a classic Triumph in his homage to 'The Battle of Britain') why is it, that none of the production companies want to make a programmes geared solely for motorbikes, or is it strange?

Think about this, most cars drivers will watch a car, any car being thrashed around a track. Clarkson and co have a winning formula of fun and information, but mainly its entertaining, nearly everything you see is set up, it appeals to all groups and is designed purely as entertainment, not a true car programmes as such. We know Clarkson will not allow motorbikes on 'his' show, except for the one off Vietnam trip, which strangely was one of the most popular they have done, he refuses to allow them on, not because he hates them, it is just part of his 'act'. He puts himself up as the ordinary man in the street, but it is all an act designed to court controversy and keep his name in public eye, it's a perfect win-win formula.

Now consider bikers, how many race rep riders want to sit down and watch a BSA bantam being put through it paces? How many chopper riders want to watch a Ninja being hooned around a track? See the problem, anyone who comes up with a format that appeals across the board will have a winning formula, which we think we have, but then you have to persuade them to make it.

Getting started is proving to be hellishly difficult.... Because persuading tv executives that people want to see motorbikes on the television is not easy. Even when you show them how popular some already are. As stated above, car drivers will watch any car, but bikers are more selective.

Surprisingly, there is not a lot of interest from manufacturers, I have not figured out why yet, I think it is to do with not having proved itself, maybe they also want a tried and tested formula before committing themselves.

Another problem is support from bikers themselves. It is notoriously hard to get bikers to work together at anything, Warren Djangoly has done a sterling job organising the 'Notobikeparkingtax' demo's, in fact they have been very successful.

What we need is for someone to organise a some kind of run in support of a 'Top Gear' style programmes, if enough motorbikes turned up surely someone would then get interested.

In the meantime I shall still try to drum up some interest in the media, but after all this time, I am beginning to think no media executive is interested in motorbikes, or believes that there is not enough interest out there to make it work.

Maybe one day...


Saturday, 11 September 2010

The story so far....(Adoption)

I have tracked down an uncle and two aunts, we recently moved to the south coast and we have discovered my uncle lives less than 6 miles from where we are now, and my aunts not much further!
How random is that?

No trace of my mother so far, very odd, I cant find her or Mr CQ her husband easily. The name is a bit too common, making it difficult to collate records, getting there slowly though.
I have found one of my sisters, or at least an address in 2002 about 45 miles away, she was difficult because she had remarried and it muddied the waters. My brothers names are too common to trace, but again I'm working on it.
No trace of the other sister yet.

I'm getting very good at this tracing people lark though, it looks like I have a new skill, it all depends on noticing correlations between datum, I have always been a good problem solver on limited facts. Putting together apparently unrelated information until something clicks, combined with years of searching the internet for odd pieces of information have held me in good stead.
It also means I have accumulated a lot of sidetracking (Husband of one aunt done for D&D after a family tradgey etc) info, but

you never know when it may become another piece of the puzzle.
What does irk me, is that you pay for the use of a website that has some info, then to get the next bit you have to pay again!
I used to have 'access' to a lot of, not restricted, but not public, records, this made things fairly easy, but back then I didnt really need it. Hindsight eh!
Still I have made a lot of progress and I am learning a lot, about how to acquire information in this country. In the USA it is much easier to track someone down.

I have also found a person for someone else, old school friend, they had been looking for 3 years, I found them in 3 days.

Maybe I'll find a use for this skill, maybe not, at present though it is helping me on my journey to find out more about myself.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

My Adoption update (Long but worth reading)

Just when you think "I'm intelligent enough to work out what has gone on, I could be Sherlock Homles!" You find out you are completely wrong, doh! Finally got the papers relating to my adoption, it was taking a long time to get them through, now I know why.
There is a stack of paper 3 inches high, it relates to nearly four years of me being unsettled and moved between my BM, a couple of children's homes and my adoptive parents.
From what little info I had, plus some help from a few people, I thought I had worked out the details of 'who' but not quite 'why', it turns out I was wrong, my father was not who all the evidence pointed to, my four siblings are only half siblings again and I have acquired another (and possibly one other) half brother.

The social worker who is helping me with this said; It was the most complicated case from that era (1955 - 1959) that they had ever seen. (It bloody had to be mine, didn't it...!) obviously I shall not name names, but a quick synopsis goes, BM (Birth mother) from broken family, Father had head injury in the war and has become a drunk and is unable to work, mother is of an 'erratic and nervous disposition' Her grandmother died in a mental hospital.
She ended up living with an Aunt in Brighton and 'got into mischief' with a gang who caused some criminal damage to the seafront. She later ended up spending some time in a mental hospital in Bradford somewhere around her mid to late teens, we feel this was because of teenage depression, but have no evidence as to the cause. I have not found any proper records relating to this yet.
Two years before I was born (aged 18) she was living in Folkstone, and 'frequenting the barracks and making undesirable friendships', during this time she met her future husband, CQ, a solider, who suggested marriage, CQ was sent abroad in early 1954, when this happened she carried on with her 'bad associations'.

During March to June she 'became friendly' with a married man, GP, this is who she stated was my father, she left Folkstone to move to Ashford to get away from this man! No idea why at present.

In October 1954, BM went to St Faiths, Brasted, Kent, I was born there in Feb 1955 , in March 1955 she married CQ and both felt that it would be better to put me up for adoption.
In April 1955 CQ returned to Germany and a couple of weeks later I was placed in Beckenham nursery in Kent (Being boarded out with view to adoption).
June 1955 I was placed with the foster parents who would eventually become my adoptive parents. Mr & Mrs W.

July 1955 BM returns to the Beckenham nursery and becomes upset to find I had been placed with foster carers.
August/September 1955 Social services are becoming concerned that BM may want me back, due to her history and the fact that I appear to have settled in well with foster carers, this is giving them cause for concern.
September 1955 BM rejects adoption and states she wants me returned. Legally at the time she had every right to me.
October 1955 adoption society receives letter from BM asking for me back.
October 1955 Letter from Church of England society stating BM has visited them and states that she definitely wants me back. She is now living with a Mrs L in Andover and has not heard from her husband since he lost his stripe (rank) in June.

Late October 1955 letter written to FP's (foster parents) to inform them of BM's wishes, they are understandably upset, requests that I should be sent back to the Beckenham nursery are rejected by FP's, they state they would rather hold on to me as long as possible.

Nothing heard from BM, letter is sent in June 1956 to the SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors and Air force Association) attempting to track down Mr &/or Mrs CQ.
July 1956 Son born to birth mother, father Mr L, son of Mrs L whom she is staying with in Andover.

August 1956 letter sent to BM asking if she will agree to me being adopted.
August 1956 Letter received from Mr L stating he is my father???? (This was later found to be complete rubbish) and that they have no intention of letting me be adopted and want me returned to their care.

Between September and October of 1956 there is no response to any letters sent to BM.
Attempts are made to try and find her.
29th of October BM appears and states she will not agree to adoption.
November 1956 BM leaves Mr L, their son is left in his care.
November 1956 letter arrives from CQ, stating he is reunited with BM and that they want me back with them.

Are you still keeping up?

December 1956 Mr & Mrs CQ meet with Social services and state that they are reconciled and both wish to get me back, CQ is keen to adopt me and make a success of the marriage.
December 1956 letter to FP's stating the current position, both are very upset.
December 1956 Mr & Mrs CQ want me back before Xmas, the SS are reluctant to allow this as Mr & Mrs CQ are still waiting to move into proper army quarters. Mr & Mrs CQ are told they need to move into suitable accommodation before I will be allowed back.

April 1957 I was taken away from FP's who were distraught, and placed in Tunbridge Wells nursery in order to allow introductions with Mr & Mrs CQ, who did not turn up on the first date they were supposed to.
16th June 1957 first visit from Mr & Mrs CQ with me at Tunbridge.
29th June 1957 Mr & Mrs CQ took me home to Olney, Bedfordshire.

19th July 1957 letter arrives stating I have settled in well with BM and Mr CQ
(There appear to have been no or at least no recorded visits, by social services between June 1957 and February 1958)

November 1957 Baby girl born to Mr & Mrs CQ.

February 1958 letter arrives from BM stating she finds it hard with Me and her daughter, she now feels it was wrong to take me away from FP's.
March 1958 SS visit me and BM, they find me passive and unresponsive, pale, underweight and not interested in anything.
(There is a lot of medical and psychological info that I will not go into here)

April 1958 I am collected from BM's, who does not kiss me goodbye and is (according to the SS records) more concerned over what the neighbours will think.
May 1958 I am returned to FP's, initially SS were concerned because in the meantime FP's had adopted another boy 16 months younger than me. But visits show I progressed normally almost from the instant of being returned to FP's. In fact the records show that SS are completely amazed at my progress, fast weight gain, much more talkative and obviously enjoying being back with FP's.

September 1958 Case adoption committee approves application to adopt me from the FP's.
December 1958 visit arranged by SS with BM and husband, the records are unclear whether this actually happened or not.
January 1959 Adoption legalised by Wandsworth county court. Reading through the correspondence it appears the adoption hearing was not a clear cut affair and is unlikely that BM ever gave permission for the adoption. Although we have no evidence either way.