Saturday, 31 January 2009

Jack's Back! (from punk to tweed on a bycycle)

Perfect bikes and Rock n' Roll!

A quick peek at the comments left on the Bike Show's website will confirm the untarnished joys that this radio show has brung, and continues to bring to an international audience of avid listeners. Jack Thurston has a relaxed, measured and disarming delivery with which he effortlessly manages to peel away the layers of stories from his guests, and a unique blend of music punctures these words and ambient sounds of the bike world to great effect.

In the first episode of the 2009 Winter/Spring season we are treated to a bike ride down the wild Northumbrian coastline, and as it happens, my old stamping ground. Highlights include conversations round a crackling campfire, nestled in the dunes of the long, wide, and empty stretches of sand south of Holy Island, waves breaking and Skylarks singing in the background.

One man and a dog and Daniel Start, author of the best selling travel book, 'Wild Swimming', accompany Jack on this mini adventure of the coves and headlands of North East England.
Not forgetting the spine tingling delights of Marlena Shaw, belting through the track, 'Let's wade in the water'.

The mighty Jack also links us through to Flicker, to view some astonishing photos of a recent tweed bicycle event that was held on the streets of London. As crisp as a warm fresh bank note, extravagant, tailored and downright flamboyant!

These chaps dress to impress, and my God!, what gorgeous bikes. This is a shameless display of pristine hand built craftsmanship, Brooks saddles a go-go, and for the sheer fun of it, false handlebar mustaches, flying goggles, funky coloured tights, and a giant tweed flag!

My first ever podcast download of the 'Bike Show' was a hugely enjoyable episode featuring an interview with Johnny Green, the ex road manager of punk band 'The Clash'. With infectious enthusiasm he conveys the thrill of an 'access all areas' roller coaster ride with the most famous road race in the world, the 'Tour de France'.

He signs out his stint in the Bike Show's hot seat with a final musical choice, the La's classic track from 1988, 'There she goes'. Introducing this perfect slice of sixties era pop, he crows, " the La's have one great record, and that's it, but ain't that enough?"

I saw the La's live back in the day, as they say, in a small club in Newcastle called the 'Riverside'. 200 sweating youngsters blinded in a tight electric moment in history, hands on the shoulders of a stranger in front of me, a stranger's hands on the back of my shoulders, the crush and the heat created by a multi headed, multi limbed beast leaping up and down, the clean waves of raw Rock n' Roll breaking over spot lit cigarettes, wet hair, torn t-shirts, seasick beer and grinning faces.

Can you remember that time? Spilling out into the dark, fresh air and sodium streetlights, feeling your damp sweaty t-shirt chilling against your back, ears ringing, body prickling with a buzz of satisfaction and a head swimming on a float of beer. Value, no words, just music and the sound of feet walking home.

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