Boxerworks on Twitter has just posted this photo on their Tumblr site.
It looks like one in a million photos of people on touring holidays - but it's important becuase it's a picture of Robert M Pirsig's son Chris.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance sits next to Jupiter's Travels as the two books that made me want to ride big motorcycles for long distances.
If there's anyone reading this who hasn't read Zen..., it's not only about motorcycles and it's not really about maintenance, though it does lay out the discipline of problem-solving and fault diagnostics in an incredibly clear and helpful way.
It's also about a man and his son working to rebuild a relationship that has been damaged by mental illness, and it ends on a note of great hope that a better future is possible for the two of them.
At the end of my copy of the book there's a postscript explaining that some years after the end of the trip which is the focus of the story, Chris was killed by a mugger. Robert M Pirsig's meditation on grief, loss and bereavement is the only piece of writing that made sense of all the feelings I had when I lost my mother to cancer. 20 years later it still speaks straight to my heart and I send it to friends who are taking the first awful steps into living without someone they love.
If you've lost someone and you don't get comfort from people telling you that "time heals all wounds" or that "God doesn't give you more than you can cope with" then maybe Mr Pirsig's epilogue will help you like it helped me.
I'm not going to put it here because authors need royalties too ;)
Sunday, 30 January 2011
Sunday, 23 January 2011
Yes - like the 1980s Kremlin, a seamless transition has taken place and I no longer play the harp in a 6-piece band. Though I still play the harp and am likely to turn up at an open mic near you once I've got my repertoire polished to a shiner state than my motorcycles.
I went to the King William in Fenstaton today to see Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers - for inspiration, consolation and a pint, all of which were duly recieved. I also caught up with the very lovely Tony Ginger, who works with Jackie Barnett and said some very important things which I need to write down before I forget them! This has been a bit of a rubbish week for me, I am reduced to taking things one day at a time and sometimes one cup of coffee to the next. So Tony may not have realised it but him telling me about how he deliberately chose a creative life over a conventional career and has no regrets was exactly the right thing to say at the right time.
I have forgotten the right words but he also said that it is time I gave myself respect for being a musician. This is why I'm not that gutted to be moving on from Mojo - while it has been enormous fun, and an excuse to buy a very outrageous pair of boots, I was quite marginal to what they wanted to do, and that wasn't good for me, because it let me get away with hiding in the noise.
Game face on!
Posted by Highwaylass at 23:51 PERMALINK
Friday, 21 January 2011
I've had an evening of two halves - the first part was spent at a ladies' knitting circle. Because I do have a domestic side, and I thought it would be nice to exercise it in the company of others. I wasn't expecting an anecdote about two of the other ladies sharing a champagne bubble bath, but this is the naughties (is it still the naughties? I suppose it's the elevenses now...teacake, anyone?) and what used to be thought of as simply shocking is now a case of anything goes.
Knitting is 7 till 9, so I had time after the ending of domesticity to nip over to the Oliver Cromwell and make good on a promise made last week to see Slinky Boy Wonder - a three-piece blues band who made my evening when they launched into Spoonful, for though I love Little Walter and both Sonnys Boy Williamson, Howling Wolf is and always will be the blues.
Unlike many bands these days, Slinky Boy Wonder also played their own original material. Thanks to an underperforming mic, I didn't catch the name of the track that did miracles, but for at least 10 minutes I was 17 again, sitting in a festival field in Northampton, watching new bands with people I'd just met, feeling the August Bank Holiday sun on my back and knowing that the world was there for the taking. Which is quite a trick to pull on a knackered 40-year-old.
Great band, great crowd, great music.
(And great knitting...)
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Yesterday the village was drenched with the smell of wet pine trees. This morning the sky looks like this. I have lots of jobs that I need to do, and the plumber is booked to come and look at my boiler again, because it is so eager to please that it turns itself on at random times throughout the day and night. But it is patently clear that the universe wants me on the road. And when the universe speaks so clearly, what else is a biker girl to do?
PS This was going to be a post about all the wonderful things that Frank has got lined up this year for the Thundersprint, but I think he would understand.
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Saturday, 1 January 2011
This was going to be a cheerful post about my New Year's day ride-out with a group of Harley owners, and how life looked as part of a different tribe. And particularly how life looked from the pillion seat of the Capo Nord Rally Raid. Why was I on an Aprilia? Because Ruby has problems that I will tell you about once I've had the chance to ask those responsible for them to put them right. I got as far as the house of the Harley-riding couple who'd organised the route for the day, having survived one lurid tail-end slide and feeling like someone had been kicking me in the kidneys for the last 10 miles. Unable to endure a day of the same I was going to go home, but accepted instead the suggestion that I come on the ride-out as a pillion. Now, I'm not really built to ride Harleys so I went on the Aprilia while the lady who should have been on the Aprilia went on the Harley.
We had a lovely day. It was wet, and cold, but we had a cracking fry-up at The Flame in Thetford and we rode past happy ginger pigs and through misty forests. Then 2 miles from home it all went wrong.
Riding Tail-End-Charlie, we came round a corner to find what I think must be one of the worst sights you can see in your life - one of your friends flat out and motionless on the muddy tarmac, a bike pointing the wrong way up the road, and people running to get help.
The person in the verge was the friend whose seat - with the big, safe handles and the experienced rider - I'd taken. The Harley she was on had fishtailed on a greasy road and in the fight to stay shiny side up she'd been bounced right off. If she'd been on the Aprilia it wouldn't have happened.
The universe has been kind. The word from the hospital is that x-rays are all clear apart from a broken nose.
If it had been otherwise, what could I ever have done to make amends?
Massive appreciation to the paramedics, the ambulance service and the police. And to the first few car drivers who stopped to offer mobile phones, tissues to soak up the blood and blankets to keep her warm. And to the other car drivers who complied with requests to slow down and drive carefully past the scene. And to the ones who stopped completely and waited patiently while the ambulance crew wheeled out the spinal board and the stretcher.
Posted by Highwaylass at 22:49 PERMALINK