Of course, that is if you discount Hannah (I'm her 'bike bitch') having her hair shaved off by Pirate whilst sat on a chair on a van to offer the best of spectacles for the Memel Poker Run bikers. The previous night he only spoke Russian at her and insisted that vodka was the way forward. He told us the Russian way is to smell the bread, quaff the vodka, eat the bread. Someone else said you quaff the vodka, smell the bread, eat the bread. I could do no better than to introduce the two chaps to eachother and let them thrash it out between them.
I did film facing backwards but only for a quick zip around the block. It was deemed to be too dangerous as I couldn't see the road and know when the bike was accelerating, stopping etc. Oh, I totally agree - only the irony is that on my wee soujourn around the block I had no safety gear on.
Playing paparazzi is great fun. My driver, Segus, set up some great shots and zipped around like a pro. I'm not convinced the spirit level training paid off but it had me thinking and that certainly helped. If you're ever tempted to film from a bike I can offer two tips - tuck any hanging around bits on the camera into a wrist band to stop them flapping around and be warned that the flipping screen flips itself shut when travelling at speed.
I don't know how many motorcycles were there for the rally. I do know that it took two and a half minutes for them to pass.
Four discs, one filmed screech and a whole load of fun.
Track for the day - Nick Cave's "Do you love me" is dark and decent
"Do you love me, do you love me?
Do you love me, do you love me
Like I love you."
I Won't Back Down(24.9.08)
Crazier things have happened but this may top the lot. I've been awake all night absorbing the reality of filming from the back of a motorbike travelling at 80 miles an hour whilst facing the wrong way....How could I have possibly missed that!
Logistics first, when you lean over to the side, with your arms held in filming position, your arms move with your body. Not unusual I suppose, only that I have to try to hold the camera horizontal and that's not easy just sat on the sofa never mind on a motorbike.
Paula has suggested practising with a spirit level and, like a right plonker, I have. Hmm, I say fill the blasted thing with syrup and maybe I'll fool myself into thinking that my body and arms can move independently.
Good grief, no wonder I can't sleep. My head is all a clutter making plans - that and I should mention that I was practising 'the lean' in bed and fell asleep with the spirit level. It's not the most forgiving of bed mates.
So, I've taken myself off to Zavvi to buy CD's - Johnny Cash (for "Hurt" & "The Ring of Fire") and Tom Petty (for "I won't back down" and "Free Falling").They've a huge Incredible Hulk in the store that's badly in need of toe nail polish.
I dare you.....
The Wild meets the Wilderness(20.8.08)
I've taken to the road. Sod thrashing the music business for the time being, I've been touring the UK with the Lithuanian Chimeras MC bikers. The trip blew my mind and I've realised that the only way to experience wilderness is on the back of a motorbike.
My most moving moment? I was riding pillion on one motorbike in a line of 11 bikes, streaming across the causeway to Lindisfarne, tears rolling down my cheeks and feeling filled with the remote raw beauty of the place. It holds a special place in my heart. It was the pilgrimage place that everyone spoke of when I lived in Newcastle. It is the name of the band who recorded "Lady Eleanor"; a song which haunted my adolescence. Something touched me that morning - Lindisfarne.
In the afternoon of the same day we roared into Edinburgh which was buzzing with the festival, to add to the splendour of the occasion with the blast of the 6 Harley Davidsons in the column. God, do they roar. We partied that night thanks to Cat who gave us the use of her flat in the centre of town. I rattled out a few tunes but after a few to many shots of poteen who knows what the guys made of it!
The next nights were more sedate, less fuelled and infinitely more intimate. Our camps were perched by a lake in Aviemore, on a disused pier on Loch Ness and by the romantic ruin of Llanthony Priory. By the open fire the sound track for the evenings was Johnny Cash - The Ring of Fire - holding a special place. The trumpet solo was hanted frequently on the journey to say we've arrived, we're moving on... or we're back on the grog!
Hang on, I said we were being sedate. What utter rubbish I come out with. There's nothing sedate about touring on masse with the Chimeras!
I've been inspired to record a video on the basis of a vision I had at Aviemore. If it all comes together I'll let you know. However, I don't want to say to much at the moment but personally it will be very exciting just to shoot the thing....
So, I return now to day to day life, missing my new friends, wanting to be out in the wilds having a sense of feeling free and still amazed at the minimal damage of travelling 1600+miles on the back of a motorbike. The enduring shock of the trip was to realise how far removed from the natural I have become and how de-skilled I am at the art of survival, of life.
It wasn't always like this...