Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Motorcycle Loneliness

Did I ever tell you about the time I joined a motorcycle gang? It was around the time of Fab lollies and snorkel-parkas, when the world was sepia-tinted and my only worry was when Knight Rider was on. Well, I say motorbike: my friends and I were playing around with a moped that in all reality was a chopper with a hairdryer engine attached. I was trying my hardest to be butch and hang around with a gang of boys who did manly things, but my one contribution to running the bike was the suggestion of hanging tassels off the handlebars, which saw me drummed out of the group faster than you can say ‘I only really joined to watch you get covered in grease, Craig’. Ah, happy days.

I hope you all recall snorkel-parkas. Everyone had one of these coats when we were young: blue with a florescent orange lining, cross-stitched to diamonds. And – bliss – the fur-lined hood could be zipped up all the way, leaving a little circle of pelt through which you could just about stick in a Curly Whirly. Brilliant for when you were ignoring your mother.

Despite this, when they were zipped up, you couldn’t see bugger all. There was one delightful afternoon when we were watching the bike zip backwards and forwards down the Brownhills backstreet with Craig careering around. He’d borrowed his brother’s leather jacket, which was a) too big, and b) light brown, so a motorcycle bandit he did not make. Still, I was slightly smitten and enjoyed watching him trying to pull a wobbly wheelie whilst eating my chips.

Craig turned around for another pass as I noticed, from between two cars, a snorkel-parka emerge. As I said, it was zipped up so the occupant couldn’t see anything, leaving it swivelling around like a periscope. It moved to cross the road, and gave a cursory glance left, then right, then stepped out into oblivion. Well, Craig’s path.

The collision wasn’t spectacular, but the parka was thrown up in the air. Craig thundered into a Ford Allegro and sat there on the road, rather bewildered. I rushed forward to the felled occupant of the coat, lying a few feet off on their front. Before my eyes, the parka slowly raised itself off the tarmac in the manner of a geriatric getting out of a bath, before setting off across the road again like nothing had happened, despite dragging its left leg somewhat. I called after it, but it didn’t respond, and just carried on limping towards its goal.

And that’s the day snorkel-parkas were banned. Until Oasis brought them back five years ago, and have single-handedly been responsible for hundreds of road accidents in the Midlands alone.

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