From Arthur No. 35 (August 2013)…

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Illustration by Lale Westvind. “You’re going to need a good orange or pink leather jacket and a helmet with a Mohawk sewn into it. People think motorcyclists wear this stuff because they are dicks. Not at all. Motorcycle people dress like assholes in order to be noticed. The rider wants you to hate him, because not being seen on a motorcycle is to risk being invisible forever more.”

by Dave Reeves

Gash, Crash, Ash: Nobody Rides for Free

If ever the world gets to be too much there’s nothing like a good near-death experience to cheer you up. I know this because I got one parked in the driveway.

It’s called a motorcycle and you need to get one. Cheap insurance. Less gas. No pesky seatbelts. And those two wheels mean inherent instability, a condition familiar to readers of this magazine.

Admit it, when you’re stuck in your cage in traffic and a motorcycle enthusiast blows by on a rolling vibrator with a girl hugging onto him real tight you hate him. That’s the natural reaction of a loser when confronted with pure energy conservationalist. Despite all appearances, a stinking apehanger Harley rider and his niece risk their lives to use less gas, tires and common sense than anybody in a car. The man is hero, a conscientious objector to the oil wars. He and his ilk have the moral high ground on every liberal in his gas guzzling, slave labor-manufactured Prius.

Sure, a lot motorcyclists gang up with mean names like Mongols or Cretins or CHIPS. That’s just to cover up how much they care for the earth. I’m here to tell you from long experience that motorcycle gang members don’t waste water by showering, hardly ever even use a toilet and if they do, they never flush. 

No, you cannot borrow mine. A motorcycle, like guns and heroin, can’t be lent out. This is because of the Death in it. Nobody can hold your hand to walk you into something cool as Death. Nossir, you got to walk that lonesome valley all by yourself.

So come and join the friendly world of motorcycling, a sport that you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life, however short that may be. Here are some helpful pointers to help you get the rubber on the road.

First off, don’t go running your mouth about buying a bike before you do it. Keep it hush-hush because people who love you are going to beg you not to get one. And they are going to cry. But people who love you be damned. What do they know?

Your so-called family members will fixate on the tabloid dangers of motorcycles, overlooking the myriad health benefits. For instance, there is no way to smoke while riding a motorcycle. And you can cry all you want inside your helmet and no one can see you. I know that crying isn’t really a health thing, but it was all I had.

They say that the first week you ride your bike is the most dangerous, except, of course, for your last week. Hee hee. Gallows humor is the funnest part of being a “donorcyclist.” It’s a way of coping, because it ain’t nothing nice on the street. Traffic snarls and jams. Riding safely is about making choices rapidly, any of which might be your last. Chances are that a driver will apply ketchup to a French fry while taking a left and BAM. All those right choices you made were for nothing. So, yuk it up while you can.

You’re going to need a good orange or pink leather jacket and a helmet with a Mohawk sewn into it. People think motorcyclists wear this stuff because they are dicks. Not at all. Motorcycle people dress like assholes in order to be noticed. Same thing with the loud pipes. The rider wants you to hate him, because not being seen on a motorcycle is to risk being invisible forever more. How many of my two-wheeled brethren will ride out this evening only to see the dawn in Valhalla? Not enough to stop global warming.

There’s no rhyme or reason to who gets chewed up by the road. Riders both good and bad are routinely mashed up by random winds, sexting and 16-year-olds. Nothing to be done about it except pay it forward at the blood bank.

Motorbikers develop a spiritual side because a lot of their friends are dead. As a responsible ‘cyclist you’ll learn little tricks like keeping a flask in your suit to put the fun back in the funeral. Funeral tip: never Ouija board with the widow!

The next step to becoming a motorcyclist is to decide with which brand he or she affiliates. A motorcycle is a fashion accessory, like a hat for your ass. These are some helpful guidelines as to who rides which type of asshat:

Harley Davidson- if he isn’t a dentist then there’s a 90 percent chance that he’s in need of one.
Honda people – chicken hands.

Triumph- soccer not football.
Kawasaki- kills Armenians like Turkey.
Goldwing- half a Buick.
BMW guys- overserved Bloody Marys.
Ducati- Catholic damage, likes to rage.
Two-stroke dirt bikers- conceived in a porta jon.

When purchasing a death trap it also may behoove one to consider the reputed reliability of each manufacturer. If history is a guide, Bavarian Motor Works are proven in all terrains, as BMW’s have blitzkrieged Moscow, chewed up Tunisia and flown the English channel. Conversely, no one has ever flown a Harley Davidson airplane, anywhere.

It’s important to pick your machine carefully as you would a religion, as you’ll have to go to the Mechanic to drink shitty wine, pay obeisance and tithe one or five times a month. The first rule of fixing a motorcycle is no one can really fix a motorcycle. This means you’ll get to know your grease monkey—excuse me—Grease God, very well, and over time, you might even learn to not hate him.

Mechanics say cryptic shit, charge you more money than you thought it was possible and then take a month to look at your bike. This is normal mechanic behavior. Show no fear, make yourself bigger, advance. Make offerings. They like the good stuff in life like whippets, Jim Beam and the ravings of insane women at dawn.

After the initial bribe party, if things went well, and you are cool enough, the mechanic will begin to pretend to fix your bike. You’ll renegotiate a price. After the price is agreed upon it will go up again. Who are you to complain? The combustion chamber of a motorcycle engine burns what little lead the liberals have left us in our fuels to make a golden flame to power your steely mount. Alchemy was never cheap. Whatever you have to tell yourself to pay the money and shut up. Resistance is futile, because the second rule is all motorcycles are about to break down all the time. Here’s a hint: when finally The Mechanic works on your bike chew up a couple Adderals and spit it in his drink to help him focus.

Once you get that motorcycle going, it’s totally killer, dude. The great god Pan flutes through gaps in your helmet and teeth. A flick of the wrist truncates ten foot dividing lines to little white orbs. Which reminds you to take your pills. Or maybe you did already? You can’t remember. Anyway. Riding a motorcycle is an emotional experience and, as with all emotional experiences, it helps to be a little drunk. Sober people don’t ride down the road between cars full of people watching pornos in their headrests. That would be crazy.

As with all attempts at near death, proper dosage is key. There are a lot of factors to be considered in how many beers a person should drink in order to pilot a motorcycle safely. Also, it’s important to remember what you ate that day, and if it was laced. It’s up to you to know this stuff as a motorcycle driver because policemen won’t pull you over to give you the friendly drunk reminder ticket like they do for cars. They know that, sooner or later, drunk bikers get pulled over by the great Cop in the Sky. So, rule of thumb is drink exactly one or two drinks per hour or twenty minutes of riding.

The enormity of the danger inherent in two wheeled motorized transportation forces the motorcyler to become a student of luck, and luck is a pagan thing. So, you have to worship the Devil. Buddhism is also an alternative, due to the fact that karma doesn’t kill. It is with this axiom in mind that I do a bad deed a day: steal candy from babies, prank call old ladies, litter—anything to exploit the “karma doesn’t kill” loophole and ride my machine longer. If the good die young then I’m going to live forever.

Though Dave Reeves has been riding a motorcycle in Los Angeles for six years straight, the article he wrote this month scared him from riding anymore. Dave Reeves chickened out and bought a truck. He is a cowardly war mongerer. Dave also writes movies and is probably working on a book.



Good news!

“Thoughtless Grin”, a collection of songs from recent releases that we’ve been digging lately, sequenced with care for the sensitive mind/ear, is now available direct from Arthur to you as a $3 digital download. Affordable! (Push the BUY NOW button below. A link containing the “Thoughtless Grin” zip file will be emailed to you upon payment.)

Buy Now

A few of the artists on “Thoughtless Grin” are featured in the latest issue of Arthur, so this mixtape is a cheap and sleazy way to get to know ’em better.

Songs featured in the mix:
1. DANIEL BACHMAN – “Sun Over Old Rag”
2. FEEDING PEOPLE – “Other Side”
3. ENDLESS BOOGIE – “Taking Out the Trash”
4. BOMBINO – “Aman”
5. RADAR BROTHERS – “Disappearer”
6. GAP DREAM – “58th St. Fingers”
7. SONNY & THE SUNSETS – “Pretend You Love Me”
8. DEVENDRA BANHART – “Won’t You Come Home”
9. MV & EE – “Turbine”
10. HERBCRAFT – “Full Circle (Eternally)”
11. ARBOURETUM – “Coming Out of the Fog”

All proceeds help Arthur Magazine to resist those nefarious and persistent economic pressures we all face.

As an added bonus, each download comes with a large-size image file of the cover artwork by Lale Westvind (that’s it above) and extended liner notes by long-lost, slightly lamented Arthur “critics”/goofballs C & D.

But! Because you’re an Arthur blog reader, you can preview C & D’s commentary by scrolling to the bottom of this post, where we’ve attached the whole blasted thing. Enjoy, or not — it’s probably more fun to read along as you’re listening to the music, and an adult beverage may make it an even finer experience. Or so we’re told.

Buy Now

Thank you kindly, hope you enjoy. Oh, and the title? It’s from Edward Hoagland—more info on that in the download.

* * *


Arthur Magazine’s resident cretins—ahem, critics—lend us their opinions on “Thoughtless Grin”

1. DANIEL BACHMAN “Sun Over Old Rag” (excerpt) from Seven Pines (Tompkins Square, 2012)

D: Oh, what a beautifully newgrassy morning. Yes indeedee.

C: It’s coming on, D. Feel the vibes?

D: I always feel at home when I hear a drone humming from the hi-fi.

C: Looks like you’ve already made yourself at home. On my couch.

D: I do feel at home on your couch. Especially now that you’ve moved it onto your porch.

C: Hear the rich, beautiful fingerpicking, multiple-ringing, a guitar weaving, a mystery expanding.

D: It’s big and contemplative at the same time.

C: [cough] Much like yourself.

D: It’s so cool that people still make music like this. What are the chances?

C: I think this Bachman is a young guy, like 21. His music is steeped in lineage and alive. Bachman plays with the tumbling, unfolding joy of Peter Walker, Robbie Basho, Jack Rose.

D: Soaked in the liniment of tradition, I’d say! Great work!

C: We gotta get some of Arthur’s regional operatives on this. Some proper “old rag” recon. Find out what this Bachman guy’s got in his cup.

D: Now I’m far from an expert…

C: [snorts] You can say that again.

D: …but I know what we’ve heard and one thing’s for sure: This sets a fine table.

2. FEEDING PEOPLE “Other Side” from Island Universe (Innovative Leisure, 2013)

D: Do I hear “7 and 7 is”?  I feel a sense of urgency here, girl singer has a great snarl going. “I got friends on the other sigh-eeede…” I believe she does.

C: This is Burger Records alumni Feeding People, featured in the new ish of Arthur. The singer is 20-years old.

D: Coming up and coming of age, a true garage psych corker.

C: Excelsior!

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