Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Confluence of Ideas

It has been one of those introspective week-ends. A steady strem of ideas beginning with the 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau. Cousteau was an idol from my youth. As a kid growing up on the French Atlantic coast, I remember donning my first mask and flippers with dreams of wild marine adventures. My brother and I had a collection of Super 8 Cousteau films, books,even small plastic figures that were constant bathtub companions. I have never scuba dived but I have spent a great deal of time on the ocean sailing, surfing, and fishing. Cousteau inspired my sense of adventure.

With Cousteau as a backdrop, I read in its entirety two very interesting blogs that have nothing to do with classic motorcycling except philosophically. (I'll come to a point in a bit.) These blogs are about getting out there and doing it and I mean living the adventure. The first of these is Sons of Savages written by what I consider the real McCoy. His name is Audwin McGee and he is an artist, philospher (although he wouldn't say that), sportsman, and adventurer. From the little bit of correspondence I have had with him, I know he likes whiskey and hates pretenders. The other blog was listed on Sons of Savages and it is called Logcabineer. It chronicles some guy's time spent at his cabin while fishing, hunting, There's no nostalgia at either of those sites just forward looking, in the moment, enjoyment of life.

Another guy I admire that is getting ready to go on the adventure of a lifetime is Matt Olsen. He is riding the Cannonball Run, a cross-country race across the United States on pre-1916 motorcycles only. Matt is planning to ride a Sears Motorcycle that he is building from scratch. You can read about all about it at Put the Huffle in the Shuffle.

Which brings me to nostalgia and the vintage craze. At many of the blogs I follow and everywhere else there is this buzz about vintage. Vintage this and that fetching top dollar. You see people in Manhattan with Filson, Hudson Blanket Coats, Belstaff, Barbour each one acquiring and outdoing each other in how "authentic" one can get. It exists in motorcycling as well with people dressing in vintage tee shirts and engineer boots recreating photos of another era. It's the worst type of consumerism namely plagiarism When I think that RRL by Ralph Lauren is charging $2700 for torn overalls reminiscent of the Great Depression, it makes me think that the movie Zoolander is a documentary on ridiculous fashion elites. How about this folks. Instead of hitting the flea market for other peoples' lives why not make your own.

The reality is that companies like Filson were built on their reputation for sportsmen. That's right people. That treasured, distressed jacket that you wear with red wing boots to the lower east side for cocktails made with single barrel rye got torn up and dirty by someone clomping around fields shooting at something and not shuffling around New York in Grenson wingtips dodging dog crap. I personally think that you can't hang a head of anything in your house unless you actually shot it. The same goes for all those J. Crew Belstaff Trialmaster wearers that never swung their leg over a motorcycle.

Why the rant? Well it's simple. At a point in history where we could have gotten back to some important fundamentals we just fell back into our bad habits. Buying nostalgia rather than making our own history. Copying rather than inventing, creating, doing. Thanks Audwin for screwing my head back right. Point blank. The day you see me with a Bonneville Salt Flats shirt will be the day that I will have raced there. That project folks is in the works.

I am making some changes and returning to some basic principles. It starts with the counters at the bottom of this blog . I stated at the beginning of this project that it was about community and camaraderie. The counters symbolize the worst form of narcissism and had me clicking it incessantly rather than following my passions. Enough. I'll keep writing because I like it. I want to share and have others share with me. All I have say is get out and do something then tell me about it. Don't live the lifestyle, live the life!


  1. Hello Don Quichotte ! :)

    Cool links that you have share, i'm so admirative about people able to fish and able to open a fish belly ! :)

    Aaaah Bonneville a name with so much "raissonnances". A Heard that a french team was go to Bonneville with a "mobilette" so everything is possible ! The dream could come true.

    No ones have speak about Cousteau here In France, except a documentary about a house station under the sea (in Suddan), it was in the end of the sixties or start of the seventies. What a brilliant idea to built an station under the sea ! (an another dream on my wish list if i won to the lottery). I don't comprehend why we didn't pay respect for this great explorator and honor his memory. He was a visionnary on many modern problems like over population ... For one time, we could be proud for someone who represent the France ! Oh i forget it's the world football cup in same time ! :) let's go encourage the french team and theirs prostitutes affair !!! Ha ha ha

  2. Man I hear you, just got over to read you again and thanks, you carry on! good man! I've had a few of the same thoughts lately. let me know when your going to Bonneville and I'll come! If you let me I'll ride your bike, "at a moderate speed of course" down the flats, cause I like the sound of those T-shirts!

  3. Hi! Someone quoted Terence Horsley's 'Fishing and flying' somewhere but i can't remember where. It's spot on and goes like this:

    "But one day it is suddenly unsufficient to look down from the cabin of an aircraft at the unrolling hills, or through the unbreakable windows of a motor car at the green fields on the other side of the hedge. You must stop and go exploring as you did when you were boy. Then lying on the bank of the stream, or looking up a valley in the gathering dusk, you see and hear the sounds of the unknown earth about you, and you are shocked at your ignorance of everything which sustains the life of the world. From then on you may hack a way out of the prison you have built for yourself. Your friends may regard you as sick; you will not grow as rich as you believed you would, and the company of other men - some other men - will be less satisfying. Nearer at home, the metamorphosis of the man that discovers that there is a world around him is likely to lead to misunderstandings. To be kept late at the office is one thing, but to stay out half the night and return soaked to the skin, dirty and emptyhanded, is another. It may need more explaining than you have words at your command.

  4. Comme tu dis Chris,
    Cousteau c'est toute nôtre jeunesse, l'aventure sous-marine, le dimanche à la télé, avec le plus beau bateau du monde "la Calypso" et les scaphandres argentés...
    Tout cela nous manque comme les poissons dans la mer et les vagues désertes des années 70.
    Quand au mot "Vintage" tu as raison, c'est du marketing aujourd'hui, donc à retirer de nôtre vocabulaire, "vieilleries" c'est mieux, tu devrais lancer la mode aux USA