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15th March 2005


We've All Been There by Spider

Today's classic bike book review is a multi-purpose marvel: have a jolly chortle, save some money AND contribute towards the RealClassic.co.uk coffers. All at once! Next we'll work out how to make the tea, too...

And the winner of the Longest Mirror Stalk Award goes to....The latest book from Panther Publishing is a collection of cartoons which celebrate the downside of classic biking. The cartoons are sketched by 'Spider' who you may know from his occasional appearances as Grandad in Daisy's Diary. Spider (aka Allan Ham) is also a founder RealClassic Clubman - he's RC Club Member 020, no less.

So we're more than usually delighted that a selection of his cartoons have been organised into book form... and we're thoroughly thrilled to offer the book to RealClassic readers at a discount... and we're totally chuffed pink as little piggies that a sizeable chunk of the purchase price will be donated back to the RealClassic.co.uk site (and thanks to the Ham family for that generosity).

'We've All Been There' contains 41 wittily-observed cartoons plus nigh-on a dozen poems which reflect the ups and down of a lifetime riding old bikes. The full-colour softback kicks off with an introduction from some Frank Westworth bloke, then tells us a little bit about Spider's background.

Spider, it seems, has been afflicted with uncanny catastrophe for most of his motorcycling life. One day, he was riding an Ariel Colt home from work when... his trouser leg began to disintegrate and was whipped away in the bike's slipstream! (You'll have to read the book to find out why, but it involves industrial chemicals. And Y-fronts).

I thought those hot cams were a bit of a bargain...

So Spider has plenty of material to use for his cartoons. All those things which must surely exist only so they can make life with an old bike more complicated -- ignition timing, exhaust baffles, toolkits missing the vital spanner, bouncing bolts and so on - all of them take a bow in this book. And there's a whole section dedicated to 'Er In Drawers - here's a snippet: Allan Ham, yesterday.

'Fred's life was suddenly full of strife
Resulting from his angry wife
Of late he'd shunned the marital bed
With countless hours spent down the shed...'

You might be able to imagine how that particular poem ends, but you don't need to flex your imagination too hard, because you can buy a copy of this book here and now through the RealClassic site at a discounted price (and you'll be contributing to the site, too, cos a chunk of the purchase price is being donated to Real Classic.co.uk).

So - buy a book and we all win! How satisfying. Nearly as satisfying as getting a B25SS gearbox to engage cleanly in each ratio (not that we really remember how that feels because it only happened the once and it was such a long time ago and hasn't been repeated since...).

'We've All Been There' is published by Panther Publishing, ISBN 0953 5098 9 3, runs to 60 pages in colour and normally costs 9.95 plus P&P.

Buy a copy direct from Panther Publishing Ltd via this link and help support Real Classic.co.uk


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