I used to have a monthly column in a mag called on the Edge. I used to think my writing was Ok, and the mag was Okish, today mags are mostly horse manure, written by donkeys, or monkeys on smack. Does any body read?
Closer to the Edge TT is a film I just watched twice, but you will still have to listen, which lets most of you of, as you don't know what ears are for, they are for ventilation, right! And what’s your brain for, erm, "to keep your ears apart".
Closer to the Edge, is just what it says, its what’s written on the can man, but it aint about climbing its about racing big bikes in that incredible road race on the isle of man. You may not like big bikes, I love them, you may not like loud thunder coming down the road towards you at 170 mph or over 250 km, but you got to love these boys and girls, cos they got cajones the size of Jupiter, not Uranus, cos your sphincter is gonna be well and truly slammed shut.
When I was young, long time ago right, lots of folks rode two wheeled stallions, Don Whillans famously road one back from Pakistan years ago, Phil Davidson used to have holes in his exhaust from banking over, and I remember two lads on big Italian jobs being to fast for the speed cameras. My Mate AKA Mel the Mole, used to ride big trial bikes up to some of the cliffs (politically incorrect), and used to scare the bejesus outta me for scaring him on cliffs. On one notable occasion riding down loads of stairs and evading the federals, this story is not true, and is fiction, so don't bother grassing me up. I think the Mole came of his bigger bike, a Kawa, at slightly over double the speed limit.
Anyway, now a boy with a bit of spunk in him will probably die very quickly if he starts holding the horns of a big bike or even a small bike, so its better to keep it off the roads, or on closed roads. The Isle of Mann TT is on normal but closed roads, actually its not normal roads, there’s dry stone walls, adverse cambers, weird bends etc, it aint motor racing and it aint Formula One. Please don't even mention Formula One near me, I will have a fit of boredom, and end up a vegetable like all the rest of the world. I have Formula Fly in my house, when I have had too much strong beer I watch the flies buzzing around my light fixing, terribly exciting you know.
A few cold facts; the Isle of Mann TT has killed more people than the Eiger or Everest. Coming off your bike at speeds of 100 plus is not like taking a fall on a sports climb. I am not dissing other sports, well I am, but mainly dissing some climbers attitude towards others. Certain climbers are bold, but equally anybody in the TT s pretty much around the top of the scale. Alpine soloers used to be up there, but most of those good old boys are dead. I personally like avalanche riders but cant see it making into the Olympics.
Anyway I am now at 56 supposedly passed the danger age of committing suicide, (I have the odd difficult day when I read some of the climbing journalists tripe! I am now luckily too poor to buy a big bike, and nobody would lend me one, for sure. But I now feel soooo lucky to have watched TT Closer to the Edge, I also feel younger, and bolder, vicarious pleasures for sure, I waxed a long snow board this morning, the one, the very one I came off years ago, the one that flicked me off like a callous girlfriend. I dreamt of speed and snow disappearing in huge plumes behind me, and I relived tumbling through the air with bits of me being torn.
I really think this film should be banned, its way too good. Don’t watch it if you have don’t know where the Edge is, please stay in your cocooned nether never land of denial. Live for ever you feckers.
This is for Hughie Banner, who lost a leg sliding under a lorry at a very advanced age indeed. He was a climber, a climber gear manufacturer, and of course a bike freak.