The TV crackles, the familiar voice of David Attenborough breaks through………….
“Here,….. in dry Savannah of the Border Country of the verdent Lambkarahi plains…, we wait……, at this time of year, if we wait…..patiently, and listen………, we might just hear the roar upon the soil of the gathered herds that constitute this quite remarkable spectacle of nature…….that of the mass migration of ‘Wildebikes’ heading from the great northern watering holes…………. gathered by the gutteral pack call of “gauntyracastle”, to a particular social gathering spot in County Durham. No one quite know why so many gather to migrate to southern climes on this particular weekend…. but we’ll leave that one for the social anthropoligists to ponder………………….” knock, knock…. ‘huv you got a TV licence?’ …… er …….”
Well I can put old Davey boy right and I don’t need a degree on social anthropologification to figure it out.
Stormin the Castle is fixed date in many folks diaries, both north and south of the border because it’s a great party. Great company, Great music, Great Bike Show and everything else that goes to making a great party.
This year, for a change, the sungods had been suitably appeased and shone brightly upon our countenances, wherever they are, perhaps that’s why it hurts when I sit down.
When the weather is this good it’s time to depart as early as possible and catch the day. Judging by the number of folk I met on the ’68 they had the same idea.
Run………. fur the Road
Marty and meself arrived at midday, the site was already very busy, field one was near full and field two was getting there, after last year it look like everyone pre booked and came early. All the more time to drink and lie around in the sun I say.
This is my tenth Stormin, I figure I just don’t learn and keep coming back for more. First order of the day this year was to catch up with me mate Pugwash, he’d come up from Kent to do some marshalling only to have his chop run over by a truck which was reversing, he had to travel the last leg with no brakes, that would be a challenge to anyone’s senses, especially on the A1.
Regular readers may have a slight incling that I am fond the ol’ ‘Hayseed Dixie’ , so it’ll come as no surprise that I was particularly looking forward to their set.
I missed Tubesnake, Faith Healer and Rattlesnake Road but I understand they aquitted themselves well with Faith Healer reportedly going down vey well.
The big tent was heaving by the time Hayseed came on stage. I find that their music polarises people’s opinions, ye either love ’em or ye hate them (but some folk have no taste 😉 either way there’s no denying that these guys can REALLY play,
I could only see the front half of the marquee from the bear pit and it was jumping. After their set, John Wheelan told me that they had been booked by their agent to play ‘Top Of The Pops’, eek, an unlikely outlet for the guys,
he was particularly pissed at the fact that he wasn’t gonna see ‘The Damned’.
I caught it yesterday on BBC2, I think they were taking the piss with the
big racoon eyes 😉
Gen & Co modelling this year’s ‘must have’ marshall’s fashion over garments
Since Jack was on holiday, I’d brought my old friend Arthur (of the black and tan variety) , he was beginning to get the better of me as the late hours approached so I wandered without the aid of a torch I may add, back
through the candle-lit gatherings and bletherings scattered around the site. By the time I’d stopped for a blether several times the sun was poking it’s neb over the horizon.
Four hours later in me tent I confirmed my suspicions that all advertising is lies, as I discovered that, contrary to what Sachet & Scratchit would have you believe “Guinness is NOT good for you”, indeed it will keep you face down until at least lunchtime.
In proper Scottish style I opted for a hearty breakfast of a Fish Supper washed down with a can of Irn-Bru, I like to start the day as I mean to finish it, arse about face !.
But hey, I felt soooo much better. …………… well until Trouble near made me barf when she made me laugh so much it hurt as we considered our new business idea which involves donuts and ringtones and ironically small voices.
A prime feature of Stormin’ is the custom show, when volunteers to run it were requested, everyone took one step backwards and Tim was left standing out in front, should’ve been quicker off the mark TIm 😉 .
In the past it had been commented upon that there were too many “standard” or “just bolt catalogue shit on” bikes in the show, so this year Pugwash had been delegated the task of vetting the entries, after all the chance of a free T-Shirt has been known to be be just too tempting for owners of standard bikes to enter just to get one.
Consequently a few owners of Boom Trikes were disappointed at being turned away, I won’t win any popularity contests but I agree, these are production bikes, just like a lot of harleys are ‘factory’ customs. There’s more to custom bikes than bolting on Arlen Ness stuff. But, that’s just my opinion, arguments in ink marker on the back of a postage stamp please.
Personally I think, mostly due to the vetting, that the quality of bikes in the show was excellent, an opinion shared by many I spoke to. Nearly a hundred examples from mild to wild. Blue, Eddie (from the Honda)stand
and myself were appointed as “daft enough to agree to judge the show”. All eighteen categories !. It wasn’t too difficult to pick out enough winners, erm, categorising them was the hard bit ;-). The 3×3 trike won Best British by virute of it being a range rover engine, I really liked the cut of it’s imaginary jib, it should’ve been matt black though. I sensed that, conversely, it was making Blue quite queasy 😉
Custom Show Winners
A couple of unsuspecting admirers were suddenly assimilated
Iron Maiden turned up in person for a surprise gig
There was much of note that didn’t get a trophy, the meritable first attempt from a 20 yr old lad with a chopped 800 Shadow (I think), Vim’s astonishing act of alchemy in turning the hideous factory XV535 (c’mon ye could’nae call it braw FFS) into a fine beast, the brothers Grimm couldn’t have penned it better.
‘Diverse Paul’s FXR ‘lowfighter’ (cover all the bases man, ye could win one of ’em) stood out.
I’d slaivered over Robbies FJ11 lowrider last year, he contacted me to say that it was still a work in progress and true to form appeared with it in finer form this year. Phil James’ VW trike showed that it is still possible to be original with a VW engined trike.
As Saturday evening approached I witnessed a variety of strange and outrageuosly dressed characters. This ever more popular past time does add to the colour of the party, as well as reinforcing the fact that rally goers in general are quite mad. One bloke who had collapsed in a drunken heap near us had been helpfully surrounded by empty cardboard boxes like a safety barrier against folk accidentally kicking him as they passed in the dark. He awoke and promptly set light to a couple of the boxes.
It was successfully extinguished by a couple of folk pouring beer over it. Moments later in a fit of health and safety (after all we are all fucking interminably stupid, well we must be, the government says so) the Transit fire Engine turned up, a fireman jumped out and turned the pressure washer on the already extinguished fire, succeeding only in showering everyone within twenty feet with cold wet ash.
In the background The Distractions and FM were followed by ‘Maiden England’ and Iron Maiden duh ! tribute band who performed stoically in the face of technical problems.
Holy Purple Furry Dog Kennels
At this point I wandered in a slightly staggery fashion to the marshalls survival tent, that haven where piles of knackered and sleep deprivated marshalls could be found huddling, gathering sustainance, I found Pugwash there, who was now off duty from trying to catch scroats jumping the fence, that was now down to others, who were suitably armed with night vision goggles.
I also found Cloud and Lesley, who was possibly the most over-excited person I’d met over the whole weekend, to say Lesley is a ‘Damned fan’ would be putting it mildly. The grin said it all for me.
Backstage Veece was working his way through what was left of his ‘fingernails of a man possessed’ , some power problems and over-runs were causing him some angst, but the Damned went on only a wee bit late to the roar of many ardent fans.
Personally, I like the Damned, Strawberries and Phantasmagoria did it for me, and I have to say Dave Vanian, Captain Sensible, Monty Oxymoron, Pinch and the stand in bassist (I presume) played a blinder. I thought they were great, well those who were bigger fans than really got what they wanted.
Now if Patricia Morrison had been playing Bass I may just have been more gooey than Lesley. hmm, sisters of mercy, floodland, young and impressionable hmmm.
Awww a should’nae ah hud that last burger, ah said it wisnae cooked right
It does warrant a mention that I met Billy ‘The Bunnet’ from Jap MCC just prior to the Damned coming on, this fact is merely to explain why I have little or no rational recall of much that happened after the Damned played. So as the Americans like to print (for the cerebraly challenged) ‘This page left intentionally blank’
A film crew had been hanging around all weekend, turns out they were filming for ITV’s ‘Holiday Swap’ which will air in November, where families swap the type of holiday they are on. Should be a good laugh,
I wonder about the poor bastards who swap Stormin’ for Malaga !
It’s a shame one of the production staff needed lessons in people skills.
Would you buy a used corpse from these people
So another Stormin over, a gloriously sunny weekend, meeting up with folk I haven’t seen for ages and just lettin’ rip, my kinda weekend.
Quizzing folk on their opinions of the weekend a few surprised me, Now how do I put this ? ,Stormin’ doesn’t happen all by itself, it takes all sorts of organisation, dealing with ever more draconian health and safety and licencing regs, then there’s all the marshalls, some twenty million of them (well someone told me how many and I’ve forgotten so it sounds like a good number), the level of effort which goes into an event like this beggars belief, there’s worry, crises and the odd bit of chaos ( did I mention Pug was marshalling 😉 behind the scenes but this was all but hidden to the naked eye, or even person so that everyone could party away without hassle.
In the end it just proves ye can’t please everyone all of the time, and
that ye can’t please some folk ANY of the time, i.e. they are just whingers’
(adj. win~jers) and shouldn’t go out at all. Have I managed to cleverly
disguise my feelings towards these few folk, No ?, tough shit.
I think a big thanks is due for all those involved who worked tirelessly
all weekend so that I could get pished and enjoy mesel’
See yers next year Folks 😉
A Working Marshall’s View of Stormin 2005, by Pugwash
Well after a row with the new missus on monday night i thought fuckit i’ll leave now soi at 10pm i set off from kent the usual nice and easy lesurly 300 mile ride was only interuppted by sum blind pratt reversing his 44 tonne lorry over my chop as i sat inside a 24 hour burger bar 30 miles beforeDoncaster at approx 2-30am .
The Kind woman told the driver to fuck off as he wouldn’t be served after few heated words were exchanged and reg numbers swopped with the idiot driver i set off again 1st bend in the A1 oh and wot a pleasent suprise no fuckin front brakes , too dark to check out the damage i carries on at a slower pace leaving larger gaps betwen myself and other vechiles the weather worsens freezing cold fog and an open face helmet means my eyes start to sting like hell but i press on figuring that whilst the roads are almost empty it will be safer to ride wothout brakes.
finally arrive at the site at 4-30am course no one is awake so i pitch up inside the exit on the grass thank fuck for quick erect tents within 10 mins i’m inside me tent in me bag happily snoring my head off .
at 8am two security gaurds pop along and explain i could have slept in a caravan if only i could have found them……………………
8-30 am the kind lady site manager toots on her car horn to explain that my current camping arrangemnets are not what is required . I Phone slightlymuddy who is suprised that i am already onsite(sort of but in the wrong place). so i pack up and finally reach the right area on the chop.
shocked by all the young people walking around i find out there has been a harvest festival after a few more hours people start to appear.
First job is to put up the security fencing and say hello to a few more peeps meet up with Robin who seems to be constantly smiling the day goes on more fencing lunch is supplied by the storming commitie then suddenly its 6pm time for dinner and beer more bodys appear and a pleasent evening is spent in great company and mauch beer is consumed.
Weds Morning and after a cup of coffee and a lay in till 9-15am the contiued setting up goes to plan a 2 hour trip in Andys car to find a fuckin fridge seems to take forever we eventually buy a small fridge after buying the local paper and scouring the free ads we tried at all the high street stores and even though we found a fridge that alomost met the requirements ( it needed to hold 24 cans of beer for the band) we couldn’t actually buy it there and then , so after finding the house me and andy knock on this poor womans door and she is greeted by 2 scruffy lookin specimans to relevie her of the fridge.
Back onsite and 30 mins of working out who owed wot and more beer started to flow . just as anutha fine lookin dinner appeared the heavens opened the meal continued then a birthday card , 2 cakes a funny lookin beer holder and a non singing candle later my birthday celebrations began it was a lovley suprise and then i was dragged kicking and screaming to the castle pub (honest i was) Result i never had to buy a drink all night and a large glass with lots of JD and coke appeared later in the night which never seemed sumhow to empty so after a few beers and that glass of JD i staggered back to the camping field after that its a blur and i don’t even remember going to bed
Thursday more setting up to be done , fencing and carports to be built (sort of like a big marquee for a car but used as checkpoints for the public) and finally the main Gate is put up around 5pm the Marshalls snack wagon Appears so food is consumed followed by more beer .A few Punters appearaskin to camp up but sadly we have to turn them away as no none is allowed on site till 10am
Friday finally Dawns bright and cheerfull a quick bite to eat followed by coffee for my sore head then down to the main gate at 8-30am a few people have arrived already queing up for the approx 1100 tickets that are left Stormin is so popular that 85% of the tickets were sold already. So a quick wander along the line of people in the queue and assuring a few that yes they will get in ok . time flies it’s 10 am and the 1st bikes and Trikes start to file inside the well orginised Event is under way i work till approx midday then retire for more food then re-appear as it seems the overflow/ site is starting to fill up even though it should only be for disabled peeps only so back on duty and sort out a few problems .
it seems that some of the car entry peeps(we had 200 car passes only) are too fuckin lazy to carry all there shite to the main camping fields so are throwing them over the fence into the disabled/overflow site . this caused no end of problems for the few peeps who needed the cars next to there tents people who needed prescribed drugs to help with there disabilities which needed to be locked away safley , After helping sort that out with Archi and others oh and the prick with the escort car who decided to park where he liked on the camping field with no pass and on the fire road there still seems to be a certain selfish element who don’t give a shit which really pissed me off.
Now due to the site location being next to a Caravan site and shall we say sum of the people on there being of dubious parentage Security was pretty tight we had 60 security Staff from a outside contractor quite a few of them were Bikers and they did a Bluddy great Job we caught one guy sneakin in no less than 3 times and evey time threw him out . I Was working from 9pm -till 12-30am backstage with 4 others patrollin the Area for the idiots tryin to sneak in Al of Bikers 1 Fame got in but he had a pass and it was great seeing him there enjoyin himeslf .
Saturday well the usual get up at 8am followed by breakfast and coffee then helped set up the custom show ok so being there early meant my chop got the number 1 place (but hey i didn’t win) then me and Tank sat outside the Lima gate entry to Vet the Entries stormin gives away tee-shirts to the first 100 entries i had been told of the Custom Show Requirements so a few people were a bit dissapointed , most were ok about the Entry requirements and there were only a few Arguments .
I enjoyed the Day and even had a laff with a few peeps so from my view there were only 3 entries i felt didn’t warrant being there 2 of which got in whilst i attended a Medical Emergency and 1 not even worth talkin about but i do hope mr pot hunter wasn’t too upset when he didn’t win .
Saturday evening backstage just chillin out havin a few beers and a early night i was knackered not as knackered as the committie lot who never seemd to sleep so Andy ,Slightlymuddy,Archi,Tim.Tank ,Jeff,Cloud,Leslie e.t.c you lot were the Stars of the Weekend god knows how u kept awake .
Finally sunday Morning the public pack up i sit on the backstage/Marshall compound Gate and the world drifts by to there homes in the afternoon we set up the Marshalls Party Area a great spread of food is laid on and sum beer and we all get pissed Tank does a burnout on the tables in the marquee on a minimoto power pete wins anutha bottle of (well deserved) Southern comfort , Tank does anutha Burnout on a full sized Bike on the marquee floor , i do a burnout on the chop usin one of the marquee poles to hold the bike (no front brakes remeber) and the night turns very smokey and hazey Monday morning at 9-30am i ring up the recovery people at carole nash finally after lots of arguments i get home at 7-10pm knackered so a great week with lots of nutters and a few new friends roll on 2006