Stormin’ was going to be special this, particularly as it was our honeymoon, and Veece had manged to secure one of my all time favourite bands, the Levellers, to headline Saturday night. Most folk who go to Stormin’ probably don’t realise that the organisers are there for the entire week before the event, setting the site out, fencing, marquees, power, and they need a lot of that considering that there was a 40k PA rig in the main tent never mind all the lights and the Iris stage. We’d arranged to go down on the Thursday night to have a pre-event, post wedding drink with friends who’d been on-site all week, and were needing a drink by then 🙂 The 24Hr ‘Engine Bar’ at the bottom of the site was our venue, we met up with Lindy, Andy, Debs and the rest of the motley, tired, but right up for a relaxing drink or ten, crew.
Sometime in the wee hours, following copious amount of guinness and JD we retired to one of the backstage statics for a nightcap, Andy produced a curious bottle of bourbon, who name escapes me, well most everything else had escaped me by this point, a couple of shots of that and we were approaching ‘goodnight vienna’, as Zebedee said, time for bed, crash, fall, crunch through the woods into the tent, and lo and behold it was morning.
An Informitive Guide To Rally Deportment Whilst perusing my copy of ‘The Huntsman’ at my club last Thursday week, I became aware of Bertie Coxon-Cumwhitton sounding forth by the billiard table. A boorish fellow at best, I nevertheless became intrigued by his badinage as he regaled his compatriots with a tale of his visit t’north, where he had, bay all acounts, attended a ‘motorcycle rally’. The northern bounder was partly correct, I had indeed recently returned from a hunting expedition in the Gambia. In fact my Martini-Henry had barely a chance to cool down ! Aided by several large Pimms’, I was finally badgered into producing a short, yet informitive guide to acceptable camping etiquette. By studying the following text you should enjoy a ‘faux-pas free’ event in t’north. 6:20am and my bladder alarm clock was ringing it’s merry bell, that, and the jangling in my head from the previous nights activities made the exit into daylight a generally numbing experience. As I meandered to the gents, in that random manner which only hungover legs can take you, I heard the dulcit tones of various bike engines rumbling down the drive, nah, can’t be, but it was, the first folk without tickets arriving for the 10am opening. 6300 pre-book tickets had been sold leaving just 700 on the gate, so I guess they were keen. A woman had apparently turned up on Thursday night, trying to get in, to be told, ‘gates don’t open until 10am Friday’, upon the marshalls enquiring if she had a ticket, she proudly showed her wristband, only to be informed that no wristbands had been sent out, only tokens, which would be swapped for wristbands at the gate, her response ?, ‘Ah bought this off the internet’, so be warned, don’t buy counterfeit wristbands or you’ll have been lining some crook’s pockets.
By 10am there was a long queue waiting for the gates to open, many of the 100 or so voluntary marshalls, whom without which the event simply couldn’t happen, were on gate duty. The sun was out in force and most folk had one thing one their mind, parrrttyyyy !!! Along with the obligatory black bin bags, this year rally goers were spoiled with a glossy 32 page programme with band times, bar and food locations, all the important things. Also included was the useful and informative ‘camping etiquette’ penned from the electrostaic cranial disturbances which flit between the neurons in the the head of AndyWorld may prove a useful guide for your camping experiences in the future, so useful that Andy has kindly given permission for it’s reproduction here.
By mid afternoon Friday both fields were getting pretty full, we met up with mates, who had forteanly managed to camp right next to us without even realising it was our tent, wot’s the chances, let’s celebrate it, crack open another bottle, enjoy the smoldering heat of the sunny afternoon and chill out. Mostly, Friday afternoon’s at Stormin’ consist of, amongst other things, wandering the fields, meeting up with mates from near and far and celebrating with another toast. Marty ‘the shopkeeper’ appeared on Friday afternoon aboard his trusty multicoloured GS750, his Bonneville America being in serious disgrace as he had been putting an air corrector kit on it and the stupid (many expletives ensued) air pipe from the cylinder head and come out no problem except it had brought all the threads with it.
With two stages there is a lot of entertainment to choose from, with the old adage in mind of ‘you can’t please everyone all of the time’ there was something to suit everyone, ‘Kimera’, ‘Maiden England and Desilva did their stuff on the main stage whilst ‘Eclipse’ a Floyd tribute band played on the Iris stage, this is really just informative as I didn’t see any of these bands, I did hear them and they all sounded pretty good, but then most stuff does on a sunny afternoon lying about on the grass drinkin’ and doing deals for old GS850 motors, which reminds me, if ‘Kinch’ from Fife or anyone who know him reads this, ask him to email me, Marty lost yer phone number. Headlining on Friday were ‘Hayseed Dixie’ on a repeat appearance after last year. Yeah I know some folk don’t like them, but then I’m not overly fond of the usual tribute bands who play the material note for note rather than an imaginative interpretation.
I usually measure reaction by how far back the crowd goes before folk aren’t jumping about, in this case that point was way behind the sound desk. For my money I enjoyed their set immensely. For most folk the reminder of the wee small hours was spent gathered around tents, blethering and drinking as ye do and listening to the unwelcome antics of those with no mechanical knowledge nor respect for their bikes thrashing the cold, thick oiled motors in a peculiar mastubatory manner. At least warm the motors up properly FFS. ‘Click’, door of the cupboard closes gently as the soap box is returned to the dark recesses of it.
This paragraph unintentionally left blank (ahem, thanks Jack)
One eye open, the mass drums of the ‘Pishing Rain Pipe Band’ beats the tent monotonously, bugger, pull the sleeping bag back o’er yer hied, if ye ignore it it might go away. The rain however was unremitting, oh well, plan for the day, poke three holes in a bin bag, that’ll get me to the bar dry. The ‘roads’ aka churned muddy bits between the grass, were proving a challenge to all and sundry who were determined to venture off-site, the rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, Hurrah, mine were in an impermeable container. To quote the ‘Big Yin’, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes’. Having slept soundly on the wrong shoulder (Grommit), I was in a lot of pain, luckily in these situations and with the general age demographic and medical history of most bikers who frequent rallies, a wide and varied assortment of painkilling pharmecuticals were helpfully proffered in my direction, following a heady mix of tramadol and ibuprofen my collar bone didn’t hurt anymore, a contra-indication of this mix however was the sudden desire to inspect the weave of my sleeping bag hood very closely.
Setting Up Camp Upon arrival you should select a suitable pitch and direct your man to erect your tent with a southerly aspect, preferably with a nice view. Now is a good time to enjoy a gin and tonic and perhaps a cigarillo. Introduce yourself to your neighbours, offer your man’s assistance to erect their tents in a spirit of cameraderie ! After all, it does no harm to extend the hand of friendship to our fellow brethern. Appropriate Dress Whilst flannels and Blazer are acceptable in almost every situation, it should be noted that the weather in t’north is often unpredictable and it may rain/have been raining, or be about to rain. With this in mind, ensure that you rman has packed your hunting tweeds, spats and cape. A waxed Fedora, rather than the mor formal Tribly, will keep the worst of the weather from spoiling your moustache.
The persistent pingly pongly ringtone of my mobile woke me, gink !, 4:15pm, crap, I’m supposed to be up judging the bike show with Blue and Eddie, I grab the camera and break the world muddy crap 300 meter freestyle running record arriving somewhat peched much to the amusement of Tim and my fellow judges. The inclement (read shitty) weather had resulted in only 60 entries into the custom show, This presented somewhat something of a challenge to us as there were 18 categories and 5 ‘Highly Commended’ results to fill, and not to forget the ‘Can’t be arsed/I’m a big jesse/me shiny kit chop might get dirty/I can’t actually ride this thing’ (delete as applicable) Award, the job of wandering the site and selecting a winner fell to Scobby and Jules. There were ‘noteable interest’ entries (those with no current tax disc and/or were not ridden onto site). One of these being Stonedski kev’s ‘Chariot’, him resplendent in plastic chest armour and plastic sword, having broke the front sprocket taking the ignition exciter off, replaced it to get to site then losing his cdi box, Tank helpfully towed him in with a quad. Dom’s Chris Ireland built ‘Dr Who’ six wheeler tike was erm, eh, different, it’ll be interesting to see it once he’s restored it, a piece of triking history perhaps.
Tim had created a new and welcome category this year, ‘young builder under 25’. if they’d had that category last year I could have applied (ahem, cough) Despite the reduced number of entries there several very notable entries. The best of which was Robbie’s Harley minimal lowrider, no tat, bells, whistles, arlen mess bolt on bits or anything, it was just ‘right as right can be’ in my opinion. Robbie did inform me that he could go 30 miles on the tank, practical too then 🙂 Following the awards I’d hoped to catch Neu2, kinda acoustic folk U2 who were highly recommended, but as usual I got waylaid and missed them. ‘Grumpy Old Men’ and ‘Shovelmouth’ pre-empted the appearance of ‘The Levellers’, a band with a large and loyal following who’s energy ridden live show impressed many folk who’d never even heard of them or perhaps never seen them live.
Watching the crowd from the pit, row after row of folk were all singing along with the songs including, for me at least, but I suspect many others, ‘One Way’, “There’s only one way of life”, bugger, it still makes the hairs on me neck stand up after all these years. In all these years of doing and covering Stoming, this was by far the best atmosphere in the big tent engendered by any band, almost like the ‘Barrowlands’. Ye better get busy Veece, ye’ve upped the ante now mate 🙂
Dining You will doubtless wish to sample the local cuisine. Catering is normally provided by whimsical folk who sell local produce from their gaily painted caravans. Your are unlikely to find devilled kidneys, eggs benedict or even kedgeree on the the bill of fare, however a reasonably priced local equivalent should be available. Book your table early to ensure the most advantageous view. In the unlikely event that there is no matre d’hotel to take your cape and swagger stick, these should be entrusted to your man for the duration of the repast. Bacchanalia Following your meal, your may (bearing in mind your limited supply of Pimm’s) be drwan towards the nearest watering hole. There is rarely waiter service at these establishments, therefore select a comfortable table, not too near the orchestra pit and instruct one’s man to queue at the bar for a glass of the local brew. Try to engage other patrons in conversation; affect a smile and perhaps share your Hunstman’s Shag with them. Should your man return from the bar with a fine single Speyside, it will accompay your Meerschaum admirably. The Fairer Sex It has, from time to time, been known for ladies to try their hand at camping. Upon encountering a lady, doff your Fedora and wish them a good day. Even the homeliest of ladies will appreciate this gesture. Lavatories When performing ablutions, remember that ladies may be wating to use the facilities. With this in mind, try to keep your occupancy of the bathroom to a maximum of one hour. At a push you may even get away with only waxing your moustache once a day. Hair pomade may, quite acceptably, be applied al-fresco. Remember you are ‘roughing it’.
I do believe things happened between this point and awakening on Sunday morning, however, as Mr (we’re the world’s police) Bush repeats often, ‘I have no recollection of this matter’, I do suspect in fairness however that his loss of recall was no caused by overindulgence in partying. So there it is, wild, random cluttered mutterings and recollections laid down, a hell of a party. Leave only to say a huge thanks to everyone involved for making this the best Stormin’ yet, that’s my opinion anyway 🙂 Till next year……………… Words & Pics by Al, Thanks to Andy (he’s no right) for the ‘Camping Etiquette Guide’ Spelling mistakes sponsored by ‘The Nokia-Sony School for the enlargement of opposible thumbs’ Click Here For Page 1 Click
Stormin’ The Castle – Custom Bike Show – Winners
Display of Unusual Motorcycles Motorised bicycles, being the preferred mode of transport at is event, some patrons enjoy displaying their bespoke machine for the enjoyment of their peers. When admiring these machines remeber, not to touch them, some of them may be dirty. It is acceptable to indicate points of engineering interest using the stem of your pipe. Should you be encouraged to enter your Claxley-Dirigible sidevalve into the display, you will almost certainly win a momento! This is usually a metal plaque on a stand, produced by the local smithy. It will make an ideal paperwieght in your study. Entertainment You are unlikely to encounter a full orchestra, however entertainment is often provided by a quartet, or in some cases, a quintet of musicians. In order to fully appreciate the classics, it is important to reserve a seat in the stalls and remember to instruct your man to bring a plentiful supply of Martini and your Hookah Pipe. Informal dress is de-rigeur, but rememeber ! your Fez may obscure the view of the music lover behind you. When you finally retire for the evening, having read a chapter of King Solomon’s Mines and enjoyed a final gin and tonic, you may rest soundly, secure in the knowledge, that as a gentleman, you have doneyou bit to enrich the lives of your brethern in t’north.
Seeing as I was offishully on holiday, I was havin’ a weekend off, so Sub-Ed Scooby stepped up to the breach to point the camera and try to remember what the hell went on….Al
Arriving in a very wet and rainy Scotland and the site was beginning to fill up fast. It was luverly to see so many friends at this one, and hugs
were in abundance!
Remember girlies, never trust a cowboy in gold hat….
It’s been a few years since I was last at this rally and it seems to have spread over more barns and out buildings than wot I remember. Which was great, cos MAG put on a blues area wiv funky candles and chilled oot atmosphere in one barn and rock muzic wiv room to jump aroond like loonies in another – I’ll leave it to your imagination where I spent most of my time!
So as more folk arrived the evening began to heat up and the full blown nonsense
so it continued:
sure if the Jiggy got me or it wiz the Turbo Vimto, but I really cannot
write words at this point. All I can say is thanks to whoever had ma camera,
here’s some foties:aa
so wot went on there then?!?! Well yeah the usual nonsense like I said.
And yup yiv guess it I’ve no idea who won wot trophies… well I can’t
be organised all the time, but I did find these foties:
I have to say the trophies at rallys these days just get better every time.
were other trophies, but folk were either in their kip or another barn
somewhere… oh and there wiz the youngest rally goer… who was a very
cute wee lass who was like grease lightening and managed to dart up to
the stage, grab her trophy and run away before I cud even press the ‘take
fotie button’ !!!
that cowboy just kept appearing…..aa
And Seth very kindly checked to make sure the Scooby Switch was definately
stuck on! He tried to turn it off but was forced to dance into the wee
small hours, even when the barn was empty and it was only us and the DJ
left! (Seth you are a total gentleman – thank you!)
The stalls were all really good and there was a big selection of ‘stuff’ to buy – I know cos ma beer fund suffered… good job Capt Morgans was already packed!
Met up wiv the luverly folk from Blackhawk Hearse too, had a good natter and a few beers.
Unfortunately my photography does not do the amazing trike and coach any justice, but visit their website for further information.
It is a thought… but one day I guess we’ll all need to go, so why not “go out in style” as Gordon would say. I know I certainly want to. I got some ‘arty’ shots of the band on Saturday nite, not quite up to the
Bikers1 quality that we all know and love, but I thought not half bad for a Scoobied Scoobs who’d been force fed Jiggy and Turbo Vimto !
A bit of a mixed up report, but a true reflection of my memory of it all! The fire was lit and the songs began, everyone huddled up and no-one with a care. Just glad of good company and great friends and all knowing that
each and every one of us will have a huge hangover in the morning…
Until the next time, hugs fae Scooby x
Thanks Scoobs, ah didn’t need tae remember a thing, just as well with all that turbo vimto about…Al