leica m9

Les Commandos Percu avec La Companie Elixir seen at Clermont Ferrand photographed by Andrew Butler

As far as I can make out this is Les Commandos Percu avec La Companie Elixir we saw them at Clermont Ferrand last night. Wow!

Let’s make it clear yesterday’s trip from Paris wasn’t easy, I have never managed to retreat from the place correctly. The journey was fraught with the elements. I have never been so wet on a bike, NEVER! And after that I have relived my greater motorcycling dislike, riding through wind. Or should I say cowering behind trucks whilst passing across the wind farms of the Massif Central.

Anyway, the journey into Clermont Ferrand did nothing to dispel the preconceptions of the place from fifth form Geography. But, step into the old centre and there is a different place, old, interesting a bit knarly.

And after the first couple of drinks, whilst off in search of food this is what we saw against a backbeat of great music and a backdrop of extinct volcanoes.

I will try and find out more…

Leica M9

Samsung ad in La Défense in Paris

So next time someone says they earn their living putting posters up think of this. It’s a Samsung Galaxy ad in La Défense in Paris, the CNIT building.

These guys worked at a ridiculous pace. I don’t know if they were paid per square metre but they were seriously quick abseiling down the building front.

James Bond? Pah!

Leica M9

The Exe Estuary photographed by Andrew Butler

The Exe Estuary photographed by Andrew Butler

The Exe Estuary photographed by Andrew Butler

Photographed whilst banging along in a rib on the way to the River Exe Café .

Leica M9 28mm Summicron F16 1/350

Lyme Regis photographed by Andrew Butler

Lyme Regis photographed by Andrew Butler

Lyme Regis photographed by Andrew Butler

Leica M9

Budleigh Salterton, photographed by Andrew Butler

Budleigh Salterton, photographed by Andrew Butler

A quick snapshot of the English beach at the beginning of April. Budleigh Salterton, photographed by Andrew Butler.

Leica M9, 50mm Sumilux

Kevils BMW Café Racer Photographed by Andrew Butler

Born in the late fifties, kept away form the sixties I guess most of my damage was done in the seventies. Yep, late to the table in many ways, the Stones or Beatles question was replaced by Yes or Genesis? Thank god for punk.

“Winnie” the biology teacher rather unfathomably had a maroon Reliant 3-wheeler van and a Ducati 450 single, I’m not sure any of us really understood this but the 450 sat rather awkwardly by the sixth formers’ Lambrettas and the odd FS1E and SS-50. If you’d got a Puch never mind that you were in the elite set of youth with transport, your ‘ped just didn’t cut it.

Saints or Saintly?

It was across the road that things got interesting though, the secondary-modern school. Our girls wore bottle green, their girls wore St Trinian’s navy. Ding dong. Our blazers had an oak tree on the pocket, they didn’t bother with blazers, why would you wear a blazer?

Our headmaster had a gold mark one Capri their caretaker had a Vincent. I shall repeat that.

Our headmaster had a gold mark one Capri their caretaker had a Vincent. I really should have failed the eleven plus.

And on the school bus home I lived for the moment when the Robert Pat boy overtook us on his cafe racer, a Triumph Saint, a police bike with an aluminium tank. Oh yes!

From the seventies with the fifties and even sixties fading away this was a glimmer of something soon to pass, the British bike industry. Born in an era when cafe was pronounced caffee not cafai, these bikes were part of a time when motorbikes were transport for the masses but machinery that could be understood and personalised.

So to the bike above. For heaven’s sake, who would imagine turning something as inane as a police bike into a cafe racer? Err, the Robert Pat boy did. Recently BMW bikes have become a bit bonkers, some of them are really rather fast, others get starring roles in TV shows but few realise that back in the day they were also rather fast.

Time for The Eighties (series 7)

Look, I rode down to Kevils earlier down in Paignton, Devon. On a BMW too, but nothing at all like this.

Well that’s not true actually, you see, it’s my belief that a motorbike is all about the engine, it’s what gives it soul and it would be hard not to look at my bike and this one and spot the lineage even if you knew nothing about bikes.

However this one if I understood it right started out as a R80 series 7 and has been built to order as a café racer and I love it. The bike is called The Joker, there is a reason and a story to that, I am sure Kev would be willing to share with you

You can find Kevils Speed Shop on their Facebook page, say hello.

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