What I Sight When I Cycle: Hearings, Impediments and Localised Villainy

By Angus C.Rolland

“Equanimity, when confined to the fundamentals of A to B, is a concept attainable.” (A. Rolland, 2021)

I know you’ve heard it too; that passing racket from a particular cyclist, portable radio in-basket, roaming about the pave-ways projecting their track-list of choice to all about, atypical to what you would expect to hear. An example, eh… A fellow there was, well over a year ago, possibly 2, gliding (specifically) through Northern Quarter, blasting out a track by (abrupt interlude)… Rheingold, huh? A Neue Deutsche Welle group of all things, yes (Lionel Hutz nodding)… hardly what you might define as a general listen to help breeze the peddling… 

(Q) So, randomly selected or a conscientious choice, hmm?

  1. He didn’t seem the type for it, in comparison to the past-dwelling retrospectives you would normally associate with stated genre; content in mispronouncing the Teutonic-tongue, purchasing sort-after vinyl to use only as informal wallpaper and tending to plants (they own) with an overdose of H2O, the final spite towards the dreaded expense of botanical cultivation. 

The light is fading, yet the cries of battle ring out to startle the non-conflicted. And by that I mean circling the Gardens of Piccadilly while listening in on a brawl, unscripted and bloody. Shout, right-hook, kick, eye-gouge… you name it, ‘tis in the manual. But what of the consequences? I couldn’t just stroll up to a policeman and say: 

What’s the happening plankton, there’s a fly-chasin’ geezer with implement! Your prompt intervention would do them benefit…” 

To utter such a thing, I’d more than likely see the darkened confines of a cell than an instigation of help for a fellow citizen. After all, what an in-uniform does for them-self amounts to lonesome preservation; a distant hope of a badge shining and the casual acceptance of things being dropped gently into their unbuttoned pocket, all expenses tethered. Conversely, if I cycled into the fray with my bike-lock chain (unlocked) and swung it around as though a mace, what percussive samples could be sourced from the scattering of their teeth? Well, their diction would be lacking, that’s for sure.          

If I may elaborate on the final part of the title (see above): soaring volumes and the clash of stubble-d ruffians… at this point, now irrelevant. Instead, I’m drawn into the side-road-rage of shout and retort, (sighs) the perennial tick-tac-toe. You know, the idiot walking into the cycle lane oblivious to that incoming front-wheel, or the accidental crashing into of a deliveryman (the idiot reversal?), scowling as he checks that his pizzas’ sense of shape isn’t something the late Salvador Dali would have had in mind for a sculpture, culinary in focus. REDAMBERGREEN… and… Vroom! Cars man, those motorised coffins sure make for a roadside contemporary I’d really… rather not encounter, however encounter… I do. The choice of stations on their ‘built-in’ stereos, in conjunction with vehicular “features” like open windows, is ever an undelight… and honestly, a missed opportunity. 

*BBC Radi…* (Static)… “Uh oh…” (notices something’s wrong) *CAPITAL F…* (Static) “Stop, stop… cut TRANSMISSION!” (peddling intensifies)… *Smooooooooooooth Radio*… (look of resignation) “too late…” I sympathise in a way; a non-digital setup’s variety isn’t particularly outstanding, aye. The process of driving, with its entailments of sign-posted iconography and surveillanced ‘courtesies’… a regimented bore, no? Gated reverb, a hypnotic wonder and indeed a temptation, that much is true… but Smooth fucking Radio? Couldn’t you have just rode in silence like a good little sport, perhaps humming to a frequency only bats can hear as you lament your journey toward the 9 to 5? JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? Aside from the wanton anguish you inflict on the passengers within (that heap of welded tin!), you’re also putting yourself at risk, since… if I had another chain to spare, I’d be sure to give it a swing!

A Discourse Loosely Involving Ian Astbury

© Pinterest

By Angus C.Rolland

Ah… to comment on a YouTube video, forget about it entirely in the 2/3 years since and suddenly get a *reminder* about it but a few days ago… in the packaging of a reply, combative in nature. The video in question was a live performance of The Cult playing their track ‘Nirvana’ on Bliss, some long defunct TV show. Now, let us examine the comment that started this saga, the reply that provoked a crossing of keyboards and perhaps even dissect the causality of what this represents in the grand portrait of affairs.

To explain, when I mean ‘anime villain phase’; The Cult were a band that had a great thing going on their first 2 LPs, Dreamtime & Love. They were a kind of fusion of the whole punk-cravat-post scene, with a clear homage to the classical (rock) soloing of the late-60s/early 70s, something I imagine would have been sacrilege to attempt in the eyes of the more puritanical of stud-fiends. I’m not alone in regarding this earlier material as being both artistically superior and generally much more consistent than their unfortunate transition to the commercial viabilities (thanks Rick Rubin) the LA cock-rock thing granted them. As expected, it was only a matter of time before they become something of a joke by trend-tailing themselves into the gutter, courtesy of the Nevermind-led crusade that swiftly put them and the rest of the spandex-ilk to the sword. Anyway, the reply, by a fellow (re)named “Geoff Rodgers”, laid bare his hostility towards the medium of Japanimation… and quite possibly to I?

Never one to shrug off an exchange fraught with little-to-no danger, and a general desire to provoke “Geoff” into an incandescent stupor, I countered that he ought to try just a little harder! Ignorant to my scheming, he took the bait, as though he were farmer being (falsely) informed someone was uprooting his crops and flogging them at a local market, price heightened. He dished me a comeback, albeit a little on the ordinary side… not quite the catch of, let’s say encircling the German 6th Army, but it’ll do for the time being. On a tactical level, only an idiot would reciprocate with further spewing.

Instead, I undertook the principle of taking the cycle lane (favourable terrain*) over the motorway, where the perils of velocity dictate! Continuing to irk my conversational assailant through my own interpretation of sophistry, I slowly began to whittle down his decision-making capacity. If all went well, I would (soon?) be able to snatch the initiative away from him; his hopes of a swift, outright victory crumbling before his bewildered eyes, minute-by-minute.

Overconfident, I took pity on his (apparent*) fruitless struggle. Offering him a reprieve, I quoted from Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, specifically from a character that happened to be the ‘Anime Villain’ of that story, the very thing he feared. His terse, almost neutral acknowledgement appeared to indicate a sense of fatigue, the classic ‘bitten off more than he could chew’ realisation… just right for the table of negotiation.

Softening to something a little more conciliatory, I wished him well in all his endeavours, grand and not. Never a man to stamp down on an opponent’s aspirations, I sort to display to him the idea of magnanimity had not been lost in this plutocratic free-for-all we call the present. Yet, it seemed he wanted no such truce…? Puzzled, I attempted a deconstruction; where could his motivations lie? Was he intent on going down with his ship? Could his antagonism toward me be a deep-routed thing? Might his socio-economic background, opaque to I, have played a part in his ‘rationale’? Perhaps he only liked The Cult from their 1987-period onwards, and was just looking for trouble by visiting the comment section of their earlier, pre-1987 material? Had the tables been turned without me even knowing? Just… who… is… “Geoff Rodgers”!? Your guess is as good as mine.

Attempting to make sense of his increasingly disagreeable tone, I cited a theory of the late Mr Huxley. Whether or not he was familiar with the Mind-At-Large concept or even the hallucinogenic wonders of trouser creases was… irrelevant, his curt reply, as though quoting that ‘root beer’ scene from Reefer Madness, was enough to indicate where his true values lay. What’s that? A hypothesis you say? Hmm… The only ‘antipodes’ he appears to be sailing towards… would have to be… (*unfortunate curtain call*) the fringe-right of conventional political thought; aligning him (no doubt) with the likes of the extrajudicial deaths-squads of Rio De Janeiro, the white-robed Clerics of Riyadh and… of course, the ever-nefarious Piers Morgan. 

In a futile attempt to appeal to his better angels, I tried to get him to shake off the scourge of his dangerous beliefs. Alas, I received no further correspondence… my measured diplomacy no match for his past-glorifying, delusional fantasies.

Now, if I may address our mercurial pariah directly, as a last resort –

Angus: “Geoff”, if I dare presume first-name basis… should you still be lucid enough to read these words, I implore you to do the right (not that!) thing and cease with your latent misdeeds. Laugh if you want, a warning such as this might seem innocuous to you, and the other ‘residents’ of that particular… ideological tree-house, but… as the saying goes, ‘the cat is out of the bag’. And with that; I offer you a rope away from your tendencies, with these parting words: less of the jingo, and more of… the Ringo.