Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Drop of the Black Stuff

You may have noticed that Trainspotting 2 is released next year.  Now, we are 90s kids, from the same generation as Ewan McGregor and Trainspotting was a seminal film for us.  Putting aside the plot's dark heroin underbelly, Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life and Underworld’s Born Slippy are guaranteed to get us up on the dance floor, blowing our whistles and waving our hands in the air and the “choose life” slogan has been etched into our psyche. 

Robert Carlyle on the set of Trainspotting 2... it a Voodoo Street bucket hat?

Before I go any further, what you are about to read is not a Ewan McGregor fan page, but a series of life events/coincidences which has led to a period of reflection and indirectly informed our work in recent weeks.

If you’re on Instagram, you may be aware that Ewan McGregor loves VWs and motorbikes and has in fact previously graced the pages of Hayburner Magazine, the cool independent magazine dedicated to all things Vdub (look out for our ad in the forthcoming issue). 

Hayburner Issue 20, out soon.

This week, he uploaded a photograph taken during a visit home, with his dad, on a break from a burn up outside the Green Welly Café near Rannoch Moor. As former motorbike owners, we loved the travelogue series he and his friend Charlie Boorman produced: “The Long Way Down” and “The Long Way Around” and our Highlands road trip this summer took us past the very same café, which is surrounded by roads just built for cruising on motorcycles.  

Johnnie Fox's Pub

So, we’ve been blowing the dust off some old photos and reminiscing.  Here’s a photo taken on a road trip around Ireland donkeys years ago outside the famous pub Johnnie Fox’s in County Wicklow (oh, the Guinness really does taste better over there)...


 …and here’s another of the two of us on that same trip when Voodoo Street was but a twinkle in the eye.

Incidentally, some years after this photo was taken, I took up a post at a TV/Video Production company, best known for pre-school children’s shows Wheels on the Bus and Underground Ernie, featuring a soundtrack from Miles Hunt of the Wonderstuff and a lead character voiced by Gary Linekar, which leads me to my last Ewan McGregor story.  He was the favourite to voice the character of Ernie and I remember sending a script to his agent.  She assured me he read it on a plane trip, but sadly he turned it down.

Although we are known on the VW circuit, we appreciate cool rides comprising any number of wheels; skateboards, BMX bikes, café racers, VWs, hotrods - you name it.  If it’s aesthetically pleasing in a classic kind of way, then we approve.  Our trip down memory lane has resulted in Gaz deciding to add to Voodoo Street’s collection of rat look motorcycle inspired stickers.  Given that my long departed grandfather was once asked to ride for a certain British motorcycle company originally based in Birmingham, a Voodoo Street “Norton” sticker it had to be.

Sadly I don’t remember my paternal grandfather, as he died before my first birthday.  I’ve also been frustrated in my attempts to get more details on this story, although I can confirm that one Ernest Taylor owned and rode a Norton for some years and turned down the offer to ride for Norton, as he was a humble and dedicated farmer (and probably had little concept of potential this opportunity offered).  Apparently he was known to bring back a sheep over the tank of his bike!  Not sure whether sheep get the same thrill from a motorbike ride as us humans, but these were different times.

We've also decided to share our love for Vdubs in a more obvious way by putting our Volks Whip logo on a T-shirt - bold white screen prints on black extended tees.

Volks Whip Tees on website now

This may look like a simple design or even the original VW logo at a glance, but switching the letters around was a bastard to successfully complete in the same proportions as the original.

New little back prints

We’re constantly on the look out for something new to play with.  Our reliable VW T4 is a workhorse, but our heart belongs to ratty vehicles that have lived a life and wouldn’t look out of place in a scrap yard.  Recently we’ve been looking at Ford Pops and Morris Travellers.  We test drove a Ford Pop around a farmyard last week.  It was surprisingly comfortable, given its age, but it was full of filler, the paintwork wasn’t original (matt black) and there were some strangely flared wheel arches.  In other words, too much work for the time we have at our disposal.  Still, we like them enough to have used one for our Black Friday ad, so don’t forget to check in tomorrow.  

See ya!