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The Bikers & The Devil's Rider

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New English Library, London, 1975
(price: 35p; 128 pages)
(originally published by NEL 1971)

dedication: To She Who Types Like a Drunken Midget Playing The Piano

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New English Library, London, 1975
(price: 35p; 144 pages)
(originally published by NEL 1973)

dedication: To Lord Grandrith And The Apes of Wrath

The blurbs on the back:

Meet Larry the Lamb - mad-eyed monster with multi-coloured hair, rider like none other of the great BSA Lightning Rocket.
Meet Little Billy - huge, with vulture nose and black stringy hair and, from the elbow down, a metal arm with gleaming steel claws that clutch his Harley-Davidson 74 like they were born from it.
Watch it! When these two meet, it's Hell on Earth - and all England has to pay ...

The moon gleams ivory through wisps of cloud. Shovels and pickaxes are straped to the bikes, like Sam insisted. For what? Digging their own graves? Sam wouldn't say. The whole trip's weird.

The Bikers starts with the Shoreditch Chapter roaring through at the Hangar Lane underpass in West London - from there on, you know where you are. Essentially it's a rip-off of the US Hell's Angels novel relocated to Britain with the consequent loss of conviction: American Angels did at least sometimes look and behave like outlaws, the English incarnation never quite managed it.

The story - such as it is - concerns Larry the Lamb and Little Billy, the two leaders of the chapter, though Little Billy relocated to California some time before the novel begins. You won't be surprised when he makes his return. In fact you won't be surprised by anything, though there is a nice touch with a rock band who play 'low dirty heavy greasy bike music' and are named Siddhartha. Geddit? Well, let me explain: the ultimate bikers' anthem is 'Born To Be Wild' by Steppenwolf, who were named after a novel by Herman Hesse. One of Hesse's other novels is Siddhartha. Geddit? (Mind you, it might have been more impressive still if Stuart had used the title of another Hesse novel, The Prodigy.)

A couple of years later, The Devil's Rider was more of the same, and - although I haven't read them - I'm sure that The Outlaws and The Last Trip were not wildly dissimilar. Good for posing perhaps, but that's about as far as they go.

Incidentally, The Bikers was credited to Alex Stuart - the middle initial came later.


more bikers...

Thom Ryder
Angel Alone

Thomas K Fitzpatrick
The Blood Circus

Mick Norman
Guardian Angels

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