Scarlett, a.k.a Bring Me My Fix on the London Fixed Gear & Single Speed forum, is a very wordy guy. He’s also a great guy to go for a Sunday ride with, as he doesn’t show-boat, wheel-suck, half-wheel or switch. Also, I have never seen him in a pair of tennis socks
He raced a lot at Eastway, but I don’t think I ever raced against him, as he was always in the E/1/2, being a more than half-decent rider, whereas I was a career 4th cat, and was consequently always getting a kicking off the old guys who used to be elite riders, the bionic juniors and the elite women. He’s a hero of mine, because he beat one of the noisiest Essex boys, a real nasty piece of work, in a sprint up there. I also recall that he beat Lee ‘Terminator’ Povey in the final of Rollapaluza IX, all the way back in 2007, which year now feels like Year Zero of London Bicycle Culture.
It was always obvious to me, reading his often quixotic, but always compelling, posts on LFGSS, that he had a talent for writing, and that he should spend less time fiddling around on the forum, and more time writing something of consequence. And this is, in fact, what he has done. The Srampagmano Tales are a pastiche of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which will be familiar to O Level English Literature students of a certain age. I use pastiche in its proper meaning, not pejoratively, for the Srampagmano Tales openly imitate the form & structure of Chaucer’s work. As in the Canterbury Tales, Scarlett uses the device of a group of travelling companions to satirise the dress & attitudes of the companions, who are riding to Brighton (the London to Brighton ride has become a cycling pilgrimage, after all), and London bike culture more generally.
It’s a much more witty, and far better observed, poetic version of all those tiresome ‘cycling tribes’ articles that pop up in the main-stream media every spring. The satire & characterisations aren’t as savage or as smutty as Chaucer’s (the Pardoner, in particular, was utterly demolished in the original) because Scarlett is, after all, as the french would say, un amateur du velo. But it is very funny, and we will all recognise ourselves in these tales.
Being not of a poetic bent, I am very much in awe of Scarlett’s book, as the ability to write in rhyming couplets, much less go the whole hog, and write several thousand words in iambic pentameter is way beyond me. I earnestly urge everyone to buy this book. The best place and time to buy the book is tonight at Look Mum No Hands, because the author & illustrator (Scarlett’s partner, Faith Buck) will be selling & signing copies.
There’s an excellent interview of Scarlett over here on Traumfahrrad.