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2nd London Bicycle Film Festival 7th - 9th September 2006
2.09.06 by Buffalo Bill

The Bicycle Film Festival, now apparently in its sixth year, returns to London next weekend. Last year’s edition was sold out on both nights, so this year the organisers have added an extra night. The venue is the Cochrane Theatre, Southampton Row, and on-line booking is recommended. The tickets are, uh, uh, where’s that link gone?, £6.50.

The most interesting night to me is Thursday. A 52 minute documentary on NYC bicycle messengers called ‘Pedal’ is being shown. Originally made in 2001, it is evidently ‘a fast-paced documentary about surviving the streets of New York City as bicycle messenger’. I personally would not want to watch a slow-paced documentary about bicycle messengers, but sniping aside, it’s a good opportunity to watch a film that retails for £19.99 in Magma for a lot less, or in my case nish (I’m press innit).

Showing Saturday is M.A.S.H., made by an ad photographer, all about the fixed gear riders in San Francisco. This film is probably worth a look, even for those of us with deep reservations about the marketing of the fixed wheel as the latest life-style accessory for white urban youth (Erik Zo, the legendary SF messenger bag manufacturer, called fixed wheels ‘this year’s wallet-on-a-chain’), and questions about the practicalities of riding fixed in a city such as SF, whose streets climb the city’s many hills at nauseating inclines.

Possibly the most interesting of all is Joe Kid on a Stingray, which is 90 min documentary recounting the history of BMX. People who I have never heard of like Scot Breithaupt and Bob Haro are featured, as well as people I have heard of, like Mat Hoffman and Spike Jonze. BMX is undoubtedly the coolest and most charismatic branch of cycle ‘sport’, and in view of the never-ending doping saga that is killing the ‘grown-up’ branches of the sport, probably the cleanest and purest, too.

According to the press release that a very nice man called Adam sent me, there are also a variety of other events associated with the BFF, some of which might actually happen. Walshy is organising the Alleycat which has a first prize of £300! Yes, £300. Bloody hell, what’s Donny gonna do with all that money?

Just a quick thought I had after reading the press release and noticing the array of impressive logos on the bottom: as the BFF is sponsored by Transport for London, does that mean that Ken Livingstone, London’s fabulous mayor who only a few weeks ago was talking about registration plates for bicycles, has u-turned and is now spending London tax-payers money on encouraging cycle couriers to break traffic laws and endanger the public? Or should I keep my big mouth shut?

OK, can I have my free tickets now?

Full text of press release as PDF


‘Get some air in your tyres!’, it says here. The BFF launch party is Wednesday 6th September, at Murphy’s Karaoke Bar, 102 – 108 Clerkenwell Road from 7.30pm and entry is free. It’s a bit too close to the Duke of York for my taste, but the possibility of seeing Tofu strip naked, climb on a table and perform ‘My Way’ in front of the cream of London’s cyclists is too good an opportunity to miss.

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