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Alleycats, Messengers and authenticity
22.02.08 by Buffalo Bill

So they went and did it. It’s not directed at messengers, necessarily, in fact it’s aimed at students. I guess, seeing as the information has been posted to the London Fixed-gear and Single-Speed Forum, that the organisers of the ‘Artycat’, which is a benefit for the Fine Arts Department of a London educational establishment, that they expected that messengers would hear about it. Or maybe they don’t really care whether messengers hear about it or not.

And, of course, messengers have. One messenger described it to me as ‘embarrassing’. House of Pistard describe themselves as ‘feeling like I’ve just discovered one of my friends is shagging my little sister’, which is a little excessive.

Well, what did you expect, guys? It was you that said that only ‘real’ messengers should be allowed to race in Alleycats, even though this rule was only made up last year. Having organised the first two alley-cats in London, I can tell you that we never conceived that we might want, never mind need, such a rule back in 94. We were happy to see anyone riding a bike with us, and enjoying the experience. If it was a messenger, great, it was a non-messenger, then you looked out for them, and tried to make sure that they felt welcomed.

I thought it was a silly rule, and publicising it only made messengers seem as though they had a chip on their shoulder. Yorgo and I, at least, have flouted the ‘non-messenger’ rule at recent alleycats.

So having made this ‘no non-messenger’ rule, look at what the result is: they went and organised their own race. Why should messengers be the only ones to enjoy the illicit and thrilling pleasure of unsanctioned urban bike racing? Why, that would be as ridiculous as suggesting that only messengers should ride fixies, use shoulder bags, roll their trousers up and put cards in their spokes, wouldn’t it? Oh wait … some of you already did make exactly that suggestion, didn’t you?

So here’s a challenge for those of you that are reeling with horror that non-messengers have dared to organise an Alleycat: why not go along and join the fun on 6th March? You never know, you might enjoy it.

It has come to my attention that unwary readers of this web-site might think that House of Pistard said the Artycat made them feel like ‘the Maoris probably felt when the Spice Girls performed a Haka a few years ago’. I am happy to correct that impression. No, wait, they actually did say that.

Err… seriously, I am sorry if I gave the impression that House of Pistard sponsors messenger alleycats, and has given substantial funding to the Anti-Non-Messenger League. I accept that this a gross slur without any foundation in fact.

  1. For someone who always moans about being misquoted you’ve done a good job misleading your readers about H.O.P.s stance on this.
    The Westcoast Messengers have always extended an open invitation to anyone at our races. One guy who used to race in all the Glasgow Alleycats was called Andy the Butcher, not because of how he dealt with the opposition but because that was his job, a Butcher.

    westcoastmess    22 February 2008, 22:51    #
  2. i might just fly in for this one… art school students… the holy grail!

    tofu    23 February 2008, 03:53    #
  3. p.s. what ever happened to “avant-garde”?

    tofu    23 February 2008, 03:55    #
  4. “publicising it only made messengers seem as though they had a chip on their shoulder”

    seem? ok.

    — nomess    23 February 2008, 09:20    #
  5. I remember your article ribbing the fakengers B*ll.You played a big part in the attitude some couriers have,me included,now you ‘re starting on us!I’ll f*cking batter ya!!!

    — overdrive    23 February 2008, 11:49    #
  6. maybe all this interest in cycling/courier culture will only support the long term role of bicycle delivery in london?

    — breaking away    23 February 2008, 11:53    #
  7. By the way if any arty farty fakenger says I’ve got a chip on my shoulder I’ll punch their f*cking lights out.And yes I’m working class.Cnuts.

    — overdrive    23 February 2008, 11:53    #
  8. lol @ overdive.

    — ssemon    23 February 2008, 13:54    #
  9. don’t miss the culture show tonight…

    — aido    23 February 2008, 16:40    #
  10. Ah yes. Westcoast’s finest in action!

    — Bill    23 February 2008, 17:09    #
  11. hey Overdrive,
    I think if you go back and read Bill’s pieces on “fakengers” you’ll realize that he was, even then, telling messengers to get over it and in no way has he ever supported the term on MT, except in his normal tongue-in-cheek sort of way.

    — scuzzy    28 February 2008, 11:10    #
  12. Hey Scuzzy apply the phrase “tongue in cheek” when you are reading my stuff.No f*cker takes me seriously on here.Good day to you Sir!(or Madam)

    — overdrive    28 February 2008, 11:58    #
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