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Charlie Brave builds bikes now
5.12.08 by Buffalo Bill

Moving Target has been around for a long time. A loooong time. Since 1988 in fact. One of the guys who started it, Charlie Bayliss (who went under the nom-de-plume of CC Brave), has a blog over here called The Artful Dodger Bicycle Works, and was kind enough to mis-spell my name in one of his posts. ChiDley, godammit!

CB was never the kind of guy who wore lycra, even though he messengered in the 80s. He always dressed in trackies, and wore trainers. I do remember that he had a some sort of ariel contraption on a rack on the back of his bike, which enabled him to get exceptional radio reception and transmission, something that gave him an extra edge on the Booker open call channel, on which he first worked.

The top Booker boys were as wide as anyone on the circuit, certainly a lot wider and smarter than me, callow courier that I was, and to get ahead on that channel, you either needed to have an ‘in’ with the controller, or know how to false call properly. Or both. I am sure that it would not be a gross slur on CB’s character to say that he possessed both qualities. A very artful dodger, in other words.

Those of you with long enough memories will remember Byron ‘the black shark’ Bramble, who worked at SD, and Reuters. If you remember Byron, you will probably remember that not only was he the first guy to do 50 dockets at SD, but also that he was the master of the false call. He first practised this dark art on the Booker circuit.

What is a false call? It’s when you say you are somewhere you are not, with the intention of obtaining more work. Done right, it can boost your earnings. Done wrong, it can get you into a lot of trouble. And if you get caught at it by another rider, you are likely to find that your popularity will be challenging George Bush’s… Of course the spread in the use of GPS trackers, has pretty much put the kibosh on false calling – or has some crafty courier figured out how to befuzzle the eye in the sky?

If you want to check out some 1980s Moving Target, you can find them on this Flickr set.

  1. I false call every morning because I am always late. This is because I feel the urge to ‘handle my business’ before I leave the house.

    — Bad Man    8 December 2008, 10:27    #
  2. False calling doesn’t really work with only one courier Batty man. You do it to get more jobs and steal from your so called mates. Aint that right Overdrive?

    — Zack Speedfast    8 December 2008, 23:40    #
  3. I used to false call in from lunch every day..I’d been on the grass (lawn not pot) with everyone else but the dispatcher thought I was up top a peak..so he would give me gravy to come of lunch from..( to be honest I didi go up the hill and eat/call in for a few days enough to make it a pattern, and when the dickscratcher(controler) finally did give me the long tags after lunch I was in the park with all the others-after that I always had a nice run into the hiterlands after lunch….so it worked…

    — erik zo    9 December 2008, 12:47    #
  4. Zack,you are not wrong.I’d crawl over my dead granny to nick work off some poor f*cker.It’s the Metro way!

    — overdrive    10 December 2008, 10:04    #
  5. No, Zach Paedphast, you misunderstand. I false call so that my controller doesn’t know that I’m late.

    — Bad Man    12 December 2008, 15:44    #
  6. You are only cheating yourself and when you die the courier gods will judge you on these actions. Anyway i’m not fooled by your badman attitude. I was only to talking to Winston last night at Jos’s secret swingers party and he told me you are a well mannered, pleasant young man.

    — Zack Speedfast    13 December 2008, 13:14    #

    — Bad Man    22 December 2008, 01:00    #
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