• Heroes and Villains

    I was watching James Bond, on the telly the other day. Engrossed in the plot I’d seen many, many times before as Blofeld tried to do world changing things, I got more and more emotionally attached to the henchmen in his volcano lair. (Best lair ever, by the way).
    It was fairly near the end of the film, the plans for world domination were pretty much done with and an entire army of ninja goodies were sliding down ropes, firing guns and generally being heroic all over the place. Despite the obvious futility, the daftly dressed henchmen were still fighting to the death. Most of them were probably employed under the pretence of the job being fairly easy – in charge of just pushing one button every 30 minutes and that was that, so the pittance of a wage didn’t seem too bad. I bet the idea of martyrism was hidden pretty deep within whatever contract they signed. I bet that contract even had a “hire purchase” of the daft outifit they were all wearing. All in, they had a pretty raw deal really.

    Meanwhile, Blofeld himself was busy pissing off to freedom on his personal monorail (bet the henchmen would have had to pay to use that…). No thankyou. No mucking in. Not even a backwards glance suggestive of the slightest glimmer of guilt. Gone in his personal carriage. Git.

    I crossed the line at the end of Sunday’s NWCCA finale and didn’t even drop down through the gears. Hard right straight after the finish line, back across the main field to the pits, where several semi frozen members of Horwich CC were busy tidying, cleaning, and packing up under a barrage of hail and sleet like they had been all afternoon. Despite having all raced themselves (with the exception of Angela, who’d spent all day elbow deep in buckets of cold water as the snow came down, getting bikes washed in between laps), they’d pulled on what little clothing they had in their cars and bravely stepped back out into weather they couldn’t hope to keep out.
    Somewhere, months ago, they’d been sold the idea of all mucking in at the races. Support whoever’s racing. “It’ll be a laugh”, they were probably told, “bring your own kit though”.
    “You’ll probably just be holding one bike out every 30 minutes, it’s fairly easy”.
    Under the constant sleety bombardment they’d fought on to keep everything in the pits going, ensuring I’d have a bike ready to go if I wanted one. As a win became more and more obviously hopeless they’d carried on bravely.

    I got back to the pits picked up a bike that wasn’t utterly crudded up, leaving the filthy one to be cleaned – despite the futility of it – pulled on a jacket that no-one else was allowed to wear and pissed off to freedom and my own personal, warm, carriage. No thankyou. No mucking in. Not even a backwards glance suggestive of the slightest glimmer of guilt. Blofeld had his shuriken-injured hand, I had numb limbs from the weather. He had his monorail in his volcano lair, I had my campervan. He had no idea if any of his henchmen survived the assault. I’m presuming half of Horwich CC are frozen solid, shin deep in the Beacon Country Park slop.

    In a feeble attempt to raise myself above the level of Bond Villain, I would like to issue (possibly posthumous…) heartfelt thanks and respect to everyone that stood out there in that awful, awful weather on Sunday. I have no idea how anyone could race in those conditions, then go back out to stand around in them for another hour to look after someone else. Hugely impressive stuff, for which I’ll always be grateful.

    PS If you ever need a reference to get a job as a henchman in a volcano lair, just ask. And for god sake read the small print. 😉


    11:51 pm on January 22, 2018 | Comments Off on Heroes and Villains | # |