James E. McConnell
(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)
The weirdest thing I ever had was with the Angel novels. I was married with three little kids and used to go on holiday to North Wales, and I set the Angels’ base in North Wales on a deserted mining village and in book one or two I gave explicit instructions on how to get there, exactly where it was, what it was and how you got there. And I thought it was just interesting background. And about two years after I’d quit, about ‘74 or ‘75, we went there for a May holiday to this hotel and the kids wanted to go to the deserted village, which is what we called it. So we drive over, park at the top, because you can’t get down to it at all - in those days there was no road to it at all - and there were several transit vans and furniture vans, which I thought was a bit odd...Creation Books reprinted the four novels in an omnibus in 1994 with an introduction by Stewart Home. Home notes "Today, Mick Norman's biker books appear prophetic, imbued as they are with the atmosphere of a country reeling under the blows of unemployment and economic decline. Re-reading these novels makes the boom years of the '80s seem like a mirage, an unrealistic dream. It's as if the imminent threat of political violence and social breakdown has been hanging over us for the past twenty years."
__We start walking down. It was a beautiful day, and coming up this very steep path that we were walking down were two or three Angels; they walked past, said ‘‘Hi, how are you,’’ and when we got to the bottom there were 40 or 50 Hell’s Angels there. And I suddenly realised why: they’d read the books, someone had got out a road map and said ‘‘Hey look, it’s a real place. Let’s go there for our next run.’’ And they went there and left a few bits of Angel graffiti on the old buildings, and then someone else did it a few weeks later, found the graffiti and said ‘‘Yeah, this is the place all right.’’ Like Field of Dreams. I built it and so they came!
__We went back to the hotel. There were a lot of them down there, and we went back to the hotel nearby and said ‘‘There’s an awful lot of motorcycle chappies down at the village.’’ And he said, ‘‘Yeah, they all started turning up about six months ago and nobody knows why.’’ I said: ‘‘Do they cause any trouble?’’ ‘‘No, no. Quiet as lambs. They spend a lot of money in the pubs and shops. They’re very welcome.’’ Phew!
__That taught me a serious lesson: you’re flirting with truth if you do things like that. They stopped doing it eventually, got bored, but it was an amazing moment. You think ‘Because of my books, these people have come from all over the country and they’ve come to this place because of me.’ And you think ‘God, this is power!’
"They're the Last Heroes"
The time is a little in the future. The place is England. Repression has driven the Hell's Angels underground. But they are still around!
__Gerry Vinson wanted to join the 'Last Heroes'. Suddenly, he found what he was looking for.
__Just in front of him, appearing from the ground like a pantomime demon, was Tiny Terry.
__In an age of smart suits and short hair, the Angel looked literally unbelievable. he stood a couple of inches over six feet and was big-built. His hair was shoulder-length, matted and oily. He had a full beard, partly tufted, with short lengths of greasy ribbon tied in it. His teeth were mostly broken or missing. In the centre of his chest was tattooed a red-winged skull with the words: "Hell's Angels - North London Chapter".
__Even in the future, the Angels take some stopping!
A year or so has passed since the apocalyptic ending of 'Angels from Hell'. The government has fallen and a new freedom washes through the streets.
__From their hide-out in the mountains of Snowdonia, Gerry Vinson leads his chapter – the remnants of 'The Last Heroes' combined with 'The Wolves' – on a run South. Back to London.
__Back to a city ruled by a new Hell's Angels chapter – 'The Ghouls' – and terrorised by gangs of teenagers who crop their hair and ape the manners of the 'Skinheads' of the sixties.
__Gerry knows that there can only be one winner. He also knows that the price of defeat is likely to be death.
A giant rock group tour is being planned, with top names from the United States, and security is the big problem with the promoters. How can they avoid the apalling violence from rioting fans, without jeopardising the lives of the security guards themselves?
__The Hell's Angels seem the answer, and Gerry Vinson's Last Heroes emerge from their Welsh retreat to do the honours. But the American groups have organised their own protection – an American chapter. The inevitable rivalry and ill-feeling is only averted when they are faced with a new threat – and satined and scented skulls.
The Hell's Angels are outsiders. They make up their own rules. They delight in perverting the 'normal' way of life and turn their backs on the rest of society.
__But for those who get in their way, and won't let them have what they want, they have only one answer – violence. And even when the do-gooders step in to save lost souls, they find that what goes on inside an 'Angel's' head is too much. Stranger than fiction in fact.
__What started out as a crusade ends in death. The Angels swear revenge on those who betray them.
Britain in the 1970s. The government is harsh and repressive. The permissive era is over and the youth cult groups of the sixties – Hell's Angels, Skinheads – have disappeared. Or so it seems.
__The rebellious freedom-loving spirit of the Hell's Angels still lingered on here and there. And there was another threat too, posed by the short-haired, fashionably dressed groups of sixth formers known as the Dudes, who were becoming unbelievably vicious and cruel.
__And then, one night, a group of leather jacketed youths swooped on a Dude Club. They rode in full glory on their hogs, and the days of gang warfare were returned, only more bloody. A wave of violence sweeps the country and the vengeance of the Angels is complete.
Dan and the chapter of Angels he leads have a safe hideout, in the ruins of an old church in the Fens. But when he and his chapter ride out to do battle with their deadly enemies, the Dudes, the forces of law and order are quickly alerted. The victorious Angels are followed back to their retreat, and the army and police bombard the ruins till they are reduced to a pile of smoking rubble. No one could have survived; all must be dead.
__But are they? Who is the lone messiah who rides across the country with his hog and his mama, hoping to restore the Hell's Angels to their former violent glory.
Enter the world of today's most notorious outlaw – the biker!Next week, a change of pace as it's recent releases and upcoming releases week here at Bear Alley. "Westward Ho!" ends tomorrow and we have the aforementioned Mick Norman cover gallery on Sunday. You can find more inconsequential chatter on my Facebook page.
__The power of a hard fist to the gut, the excitement of non-stop action, the erotic thrills of an all-night party – all the action is here in Best Biker Fiction – hot stories from the hottest motorbikers' magazine in the world.
__From the smoky darkness of a roadside bar to the wide open expanse of the endless highway; from the perfumed sheets of a woman's bed to the mean streets of the city: these are the mean men who live to ride – and ride to live.
Meet Larry the Lamb – mad-eyed monster with multi-coloured hair, rider like none other of the great BSA Lightning Rocket.
__Meet Little Bill – huge, with vulture nose and black stringy hair and, from the elbow down, a metal arm with gleaming steel claws that clutch his Harley-Davidson 74 like they were born from it.
__Watch It! When these two meet, it's Hell on Earth – and all England has to pay...
84 Killed as Hell's Angels riot at rock festival!
That's the world of the Bikers and their leader Little Billy – a mind-snapping, road-raping, nightmarish renegade – daring the whole country to mess with him.
__His long greasy mane whips and streams past the glasciated valkyrie face of his black-booted old lady. His long, curving, dawn-catching, two-pronged claws, replacements for his left hand and forearm, victim of a Californian outlaw axe.
__There's no mistake and no second changes with Little Billy.
Maniac keening against the wind from the hills. Heather scorched by the hell-flame of his passing. A chrome monster screaming hatred against all pursuers.
__Little Billy, last and lonest of all Angels is going North. The fastness and desolation of Scotland is teh only refuge for him. Billy has no more friends – just a world of enemies.
__Alex R. Stuart brings the trilogy of Little Billy – that began with 'The Bikers' and continued with 'The Outlaws' – to an apocalyptic climax. This really is the ultime – The Last Trip.
"The moon gleams ivory through wisps of cloud. Shovels and pickaxes are strapped to the bikes, like Sam insisted. For what? Digging their own grave? Sam wouldn't say. The whole trip's weird."
The Sons and Daughters of Baal rode high to Stonehenge on that Midsummer night.
__Johnny's black bike was sold after his trial – four times. It killed two owners and injured a third. so it was brought back to wait for Johnny's release.
__It's all coming together. But there are still several loose threads in the web. Threads which are almost invisible, and might not be seen in time. Threads upon which everything depends...
One of the most profoundly important bestsellers of our time. The fabulous journey of a man in search of himself.
"I think Mr. Pirsig has written a work of great, perhaps urgent, importance ... read this book." Philip Toynbee, The Observer
"The most explosive detective story of high ideas in years." Newsweek
"A brilliant and original book ... a pathfinding attempt to examine and solve our contemporary ills. Everybody should read it." P. J. Kavanagh, The Guardian
"Profoundly important ... full of insights into our most perplexing contemporary dilemmas ... intellectual entertainment of the highest order." New York Times
"The most exciting book I have read in years. It is challenging, exhilerating, dramatic and classic." Vogue
"A hypnotist's crystal ... sparkled with diamonds." Richard Bach, author of Johnathan Living Seagull
"An unforgettable trip." Time
Rev up and ... off
__These were the instructions given to David Collyer at the start of his unorthadox ministry as chaplain for a club for the unclubbable Rockers, Hell's Angels and Mods in Birmingham.
A fantastic story
__How he avoided being killed or maimed for life and yet persisted in his love and duty to these violent young people is nothing short of miraculous,
No punches are pulled
__Murder, sex, drugs, death on the road, thieving, malicious damage, and all the turbulence of ignorant and undisciplined youth are the scene. No attempt was made to preach or to moralize. The author literally became 'one of them'. But throughout the narrative there is a response to a religious need and a will to service for others which makes this not only a breathtaking but also a very moving book.
Brian Greenaway was president of a Hell's Angel chapter.
__He was violent, full of hate, deeply into drugs.
__Then, in Dartmoor Prison, he had an experience which changed his life.
__In this powerful, real-life book he tells his story.
Brian Greenaway knows prison life from experience. Chelmsford, Winchester, then four years in Dartmoor.
__He knows how hard it is to stay human in 'the time machine'.
__But something happened to Brian in prison that gave him hope. Nowadays he goes back inside voluntarily – to share this hope with today's cons.
__This book, the sequel to the bestselling Hell's Angel, is both his story and theirs.
This is the true story of Buttons, President of the London Chapter of the Hell's Angels, England, as told to Jamie Mandelkau.
__Buttons traces the rise of the leader of Britain's Hell's Angels from his days as a rocker, through his visit to the United States where he received his Angel colours, to his return and subsequent adventures in Britain. It is not a book for the squeamish: Hell's Angels are not always gentle, nor does their life style always reflect the accepted norms of society. It is, however, an honest account of one part of the New Culture.
Hell's Angels are the most savage, lawless motorcycle gang that ever roared along American roads. This is the first book about Hell's angels by a Hell's Angel.
__Here are the facts about their weird codes of honour, their brawling, their drug-taking and their fantastic sex orgies.
__Freewheelin Frank Reynolds has been a leading member of Hell's Angels since 1961. He reveals why he is an Angel, how he became one, and the startling philosophy that is the most important part of a Hell's Angel's life.
This is the incredible autobiography of 'Wild Bill' Henderson – a Hell's Angel who pushed dope, raped women, terrorized 'squares' and lived in a jungle of crime, violence and sadistic warfare.
__Now a respectably married man – this is the story of his dark days; the almost indescribable thrill of owning and riding a motorcycle, what Hell's Angels really stood for, the senseless violence, the way out orgies, the unbelievable initiation rites, the runs, rumbles and deaths. Here is the truth, never before fully revealed, never before in such shocking detail!
__We dare you to read this book, and come out of it unchanged, unshaken by the sickening sexual madness and violence of the thousands of Hell's Angels who found a place in Hell.
The Hell's Angels are aptly named, for this not-so secret cult has grown in number and a violence that has reached screaming headlines across the U.S.A. No-one is safe from the chaos and destruction they wreak.Next week will see the adaptation of Westward Ho! continuing. Saturday, I think I have some notes on an artist featured amongst the Guy N. Smith pictures I've recently posted... Sunday could well be another gallery of classic biker fiction – written by people who had probably never been within a hundred yards of a motorbike, but knew that was also true of the people buying the books!
__Some say the members are sick, others see the Angels as the answer to our materialistic, and deadly safe world where there are no more heroes, no more challenges.
__This is the story from the inside; the secret rites, the joy of speed, the frenzy of violence that shock and threaten the fabric of our society.