Up Yours Covid!

July 3, 2020
A motorcycle is a bicycle with a pandemonium attachment and is designed for the special use of mechanical geniuses, dare devils and lunatics.
George Fitch, Atlanta constitution 1916

Back in December, I announced that my little publishing initiative would be producing George Lockyer’s book Tales and Trails Down Under, a typically-superb account of his ride around Australia interviewing interesting people. It has been a head-wind ever since.

By the beginning of April, thanks to the sterling efforts of Jess Kelly of thedesigndept it was ready for release, along with the second edition of my earlier opus, The Last Hurrah – my Panther ride from Beijing to Arnhem.

Of course, that is when Covid 19 sent us indoors, and all we could do was release digital eBooks of the imprint, and impatiently await the printed stock to emerge from the pandemic’s grip.

Well the good news is that we now have physical stock … boxes of lovely books. We’re proud of these books and hope you embrace them too. The Last Hurrah is an update, adding ‘what happened next’ to the previously released book, and taking the team through to the passing of my legendary mate Dick Huurdeman and leaving us with Penelope’s currently status of resting in a Melbourne garage awaiting the final Australian adventure of riding around ‘Tassie’.

We’ve even got an online shop, so you can buy directly from us. Of course, you can still source via the big players who may be printing close to you, enabling them to offer cheaper postage. Your choice!

But I have to unveil my ‘bromance’ with George.

I first met George when he interviewed me for his book Kiwi Bikers: Living The Dream. I liked his engaging demeanour immediately, and the interview was not difficult for either of us. I am not a big consumer of contemporary motorcycle magazines, so was unaware of George’s status as a columnist, nor his informative writing. We bonded over shared travel experiences and a love of the written word.

He spotted some of my books and soon we were reminiscing over old favourite authors like Eric Newby and Jerome K Jerome. Not only did he share my putting of Ted Simon (Jupiter’s Travels) on the highest pinnacle … but he knows him personally, and has hosted him in our part of the world. This was like knowing someone who knows royalty. Regular contact followed, along with much continued book-swapping.

Later I applauded his excellent The Long And Winding Aotearoa which established the formula of a ‘George-ride with musings’ meshed with interesting interviews of people both famous and infamous. And that is what Tales and Trails Down Under continues. The famous include balladeer John Williamson and Brendon Nelson, a former leader of the opposition, yet they don’t overshadow the other characters both rich and poor who fill the pages. The book abounds with surprises and delights. Often the interviewees are just folk George encounters along the way.

The book is filled with colour, both from George’s evocative photography and his clever word usage. This is another must for your personal library.