Published on August 14th, 2014 | by Boris
And so endeth my time at Australian Motorcycle News.
But that’s alright. I’m good with that.
It was great for a long time. Some of the best things I ever did, I did with and for the Green Horror, and I loved it dearly.
But to paraphrase Stephen King, the world has moved on, and I must move on with it.
So here I am; finally master of my own writing-about-motorcycles destiny.
And I rule here.
Here you have not paid an entry fee.
Here there are no word limits.
Here no-one will squirt wee from their nethers if I type the word ‘fuck’.
Here there are no advertisers to appease.
Here there is no mysterious unquantifiable ‘readership’ that needs to be second-guessed regarding its wants or mollified when it’s been outraged or offended.
Here there is no talentless hack murdering my word-babies or censoring my rage.
Here I can finally do those yarns that were deposited in various horrified editor’s draws seconds after I dropped them on their desks.
Here I may despoil myself like a rutting bison and let my hooves kick up clods of dirt while the cows bleat their anguish in the dust I raise.
It’s a pure, brutal and very atavistic environment for a writer and I really like the hell out of that.
And you’re here because you want to be here and if you don’t like what you’re reading, you’ll fuck off elsewhere.
I trust we’re all clear about that.
Sure, I still have editors for whom I write and to whom I answer for my words outside of here.
The marvelous Neale Brumby at Heavy Duty is kind enough to pay me for my work and when we get together we laugh a lot. It’s a good relationship to have with an editor. I know, because I’ve been a magazine editor for almost three decades.
I have also recently come to very much enjoy the gentle and concerned comradeship of Rob Margeit, editor of Auto Action, which, you’ll recall Ken Wootton once looked after. I do a regular MotoGP report for Rob, and when we get together, we laugh a lot too. Especially when I tell him Rossi will win another race. One day.
I do the bike reviews for ZOO magazine, and the odd feature in the still magnificent Top Gear, and their respective editors, Shayne and Tim and I still manage to have a giggle.
But laughter is rare in the print industry these days. There’s not a lot of ha-ha out there at the moment.
Media is changing at a frightening pace. More and more, Social Media – or as Peter Harvey from Polaris observed last weekend at my book launch, it would be wrong to call it that. It is now just The Media – is the new black and it’s getting blacker all the time.
Sure, people still buy magazines. But not as many of them as once did. And less and less are buying them each year.
You might have noticed that we have a shitload of motorcycle magazines in this country. Many of which are truly abominable examples of the breed. But that is a subject for another time. And what a wonderful time that will be, huh?
But I digress.
Anyway, while motorcycle sales are slowly increasing each year, the readership of these magazines is not. It is in a gradual decline. In a very few years, many of them will cease to exist. Only the best, most adaptable and most engaging will remain – but they will be very different to what they are now.
Exciting times, huh?
Of course, it’s not just bike mags. The trend is consistent across the full spectrum of print media, with very few exceptions.
So what are people reading? The Internet, of course. Snippets of info that interest them. And more specifically, Social Media like Facebook and Twitter, both of which are growing at an exponential pace.
In the past, when older motorcycle riders and magazine readers dropped off the perch, they were replaced by younger readers.
That is not happening any more. Younger people are not buying magazines. And a lot of the older readers are discovering that the Internet, which is free, fulfills all their needs when it comes to stats, bike tests and opinions. Why pay for something when you can get it free on your PC, Smartphone or tablet?
To add to that paradigm, the motorcycle lifestyle is fragmenting more each day. Motard riders, hipsters, boy racers, ride-day enthusiasts, wannabe outlaws, real outlaws, grey nomads, dirt freaks, weekend warriors, daily commuters and even people who venerate a particular stretch of road, have all formed their own little tribe and are busily making their own little bit of cyberspace theirs.
For someone like me, who began his magazine career at Ozbike, hand-fixing waxed galleys (long sheets of photographic paper upon which words were typset) onto boards of graph paper and using a darkroom enlarger to position images from photographic slides (We sure had us some fun, didn’t we, Skol?), this whole computer-driven world is simply breathtaking – both in its scope and its power.
And if you’re a writer, it is immensely liberating. Among other things.
If you’re new here or to me, please understand that I am not a journalist. I have never been one, and while I have performed the duties of one, I have never laid claimed to the title. I write. Journalists…erm, journolate, I guess.
You want journalism, you can certainly find that somewhere else. I do not do journalism.
What I do, or what I plan to do here in my blog and elsewhere on BIKE ME! – where I am assisted by some truly talented and gifted writers, photographers, videographers and lawyers (you’ve always gotta have lawyers), none of whom are paid and are doing this for shits and giggles – is to entertain, amuse and inform you.
Probably in that order.
I will also outrage you from time to time.
I may even appal you on occasion.
Roll with it, baby. It’s character-building.
You are a motorcyclist, aren’t you? You cheat death every single second you’re on a bike.
How could a mere opinionated turn of phrase get up in your mighty shit?
Well let’s find the fuck out, shall we?