It has been suggested that when you pass away you don`t die until someone utters your name for the last time, on this footing people such as Queen Elizabeth the 1st, Elvis & Coronation Streets Ena Sharples will live on for quite a while yet. I found myself contemplating this idea as I sat in a small church listening to a vicar talk about the life & times of my recently departed aunt, an aunt that I had not actually met face to face or spoken to for over 25 years but as most of us do at times like this you make the effort to tip up at the service & show support for the people left behind. I found it quite depressing to hear that before she became a mother & later on a grandmother, the highlight of her working life was to be a Silver Service Waitress, a very precise job that requires skill & a calm steady hand to master but if in say 200 years time when my aunts descendants are researching their family tree I can`t imagine they will pick her out as someone of special interest, she will probably be passed over & sink without trace just like the majority of us will, sadly the chances of her descendants popping up on Antiques Roadshow 2216 complete with photo, belongings & interesting stories to tell about her are slim to zero.
You are probably thinking that grief has twisted my mind & wondering what all this got to do with motocross, well in my book if someone takes part in organised motocross racing then this marks them down as a person of interest on their family tree for sure. Lining up & then firing yourself down the start straight with 30 plus other riders all aiming for a gap only big enough for just 2 or 3 bikes takes some guts, how descendants will view their activities in years to come I can`t say, maverick ? man or woman of daring do ? idiot ? Armchair race fans who have never actually taken part in any form of motorsport will never really know what racing / adrenaline / risk is all about, people who spend all their free time sitting in their underpants playing on the old xbox 360 think they are getting a taste of real world racing but sorry no, in reality there is no reset button, crash & it will hurt, bones are broken, joints on the body get damaged & can stay damaged for the rest of your life, riders get killed & some would argue that the possibility of ending up in a wheelchair for the rest of your days is an even more frightening prospect. Yes, motocross racers do deserve admiration & respect no matter if they are a world champion or a clubman rider, the risk they all take is exactly the same.
So what can you do in the here & now to improve your chances of being remembered by those future descendants, oddly, a long lasting, easily stored, surprisingly resilient to dirt & mishandling printed photograph or possibly & painting, what you might call old technology, gives you the best chance of being rediscovered by all those people who will follow on after you & I are long gone. You can forget about trusting any form of modern digital storage device to safely look after all those fantastic images of you racing your motorcycle, every year there must be billions of precious digital images lost for ever due to devices failing, getting lost, stolen or generally being dropped down the bog. Add to this the speed at which Tec becomes out of date & not compatible with the latest gear & you start to realise that the chance of an image only stored in a digital format surviving for 200 years is miniscule. We all seem to be under the spell of the large manufactures when it comes to deciding what the best way to take, store & display photos is, my surprise to find new vinyl records on sale in Sainsburys the other day underlines the fact that you have to resist all the advertising bumf companies put out, they will tell us anything in an effort to make even more money. After years of being told to chuck out my old records & that crystal clear CD digital sound is the way to go they now tell me that the minor sound imperfections that come with vinyl recordings are far more pleasing to the ear, to this I say, “Up Yours Mr, I`ll stick with what I got thanks you money grabbing so & so”.
Fast forward 200 years from now….It`s fantastic, it`s brilliant, it`s a miracle one of your photos has actually survived ! You chose well all those years ago & made sure that the photo of you on your bike not only captured the rider in full dynamic race mode but also included some interesting background details of the paddock, vehicles, people, flags & banners. All this extra period detail has made your image very interesting to the people of the future, the effort & expense you went to in getting plenty of quality photos printed up & then passing them out to family members, friends & people you work with has really paid off because one of them has survived & your decision to write your name, date, location & a few other interesting details on the back of each photo in pencil ( normal pen ink does not last as long apparently ) was a stroke of genius. Picture the scene, it`s Sunday night & the nation has settled down in front of their TV to watch Antiques Roadshow 2216, the normal sort of set up unfolds, a group of badly dressed people hang around in the background, in front stands the antiques expert & the owner, in between them a table that not only displays the photo of you taken all those years ago but also a pair of your old Alpinestar TECH10 boots. The expert spends several minutes talking about the photo, pointing out the bravery of the riders who took part in motocross, the interesting period background details that the image displays of a time now long gone & remarks it`s a real shame that the combination of enviromentalists & a government hell bent on protecting people from themselves eventually lead to the banning of all motorcycles. After several minutes of chin scratching & deliberation the expert is ready to put a price on these items from 200 years ago, the owner holds his breath, the badly dressed people finally stop talking among themselves & lean in closer, ” Yes, there are collectors out there who want this kind of stuff, odd people who spend a lot of time in garden sheds & wear oil stained woolly jumpers, if the items were put up for auction, in my considered opinion I can safely say that they are worth, ( dramatic pause )…… Bugger All me old son, absolutely Bugger All “………..O well you can`t win them all, Mr J.