Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Post War Biker Clubs, Couple Culture!






To wear or not to wear? This is not necessarily the question! I own a bazillion jackets and people often wonder "where do they come from" . Apart from the obvious which is I buy them, I too ask the same question. I recognize the history of post war American culture and I know all to well its artifacts, but with each new jacket I acquire, the life of the person in the jacket is a mystery.

Ok, so we know vintage things come from estates which brings up sooo many questions. Look at this lovely set of jackets, and believe me their were photos, club patches, hats, boots, belts, other biker jackets, cloth jackets, a scrapbook and many other memories in this estate. I saw these items auctioned off and sold as pieces. There was this strange sense of sadness. Think about it, a man or woman, predeceased by their spouse, lovelingly held on to their club outfits and memories for their duration of life. They died and no relative was interested in claiming their past, no friend was left and these beautiful items of clothing were thrown on to the open market. All those memories of him and her, all those scratches and wrinkles in the jackets sold off to new riders and collectors. Should these pieces have stayed together, or be sold and used by new enthusiasts who will love and care for them as much as this couple who built them did?

It makes me happy that people care enough to want to buy these pieces of the past, and yet it makes me sad that in some way they didnt go as one lot to a museum commemorating the love and consideration that these two had for each other!




10 comments:

  1. Great blog! I'm going to link it on mine.

    I like the last jacket a lot, is it for sale?

    Erik

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  2. Unfortunately these items sold a while back. My best stuff rarely goes up for sale, but my ebay auctions are linked to on the top of the blog. I can tell you this guy and his wife were absolutely the most wonderful club enthusiasts ever. I did some research and they were a lovely Jewish couple who both lived to 90 years of age. The internet is such an amazing tool!

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  3. WOW THAT BELT OR WRIST BAND IS SO RAD!

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  4. Its called a kidney belt. Bikers in the 1940s and 1950s would wear them while touring to provide extra back support. They would customize them so they would add an added safety factor including reflection. The jackets would be cut short so the belt would not just give you a fantastic waistline but cover the gap while you were hunched over your ride!

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  5. thanks for the info David. Great blog!

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  6. Hey, I wanted to know your opinion on something.
    I recently bought an unworn 50s horsehide Harley jacket and it didn't at first occur to me that it was a Cycle Queen and not a Cycle Champ (it's the size of a men's 40). As long as I have been obsessed with MC jackets it never occured to me that the jacket could be gendered by what side the chest zip is on! How likely do you think it would be that people would think of it as woman's jacket if I were to wear it?

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  7. The queen is a known girls jacket , it is also shorter and fits a high waist...hey wear it if you want to but I thinkit looks like a girls jacket

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  8. You think it's that obvious of a difference? I swear the Gods must not be on my side, I've got such limited money that I can't really afford to buy a modern repo jacket and every time I try to buy a used one in wearable condition on ebay I get out bid by some Japanese collecter. I was able to get one very beat up mystery jacket that I've been replacing the stitching in by hand, but it's not really wearable yet (if it ever will be). How I didn't realize this was a woman's jacket is beyond me; I guess I jumped on it due to my inability to get a decent horsehide jacket in new condition. It's a great irony to me being working poor in Appalachia and a one man punk band (out of necessity and partially under the influence of Hasil Adkins who lived about an hour drive from me) in a coal camp that I'm probably the closest thing that exists to authentic "psychobilly" and I can't get decent rock n roll garb, but these fake Hillbillies in LA and Tokyo can afford jazzed up hotrods and Buco jackets- while I walk--- cold. They play up on "camp" and pop culture with it's whimsical attributes while I howl about the real monsters in my midst who don't hang out on party beach they vomit their meth rotten teeth up on the sidewalk and torture people in toolsheds. The urbanites have their Hillbilly drag and in the meantime I end up in leather drag out of necessity. I saw that Rin Tanaka "Freedamn" book with the LA hipsters pretending to be cool Hillbillies/Psychobillies; but everytime I come across these people in real life they recoil in horror because my reality calls their bluff- real psychobilly means being clinically diagnosed as insane, being unemployed and playing rock n roll because I have to do it- I don't care if it kills me- I want it to kill me I wanna jump on that great ball o' fire - burst in flames - go insane. I'd just really like to be able to leave a well dressed cadaver. Maybe I can hop a train to LA, tear a fake Hillbilly's skull open with a crowbar and steal his jacket. Or something. Sorry for the long message.

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  9. The more I think about it though, the more I realize it may actually be symbolically cooler to wear the Queen- considering that Elvis wore the Champ and I'm the anti-Elvis; the contorted apex of rock n roll. I would like to know your opinion on one other thing though (please grit your teeth and answer) - I've got about a pound worth of 50s era split prong cone studs and small handful of red reflectors and I'm thinking it would be interesting to cut out 3 inch wide circles of white leather- saddle stitch them to the arms in rows (three on each arm down to the elbow) then circle them in studs and place a relfector in the center- then put an oval shaped piece of white leather on the forearm with three reflector studs in the center-circled in studs. The idea would be to combine the look of a rocker jacket with a 40s jeweled/studded belt.

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  10. Two things...you do sound Pyscho...no idea if your definition of psychobilly is all that accurate...
    point two: Authenticity and customization..people of all classes and backgrounds participated in custies..economics aside..punking out your jacket was about personal commitment and creativity you should customize your jacket, make it they way you think you like it and screw what anybody including me thinks. Hey the number of people who know the difference between champ and queen, horse and cow is few and far between. Oh one last thing play music and share it man...one can be impoverished and poor but at the same time poverty is not a badge of honor, civilized societies should eliminate it especially in countries as wealthy as the U.S.

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