As many of us know, a road trip upon your two wheeled machine often puts us in very new and interesting situations. One of the very best bi-products can be the “randomness” of meeting new people. I can honestly say that this situation, most often wonderfully, happens quite often.
Not that long ago I was doing the very first road testing upon the SAMCO V-1 Warbird. For a period of almost two weeks I was residing in Venice about a block off of the beach. Early one evening I was returning to my garage with rooftop suite from a day’s ride, I noticed a very lean, tall, tanned mature woman pacing back and forth in front of my rented garage. She looked a little concerned as well as agitated.
I turned the Buell V-Twin power off, dismounted and took my helmet off. First I assessed the situation. I first looked for the telltale signs of someone in extreme distress. No screaming at imaginary people, no talking to themselves, doesn’t seem to be in a hallucinatory state as we have to remember that we are in Venice, CA. Seeing altered people is common here for many reasons. Maybe the perceived agitation was due to a Vente Latte from the Starbucks around the corner? 400+ milligrams of caffeine can raise the hair of some people’s necks!
(Along the PCH in LA County)
I call out to her. “Excuse me, miss, ma’am? Can I help you with anything?” She slowed the pacing and then stopped. She then said, “I just had my house re-keyed and my new keys don’t seem to work”. I then asked, “Would you like me to assist you in trying to get your keys to work?” She said, “Yes please, thank you”.
So here I am stumbling along in my SAMCO branded Vanson Leathers looking like a Marvel superhero with an unknown lady trying to navigate the Venice back alley potholes with less success than on the Warbird, but in no way did I look out of place as this is Hollywood on the beach. Harry Perry and such are the norm here.
Within a minute we’re at her rear entrance after passing through the gate with an 8 foot fence. Much of the Venice Beach area seems like crude fortresses, each original in almost organic design being held together with layer after layer of thick, crudely applied paint for color and protection with the bi-product being the structure it creates. Maybe like the saliva of a termite on their abodes. Hardened exteriors that almost have a wet, melted look.
So this lady gives me the keys to her home. Here I am thinking that I’ll get this opened within a minute and I can then be on my way. No luck at all. These must be the keys of her old locks and there’s not a chance I can get the doors opened for her. She then says to me, “Maybe I’ll just break this small window pane and let myself in!” I immediately say, “Let me get out of the yard before you do that. I really don’t know who you are and I don’t really know if this is your home, especially since the keys are not working”. That’s the last thing I need is to be involved in, a Break and Enter trying to be a good Samaritan.
Confident in making a wise decision for myself still left this lady in a bit of a predicament. It was getting late and the thought of her being out on the street in a rougher part of the neighborhood really didn’t sit with me very well. I offered her the couch in my living room and she accepted.
As mentioned the suite I’d rented was above the double garage I was keeping the Warbird safe and sound. We sat in the living room and started to exchange pleasantries of who we were and where we were from. Low and behold here’s another excellent example of meeting people on the road, whether it be on a long lost highway or as in this case in a hyper populated part of Southern California.
Across from me sat a woman by the name of Nora Forster. Truthfully, at first I had no idea of who she was. Nora was kind enough to fill in the blanks for me. Nora said, “I am the wife of John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols”. She then told me of her background, her being a German publishing heiress as well as the mother of female post punk rock idol Ari Up (Ariane Forster) of the band called “The Slits”.
(Nora Forster and John Lydon being stars, as they are)
I was absolutely captivated by her story. I listened intently but there were a few topics that stood out for me. Her pain of Ariane’s untimely death due to cancer and her undoubted and unwavering love for her man, John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, who on that particular night was performing with his band PiL in New Orleans, LA.
(Nora’s Daughter Ari Up, Ariane Forster of the band “The Slits”)
Nora didn’t end up sleeping on the couch. She decided it was better to break into her own home as she also was without cell phone and worried about Johnny being worried not being able to get hold of her. She left and as soon as she did I had to find out if the stories I just had heard were true. Low and behold they were absolutely true. The Internet can be a beautiful thing in verifying information, not always but very often.
(Another SoCal shot. Love that Wolfman Luggage)
Well, there you have it. Another day where your motorcycle can be the crucible for adventure and interesting things. Meeting the wife of a true rebel wouldn’t have happened without Road Luck. The music world needed a shake up and Johnny Rotten was the poster child to do so. Punk Rock changed Rock and Roll and with a little luck and influence maybe SAMCO can do the same in the motorcycle world.