I got an excited call from Charlie Chuck yesterday.
“Have you seen the film Rollerball?” he asked me.
“Yup,” I replied. “The original one.”
“I were in this thing called Rollerburn on Saturday at Newark Showground with big bikes. It were 46 year ago the last time I rode a motorbike. I used to have a 650 Norton. This one were a big bike; I don’t know what it were but it were big.”
“What did it involve?” I asked.
“I knew about it ages ago,” he told me. “but I didn’t know exactly what it was. It were obviously something big, really big and they’re going to do it in Paris next time.
“When I got there, I did me routine: I hobbled on and wrecked me drum kit and all that and then they lined me up – still in character – me and these two other blokes – to race and they all had their leathers on and their helmets on but I just had me suit on and me hair up.
“I thought it were exhilarating, I thought it were absolutely brilliant. The best thing I’ve done in years.”
“How did you get it?” I asked
“This bloke who used to be Frank Sidebottom’s base player. Now he does this.”
“How did he know you could ride a motor bike?
“He must have been relieved.”
“He were over the moon when I told him. I did an hour and a half rehearsal at Leicester racetrack.
“There were a girl fell over. She were being pulled by another bike in front of me and I didn’t run her over but I were cracking on like I were going to go straight into her.”
“A girl was being pulled along behind a bike?” I asked.
“There were these three bikes and we set off with three girls on rollerskates holding onto bars at the back of the bikes. The girls were all padded-up like in Rollerball.
“They put a string round me wrist. That way, if I fell off, it would cut the engine out. And I were in character as Chuck. And I were crying because they’d tied me to the bike and the machines were taking over. I were really playing it up.
“I rode straight out the building and the girl let go.”
Charlie Chuck leads an interesting life.