36. Vinegar And Brown Paper - page 181

36. Vinegar And Brown Paper - page 181

page 185

"South-wark.South of the river. Suth-uk."She set the helmet on a cluttered tool cart, and began to undo the elastic net that held Milgrim's bag atop the gas tank.

"What is this place?"

"A roll-in. Vinegar and brown paper. Quick and dirty repairs. No appointment necessary. For couriers."

Chasbikes at 70 Great Suffolk Street, just off Blackfriars (moving to 113 Kennington Road by the Imperial War Museum in mid October 2010) , seems to be the inspiration for Benny's motorbike repair workshop and the location of Bigend's "Vegas cube"..


See this article on Motorcycle Couriers, which William Gibson cites in the end credits of the UK hardback edition:

Artful Dodgers
, from the February 2009 issue of Motorcyclist, by Mark Gardiner


Charles Dickens set his 1837 novel, Oliver Twist in the Southwark district of London. Locals pronounce the neighborhood "Suvurk." It's across the Thames river from "The City," which is London's financial and legal center. In Dickens' time, pubs, theaters, entertainment and prostitution were banned from the highbrow financial district, but they flourished here, just south of the river.

I found myself in Southwark earlier this spring in search of "Chasbikes," a repair shop that could easily have been described in a Dickens novel itself had motorcycles been invented a few years earlier. It's a dingy shop, jammed under a couple of soot-blackened brick arches supporting a 19th-century railway bridge.

"Chas" is Charles Holt. When he shrugs, a droopy moustache and bags under his eyes combine to create the vague impression of a basset hound. His shop is what London's motorcycle couriers call a "roll-on/roll-off" shop. No appointments necessary. A half-dozen mechanics work while customers wait. Even Chas admits his shop's specialty is "vinegar and brown paper"--Cockney slang for makeshift repairs. But if you're a courier with a flat, every minute costs you, so you'll be happy with a quick patch job at Chasbikes, even though the mechanics'd laugh out loud if you asked them to balance your wheel.

For a while, Chasbikes only worked on Honda's workhorse CX500 V-twin, which London's couriers affectionately call "maggots." Nowadays, however, the shop is crammed with slightly newer models also favored by working riders. Hanging around in here you quickly realize that most couriers care not a whit for style. What they want is bulletproof reliability first and foremost, preferably with a shaft drive. So would you if you rode 50,000 miles a year, in all weather, in one of the world's most congested cities.


See also:

Chapter 49. Great Marlborough


Chapter 72. Smithfield

About this blog

In collaboration with Node Magazine this the ZeroHistory.net blog contribution to discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism around the novel by cyber punk / literary fiction author William Gibson, entitled Zero History, which was officially published on Tuesday 7th September 2010

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Zero History blog

Zero History blog - ZeroHistory.net - discussion and analysis of William Gibson's Zero History novel, to be published on 7th September 2010 in the USA and on 30th August 2010 in the UK.

Spook Country blog

Spook Country blog - SpookCountry.co.uk - includes discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's previous novel Spook Country

"Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation

Our "Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation - re-orderd into numerical Chapter sequence

The Node Magazine node.tumblr.com, which this was a collaborative online contribution to, was online even before the official publication date of the first hardback edition of the book in August 2007.

This has been commented on by the author William Gibson, and described by Emeritus Professor of English Literature John Sutherland as "the future of literary crticism"

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide

Originally prompted by the preparations for William Gibson book signing and lecture event promoting Spook Country in London, during August 2007, this "local knowledge" guide to places of interest to cyberpunk fans was compiled, and has been subsequently expanded.

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide - http://CyberPunk.org.uk

Please feel free to add comments or send emails, to keep it up to date.


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