I realised that I am a pixel of colour amidst a screen of monochrome. The city bustles about me engrossed in its ‘important’ must-do business while I stroll along taking time to photograph the buildings about me with a newly inherited film camera. The backstreets, that are normally the haunt of more salacious evening visitors, give way to suited and booted professionals taking the direct route with the least eye contact possible. They make for interesting, if surly, subjects.
From my peripheral vision I spot another motionless pixel of colour. Stopped, looking up instead of down, focused on the world around them rather than the screen in their pudgy hand. The brightly coloured pixel resolves into a young touring cyclist – full kit, front and rear panniers, beard, novelty Plushy cable tied to the bars.
I stop and stare. The camera in my hands fails to come to my face to capture the image of the most interesting thing I’ve seen all morning. Colour. Weather-beaten yellow Ortlieb panniers. A blue Gore Bikeware jacket in that Gore blue. A vivid Hospital Wall Green Surly Cross Check doing what it does best to your retinas and stomach.
This rider clearly does not give a f**k what anyone else thinks about how he is perceived, he merely cares about exploring the world about him on the back of a bike. As he rides away, I feel envious for his freedom to roam. Something I’ve had, but shelved in favour of a slightly regular lifestyle. As he turns the corner towards the tram tracks that catch most riders out I feel a smile creeping across my face as I wonder what adventures he’s had, what more are to come, what ditch on the outskirts of the city he’ll end up sleeping in?
As he leaves I return to being the only pixel of colour in a monochrome margin-obsessed world. I stop and stare upwards looking at the brightening sky before walking away around the corner quickly snapping a professional with his Expensochino and Crackberry. Maybe today someone else will see that rider and take the plunge into the world of colour – opening their eyes to the veil beyond the worksuit, beyond the well-paid 9-5. Or 8-7 as it is for most. Maybe they’ll realise that it’s not about the margin, the kudos, the money. I need to speak to my boss about more unpaid holidays. Life is too short to not be colourful. To be turned to monochrome by the world.
Beer of the Week:
Landlord: Timothy Taylor’s 4.3% ABV
A Classic Strong Pale Ale, Landlord has won more awards nationally than any other beer: This includes four times as Champion at the Brewers’ International Exhibition and four times as CAMRA’s beer of the year. Refreshingly reliable, nationally renowned, this full drinking Pale Ale with a complex and hoppy aroma has real “Pulling Power” and stands out in any bar as the ideal regular.
There is something about December that makes me think in simple terms. Simple beers. Simple food. Simple singlespeed drivetrains. Simple, but dependable. Landlord is one of those beers – a dependable drink that normally has me thinking I’ll have one before I look at any of the other taps on offer. Nice drink for a quiet pub with a warm fire and an idea in your head.