Hello all, it is raining; grey, cold and really wet rain. It is the sort of rain that will find a little weakness in the very best of waterproofs and then call its mates to come and party inside. It is also the sort of rain that reminds me of a comic strip that was in Bike magazine in the UK.
Ogri was created by Paul Sample in 1972 and appeared in the magazine Bike for many years until migrating to Backstreet Heroes in 2009. He is the archetype of a British biker wearing his battered old black leather, buckle up boots and riding the hell out of anything he throws his leg over…..although the Thor like wings on his helmet are a bit bizarre. Here in the UK we never really got the whole laid back thing, for us it was and still is flat out fun. Café racers were an English creation remember, and Ogri has the best of them, a Norvin.
Many people think of the Triton as the ultimate café racer, the marriage of a triumph engine with a Norton featherbed frame. However, if you had enough engineering ability and were lucky enough to have one a Vincent Black Shadow engine could be made to fit that wonderful Norton frame and create the ultimate café racer. Of course Ogri had both the luck and the knowledge and so “Armageddon “was built. Of course it didn’t stop there, superchargers, turbos, everything that can make it faster has been added over time; just as our bikes evolve so has Ogri’s.
That is what makes Ogri such a great and inspiring cartoon, it touches reality in a bizarre and outlandish way. You can see yourself doing some of the things that he does, although they might well end up as a failure, more Malcolm, Ogri’s sidekick, than the man himself.
For Ogri the bike is not important, however much he loves Armageddon he loves bikes more, and what is more than that, in his universe it is the quality of the rider that makes a bike fast not the bike itself. In his universe Ogri’s bane are traffic cops and bike thieves. For the police he generally gets away unidentified and / or unpunished but bike thieves are another story. Here the police and he see eye to eye and he will usually let the law deal with them and then hand out his own style of justice afterwards. The other thing that will get the normally calm hero frothing at the mouth are bad drivers that threaten his life, but they are soon educated and Ogri can return to a peaceful existence, if you don’t trouble him, he won’t trouble you.
So what’s the connection between persistent rain, Ogri and me? Well my favorite episode is one where Ogri is pacing around his house. His girlfriend Mitzi is there and motorcycle racing is on the TV. Despite these attractions Ogri just wants to go for a ride but it is raining. He keeps coming up with good excuses to go out, but Mitzi being the sensible sort always has a good reason not to. Finally Ogri agrees with her, it is not a good idea to go out, but reaches for his jacket anyway. Mitzi asks” where are you going?” to which Ogri replies in the only way he can “Out for a ride on my bike”.