It’s a small world after all
Well, well, well. Interbike is moving back to Anaheim after all these years. That means a shorter drive for the BRAINiacs — about 22 miles, seeing as how the present-day Bicycle Retailer & Industry News is based in Laguna Hills instead of Santa Fe, New Mexico — and an even shorter drive for me, since the show and I lost interest in each other more or less simultaneously about four years ago.
I vaguely recall enjoying the Mouse-house Interbike more than its whorehouse cousin, in part because I didn’t have to wander through the desert for 40 days and 40 nights to get to the convention center from the BRAIN hotel, which was blessedly free of white trash chain-smoking Luckies and jerking off one-armed bandits, prayin’ for a gusher.
But this was back in the Nineties, when we were all rich, the only swarthy foreigners we feared were driving taxis instead of hijacked aircraft, and we kept Republicans chained up in the basement where they belong until Clinton, crazed by young and tender poontang, let them out.
There was plenty of high-grade bullshit being slung in Anaheim, to be sure. But there also seemed to be more mom-and-pop ops at Interbike Disneyland — Steelman Cycles, Bruce and Jodie Ruana of the late, lamented Off the Front, Ross Shafer of Salsa (the Petaluma Salsa, not this newfangled outfit). Folks with a sense of humor, like the Society of People Who Actually Make Their Own Shit (SOPWAMTOS). I still prize my Golden Toiddy from that outfit.
Ah, Memory Lane. Watch out for those trips down that sucker. It’s full of potholes, speed bumps and blind corners. I found a few in dredging up the column I wrote for the October 1, 1997, edition of Bicycle Retailer, in which I proposed renaming Anaheim “Thorazine,” adding, “If California needed an enema, this is where you’d stick the hose.”
“Has it been so slow a year that everyone had to pawn their sense of humor to pay the bills?” I wrote. “I was looking forward to some serious amusement, but I came away feeling as though I had just spent a month in Sagging Jowls, South Dakota, with the United Brotherhood of Refrigerator Repairpersons.”
There was more, plenty more, including references to Hell and Tom Waits (prefiguring “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” by a dozen years at least, and I want my royalties, goddamnit).
But, still, jeez. I can see why nobody wants me to go anywhere on their dime anymore. It’s like inviting a rabid badger to dinner.