Project 9

My family has a good friend called Project 9, or sometimes we call him John.
Project 9 is technically the name of his BSA Bantam (his 9th motorbike incidentally): look at the tank on the picture below, you'll see it written. But in our minds John and the motorbike have become kind of the same thing. They go everywhere together: up and down between lunches and dinners and also right across Europe, over mountains. Slowly up hills, and increasingly leaning to one side a bit.
John travels to places associated with composers. He might travel to the spot where a favourite symphony was composed for example - even if it's in Prague . . . and he's in Bedfordshire . . . with only an increasingly dodgy BSA Bantam to get there.
My brother George befriended John and over the years he's become a friend of the whole family: coming over regularly for lunch.
And sheesh that man can eat! He transparently compliments the chef this is amazing! Better than the Ritz! - 'Oh thank you John, would you like a little more' - well, if it's going spare.
He told us a brilliant trick of his last Sunday: when he goes to the 'all you can eat' at the local Harvester he's slightly ruffled by the fact that pudding and coffee aren't included in the price. So. Instead of pudding . . . he just has another round of dinner. And, instead of coffee . . . he just drinks a bowl of gravy! What a gem. That's the kind of spirit that will get you round Europe on a shoestring.
The sign on the back of the bike has a list of all the places he's travelled together with Project 9.
John is incredibly eccentric. It is people like him that make up the amazing tapestry of rural England. I am proud to come from a community that has supported him.
But I guess I'm writing this blog post because we sometimes feel a little worried about Project 9. Until recently he had a lunch club to go to but it lost funding, and the police don't always speak sensitively to him. So I want to raise him up in the local consciousness: so people can keep an eye out for him and know what a good egg he is. I don't think he needs to be a local celebrity: that would mean too much talking to people and mostly he's only interested in people if they're dead composers. But he is certainly a local landmark on his incredible Project 9 and he should be preserved and helped at all costs.
Have you see Project 9 around?


  1. I hope one day that I will be as cool Project 9. Having a motorbike helps.

    1. Never gonna happen Mason. sorry. just come to terms with it now. X

  2. Saw project 9 the other day in Herts and had to google. Good luck and keep going! (we design bikes)

  3. Hi. I used to see John at the chequers motorcycle club, I would get him a pint and we would talk all evening about his traveling.
    A great character, sadly completely misunderstood by many people.