Tony Thompson is a biker of the old school. An old school biker before globalisation, unification and criminalisation of the biker world. Thompson didn’t mind the odd drink, snort, bar fight or even the odd shoot out. He was definitely from a simpler time. He even dreamed of a more principled gang he could hold his head high leading.
This book chronicles Thompson’s life in a Midlands biker gang from the late eighties to the noughties. Like the early days of Russian Communism, there was freedom and good intentions and then a tyrant comes and changes everything. The tyrant in this book is the Hells Angels.
As the Angels expanded into the UK, they started to harass smaller clubs. Suddenly being in a local Midlands biker gang could dramatically shorten your life. So to counter the threat, several smaller clubs amalgamated into a larger gang, the Midland Outlaws.
Although they had no affiliation with the US Outlaws, that quickly changed. They partied, networked and traded knowledge with their international brothers. Learnt how to fortify their club houses and protect their own. Pretty soon they ‘patched over’ and became a chapter of the US gang. Suddenly they had contacts with weapons and drugs. It all basically escalated from there.
What Thompson does achieve in this book is to show the boring side of being an outlaw biker. Paying your gang dues (literally) gets more expensive each year and there are career bikers. Outlaw gangs have morphed into corporations – and all the sycophants and psychopathic behavior that implies.
Don’t get me wrong, the book has its fair share of violence and debauchery, even humor. But it’s clear as day that being a biker ain’t what it used to be. Well worth a read if this is your kind of thing.