i have pretty much always had long hair, apart from a brief period in the early nineties when a minor deviation saw it reach bradley wiggins hour record proportions, an era of which i'm not altogether proud. my late father put it down to an art school education, but in reality it had pretty much reached my shoulders before that time. though i have never been one to dabble in the range of esoteric cigarettes or substances all too freely available in an art school's corridors, the length of my hair had pretty much everything to do with latent hippy ideals and nothing whatsoever to do with heavy metal.
however, while the former may well have fomented the length of my hair in the first place, a healthy dose of reality soon diffused such origination in favour of it being simply a feature of my personality. i know my father was less in favour of this situation, but it seems that more than just a few of the local louts around town also took a cultural dislike, if the vocal exclamations from the occasional passing car were anything to go by. i liked to think of myself as enough of an individual that such catcalling would be unlikely change my approach to such a pertinent detail of personal fashion.
hence the current preference for a particularly greying ponytail.
society has a curious predilection for pigeonholing everyone and everything it meets, presumably in an attempt to categorise that which it comes across. so in love with demographics are the modern day marketing departments, that their often suspect apellations have a habit of spilling over in to day to day life. such as the invention of bicycle riders known as mamils, or middle aged men in lycra.
of course, you do realise that this is an affectation that could not be realistically applied to ourselves, whatever age group you may fit into. for we are, by our own definition, the cognoscenti; bicycle riders with an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the velocipedinal world, who converse in terms of defined rules and who have never once set foot inside a golf club. we are rarely in possession of sufficient financial wherewithal to keep a pinarello in each of our four holiday homes, though we may possibly have been inadvertantly led astray by our strava membership, one to which we would be loathe to admit in polite company.
mamils, however, we most certainly are not.
therefore wilson and rickett's the modern mamil is certainly not a volume we would welcome as a birthday or christmas present, but certainly one that we'd purchase as a present for others. or perhaps one that deserves space on the bookshelf purely for informational purposes. or maybe just for a laugh. more than just a few of this a to z of definitions is bound to raise a wry and knowing smile, either from having seen failings in others, or recalling similar faux pas of our own in the early years of flabby muscles and an executive lunch endowed paunch.
"The mirror suggests you need to get into shape. Football is a long forgotten dream and the gym membership has so far cost you £300 per visit. A few friends suggest joining them fo a bike ride..."
so reads the book's introduction, following which we enter the alphabeticised pages, a section that rather unfortunately commences with the word addiction, presumably just in case someone gives lance a copy. this slight faux pas is almost immediately redeemed by the definition of attack! accompanied by one of spencer wilson's delightfully idiosyncratic illustrations.
"Attack!: The moment when you push hard on the pedals to gain a leading margin. Ideally you will take your competitors unawares - even if those competitors are purely in your imagination."
i'm not too sure that simon mottram will be overly impressed with the entry under rapha, though in essence, there's nothing wrong with a tongue in cheek approach now and again. and as far as i can see, it's the only cycle clothing company that gains a mention, so they're obviously doing something right.
the modern mamil is unlikely ever to find itself on the suggested reading list for the open university and it certainly wouldn't take a long bath to complete its 61 pages of definitions and illustrations. but it does have the distinct advantage of being able to raise a regular chuckle or two. i'm pretty sure we all know of at least one person for whom this book will become an instruction manual.
in order that such a colleague of yours might receive the education they so richly deserve, kinkajou books have graciously provided a copy to be sent to the winner of the following competition. simply tell me to what the word 'mamil' refers. send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org and please include a full postal address.
the modern mamil will be released on 4 february.
monday 18 january 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................