Friday, June 10, 2011

church of the Harleyites

from Pynchon's V:

....."Around three Profane woke up on the kitchen floor with a headache. Night air, bitter cold, seeped under the door and from somewhere outside he could hear a low, persistent growl. "Pig," Profane croaked. "Where you keep the aspirin." No answer. Profane stumbled into the other room. Pig wasn't there. The growl outside turned more ominous. Profane went to the window and saw Pig down in the alley, sitting on his motorcycle and racing the engine. Snow fell in tiny glittering pinpoints, the alley held its own curious snowlight: turning Pig to black-and-white clown's motley and ancient brick walls, dusted with snow, to neutral gray. Pig had on a knitted watch cap, pulled down over his face to the neck so that his head showed up as a sphere of dead black. Engine exhaust roiled in clouds around him. Profane shivered. "What are you doing, Pig," he called. Pig didn't answer. The enigma or sinister vision of Pig and that Harley-Davidson alone in an alley at three in the morning reminded Profane too suddenly of Rachel, whom he didn't want to think about, not tonight in the bitter cold, with a headache, with snow slipping into the room.

Rachel Owlglass had owned, back in '54, this MG. Her Daddy's gift. After giving it its shakedown cruise in the region around Grand Central (where Daddy's office was), familiarizing it with telephone poles, fire hydrants and occasional pedestrians, she brought the car up to the Catskills for the summer. Here, little, sulky and voluptuous, Rachel would gee and haw this MG around Route 17's bloodthirsty curves and cutbacks, sashaying its arrogant butt past hay wagons, growling semis, old Ford roadsters filled to capacity with crewcut, undergraduate gnomes.""

Original literary rock n roll.  Pynchon has made a few references to the  Harleyite brotherhood, IIRC.--in Vineland as well. His viewpoint is  nuanced, of course--but like HS Thompson, Pynchon was never one to mistake the meth-tweeking, beer guzzling thugs of the Hells Angels & CO for the  authentic counterculture.

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