On September 11th 1971, John Lennon appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, a hugely popular post 60’s, Americana zeitgeist show which was essential viewing due to its hosts easy going, conversational style and litany of A list celebs. Towards the end of the interview Cavett asks Lennon about the true meaning of the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. The myth was that said song with such a title was a direct nod to the Beatles experimentation with acid – LSD. Lennon however maintained that this was completely untrue and in fact it was his son who had brought home a crazy painting from school; on questioning the image, Julian Lennon had replied that it was a picture of “Lucy flying in the sky with diamonds….” – and thus the tale was born.
Now whether this was Lennon trying to deflect any further scrutiny of the Beatles and their drug taking; due to the critical reaction to Pauls open confession of consuming LSD, from the public and the band; or whether it is in fact true, has been lost in translation over the years. Personally, I hope that there is some truth in both and some crazy cosmic connection and double meaning created by some higher power. Either way it doesn’t really matter and like all Art is up to individual interpretation and elucidation.
This week I received an essential bit of kit with autumn rolling in – the long sleeve thermal jersey. Paria.cc, sent me a ‘Bleka’ jersey and it’s certainly an eye catcher. Paria.cc, by their own admission, have a passion for the alternative, be it in design or attitude and they make no apology for it – “….it means we’ve sometimes ended up feeling like the odd one out.” Finally, a kindred spirit and a club I have the right shoes for!
Sam, Chief Commissionaire, at Paria.cc gave me the background of the thinking and design of the Bleka range;
“It was actually a bit of a 90’s throwback, coupled with the fact that I knackered a Ralph Lauren polo shirt once spilling bleach on it when I was cleaning a floor!”
Now I can totally relate to this; only a month ago I ruined a pair of beloved Vans shorts in exactly the same way while cleaning our shower. I can also see the 90’s theme with that tie-dye, bleached, stonewash thing going on – ‘Bleka’ is in fact Swedish for bleach. It is definitely individual, alternative and cool.
The jersey is a standard long sleeve looker. Body fit, full zipper, 3 pockets elasticated cuffs, silicone grippers and reflective piping. The semi fleece thermos lining means you are snug on those chilly rides without overheating or unduly leaking sweat. The shiny geometrically patterned black works extremely well as a juxtapose to the slightly blurred matt white ‘Bleka’ print and the overall look is a definite head turner. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I’m mainly thinking of the Assos and Castelli purists, but we don’t talk to them anyway!
Immediately on seeing the Bleka range, in fact within milliseconds, I had decided on what the design meant, stood for and was a nod towards. To me it had to be Jackson Pollack, the volatile, alcohol fuelled abstract expressionist of the 60’s made famous for his unique style of ‘drip painting’. I have always felt a strong affinity with Pollack and his work, which if I am honest was born out of an obsession with The Stone Roses and John Squires album cover homage.
This is what I thought the ‘Bleka’ range was about but as I have explained or rather as Sam explained it wasn’t……….or was it? (It wasn’t, did you not read the above quote?)
Just as with Lennon and Lucy, perhaps there was a double, unknown and hidden meaning which was only to be discovered once the range had been released on an unsuspecting public. Without knowing what ‘Bleka’ meant when I received it and not having spoke to Sam I Googled ‘bleka’. What came up only cemented further my belief that this design was based on the Pop artist and as usual, ahem, I was right. ‘Bleka’ is also a Swedish name for an Atlantic marine habitant – Pollachius Pollachius – or as it is better known the Pollock. Weird man.
So, by pure accident or cosmic connection, Paria.cc chose a name for their newest range which has two completely different yet valid and inspiring meanings behind the design. Just as the Beatles have ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’; Paria.cc have ‘Bleka’. Now I’m not saying that Paria.cc are as big as the Beatles, you know what sort of trouble that lands you in, but it’s worth pondering what forces were at work that day long ago when the bleach hit the polo shirt. Trippy dude.
I think the only thing that we can take from this is that it is yet more scientific fact that cycling and all that goes with it operates on a higher plane than other mundane pastimes. Was it not Buddha who said, “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, man cannot live without cycling.” (……it wasn’t by the way)