This is the rolling shrine that Turner Prize-winning performance artist, transvestite and former housemate of Boy George, Grayson Perry, used to chauffeur what he believes is the living embodiment of God, his teddy bear, from England to Germany. The Kenilworth AM1 was named after Alan Measles, the teddy/god, who also chronicled the trip on his blog.
The trip took place between Grayson’s hometown of Chelmsford and Backnang in Germany. Twinning is a bizarre lovey dovey European concept where random towns in one European country put another random town’s name on their signs. It’s supposed to stop them from killing each other after football matches or something. We suppose road trips have taken place for more tenuous reasons.
Grayson describes the Kenilworth AM1 as, “Mexican Day of the Dead meets Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
Alan Measles, who sounded distinctly bored and more than a little inconvenienced by the trip, noted that Grayson did struggle a bit with such a heavy bike with no rear suspension on the Autobahn. Grateful that he made it home in once piece, Alan Measles noted, “he’s an ‘artist’ and all that ‘transgendered’ nonsense so I filed my feelings under ‘wimp’ and moved on.”
The trip apparently included a lap of the Nurburgring, which Alan Measles notes Grayson was able to complete in “a respectable sub-30 minutes.”
Alan Measles even took time to ponder modern motorcycle culture, saying, “I thought it might be time to cast my Edwardian ursine eye over the world of motorcyclists or as they often refer to themselves, ‘bikers’, (shudder). Now when I started my relationship with all things internal combustion, motorcycles were cheap transport for the common man and Grayson as a child played at being either a mod or a rocker. Motorcycles in them days got you to work and when the kids came along you added a sidecar.”
“Now biking seems to be on the whole a lifestyle choice along with other adrenaline activities like bungy-jumping and surfing. Satellite dish installers and call centre managers dress up as Buzz Lightyear or Marlon Brando or Dennis Hopper. They kit their bikes out to attack Brands Hatch, the Sahara desert or Sunset Strip whilst mainly using them to ride to the nearest biker gathering. Aesthetically the machines veer between stealth bombers, garish sports shoes, juke-boxes and props from Lord of the Rings (the musical). In a way its sweet, men are having fun showing off. But just as women on the whole dress to impress other women, men ride big shiny powerful bikes mainly to be looked at by other men, more specifically other bikers. This manifests itself in the style of the bikes they speak an expensive language really only understood by fellow aficionados the references are to motorcycle history or other fields of macho engineering.”
Upon reaching Backnang, the artist and his God took part in the opening ceremony of an art festival in which the mayor made a public speech thanking Grayson for embarking on the ride. Does anyone else get the feeling that Grayson Perry is simply taking the piss?