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fairing

- unrolled brandy-snap, traditional in Devizes
- covering (æsthetic or ærodynamic) for entrails of motor-cycle
F/009

Devizes is a Wiltshire market-town with a corn-exchange, a brewery, a Catholic primary school, the Kennet and Avon canal and many other pleasant amenities. Much of what I learnt at St. Joseph's is still with me, especially the important skills of playing and reading music. Nor have I forgotten fairings, the way they would crack between the teeth before melting on the tongue in a ghost of ginger. There must have been a bakery somewhere between the pie-shop, with its pastry-mangles and whole wall of black ovens, and the seed-merchant's where Spratts dog-biscuits were sold loose by colour from glass-fronted cases.

Motor-cycle fairings have been around at least since the days of the flying dustbin or the Noddy bike. Stanley, the ES Trophy I was privileged to own and ride for a while, achieved extreme elegance just with leg-shields and a carburettor-cover. Twin, a Guzzi, had no more than a small headlamp-cowl and a tiny windscreen. Plug and Harvey have nothing … Despite the fin-de-siècle confusion of retro and macho, few machines now come into the world naked as nature intended. Many are virtually shrink-wrapped. As a reviewer wrote after test-riding some super-sleek Japanese megabike, "Anyone with a degree in micro-surgery could easily change the spark-plugs."


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