Subculture (Noun): NOT FOR SALE
Harley Davidson Culture: Not For Sale
There’s no denying it; peculiarity is on the decline. Thanks to smart phones, social media and lightening fast inter-net, it seems little is left to the imagination these days. In the Wild West Jessie James used to reach for his barrel gun to solve a problem, today though, when we need to sort something out all we have to do is reach for a smart phone and with a few taps, pushes and swipes, the unruly chaos of our minds is bought into order.
Sadly, this means that art forms like pondering into a glass of amber ale on your own, or arguing until with a bunch of mates till you’re black and blue in the face, are practiced less and less.
Thankfully though, last Saturday night while returning from an Indian fix in Harris Park I noticed something, which restored my faith in the existence of the unknown – despite closing its doors months ago, the signage at Gasoline Custom Garage was still shining brightly in the Camperdown night sky.
Gazing back in the rearview mirror as I chugged back towards the city, I couldn’t work out what went wrong at Gasoline Custom Garage? Why had Gasoline Custom Garage; a lovechild of the same marriage, which conceived the motorcycle business, come clothing brand, Deus, failed? Searching for an answer, I just couldn’t figure it out, and as I turned the key of my pantry-sized studio, the voice of that creepy sock from the Sensis commercials suddenly spoke to me – ‘ seek and you shall find’ . Obeying the call of the sock, and the half-kilo of butter chicken in my stomach, I lay on the bed, slowed my breathing and drifted off in search of an explanation.
Waking several hours later to the overpowering effervescence of curry and beer hops floating through the room, I awoke with the following revelations as to why Gasoline Custom Garage’s wheels didn’t spin: they sung the same tune despite everything being different……….
For those of you who aren’t in the know, Gasoline Custom Garage marched boldly through the school gates in 2012 and like its confident older brother, its strategy was simple – preach a rebellious, ‘f*ck them man’ theology to a devote congregation of lost school boys who were looking for a savior to help convince them their lives had meaning. Suddenly finding meaning and being able to identify with something for the first time in their lives, the congregation would quickly spend every cent they had to look and feel like they were part of the ‘Class of 2012’.
Tomat E o Toma R to – however you pronounce it, the school brothers sung the same tune, however, for the Class of 2012 – ‘the Harley Davidson Community’ – the people didn’t buy the music.
Why? Well it’s pretty damn’ simple – to love Harley Davidson motorcycles means you’re already part of a community; particularly, a select community of like minded men and woman who down like to follow suit or ‘keep up with Jones’.
People who genuinely love Harley Davidson’s have no desire to be hip or part of the ‘it’ crowd. Their goals extend beyond living in Bondi and sitting in a café in Surry Hills pretending to be creative. Having suspecting eyes, to the Harley community in Sydney it was blindingly obvious that Gasoline was simply about the explicit monetization of a sub-culture.
Smelling the rat, the sub-culture stepped back from the door and the door soon shut.
And here ends the lesson: ‘you can’t sell a sub-culture – thank you God. ’
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