In Bed with Ziggy: Stuck on the planet for the duration

Susan de Muth
Sunday 18 September 2011 09:46

Ziggy, 35, is a member of an outlaw motorcycle club. He lives in Wales with his rottweiler and his Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.

My father was a priest. Two years before he died, when I was 12, I had a dream that he fell from a very high cliff. I woke up crying my eyes out but in a way it prepared me for his death when it did come.

I was the head choirboy in his church, but when he died I gave up on religion. I really missed him. I didn't show it in the day but at night I used to get very upset and lonely. I don't like to sleep by myself even now. I take my rottweiler to bed with me if my girlfriend isn't around.

I got my first bike when I was 16 and that was it. I was off] I suppose that's when I started to rebel. I couldn't stand being at home and used to try and stay out all night - just sleeping on the beach or on benches. I'd only come back if it was too cold. And then my mum would give me hell. I joined the motorcycle club 10 years ago and the only time I ever take my patches off is when I go to bed.

I get on OK with my mum now but I'm still the black sheep of the family. I call in every day to check on her because she lives alone, but I sleep at my own place. I like to party and sometimes I don't get in till dawn. So it wouldn't work out, my living at home.

Plus I've got this Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, which I like to have in the house. He's called Boris and he grew a lot. Though I am quite houseproud and do the washing up when it overflows the sink, I like to be able to come indoors in my oily jeans and muddy boots, with my dog and my pig and not have to worry about the carpets. I also bring my bike in at night when it's raining.

I've got a very big bike. So has my girlfriend, Gaynor. When I first met her she only had a 125 but now she's got a Harley 1340. She's not large herself but her arms are strong because she's the drummer in a band. I'm really proud of her. We've been together for three-and-a-half years, which is my longest relationship ever.

We share a lot of interests. We've covered my bedroom walls with pictures of bikes and we lie in bed discussing them - I even bring her supper there sometimes. Some of the other guys get gyp from their women when we go away on a members-only run but Gaynor's very independent. You can't have a woman hassling you about what you do and where you sleep at night. Being a club member comes before a relationship with a girl. If they don't like it, they just leave.

Usually club runs don't take us too far, but sometimes we go to the Continent and are away for a few days. It involves a lot of drinking but we try not to get into trouble. Our sergeant-at-arms makes sure we don't go too far with the public. And what we do in private is our own business. One night I put an empty can on my head for someone to shoot off with a 12-bore shotgun. It's that kind of entertainment. A bit wild. And we don't get much sleep.

Night time is for partying, anyway - everyone knows that. I work hard enough during the day, I'm a second- hand car dealer. I hardly ever sleep more than five hours. Even when I don't go out I quite often get insomnia. Some kind of paranoia or anxiety. To tell you the truth, I think it's the booze.

My favourite kind of party is when we're in the pub and someone suddenly says at 11pm 'let's go to the beach' and we jump on our bikes and do it. The girls come, too, and some outsiders, and we make a huge great fire, take all our clothes off, have a swim and a skinful, and then fall asleep in the sand dunes.

People in our town are used to us. They know that we're harmless and that we raise money for local charities at our annual show. But sometimes at night in other places I've noticed people cross the street when they see me coming. Or young boys in pubs look nervous. I don't like that, though I can understand I probably do look a bit gruesome. A big, shadowy person. They probably think it's the reaper. It's good that no one would mess with me, but I'm not violent unless I have to be.

We've all been trained by the police to be doormen and we quite often do end up protecting people. Not long ago there was this foreign guy in our local, he was just down on holiday like, and this enormous 22-stone bully started picking on him because he was a stranger, then he knocked over his drink. He was so massive that I had to hit him twice to floor him but he went over straight-legged. Everyone burst out cheering and I didn't have to buy another drink all night]

We look after each other, too. I've been called out of bed on several occasions to pick up a fellow club member who's broken down somewhere in the middle of the night (I don't know why they don't join the RAC). We're like a big family really and it's the only family I want for the time being. Some of the boys have got kids and I've noticed it holds them back a bit because they always have to find a babysitter.

I like living near the edge. You wonder about death and it gives you a thrill. When I'm down - which is hardly ever - I go for a good blast on my bike and blow it all away. I don't ever want to give that up, even when I'm ancient. I often dream that I've had a very bad crash and then I wake up and think 'thank God I'm still here. Stuck on the planet for the duration'.

(Photograph omitted)

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