Joan Bakewell turned up at the gallery showing Wilf's
bikes and asked him if he would like to be on television.
Slightly the worse for drink Wilf immediately said
yes, then asked when, and was told 'TONIGHT!' And
so it was that he appeared on Late Night Line Up.
there we have Tony Hart to thank for Wilf's entrance
into the mainstream. Wilf had made a number of machines
which were going to be demonstrated on Vision On,
and Tony was going to do the necessary presenting.
However he pointed out that since Wilf was the inventor
he should be the one to operate them.
doesn't actually do much cycling now, but when he
did it was on a three-wheeler which he points out
is the one I will have remembered being rendered as
the full-size worm catcher. This was for a show called
Game for a Laugh and demonstrated absurdity and genius
turns out the bike has quiet history: "I've
still got it with it's Ape Hanger handle bars. It
was also used to deliver a loaf of bread diguised
as a parrot with an oxo cube on it's head to the Duke
of Bedford during a meat shortage. It was intended
to be an alternative food for the lions. Unfortuneately
the lions too savage to approach. So they hired a
cub which promptly pissed all over his Grace."
more than 30 bicycle inventions under his belt
you would think that Wilf would feel the job had been
done, but it turns out that he has yet to finish the
collection, and hopes to get back to making bicycle
models again soon. First off the line is to be the
'King Herod Fat Child Exercisor' though apparently
"the tiny swords were such a problem."
a possible model hints at the refreshingly non-politically
correct stance held by Wilf. And with other models
such as the 'Stammerer's C... c... c... c... cycle'
and the 'Amputees or Unsuccessful Muslim Burglar's
Getaway Cycle' filling out the collection it would
be easy to label Wilf as anachronistic. But far better
to regard him, and his work, as an utterly necessary
break from the monotony.
is a thought, creativity and application here which
is missing from much in the modern world, and more
than a slight hint at the fact that we really all
need to lighten up a little.
favourite bicycle model (and mine) remains the worm
catcher. Perhaps the model made real pulls more on
the nostalgia strings. His favourite invention were
the 'Good Bye Machines', but for me the sight of a
grown man dressed in a bizarre 'Apocalypse Cow' outfit
will live long in the memory. I wonder if the bovine
weapons have ever got him out of a tricky situation:
"The apocalyspe cow has never got me out
of a tricky situation but it certainly got me into
one in a shopping centre. I was on a radio show when
the D.J. asked how it worked. I fired it. Unfortunately
it alarmed a throng of old ladies watching. They were
angry. Suprisingly they blamed the D.J. for asking
me to fire it. I beat a hasty retreat".