Ambience Engineer: #2 – Post-Apocalyptic Motorcycle Raid

We live in banal times. You may deny this; but you would be wrong (and stupid) to do so.

Today the masses are entertained in increasingly inane ways by increasingly moronic individuals. Pursuit of the arcane has been abandoned, in favour of pursuit of superficial fame, despite the fact we are still largely ignorant to the true nature of the Cosmos and the muted whistling of star-bound chimaeras. Terrible, ultimate Knowledge lies within our grasp, but our hands have grown withered and taut, and (to continue the analogy) several of the tendons of our forearms have actually snapped (i.e. making it even more difficult to grasp at our full extent).

Young people wield lipsticks, and copies of “Nuts” magazine, where once they wielded telescopes and the Scouting manuals of Baden-Powell. Old folk comment with ribald derision on the “packages” of tight-trousered celebrities, where once they spoke of the mystical encounters of their youth ‘twixt fairy-riddled mulberry bushes. Noble warriors are a thing of a past; replaced have they been, by heavily-armed delinquent simpletons careering around Arab lands in mucky Jeeps.

The question is….. how to escape from it all?

It turns out that time travel is not in fact yet possible, so we are unable to escape the mind-numbing dullness of our times through that particular avenue. Transportation to different physical locations is of course an option, but we remain confined to this planet in this age, and, to be frank, the whole place is rubbish.

We can immerse ourselves in great literature and retreat for a time into our own minds, free from the clawing, lifeless hands of a Humanity long dead. But is that really enough?

No. It isn’t.

But luckily the Ambience Engineer can help us!

Using everyday tools, we can temporarily escape the sordid reality of modern times and exist for a while in fantastical realms that transcend temporal and celestial boundaries.

Ye of sound mind and stout heart, prepare for a journey…



Track: On a Rope by Rocket From the Crypt

1 x bicycle;
1 x biker outfit (torn blue jeans, battered leather jacket, old army helmet, Doc Martens);
1 x long brush handle;
1 x small tent;
1 x feather-filled pillow;
10 x outdoor roman candles;
1 x Sharpie marker pen (black).

Location: Scrapyard at dusk


1.  Source a suitable location for this experiment.  You require a scrapyard, replete with disorderly rows of smashed up cars and broken household appliances, which must also be accessible at dusk.  The maddened barking of angry guard dogs constitutes appropriate supporting ambience, and thus the presence of such animals should be considered desirable (provided they are suitably tethered, of course).

2.  Place your outdoor candles at intervals across the junkyard and light them.  They should be strategically situated so that, when lit, they illuminate the surrounding hunks of twisted metal in a menacing and evocative fashion.

3.  Pitch the tent at one end of the yard.  Rip open the pillow and scatter most of the feathers throughout the tent’s interior.  When it is almost empty of feathers, roll the pillow up into a ball.

4.  Dress in your biker costume, and don your army helmet.

5.  Roll the sleeves of your jacket up and use the Sharpie pen to draw all sorts of crude tattoos on your forearms.  These constitute your tribal/gang markings – remember to let your imagination run wild when it comes to the actual form of these tattoos.  You should embrace a measure of vulgarity – bear in mind that you are not so much a biker as you are a brutal miscreant engaged in reaving .  Slogans like “Born 2 Rape”, “Proud Son of a Mutant Whoer [sic]” and “Live 4 Rape” are example of appropriate markings.

6.  Clamp your headphones (not earphones – if you have diligently followed the Ambience Engineer, you will have realised by now that good quality headphones are a must-have for any A/E experiment) over your ears and play Rocket From the Crypt’s On A Rope on infinite loop, at a dangerously loud volume.

7.  Sit astride your bicycle in the entrance to the scrapyard. Take a deep breath, and fill your head with thoughts of plunder, letting the music sink in.  Imagine marauding Vikings scything through the coastal towns of Mercia.  Envisage Thulsa Doom’s destruction of young Conan’s humble village.  But mainly, think of Mad Max. For you are a member of a motorbike gang in the post-apocalyptic future, and you are about to participate in a raid upon a shanty town of nuclear refugees.

8.  Lower the broom handle so that it juts out over your handlebars like an injurious bowsprit.  Begin to peddle furiously about the scrapyard, yelling with triumphant fury.

How to attain the illusion that you are participating in a motorcycle raid in a post-apocalyptic age:

-Although you are physically peddling your bicycle, pretend instead that it is a huge mongrel motorbike, its many parts scavenged from numerous broken machines and welded together haphazardly.  The bike is powered by an indecently inefficienct engine that belches out acrid smoke (you may include joke-shop smoke bombs for additional ambience, if required).

Your push-bike actually looks something like Cloud Strife’s Fenrir

-The scrapheaps that you zoom past represent infrastructure that was destroyed in the atomic civil war many centuries ago.  Useless peasants have made their homes in the folds of this wreckage.  Life is hard in this bleak world, and terrorising these wretched bastards represents a welcome release for you and your drunken comrades.

-Advanced weaponry is a thing of the past, so your brush handle instead represents a primitive weapon – a rudimentary pike, for instance, or a homemade lance.  Your weapon should be borne out in front of you as you tear through the camp, gleefully mowing down any distressed villagers that stray into your path, slaughtering men, disembowelling women and eviscerating their kids.

-You see a poorly-hidden dwelling up ahead of you (i.e. the tent).  None of your fellow riders seem to have noticed it yet.  You steer a course right for it.

-Your chopper smashes into this pathetic little hut and feathers explode around you.  You cry out in triumph, for you have found this village’s chicken coop!  In these dark and backward times, people use chickens to barter for shiny things, so a chicken coop is the equivalent of a bank vault.  You grab one of the chickens (the balled-up pillow) and carry it off under your arm.  You will be a rich man tonight.


-Fires have broken out all around the scrapyard (the torches) as your brothers have put crud-huts and scrap-adobes to the torch.  It is time to leave this place.  You turn your back on the scene of carnage and motor off back to whatever hellhole you came from.*

-Once you have left the scrapyard and removed your headphones, you will emerge back into the real-world, re-invigorated by your journey through time.**


*I am not casting aspersions on your actual hometown with this remark, the frame of reference here is still the post-apocalyptic future.  Though if you do really come from a hellhole – and there are many around – then you have my deepest sympathy.

**Ensure that you remember to thoroughly clean the gang markings/tattoos from your forearms.  Elderly relatives in particular can find slogans such as “Mutant Pussy is da Best Pussy” troubling, and attempting to put it into context results only in further confusion.