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Making it happen: Conrad Leach

Good to be inspired by heroes... but even better by friends.

I rediscovered this nice little film about Conrad the other day; filmed a couple of years ago after he moved from London to LA. He's one of those talented people I am proud to call a friend; he's out there, making his living as an artist... an unimaginably difficult thing to achieve.

I first met him at art school in London in the mid-1980s. I was studying Graphic Design and he, I think, was on the Fashion Design course. We quickly discovered a shared love of music and even jammed a couple of times; hazy memories now, though.

I next caught up with him... well, not quite... when we were both working in London in the nineties. Not quite, because I used to see an amazingly cool old Triumph flat tracker commuting into the west end on the same route as me, but never managed to catch up with it on my Shovelhead. I only found out later it was Conrad.

Art, music, motorcycles... surely there can't be a better bond! When I returned to the UK after 10 years in Australia in 2009, I saw a familiar face outside the pavilion at the Hot Rod Hayride, gripping a pint. Conrad. And since then, we have caught up infrequently but it's always been interesting: we rode our Panheads together to Germany and back in 2012, partied in Tokyo and Yokohama, chatted at various events.

And now he's married with a child in SoCal and our paths have diverged once again. But when I watch films like this, or see photos of him talking bikes with celebrities such as Jay Leno, I am filled with admiration for the way he's forged this life for himself solely off the back of his talent. It's good to be inspired by heroes... but even better by friends.

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