Here is a chap who attempted to kill himself year on year and yet he managed to survive until his 69th year. Passed away from an illness or illnesses that may well have come about from bashing himself up with his motorcycles. And other vehicles. Here is a name that we were all familiar with in the 1970s but a face that had vanished since. Like that of Leif Garrett. Where on earth has he gone? Or the Bay City Rollers?! Boy was I seriously peeved with those jocks – it was pretty hard to compete with life size posters of music heart throbs that distracted our own heart throbs, causing them to swoon over them rather than the blokes in the third row with long shorts and a dodgy haircut. But Knievel had a different impact on us altogether, perhaps best measured by the fact that his name entered our lexicon as teenage boys and has remained there ever since. To to an “Evel Knievel” was to do something so daring and outlandish that it was worthy of peer respect – not always an easy thing to achieve. A broken bone or a suitably impressive gash always helped. In a community where we had reasonably ready access to vehicles, bikes or motorbikes (one of my fellows had even built a motorbike with a wooden frame!) there were all sorts of ridiculous and dangerous “Knievel” challenges posed and attempted. If our parents had any idea what we were attempting on mate’s motorcycles they would have grounded us immediately for our own safety. But even without vehicles a leap into a river from a high rock was a “Knievel” leap. I am sure he would not be surprised but Evel had a big impact on us as impressionable country boys back in the early seventies. Its a sad day when a part of your formative fabric, even if it is now a faint, even indiscernible thread, passes away.
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