Collected columns and untold tales of bad behavior…
If you have read Peter Jones for any length of time, you know his work is insightful, funny, irreverent, wide-ranging, and engaging. At times, it is educational—in spite of himself and sometimes he sneaks up on you with poignant, powerful introspection.
In his new book, The Bad Editor—Collected Columns and Untold Tales of Bad Behavior, you get all of that and more.
In its 250 pages, there are 30 previously published columns from various mastheads, including Sport Rider, American Road Racing, Motorcycle Street & Strip, Motorcyclist magazines, and Speed.com.
The book features 19 Untold Tales of Bad Behavior that are exclusive to the book. You probably have seen his work in other venues, as well, such as Cycle World, Baggers, Cycle News, Rider, Road Rider, Road Runner, Motorcycle Cruiser, Motorcycle Consumer News, and others.
It is tough to tell whether he is better as a rider, racer, or writer. Clearly, he has some powerful cred for each.
In the case of his new book, it is the writer part of his skill set that shines. Case in point: the column entitled, “I Met Lord Jim,” which originally appeared in American Roadracing magazine in November 1999.
In it, Jones delivers a no-nonsense article that he forewarns is “something meaningful.” Given the fact that it was his first column in the first issue of newly-created American Roadracing, and it was a deeply personal examination of racing, risk, and harm—as in causing it—the article is remarkable and courageous.
Indeed, it is so different from what one would expect and so powerful in its meditation on racing and human consequences, I read it end-to-end twice. It should be required reading for every would-be racer and is thought-provoking reading for current racers, as well.
The story examines a crash that Jones had in a race at Pocono and the harm it caused, not to him but to Stewart Goddard, who was seriously injured when he left the track trying to avoid Jones.
The story is not as simple as that. Goddard was not just another rider on the grid. He was racing despite having been paralyzed from the chest down as the result of a moped accident as a teenager. Jones already knew Goddard personally. He had conversations with Goddard about risk and racing, making what happened at Pocono even more difficult to cope with.
“Various crashes showed me that there are plenty of things that can happen on a track that are out of a rider’s control, despite racers believing that they are in control. But now I’d been shown that there was a major detail of about risk that I’d never properly considered: The risk at which one racer puts another. Plus, this incident went beyond that with the added ironies of the badly injured rider being a friend, and being Stewart Goddard, of all people. That shouldn’t mean anything special, but it’s hard for it not to,” Jones writes.
In other parts of the book, Jones ranges from his inability to take gas gauges seriously—and the consequences of that, he explores the vagaries of the legal system as related to moving violations, ponders the unwritten rules governing manufacturer new-model roll-outs, and a range of other topics he treats with his more standard wit, irony, and self-deprecating humor.
Don’t misunderstand this great book by its title—it isn’t about the mundane task-driven existence of being an editor, good or bad. Rather, it is a revealing and entertaining look into the life of a motorcyclist to the marrow who occasionally makes bad choices and, despite that, ends up with the dream existence of riding and racing motorcycles for a living with the added joys of writing about it thrown in.
The book is even a convenient size to take along in your saddlebag or tank bag. It is a compilation of superb, conversational writing; I only wish it had some of the images that might have gone along with the stories!
- Title: The Bad Editor
- Subtitle: Collected Columns and Untold Tales of Bad Behavior
- Author: Peter Jones
- Web: www.TheBadEditor.com
- Published: April 28, 2021 250 pages, 5.25” × 8”
- Publisher: Bad Cat Library, New York, NY
- ISBN: 978-1-7369195-0-7
- MSRP: U.S. $18.55