Missing Chopper

After finishing college, I decided to work a summer season in Ibiza. I quickly landed a job selling sunset boat trips. I rented the spare room from my boss, a kiwi called Dave. I was loving life.

Dave is what you would call a hoarder, with floor to ceiling junk in every room. But you know what they say…. one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Under a pile of baskets and fold away chairs on the balcony- I found the frame of a chopper. An original 1970’s chopper with a grab rail and three gears with the gear stick in the centre of the frame. Dave told me I would be doing him a favour to take it. I was delighted. I thought all my Christmas’ had come at once!

The next morning I went straight to the bike shop and ordered wheels, mud guards and gears for my new find. I gave it a lick of paint, a new seat cover (made from MASSIVE bikini bottoms) and of course, a honker horn. I spent all the money I had fixing it up.

When the end of the season approached, I left the bike with friends I knew were staying in Ibiza over the winter as I knew I would be returning the next spring.

Arriving back in Ibiza the following May, my bike wasn’t there. It was a wild goose chase until the trail went cold. I was heartbroken. I only had one idea to get it back…make missing posters. Like if you loose a dear family pet.

I put the posters in every bar, shop, restaurant and lamp post on the west of the Island.

A few weeks went by with nothing…until one day a call from a number I didn’t recognise.

“Hello- Did you make the missing chopper posters?”
“Have you found my bike?”
“No. This is Nando’s. We are looking for a sign painter.”
“So…. you don’t have my bike??”
“No. Are you a sign painter?”
“Um…………. sure!”

So that was that. I painted the Nando’s restaurant in San Antonio, and by word of mouth I painted dozens of boards and signs for bars and restaurants around the island. I ended up working as a scenic painter for Manumission. A theatrical club night held in the biggest super club in the world- Privilege.

Working as a sign painter never felt like work to me. I would often work through lunch, and work 14 hours shifts with out realising. That’s when I knew it was for me. I worked for Manumission for the next two years unit at the end of 2008, when they announced it was their final show.