The Outcasts – Four Slimes
Copyright 1985 BBC TelevisionThe Characters:Bobby The President
– His name in the gang is ‘Tramp’, although his mum gives away his real name (he loves his mum.) Wears a hat with a badge that says ‘F*** Off’, although not in front of his mum. Did I mention that he loves his mum?Sergeant-at-Arms
– He’s the clubs spokesperson apparently. Believes he is the victim of an arson attack that destroys the interior of his house, probably improving it. Dogsbody
– He’s the lowest ranking member and is essentially bullied. Suffers from permanent hat-hair.The Car Dealer
– Another member of The Outcasts, he allows the guys to fix their bikes in his workshop. George Harrison
– Well, he looks like him anyway. He’s the bloke with the dog basically, who (fraudulently) claims unemployment benefit. Also in charge of accounts. Rock and roll.The Leather Worker
– You have to listen very carefully to the story of how he became a leather worker. It is remarkable. The President’s (Bobby's) Mum
– She loves her son and takes care of his kids for him. Johny Wulf
– His presence (and recent death) weighs heavily over the documentary. Killed by a piece of burning timber removing some part of his head (although the embalmer changes his mind mid-conversation about how much was actually
removed. Incidentally, that’s how his name is spelled on a tattoo that one of the bikers has. The Funeral Director
– My favourite by a long, long way. I love everything about him. His candid anecdotes. His reasons for becoming a Funeral Director. His resemblance to Harry Potter…The Plot:
Following in the wonderful spirit of the legendary Cane Toads
comes this documentary detailing the life and grime of a motorcycle gang from East Anglia calling themselves The Outcasts. Made by the BBC as a one-off TV programme in 1985, it is undoubtedly one of the finest, most insane things I have ever had the pleasure of watching.
Why is it so mad? So many reasons. It is, I will admit, a documentary that takes a little while to get going. We are initially introduced to a few token members, including the abrasive president Tramp (or Bobby) and a guy who is just known as the Dogsbody. After paying a visit to the grave of Johny Wulf (a former member recently killed by a piece of timber at a bonfire), the gang head to the beach for some fun and frolics in the sand, interspersed with pushing each other off a steep cliff. After some trippy scenes, including a random segment where the gang carry flaming torches into some sort of deep basement, the documentary really starts to stretch its legs.
We get little snippets of the biker’s lives, as it builds up to a celebratory bonfire and drinking session in honour of the fallen Johny. What makes this so wonderful is the unassuming, often innocuous nature of the characters. We meet the car dealer who is paranoid enough about his motorcycle gang connections that he keeps his bike under a sheet so his customers don't see it, yet he still lets five hairy bikers work on their machines in his workshop. There is a wonderful leather worker who describes how he started off his profession when someone gave him a broken leather pouch that they had paid money for, out of a bin
. There are constant references to The Outcasts spending time in jail, but when we meet the George Harrison lookalike we find out his worst crime is committing Social Security fraud. Another spends time at Her Majesty's Pleasure for possession of a firearm without a licence. A crime admittedly, but not what you might expect from a renegade motorcycle gang, especially any of us who have read Hunter S. Thompson's experiences in LA.
As the documentary progresses, we get to see some of the more social aspects of their lives. The pub that they visit in particular is amazing; it’s little more than a dojo. Now, through a combination of innocent naivety and stupidity, I’ve found myself in more than a few dodgy bars with dodgy characters. I once bought a drink for a guy after listening to him shout into a payphone for ten minutes about how he was ‘damn well going to get his money, or he was going to get his shotgun and axe and raise hell.
’ Just for good measure, I waited until he finished his angry phone call and visited the gents, peeked inside the large bag he’d left at the bar and spotted one hatchet and one sawn-off. Hence my desire to get on his good side…
But this bar is something else entirely. I’ve never walked into a bar and been confronted with a hairy, sweaty man lifting weights. Neither have I seen a bare-chested man breaking sharpened canes just by placing them against his neck and walking into them. I’ve certainly never seen a man in pyjamas practising the lost Japanese martial art of commando rolling across the floor like he’s on a small fishing boat in an Atlantic storm.
The funeral director is my favourite though. You simply MUST listen, and listen carefully to everything he says. Not only is his candidness comedy gold, particularly when detailing the unfortunate demise of Johny Wulf, but just his general appearance coupled with his desire to get into funeral directing on the back of the uniform… I wish he had more screen time. I could’ve listened to him talk for hours.
I have been looking for this for years, having heard about it from friends, but because of the nature of its broadcast, it was very difficult to find (as a one-off documentary programme on BBC television.) Fortunately, at least one person back in 1985 was awake enough to realise how timeless this was going to be, recorded it and uploaded it online. The Outcasts is a very short documentary, clocking in at just forty minutes, but it is at least as entertaining as many b-movies I’ve seen at twice the length. Aside from the characters and the Christ-on-a-trampoline bonkers music, the main appeal of The Outcasts is how they are clearly playing up to the camera. These guys like to pretend they are the British chapter of the Hell’s Angels, and yet you know that Sonny Barger could kill any one of the group with one wispy thread of his beard. For all their self-promoted lawlessness, they still claim government benefit. They still visit their mums! They own a burger van to raise money, rather than riding into rich neighbourhoods and robbing the gentrified classes. One of the gang carries out one of the greatest and most RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE! against a beer can to show he is tough, but they are just a bunch of ordinary (sometimes even charming) blokes who like to ride around on bikes, wearing leather. The more you watch this documentary (and believe me, since I finally found it, I watch it often) you start to pick away at the aggressive front and realise how much they have been stitched up by the documentary makers, who were obviously looking for controversy, and how much they stitch themselves up in the process in chasing infamy and notoriety.
As I said before, this is not something that is available on DVD. Below is a link to an upload of the documentary (via Vimeo) that you can watch if you are curious, and please, please
be curious. Ignore the length of the video, The Outcasts is actually forty minutes long, not fifty, unless you want to catch the beginning of the 1985 British Bowls Championship which seems to have been recorded as well. Also below I have included a link to a webpage I found which has some screenshots from The Outcasts.
Screenshotshttp://yingyangs.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/40-minutes-outcasts.htmlThings I Learned From This Movie:
- When a woman wants to state her intentions, she will smear carburettor fluid on her thighs.
- Embalmers are indecisive creatures.
- Torn leather pouches from rubbish bins are surprisingly expensive to buy.
- When creating a gang outside of society, make sure the rules are incomparably harsher.
- Be wary of any pub containing weight lifting equipment. Stuff To Watch For:
8mins – This music sounds like what a steam train might hear if it was capable of inducing acid.
10mins – What the hell is going on in that background painting?
14mins – Where are they going, why, and WHAT THE HELL IS THIS MUSIC?
20mins – Wait, wait, wait. You're a motorcyle gang and yet... you have an accounts department?
24mins – This woman is not helping the old stereotype of British people having bad teeth…
28mins – I’m willing to bet that your house looked much like that even before the fire.
30mins – There goes my libido for the next… I reckon seven years. If I’m optimistic.
30mins – RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A BEER CAN!
33mins – Ringing up the police to let them know you’re having a party… How unnervingly responsible of you.
35mins – You just said he had half a head, then no head, now we see a photo and there’s definitely a head there. Are you sure you were embalming the right body? I can’t believe I’m even asking these questions…?Quotes:
Tramp - “They can take as much speed as they like… as much coke as they like. As long as it doesn’t go into the veins”
“Women are into a bit of rough, yeah, you get a lot of women around, especially the married ones.”
“We’ve thrown ‘im off cliffs, thrown ‘im on fires. We’ve generally made him sit in front of fires with f*** all on man, and scorch.”
“These lads… they work the burger van. They only get paid for what they earn…”
“If I miss a meeting… probably get my arse kicked and a fine.”
The Leather Worker -
“Somebody bought a pouch, it were in bits. A cheap one. Out of a rubbish bin in a leather shop, asked me to put it together. I bought three books… studied it out there, like”
The Funeral Director -
“I’m a funeral director. I got into it because I liked the idea of wearing a smart suit, and a long black drape.”
“When Wulf was killed at the party… and lost half his head…”
“I embalmed him… which took a great deal of time because he had no head left.”