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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bunty was Royal Enfield's major Major

Third in a series of articles

Maj. Bunty Golightly, the greatest Royal Enfield personality who probably never lived, was a complete gentleman. When he put you down you landed on your ass, but you were thrown so deftly you didn't know how he'd done it.

From August, 2000 to November, 2005, the (probably) fictional retired soldier and English country gentleman outraged and entertained the Royal Enfield Yahoo message group. His creator never came forward and never was unmasked, so far as I know.

So convincing was the performance that he was quickly treated as a real human being. Pete Snidal, author of the revered Royal Enfield manual, was left calling the Major "a bitter old fart" — although for all anyone knew, the elderly Major was in fact a young writer skillfully playing a part.

I got what was coming to me from the Major. I asked a long-winded question about whether, back in "The Day," Royal Enfield had expected Bullet owners to upgrade to its more powerful twins.

David me dear fellow, the answer is:

Very probably,

or

perhaps not.

Your servant,

Bunty


Those were contentious times on the message board and there was a flame war — probably a misunderstanding — that offended the Major. Although he played the outrageous bigot, racist, imperialist and sexist, this time he felt a child had been insulted in a posting and he expressed disgust.

This seemed sincere. He came back a few times after that but, then, he was gone. For awhile he moved to an alternative — friendlier, he said — Yahoo Royal Enfield site. Then, as far as I know, he disappeared.

In dismay, message board members inquired what had become of him, but there was no reply. In January, 2006, I compiled all of the Major's postings, as had been suggested by a board member as early as 2000. They are in a file entitled "Hand Salute!" in the Files section of the Yahoo message board.

I was not alone in mourning the Major's sudden departure. In December, 2007, another member, Michael Bevins, of Michigan, did the same thing, compiling the postings into a file called "Maj. Bunty Golightly."

Bunty's Dec. 23, 2000 take on "Simultaneously Shooting and Driving" is a not untypical classic posting:

Hello Bulleteer chappies ,

Pete is quite right, as per usual and furthermore a "gentleman" would always accompany a lady with her on his left arm — don't yer know — and he would always place himself toward the centre of the road, hence one would naturally drive on the left hand
side of the road.

Any country that would favour driving on the right is obviously not populated by gentlemen.

I really think that any firearm that shoots a single solid projectile is not a feasible weapon to mount on a Bullet — too difficult to aim, d'yer see? I myself would favour a 4 bore (4 gauge — for our American cousins) "punt" gun bolted down and loaded with old tin tacks — should clear a swath through the rush hour traffic! (The recoil might help braking too.)

I've got an old Bren hidden in the stables, now that might be just the ticket for the jolly old sidecar — might liven up the Boxing Day peasant shoot !

Whoops! Is that the time? — I have to attend an urgent meeting at the Kickstarter's Arms (darts match against the boys from the Twistgrip and Spanners really — but not a word to the memsahib!! — good show!)

Merry Christmas to you all (even the bloody foreigners — season of goodwill and all that).

Bottoms Up

Bunty

I'll have one last thing to say, next time, about Maj. Bertram "Bunty" Golightly.

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