In a truly bohemian act of fearless iconoclasm worthy of the pallid Dracula parody that he so gorgeously and hauntingly is (pass my fan, mother, for I am a-swooning), wan, elegantly-wasted Twilight childe-vampyre Robert Pattinson has spent a tastefully small fortune on the most daring of new bicycles, in an historically authentic and revolutionary personal lifestyle statement, writes Penny Farthinge, Antique Two-Wheeled Transport and Gothic Bastardisation Vehicle Correspondent.
Pattinson has recently been called so cool that he is almost as cool as Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. "Robert Pattinson has recently been called so cool that he is almost as cool as Daniel Radcliffe", says Money For Old Rope Magazine's Editrice Flimsie Farrago.
"Say, Robert's got that pale, frail look. He's like, so, English. It's like, you know, Gladstone and Jack The Ripper and John Major and all those guys in misty graveyards.
"What is it with those creepy Upper Class Brits? All those David Copperfield's Schooldays guys. It's the ultimate in real class, with that Victorian schtick, ladies with parasols and child prostitutes and typhoid fever.
"When Daniel Radcliffe opens in Mary Poppins in New York, I just know he's gonna be the new Dick Van Dyke, and Robert Pattinson's not far behind those guys. You could just see him dying of consumption in a hammock, or a kennel, or whatever it was those guys died in, all those poet guys in crazy towns like Bognor Regis, Worcestershire and Wordsworth Lake."
And it may have been in emulation of Daniel Radcliffe, it may have been in an hubristic attempt to soar as high as DanRad in the whey-visaged dark angelic firmament that Robert Pattinson purchased the velocipede that has taken him on a journey beyond the very trammels and parameters of conventional society.
And how did it all occur? Soft, stay thee awhile. Here is cold mutton and small beer. Smoke a clay pipe, and let me reveal what a source close to an absurd and vacuous travesty of a noble tradition in supernatural fiction told me yesterday, of these dark and unnatural doings.
My source - who was close to a gothic tradition sorely spoiled, sullied and shamed - told me all, as we drank old ales by the fire in an Inn near Much Wenlock, Shropshire, which is the place near to which Robert Pattinson and his eternally constipated Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart have the bohemian apartment to which they repair for much-needed rest in between filming Twilight films.
"Robert saw the bike advertised in the Shropshire Antique Bicyles Advertiser one misty day, while he was sulking in Much Wenlock library. Kristen was in town shopping for immodium suppositories to enhance her constipation and Georgian Lead & Arsenic Whitewash to plaster on her face. She also spent some time moping in the fog in Much Wenlock's All Saints Church graveyard, and there she met their neighbour, farmer and lesbian dominatrix Myfanywy Clitburglar, who was passing by, with a trailer full of chickens for Much Wenlock Farmers' Market.
"The two women talked about the chickens. It was a fine collection, including some beautiful Blue Mottled and Buff Orpingtons. There were even two Cuckoo Orpingtons. Suffice it to say that Kristen was gone a long time, and Robert passed the weary hours in a way most profitable to an almost androgynous, Daniel Radcliffe-pastyfaced, boy-bloodsucker.
"That is, he jotted down the advert details, and arranged to purchase the vehicle in question from its owner, one Mr Hercule Leitmotif, a retired Belgian mountaineer and author of such celebrated pamphlets as 'The Social Habits of the Bank Voles of Northern Belgium Between 1956 and 1957' and 'A Longtitudinal Comparison of the Old Thatched Barns of Holland and Belgium'.
"Well, to cut a long story short, Robert spent a rather trying three days at Mr Leitmotif's house in the village of Harbage, and when he finally emerged from beneath the traditionally-thatched roof, he was £15000 the poorer, but richer in many ways, both in the ways of the Belgian Vole, and in terms of finally possessing the bicycle of his dreams."
My source - very close to a case of mock-gothic delirium - drew in a deep breath, and proceeded.
"Robert was ecstatic. He had bought a rare beast indeed. For this was none other than one of the few surviving examples of a genuine, human-powered, Dandy-Horse or Laufmaschine, an early form of bicycle propelled by the rider pushing along the ground with their feet as they sat astride it. Robert's bike had been manufactured by Joseph Crippler Ltd. of London in 1819.
"Now these Dandy-Horses were quite the thing in the summer of 1819, but their popularity was - dragonfly-evanescent - but for the briefest of summer hours. For, in the fashionable towns, the riders took to riding the pavements, rather than the rougher roads, and there were accidents, and the pedestrians, being severely incommoded, were wont to protest.
"The result was, that many local authorities enacted prohibitive legislation. In short, the Dandy-Horse soon became outside of the law, and it was not long after that it was mere history. Indeed - though poor little Robert was all too ignorant and innocent of the fact - it remains beyond the pale, as it were, in Shropshire to this day.
"Thus it was that Robert, careering dangerously and illegally on his wooden steed along the rural and rustic lanes of Shropshire, frightened a party of schoolchildren from Much Wenlock Primary School, who were out collecting Rose Hips, but narrowly avoided a collision with a parked wheelbarrow belonging to one Albert Nuddler, a Curmudgeon from Broseley, and finally fell off his unwieldy contraption outside the Milkmaid's Gusset, where local Bobby Constable Painter was arresting an intinerant puppeteer.
"Robert's case comes up next week", concluded my source - who was close to an idiotic concoction of half-baked stereotypes. "The Dandy-Horse has been impounded and Much Wenlock is in an uproar. There is talk of a Hue and Cry. Much Wenlock has not seen the like since the days of Lord Badger of Ironbridge, the notorious Green Earl who was sent to Tasmania for his sins."
As I left my companion and confidante, that chameleon, comedian, Corinthian and caricature, at the Inn, I thought gothic thoughts 'mid the settling and mellow autumnal mists in Much Wenlock.
Perhaps Robert Pattinson - deprived of his Dandy-Horse as the Green Earl had been deprived of his citizenship - was happy to be compared to such a figure of dark and dangerous renown. Perchance he was as proud of this new-discover'd infamy as Kristen finds delight in her eternally constipated chic. What a tangled skein it all seemed to me, as I gazed at the great yellow moon, and saw the silv'ry strands of luminous mist hang like gossamer scarves about the ancient gables of Much Wenlock.