Moderator: Good Morning everybody. Thank you for you for joining us today. My name is Bart Madson and I am the Managing Editor at MCUSA – and therefore Melling’s direct boss. Following the furore regarding Melling’s assessment of the MV Agusta Brutale as being the motorcycling cousin of a Floridian Manatee I have brought him here to answer the charges which MCUSA’s readers have laid against him.
Frank Melling: Good morning everyone. First, I would like to apologize humbly and sincerely for any offence I have caused to anyone by disagreeing with their carefully considered, accurate and balanced analyses of my articles.
Further, I promise never to make flippant comments ever again, not even once, nor attempt humorous comments for which I am completely unworthy and incapable. Girl Scouts’ Honor. Cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die-poke-a-needle-in-my-eye-if-I-ever-tell-a-lie.
Moderator: So, we are open to questions. So, let’s go straight to Nancy Lou Finklefurter. Hi Nancy Lou.
Nancy Lou: I am President of the National Manatee Lovers’ Society and I wish to object very strongly to Frank Melling’s appalling article. Compared with even the least attractive Manatee the Brutale is butt- ugly and it is deeply disparaging to Manatees that Melling should try to make this comparison.
Personally, I think that the front of the Brutale looks far more like a hippopotamus which has just ploughed into the back of a truck at 60 mph than our lovely Floridian amphibian.
Frank Melling: First, I must apologize to all fans of warm water herbivores. Clearly, Ms. Finklefurter, I do respect your opinions deeply but I do have to respectfully disagree with you. The drooping headlight of the Brutale is far more accurately reflected in the lugubrious face of a Manatee than the rather cheerful visage of a hippo – even one which has been in a serious road accident.
I also feel that the Brutale’s lack of performance is more accurately reflected in the gentle progress a Manatee makes through swamps rather than the brisk trot which a hippo can achieve.
“Oh why can’t they all be like my Matchless G.50,” thought Frank, “the most beautiful bending of steel to fly down the road. Alas… life is bittersweet.”
Moderator: Here’s a call from the East Coast – all the way from the Harvard School of Art and Design. Good morning to you Syrah.
Syrah Terroir: Hi, I’m studying Motovotive Art and Design and I just want Frank, I mean Mr. Melling, to know that all the girls here absolutely worship you. Our rooms are covered in pictures of you with your gorgeous pouting belly poking through those minimalist black leathers, and your wrinkles just like feeders for the Grand Canyon. So, on to my question. Can you give any style advice to us?
Frank Melling: Thanks for the kind comments Syrah. I do understand how you girls feel about me but it’s just a cross I have to bear.
Regarding style advice, there is one simple rule to follow. The style value of the item of clothing has an inverse value to its cost. Thus, the latest $99 high fashion t-shirt always loses out to the free “T” blagged from an unsuspecting race team. Overwhelmingly, free is stylish – and paid for is very uncool.
And, lest you think that this rule applies only to freeloading journalists and their even more downmarket cousins, bike racing journos, just try to spot paid for clothing at a MotoGP, Formula One or Nascar race – regardless of who is wearing it.
Moderator: Well, we have a first here. A caller from Sicily. Good morning Luigi.
Luigi sei Marche: Lemme start by telling Melling thata there’s a horse head on it’sa way to you.
Listena here Melling. We’vea got a garagea full of these Brutalas here in lovely Sicilia and you are getting in da way of doing business.
The Brutales is very fine motos and the fact that we still owna da shed full of dem after six years only shows what dumbasses some people are anda dey have no culture ora da style.
So to alla you lovely Americanos, we cana maka very easy delivery to your door in our nice plain white vans.
We don’t take no checks, or Pay Pal, but we are happy to accepta da casha, jewellery, gold bling or anything which cana fit in da little foil packets.
Dona listen to Melling – hesa just jealous ‘cos he don have a cut of da action.
Moderator: Well thanks Luigi, I just want you to know how incredibly pro-Italian we are here at mcusa as I feel sure that your cousin in Medford will confirm when we eat at his Pizzeria.
Frank Melling: I can only humbly agree with Luigi. The Brutale is an incredibly fine motorcycle. I think that MV Agusta got the specification absolutely right with the motor making peak torque at only 10,500 rpm and no useable power below 7,000 rpm.
I have learnt from readers that a motor like this is just what’s needed for a naked bike.
I also understand that having your manly parts smashed into the gas tank is part of the bonding process which all MVisti need to make with their bike.
Not being able to take a pillion passenger, unless she is a size smaller than a Harry Potter House Elf, is a desirable aid to marital harmony.
Clearly, all those low mileage, second-hand Brutales are universally mis-represented and mis-understood, and should be worth double their current asking prices. So sorry to you Luigi, and to everyone else who rates this fine motorcycle so highly.
Moderator: Now, here we have Norman Dorkin from Idaho. Norman, you are something of an authority when it comes to motorcycle styling.
Norman: Yes, I can truthfully claim to be an expert. I have subscriptions to 16 European bike magazines and I spend at least seven hours a night visiting websites and forums so that I am right on top of every technical and styling issue in the motorcycling world.
Moderator: So, put Melling right. What was your reaction when you first saw the Brutale in the flesh, as we might say?
Norman: I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand the question.
Melling apologizes for not falling in line and appealing to his readers’ delicate sensibilities . Although bruised and battered, he returns to his post at MCUSA, his mea culpa not in the least sarcastic.
Moderator: When you walked around the bike, sat on it and then took it for a test ride how did you feel?
Norman: I’m not here to answer your smartass questions – I gotta go now and leave some more comments.
Moderator: Well here’s another one of our foreign fans. Good morning Kunal
Kunal Ghate: Let me first tell you that I am a big fan of Moto USA. I read each and every article on sports bikes and of course street bikes.
The shoot-outs are something that I look forward to and I think that you guys do a fantastic job reviewing the bikes. There is one particular author’s article which are seriously a misfit on your website, Frank Miller.
He recently reviewed the new MV Agusta Brutale and judged it simply on the way it’s styled. The styling for him is ‘ugly’, whereas in many people’s opinion the Brutale is a looker!
Frank Melling: Well, here’s another reader I agree with. It is true that I am seriously a mis-fit at mcusa, but that’s completely consistent with being a mis-fit in the maternity unit; at Kindergarten; an even bigger mis-fit at school, and a horrendous mis-fit at the one College in Britain which made the mistake of admitting me.
I have now progressed through a long working life of being a complete and utter mis-fit in every single job in which I have been employed and hope to die in a very odd shape so that they have to make a one-off custom coffin for my mis-fit body.
So thanks Kumal for correctly identifying that I truly am the #1 mis-fit at mcusa.
And to conclude on a serious note, thanks to all those readers who take the time and trouble to comment – good or bad on my articles: I am very grateful for your interest.