CHERUB: Brigands M.C. - Robert Muchamore

CHERUB: Brigands M.C. - Robert Muchamore

Part One


The Brigands Motorcycle Club began in California in 1966, founded by an armed robber named Kurt Oxford. There were dozens of clubs just like it: mean dudes on big bikes, oozing menace and scaring regular citizens.

The Brigands weren’t the largest biker gang, nor the toughest or most notorious. Many thought Kurt Oxford’s death in a 1969 prison shooting would be their end. But instead of breaking up or being absorbed by a larger club – ‘patched over’ in biker speak – the Brigands expanded.

As he cruised Los Angeles freeways on his Harley Davidson, Kurt Oxford never could have imagined that his motorcycle club would one day have seventy chapters spanning the United States and a hundred more, from Sydney to Scandinavia. In 1985, Brigands membership was estimated at more than three thousand full-patch members, and ten times that number of associates and hangers-on.

Only a full-patch member of the Brigands is entitled to wear the club’s colours: an embroidered logo depicting a caped highwayman brandishing a sawn-off shotgun.

Excerpt from Riding with Kurt and the Brigands by Jane Oxford


Out of eleven British chapters, the South Devon Brigands ranked second only to London in power and seniority. Their clubhouse was a creaky affair, converted out of a pair of barns on fifteen acres close to the wealthy enclave of Salcombe. On a clear day the video cameras mounted around its corrugated metal fence could peer over the barbed wire at millionaires’ yachts moored in the marina below.

Dante Scott was eight years old, son of Scotty, the vice-president of South Devon Brigands. Dante was a tough kid who’d swing at anyone who took the mickey out of his tangled red hair. He liked hanging out with his dad at the Brigands clubhouse, which was usually on Wednesday and Friday nights when his mum drove to Plymouth for evening classes.

Bikers played pool, drank, smoked dope, swore and didn’t want kids under their feet. Nobody ever cleaned the compound outside and Dante’s mum told him never to play out because of broken glass and jagged metal, but he’d never been hurt and his dad didn’t mind if it kept him occupied.

Dante would get behind the wheel of a wrecked Ford and pretend to drive, or make a ramp with bits of rotting wood and send empty beer kegs crashing down the hill. Mostly there were other kids around. The ground was too sloped for football, so they’d play hide-and-seek or tag, which was most enjoyable in the dark with torches. Best of all was when Teeth came and coached kids in the boxing ring.

None of the Brigands were exactly teddy bears, but Teeth looked scary even by their standards. Huge and muscular, he wore sharp spurs on the back of his boots and greasy jeans held up with a length of bike chain that could be ripped out and used to beat the shit out of anyone who messed with him.

Biker names were usually ironic. Little George was the size of a house, Fats as thin as a rake and Teeth had nothing but squishy gums and a couple of brown molars at the back. He’d never say how he lost them. Dante asked one time and Teeth just said, you should have seen the state of the other guy.

Teeth was a nightclub bouncer with a sideline in drug dealing, but he wanted to be a pro wrestler. Sometimes he’d get a few weeks’ work at a holiday camp in the summer and he’d wrestled on TV a couple of times, though he wasn’t one of the big stars who got in the wrestling magazines stacked up in Dante’s bedroom.

Teeth would take Dante and any other boys who were interested into the big room at the back of the main barn which contained an ancient boxing ring with frayed ropes and a warped floor. He’d taught Dante how to box properly, how to do Karate kicks and headlocks and all kinds of other stuff that he wasn’t supposed to tell his mum because his dad said she’d go spare.

Every Brigand in the world has to attend a Wednesday-night clubhouse meeting known as church. Church night was Dante’s favourite. Wives and girlfriends of the chapter’s sixteen full-patch members would make food and get drunk at the bar while the men had their meeting in a little outbuilding known as the chapel. There were always other kids around.

Joe was always there. He was the son of the Führer, the chapter president. Dante