Fabien Beardsly, Mphil Spoons, born 1982 in a small rural village on the border between Somerset and Devon, was educated at his local primary where his irascible English teacher Mr Swallow first introduced him to the worlds of JK Jerome, PG Wodehouse and Eric Newby. He passed through secondary education without great note and attended university in South London and Bangor without flying colours.
Like many of his generation, the world of employment did not immediately attract, and he found himself doing odds and ends in London following his education, such as working for Filing Cabinet Ltd, Whisky are us and other unillustrious employers. After the Ukrainian Orange Revolution in 2005, and the opening of Ukraine’s borders due to the Eurovision Song Contest of the same year, Fabien left London and sought employment as a teacher in Ukraine. Following two years working as an English teacher, both in language and literature, Fabien left the Ukraine, to cycle through the Slavonic states and Western Europe on his custom made single speed Takhion.
The meandering route took him in no particular order through Moldova, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Italy, where his bicycle was stolen in Trieste. For 50 euros he purchased an old Di Blasi, which he was forced to jettison in the Valle D’Aosta when he made an abortive attempt at ascending Gran Paradiso. Continuing on foot, and with the aid of his thumb, Fabien skipped out Switzerland and strolled into France with the intention of walking along the spine of the Pyrenees taking in the three major peaks of Possets, Aneto and Perdido.
Again meeting failure in his mountaineering exploits, Fabien returned to France where he bought a red Peugeot racer in Pau which took him to the home of France’s cycling champions, namely Brittany, and in this instance Plouescat. Despite knowing no French, Fabien remained in Plouescat for 6 months working as a sardine preparer for a local catering company while trying unsuccessfully to acquire enough mastery in the French language to translate Gerard de Nerval properly into English. A longing for the winding road drove Fabien away from the sea, and back onto his wheels, which he slowly pedalled along the Breton coast as far as St Malo before taking the ferry back in time to meet the recession with open arms.
Returning to London in early 2008, Fabien sold his Peugeot to a man in Hackney, and now works in Borough Market Friday and Saturday selling tea, and for the remainder of the week works at a climbing wall in East London. He owns two bicycles, and can frequently be found in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street with a half drunk pint of stout and a receding hairline.