Back in the early to mid 90's before the internet had truly taken hold, fans found other means to communicate with each-other. Most read the latest snippets and updates via the official Lisa newsletter as well as a fanzine called Soul Deep. In one particular edition, I remember a small article about a fan who owned a most unusual scooter which he had personally customized and bedecked with images of Lisa across it. Those photos were initially published in black and white, but the images really did not do the bike the justice it deserved to show it off in it's full glory.
At random, several months ago, I came across a Twitter post featuring some photos of this unique bike which pleased me no end. Ray Ward, a fan of Lisa since her first studio album, even named his unique scooter, 'Affection' in honour of Lisa's 5 million seller.
My intrigue got the better of me and as I'm not one to hang around, I wanted to find out some more about Ray and his infamous scooter.
Bev: Hi Ray, thanks for taking the time to chat to the fansite. Tell me, how long have you been a fan of Lisa Stansfield and when did you first discover her music?
Ray: I have been a fan of Lisa's from the offset, really since the launch of the first studio album 'Affection'.
Bev: What was it about Lisa that you first admired?
Ray: Her soulful voice and her as a person. She seems so down to earth.
Bev: Have you ever had the fortunate opportunity to have met the lady herself?
Ray: No I'm afraid I haven't.
Bev: You own a rather unique object that seems to turn a few heads. Can you tell us a about it?
Ray: I acquired a motor scooter quite a few years before I decided what I wanted to do with it. I really wanted to do something new at the time, as other people were doing mythical or Motown, Northern Soul themed scooters. So I thought it was time to bring something new onto the scene and I thought 'why not someone from a soul background'? Then I thought of Lisa.
Bev: It must have set you back a bit customizing it?
It took a lot of money, time and thinking. Luckily enough I had a lot of the best people in the country who were able to help me out and do some work on it for me. It's a Vespa P150X. It has many one off parts which have been especially hand engraved. I believe those touches helps to make my scooter unique. My close friend Andy Horne helped making the one off parts, like a foot rack, in order that I kept my feet off the paintwork. This was really a one off and a first of it's kind.
Bev: I bet it was! So when and where did you purchase your scooter?
Ray: I purchased it in 1987 from my friend Gary and it was just a bog standard scooter at the time in a plain burgundy colour. I was the third owner when I acquired it. It certainly didn't look anywhere like it does now!
Bev: Who did the artwork on it?
Ray: A fantastic airbrush artist called John Spurgeon, who is still trading to date at Aerographics in Norwich. Truly a very talented man.
Bev: So what made you decide to have Lisa Stansfield adorned across your scooter?
Ray: Some of the modern art work on her album covers led me to think that it would really look nice and stylish if I was able to feature those images onto the scooters the panels, and it went from there.
Bev: I remember in the early 90’s seeing an article about your scooter appear in an edition of the Lisa fanzine 'Soul Deep'. How did that come about?
Ray: After turning up to a number of concerts in hope that other people saw the bike, it was just easier for me to send over photos of my bike to Fanzine and they made a little article about it.
Bev: Has your scooter ever featured in other magazines or shows?
Bev: Bearing in mind that your scooter is getting on a bit, would you be tempted to part with it, assuming that the price was right?
Ray: No...! It's got far too much of me in it and certain parts on this bike could never be re-done again . So no way!
Bev: If you had just one wish to take someone on the back of your scooter, who would that be and why?
Ray: I think that I will still stick with having my wife on the back, as she puts up with my moods, tantrums and shortage of money especially at the time when I was building this scooter. My wife really does enjoy going on the back of the bike, just as much as I do really.
Bev: Will you be going to see Lisa on her UK tour in September? If so which gig and should the other fans look out for you turning up on your scooter?
Ray: Yes, actually I'm taking my wife and we are going to the London concert on 10th September. It will be around the date of our wedding anniversary as well. But sadly we will be leaving the bike at home that night and travelling by train, as I don't like the idea of leaving the bike parked up outside somewhere unfamiliar.
*Thanks to Ray Ward for allowing us to feature his unique scooter on the official fan-site.
How much of a dedicated Lisa fan are you? Do you own something unique or have an extraordinary collection that you would care to share? Send us your details here at Contact and if deemed appropriate we will look to feature some of the most interesting stories over the coming months.