Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Desperate Bicycles - "The Complete Works of..." (Refill 1977-80)


Here we go! It was easy ,it was cheap go and do it!............The rear of this single sets out the manifesto of DIY ,for all to follow. A toss up between this and Spiral Scratch as the catalyst for the DIY flood.

 "The Desperate Bicycles were formed in March 1977 specifically for the purpose of recording and releasing a single on their own label. They booked a studio in Dalston for three hours and with a lot of courage and a little rehearsal they recorded 'Smokescreen' and 'Handlebars' It subsequently leapt at the throat. Three months later and The Desperate Bicycles were back in a studio to record their second single and this is the result. "No more time for spectating" they sing and who knows? they may be right. They'd really like to know why you haven't made your single yet. "It was easy, it was cheap, go and do it" (the complete cost of "Smokescreen" was £153) The medium may very well have been tedium but it's changing fast. So if you can understand, go and join a band. Now it's your turn.............."

£153 was a unattainable kings ransom for me in 1977,not to mention having actual instruments;but it made a statement that it was possible to do anything yourself and didn't need to rely on the established method anymore.
They could have done it on cassette for even cheaper, like about a fiver! Though, i'm not sure the cassette machines in 1977 were either, very good, cheap, or even available until the flood started around 1979-ish. Though this fact didn't hinder Throbbing Gristle,who made cassettes from the beginning of 1977(even in 1976?) onwards....but I suspect they had access to more money ,somehow, than the DB's.
DIY hierarchy aside, as a groop,the DB's sounded like the kind of self-righteous bleating soap boxers from the age group caught between hippie and punk that I can't stand. But, stick to the strict principles of DIY they did and still do,and I salute them for it.Musically, a perfect anti-Rock, guitarless format that launched a thousand bontempi organs.I've grown to love it!
(check out the track listing here)
As Danny Wigley still refuses to re-release any Desperate Bicycles work, I thought I'd do it it for him....to paraphrase the rear of the 'iconic' sleeve pictured above:
"It was easier, it was even cheaper, and I went and did it. Now its your turn......But.....?"

WAIT!
There's MORE?..............
As an added bonus to complete the complete recorded Works of the Desperate Bicycles, we have the single by their alter-ego, The Evening Outs.
Side A, "Channel" is excellent experimental Art-Punk,with backwards taping-a-plenty.reminds one of that Pop Group B-side, "3:38"crossed with that other classic B-side,PiL's "Cowboy Song", but with less unhinged screaming and shouting added.
Side B, is a rather annoying,quiet,improv piece,with a recitation about stammering laid on top; a classic 'get it out of the way' B-side.
To sum up, a fine collection of B-side art pop.(I can feel a compilation coming on!)

Tracklist:
A Channel
B Stammer

Then we have their only(?) Peel session from ,appropriately , the 4th of July 1978.

Tracklist:

1. Smokescreen
2. Skill
3. Sarcasm
4. Teacher's Prayer

DOWNLOAD an evening outs with the peel session and the rest of the Desperate Bicycles retrospective HERE!

20 comments:

Andy T said...

Great post but even tho the rar files reads as the right size, it's broken when unpacked. It might just be me but I tried it 3 times
Cheers, Andy T.

Jonny Zchivago said...

hi andy,
i downloaded it from another computer and it seem fine....problem your end?
Try refreshing your browser or restarting the computer?
Cheers.

Andy T said...

No sorry, tried all that but it still blobs out while unpacking Handlebars, same place each time.
Never mind x

Jonny Zchivago said...

I'll re-zip it, see if that helps.

Anonymous said...

A question, if I may? Is the Evening Outs 7" included in this comp?

Nathan.G

Jonny Zchivago said...

Hi, no evening outs yet, will add it when i've found the fucker in my archives.
The new zip file is temporarily without "Handlebars",because the file was corrupt.this will be fixed in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Johnny, good to see you back. 'Acting' from Remorse Code appears to be missing, or is it just me?

everyoneislistening [i.e. Bob Dylarama] said...

Thanks JZ. Was looking forward to this one since the re-ups began.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Isn't it called "Acting"? And last time i looked it was there?
I hope to add the evening outs single too soon.
And the peel session.

VULTURE said...

Got it now! Some great tunes, THANKS!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this Johnny! I also enjoyed that 'Outsider Punk' article you featured in. It should've been much larger with cassettes and international bands. No mention of the heavyweights of this sub-sub genre: Los Punk Rockers and Mentally Ill.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Cheers anoymous,
i suppose you can't feature everything in a couple of pages; it was strictly for the uninitiated. Also they got my details wrong saying the Clash/Suicide concert was at the De Montfort Hall,when it was The Granby Halls.I got a lot of stick for that! I may get the treatment again on old school Industrial,from Record collector.
The Mentally Ill will return,even though I got a DCMA complaint last time I posted that!?....so much for outsider punk eh?

zuiop said...

Ubuntu says: "Create or log in to your Ubuntu One account." So I have to create an account to get the Bicycles?

Jonny Zchivago said...

No Ubuntu account needed because they stopped this service ages ago. I have yet to re-up this to google drive.Will do so today.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Npw Re-upped as of 19th april 2015.

Tom Graham said...

Hi Jonny,

You don't happen to have contact details for Danny Wigley (or any other members) do you? I keep reading that he still refuses interviews etc. - but how does anyone get in touch with him for him to refuse in the first place?

Jonny Zchivago said...

Hi Tom,
no Danny Wigley details i'm afraid.
I assume some inventive journo's can find out his phone number, and receive the refusal to be interviewed in the first person.
He's quite right to not comply in my opinion.
Good to see he's still not selling out.

Tom Graham said...

Hey Danny,

Yeah, I agree with you for the most part. Given the premise of the band, it would be especially disheartening if they re-released their stuff on another label. There are enough bootlegs and downloads kicking around anyway (even though the originals go for too much money!), and this suits them. On the other hand, I don't see the point in refusing interviews. I think the ideals of the band are relevant for today and I think it would be great to hear their views on that, rather than just kind of freeze them in the late 70s. How would the DB's go about things today, I wonder? I think it would be nice to hear from them on that, and could keep the movement going, or play a part in reviving it. DIY is forever!

I think we have kind of opposing views on this though, given your recent writing about bogshed and giving up at the right time and leaving things as they are/were. I get your point, but I also think it's really valid to keep hammering home the same point over and over again, especially if its a worthwhile point that's genuinely counter-cultural and you never lose sight of the original position. Remember the three Rs, the three Rs...

All Best,
Tom

Jonny Zchivago said...

repetition in music can lift once to a higher state, like chanting i suppose. But repetition on the same argument can lead to a kind of fatigue.Like Holocaust fatigue syndrome,the more we bang on the less the shock value until it becomes like horrific wallpaper pasted next to flowery wallpaper.Which leads to public surveys that think Hitler was a fictional character and Sherlock Holmes was real.
I think its best to make an impact when you're fresh, and then retreat tactically, leaving your work to fester and grow into some kind of living myth.Taking care to not ruin it by coming out f the shadows by giving interviews. Art should never be explained for one, and politics should never be over-explained or over-complicated.
There are lots of DB's on the internet underground, and if they(DB's) were around today that is where they would be......
We don't have to explain ourselves to anyone, so i have nothing but admiration for Danny Wigley.
That would of course disappear if they reformed!!!! for some of those old blokes nostalgia gigs,and or re-released their back caalogue. The only reason for that kind of behaviour is to earn dosh.....which is ok if they need to eat,and they are honest about it.
...but...as you say...never lose sight of your original position.
cheers,
Jonny,not Danny;-)

Tom Graham said...

Hey again Jonny,

Sorry about the name, I had Danny Wigley on my mind.

I totally agree with you about the reforming thing, of course. And actually about everything else. And certainly I am not going to berate anyone for wanting to pursue the kind of retreat you mention - it is absolutely valid, and I can see that it is a good way to go, too.

But I don't think that doing an interview on the right platform thirty years after the fact (for free) in any way lessens the original nutshell. It's a separate thing. Or at least I very much hope it doesn't because I like to look up my DIY heroes, as a fan, and interview them! Now you've worried me! The three I've done so far have been with Martin Newell, Honey Bane and ...And the Native Hipsters, and they've all felt very insightful and positive and in no way adding to or detracting from the legacies of their respective pasts, but then again all three are still making music, so perhaps DBs are a special case. I think if people want to do an interview about work they made a long time ago (and other stuff) then that's fine; I don't think the response has to be "oh look they've bloody ruined everything by coming out and yapping their wrinkled gob about their youthful exploits, what a shame". It's not in the same ballpark as re-forming and putting out a shit new record. Maybe if the interview was for NME, but not if it's for a shitty photocopied zine that I make like thirty copies of haha. Would love to interview the Jubilets one day (discovered through your blog, as with so much else - thanks a million!), they seem like swell guys...

Anyway maybe I am too stuck in the past. Trouble is I don't know much about the denizens of contemporary DB's you speak of. Is there an equivalent site to yours where DIY bands of the present link arms and shit downloads? Maybe I should get to know that scene - any blogs or bands or labels greatly appreciated!

All Best,
Tom