The Box

Orbital’s 1996 single The Box was not their usual ambient loveliness but something a bit more disconcerting. Spread over four parts (on the 12″, the cd had only 3 parts I think) it had breakbeats and a Russian sounding refrain. Part Four featured the vocals of the wonderful Alison Goldfrapp. Quaintly the back of the record sleeve has both an internet address and a real address to send an SAE off to in return for a leaflet detailing Orbital merchandise. Wonder if I can still do that- send an SAE off and get something back.

The Box Part 2

Le Tour finishes today with its customary race into Paris. Maurice Garin won the inaugural Tour De France back in 1903. A year later he finished first again but was stripped of his title for cheating. This is from Wiki…

The race aroused a passion among spectators, who felled trees to hold back rivals and beat up others at night outside St Etienne. Garin was one of the mob’s victims. Pierre Chany wrote:
‘In the climb of the Col de la Repulique, leaving St-Étienne, supporters of the regional rider, Faure, assault the Italian, Gerbi. He is thrown to the ground, beaten like plaster. He escapes with a broken finger…
… A bunch of fanatics wielded sticks and shouted insults, setting on the other riders: Maurice and César Garin got a succession of blows, the older brother [Maurice] was hit in the face with a stone. Soon there was general mayhem: “Up with Faure! Down with Garin! Kill them!” they were shouting. Finally cars arrived and the riders could get going thanks to pistol shots. The aggressors disappeared into the night.’

Misbehaviour was rife too between riders and nine were thrown out during the race for, among other things, riding in or being pulled by cars. There were claims, too, that the organisers had allowed Garin to break rules — at one stage being given food where it was not permitted by its chief official — because his sponsor, La Française, had a financial stake in the race.

The French cycling union, the Union Vélocipédique Française, heard from dozens of competitors and witnesses and in December disqualified all the stage winners and the first four finishers: Garin, Pothier, Cesar Garin, and Hippolyte Aucouturier. The UVF did not say precisely what had happened and the details were lost when Tour archives were transported south in 1940 to avoid the German invasion and never seen again. Stories spread of riders spreading tacks on the road to delay rivals with punctures, of riders being poisoned by each other or by rival fans. Lucien Petit-Breton said he complained to an official that he had seen a rival hanging on to a motorcycle, only to have the cheating rider pull out a revolver.
Tales were also said to include ‘Garin taking a train’, a claim confirmed by a cemetery attendant looking after his grave who, as a boy, heard Garin tell his stories as an old man. In December 1904 Garin was stripped of his title and banned for two years.