Last Rose Of Summer

Yesterday was lovely, largely. The sun shone all day, in the morning I had a great cycle ride round High Legh and through Tatton Park. Later on we wandered round Knutsford town centre, poking around a few pricey antique shops, went for a cup of tea and some cake, sat in the sun for a bit. Some idiots* in Leicester town centre spoilt it a little but you can’t have everything. The late September sun was making me wonder whether this would be the last really nice day of the year, as a sunny day at this time of year always does.

Then this song was linked to somewhere by someone- Last Rose Of Summer by North Lanarkshire’s Delgados. A beautiful, fragile and quietly-noisy song. The Delgados made a bunch of fine records and were named after Pedro Delgado, Tour De France winner in 1988 and the 1985 and 89 Vueltas. No bandwidth so no download. This was from a Peel Session.

* Those idiots would be, in no particular order 1) Referee Mark Clattenburg 2) United’s panicky, under equipped defence 3) Leicester’s thug-in-chief Vardy 4) Dutch ‘genius’ Louis van Gaal who has splurged £160 million quid without noticing we have a somewhat leaky back four.

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Le Tour (En Derbyshire)

I cycled up to a few miles east of Glossop yesterday to watch the Tour de France as it dipped out of Yorkshire and into Derbyshire. The Tour passing within twenty-five miles of my front door was too good an opportunity to resist and it was a lovely day for a ride. In fact I sunburnt my wrists. An hour before the cyclists shoot along a cavalcade of sponsors’ vehicles pass along the route throwing out freebies (caps, Haribos, lighters etc). These four Miffys made me smile.

I took this photo moments before the leaders hurtled past- I was on a hillside right by a hairpin bend. You can see everyone in the picture turning their heads to the left as the leaders and then the peloton appeared out of nowhere. Six helicopters buzzed above us. At this point I wondered if I had enough time to both take a photo and watch the riders. Three seconds or so later they had gone, Kittel in yellow tucked in the back of the peloton. A couple of stragglers came past, then the team cars, and that was it. Gone in a flash. Whooosh. Still, brilliant to have seen it, however briefly.

Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali took the stage and le maillot jaune. I didn’t take this picture- I pinched off the internet. Originally I had been planning to go to Sheffield to see the end of the race but plans changed and I cycled home just in time to see the climax on the tv.

I’m feeling a little uninspired with music to post at this exact moment. Here’s The Jam with today’s song.

Monday

Harder Than You Think

There’s all this top sport all over the place at the moment and then the mp3 player shuffled up this on the way home from work on Friday, just as I was at the traffic lights near home. The World Cup and the Tour de France will be poorer for those injuries to poor old Neymar (definitely out) and poor old Mark Cavendish (probably out).

Public Enemy’s Harder Than You Think was a single from their 20th anniversary album How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Lost Their Soul? and proved that Chuck D and co had not lost their edge. It is lit up by a Shirley Bassey horn sample and is probably best known over here as the song that soundtracked the paralympic games two summers ago. This Futurecast remix adds a massive, punishing breakbeat.

Harder Than You Think (Futurecast Remix)

Slip Slide

Glossop is a small town a few miles east of Manchester, nestled into the Pennines and actually in the county of Derbyshire. It’s neighbours are Padfield and Hadfield. Hadfield was the real life setting for The League Of Gentlemen, filmed on the highstreet. Padfield has been the home of Shaun Ryder and Bez in recent years. On Sunday afternoon the Tour De France will sweep by, only a mile or two away before doubling back towards Sheffield for the finish of Etape 2. I’m intending to cycle up there on Sunday morning and stake my place at the side of the road and wait for the peloton to shoot past at some ridiculous speed.

Glossop was also the home of C86 janglers the Bodines whose single Therese is acknowledged as a classic of the period. I also have a soft spot for their 1987 single Slip Slide although I think the consensus is that signing to a major label had sucked the life out of the band by this point. A shame as they had real promise.

Slip Slide

Speed Of Dark

Mr Weatherall’s been very busy recently, remixes pouring out hither and thither- another newbie can be found here. It’s a ten minute spacey job of Iceland’s Emiliana Torrini (and there’s a free download button too). Mid-tempo, chuggy, synth workout that goes on and on and on.

Picture spot- Raymond Poulidor, the best rider never to win the Tour de France. Eternally second.

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.

Lanterne Rouge

I’ve been really enjoying watching the Tour de France this year. Those gruelling climbs in the Pyrenees and the Alps, the flat racing around the city of Tours recently, the sprint finishes, the helicopter shots of them breezing along at 35 mph through beautiful French countryside, the way that two or three riders make a break early and hang on for ages and then a few kilometres from the line the peloton appears like a swarm of brightly clad bees and just swallows them up. I especially like the lanterne rouge, the award given to the man finishing last. Given that he may be last out of 180 odd riders, the lanterne is highly sought after. After all, the rider has to finish within a percentage time of the man finishing first, so the lanterne rouge winner has cycled 3000 plus kilometres and shown huge endurance and had to compete within a set time. And in a world (our whole world, not the cycling world) where winning, being first, being top dog, being the outstanding candidate, is more and more the be all and end all, I think it’s great that the last man in gets a prize, for finishing and not dropping out. Three cheers for all those who come last and still succeed.

My favourite song about cycling is this Billy Childish classic, Medway Wheelers- a song about the cycling club his mother was a member of in the 40s and 50s. Cracking video too.

I’ve posted Medway Wheelers before so we’ll have a different Billy song for today’s mp3. Billy’s new band The Chatham Forts (or CTFM) have recently released an lp and two singles. It’s a bit of an angular, ’79 punk style thing, apparently having been inspired by finding a book of lyrics Billy wrote 36 years ago and deciding to record them as an album.

I Should Have Been In Art School