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.....?"
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!)
Then we have their only(?) Peel session from ,appropriately , the 4th of July 1978.
4. Teacher's Prayer
DOWNLOAD an evening outs with the peel session and the rest of the Desperate Bicycles retrospective HERE!