Monday, March 2, 2015

Take Sleigh Rein

Have almost forgotten what it’s like to ride a bike. February dumped record snow with banks taller than Labann, so for over a month streets have been almost impassable by any vehicle other than a one horse open sleigh or snowmobile. So unreal, never had to shovel off roof before, or trade shift cables for sleigh reins. March began with more of the same. As shown, windowing another chance. Only forecast that matters is when ice base won't refreeze overnight. Hunkered down and researched another collection of previously undiscovered songs and videos:

Andrew Duhon, Tandem Bike, The Moorings
Antonio Pinto, Barbie Bike, MacFarland, USA [sndtrk], Walt Disney Rec., 2015
Ben Ely’s Radio Five, Get on the Mic and Ride it Like a Bike, Transcending Reality, Valve Rec., 2008
Charlene Soraia, Bike (Live), London Sessions EP, Seesaw Records, 2008
Obsessive love of the low self esteemed: “I like the fact you tend to ride out on your bike, and come home after forging for the lonely likes of me.”
Cobson, Like a Bike Without Brakes, single, Anna Muchin, 2007
Cola, Bike Racks, single, 1998
Craig D’Andrea, Three Mile Bike Ride [guitar instr.], Getting Used to Isolation, Candy Rat Rec., 2009
Dan Bern, Bike, Macaroni Cola, self, 2007
Dot Wiggin Band, Banana Bike [juvenile], Ready! Set! Go!, self, 2013
Froggy Fresh, Stolen Bikes [hip-hop], Money Maker, self, 2012
Froggy Fresh, Stolen Bikes 2 [hip-hop], Dream Team, self, 2014
Gadjet, My Bike, Nitro Circus [sndtrk], Give 2 Get Music, 2012
I’m saving gas money, times are fricking hard.
Heinz Kessling, On Your Bike [instr.], It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia [sndtrk], Extreme Music, 2010
Noted before that cast acted aggressively and stupidly toward bicyclists.
Hey Buster, I Like My Bike [juvenile], I Like My Bike, self, 2015
When the cold winds blow and the streets are filled of snow, I drive a car. I know it’s not right but I won’t be cycling until the Spring.
Hurtbird, I Like My Bike, Nature vs. City, self, 2010
James Newton Howard, Sell the Bike [orchestral], Nightcrawler [sndtrk], Lakeshore Rec., 2014
Ambitious and eager Lou Bloom steals a beach bum’s bike and pawns it for camera equipment. Howard scores it like a moment of inspiration.
The Lennings, Bike, Big Beige Car, self, 2007
Lex Zaleta, I Like Bike, Lex’s Laugh Tracks, self, 2007
Maarten Swaan, Broken Bike, Broke Bike, Whatabout Music, 2011
Maia Vidal, God is My Bike, God is My Bike, Crammed Discs, 2012
Hell, yeah!
McBusted, Riding on My Bike, McBusted, Island Rec., 2014
Me Against Myself, It’s Like Riding a Bike, Listen EP, 2011
Memory Waste, Ride All Night: Hipster indies hope to but snub all reasonable safety guidelines.
Michelle Featherstone, Blue Bike, Blue Bike, self, 2009
Mike Merz, Like Riding a Bike, The Odd Side of the Street, Archangel Media Empire, 1999
Mindy Gledhill, Little Red Bike, Pocketful of Poetry, self, 2013
Molly Maguire, Bike, Bike, Portico Music, 2012
The Race, Not Like Riding a Bike, The Perfect Gift, Flameshovel Rec., 2002
Reptar, Ghost Bike, Body Faucet, Vagrant Rec., 2012
Rhye, The Fall, Woman, Polydor UK, 2012
Video depicts a middle age man pining for carefree teen days and taking out his bike. Lyrics have nothing to do with cycling.
Sam Lachow, Brand New Bike [hip-hop], Brand New Bike, Dream & Produce, 2011
Sophie Clements, John Hendicott, Bicycle Samba [concrete], single, self, 2004
Soullone, Riding on My Bike, I’m Broke Like You but I Sound Like This, self, 2010
Sunny Day Rainbows, I Like Riding My Bike [juv.], Sunny Day Rainbows, self, 2012
Tangerine Dream, Dolls in the Shadow, Melrose, Private Music, 1990
Album cover and video shows trio riding bicycles. Founding member and pioneer of synthesized music Edgar Froese died on January 23rd, 2015, at age 70, and is survived by group’s lead guitarist Jerome Froese, his son. Keyboardist Paul Haslinger has long since gone solo. Group was notorious for producing over 100 classically inspired albums and surrealistic soundscapes in games like Grand Theft Auto and numerous films. They were listed in B&C’s appendix for song Three Bikes in the Sky.
Terry Mardell & The Bikestars, I Like to Ride My Bike, single, 2010

Monday, February 9, 2015

Vandyke Mane

A caricature of a revolutionary with a hair mane and vandyke beard derives from Lenin and Marx. Lately it better describes contemporary agitator and The Trews spokesman Russell Brand, who clearly sees through Fox News’ divisive dehumanization masking greedy motivation and wants the rich to pay their fair share. Media is dominated by giant conglomerates; panicked on-air celebrities with impassioned speeches mimic Hitler trying to twist opinion to fortify their untenable position. Worse, in this culture war, partisans on all sides use massacres as political capital. Must you buy into their tactics? Instead, blame boards of directors and Islamic dictators for incensed Jihad fought against bystanders, since protected instigators are unassailable. Since 1990s Labann has said the same thing as Brand but never so blatantly while trying to embrace equality, fraternity and liberty for all except those who’ve unduly taken advantage. Conservative, jihadi, libertine, nazi, rebel? All extremism is fundamentally misguided.

Unesco’s Joint Message of 3 May 2002 appeals to journalists on issues of media freedom and terrorism, “Neither be cowed by threats nor become a mere mouthpiece of patriotic sentiment or inflammatory opinion.” Like learning to ride a bicycle, you must find balance. Since 9-11, peace has been disrupted by an unresolved “war against terror” in a “pervasive atmosphere of paranoia in which press freedom and pluralism have suffered.” No uniform definition exists for the term terrorism, more describing an incurable effect than neglected root cause. Posturing and threatening hardly merit attention when majority is discontent. Hundreds of journalists have been slain by those who don’t want atrocities exposed. Promoting fear, ignorance and intolerance recruits more revolutionaries and reinforces media oppression. Seems rather deliberate, designed to garner gutless votes. “Let them kill each other,” scheme the rich, who hunker down as murder rates rise and make more guns and laws against restrictions.

Capitalism fails the majority, middle class and poor. Communism lacks personal incentives which produce competitive choices. Neither exists in pure form. All political theories have merged into a murky socialism full of personal entitlements without team commitments. Even social security, once supported by a 1:16 ratio of retiree to workers, will soon be down to 1:2, thus default and end. How long before youth reject paying into something they’ll never collect? Latest reports claim that only 1% of population holds 50% (if not more) of total wealth. You'd think 95% would be held by middle class, who grow food and make everything. Were that true, they’d be in a better position to assist the poor whom the wealthy ignore. But celebrity babblers and rabble rousers only make stinks over what majority already thinks. B&C throughout depicts how humans believe they behave well but fail. Ethics exists on a wide spectrum from justified homicide to self sacrifice.

Perhaps it is time to abandon any notion of intellectual or personal property. Basic information has lost all value with a free internet. Websites cover every aspect of life except information you can use to get ahead. No, that’s already locked down. With 135 million titles in the Library of Congress alone, and many times more articles, books and papers than that floating around, everything that can be said already has been. You’ll be put off literature after reading dozens of books saying the same thing, even quoting each other, more footnotes attributing sources than innovative content pursuing truth. While masses must be reminded repetitively to ignore empty threats, one must be woefully ignorant to believe he/she can say anything new, just what transpires. Opportunities to try are granted by a supportive society who clothes, educates, feeds, and shelters you without prejudice. Entire community owns all your ideas in return for services already rendered. You are neither obliged to serve without compensation nor supposed to hold them hostage in return.

Brand on a ride with now divorced wife, half time superstar Katy Perry.

As the epitome of capitalist spectacles, Superbowl 49 garnered television’s highest audience ever, 115 million viewers. The most despised ad shown during was a Nationwide Insurance spot that depicted a child on a tricycle, unable to catch up with boys on bicycles, who brought attention to accidental deaths among America’s youth. Car collisions account for most of them as the #1 cause of death among people under 25 years old. Distant genocide raises fewer hackles than neighbor fatalities, both of which audience causes. Nationwide wants not only to collect premiums but to reduce payouts by getting you to drive defensively and stay off streets. It's a manipulative, one-sided conversation. Those who raise important issues are seldom appreciated and usually reviled. Labann knows this better than anyone.

As communist transportation, bicycle in Chinese, 腳踏車 (zixingche), literally translates as Foot Tread Car. Not only the top selling brand in anti-monarchy China, still nicknamed the Kingdom of Bicycle, the Flying Pigeon, 飞鸽 (Fei Ge), is the best selling mechanized conveyance in world history with a half billion units sold worldwide from 1950 through 2007, the last year for which figures were posted, though still in production of about 25 million per year. Lack of competition, only 3 models, and state mandate made them ubiquitous there. Its head tube badge with dove over FG rips off Raleigh’s heron over R&co that brands the utility model upon which it was directly based despite patents demanding otherwise. The first new bike Labann ever owned after learning on hand-me-downs, Raleigh built tens of thousands of bikes each year from 1888 until it closed in 2003. Dutch multinational Accell Group continues building that brand in Taiwan, though not if China had its way.

Caught between cultures, the dispossessed latch onto abandoned property and squat in anarchy. Circle A symbolizes cycling counterculture. The dole barely keeps anyone without subsistence enterprise alive, deters car ownership, and encourages rebellion, though society doesn’t owe common slobs anything and inadvertently subsidies crap art and devolution. Coke and meth stimulate purposeless subversion and supplant mutual advantages. Addicts and dealers prey upon whoever has slightly more. With whatever they can seize, snort, steal or swallow they’ve formed an entire ephemeral empire of crust, mosh, punk and rap in short vicious outbursts. The smugly comfortable care or hear little about these localized disturbances before they disappear and resurface elsewhere. Bicycle freedom inspires freedom of speech, a human right many have died to uphold. The cure is neither counseling nor medicating but gaining trust and guaranteeing justice, which everyone can support.

Given bicycling is considered outmoded and generally marginalized, it puzzles why there are so many directly related instances of art and witnesses in song. Austrian punk rockers Bicycle Terror feature their own Bicycle Terror Theme Song and recommend several bike songs from other underground groups, including:
Afternoon Gentlemen, Barthu and the Bike [grindcore], White Cider Chronicles, Bovine Rec.
Död Human, Bike Punks [Catalan crust], Död Human, Espasmo Discos, 2013
Grinch, Snow Bicycle [J-pop], Trash Break Vol. 003, Natural Hi-Tech Rec., c. 2012

A little digging beneath Död Human revealed an overlooked Eurocentric radio playlist of anarchic bike tunes, excluding ones already in blog or book, confirmed through secondary sources:

A.T.O. (Another Terrorist Organization), Bike Punx, Live at Sacarapa Lodge #86, 2004
A.T.O. (Another Terrorist Organization), Bike Punx Unite, For Terrorists in Training, 2004
Bici Hardcöre, Dis Bike Punk, [Spanish, single], 2012
Bici Hardcöre, Mi Bici H H H Letra [Murcian, single], self, 2011
Bici Hardcöre, Ni Carril Bici, Ni Òstias! [Spanish, single], self, 2011
Crucial Unit, Bikes Not Bush, Sea of Steel, Vol. 1, R.A.M.B.O. & Crucial Unit Split EP, Ed Walters Rec., 2001
Daston, Mother Bicycle With Dream [Japanese], Continuously Attack of Endless Shock EP split with Gouka, Forest Rec., 1996
Diskoiraa, Utzi Pakean Bizikleta [Spanish], nasi_goreng_adiktion, Disco Enfermos, 2012
Divide & Conquer, Bike Punx! [French in English], Split CD w/ Juggling Jugglars, Sanjam Records, 1997
Divide & Conquer, The Bike Militia, The Need To Amputate EP, Ginger Liberation/Maloka Records, 1998
Face Up To It! Stabbed In The Bike, [French, single], c. 2006
Fearless Vampire Killers, Bike [Japanese], Rally Round the F.V.K., MCR Co., 1989/1998
The Fight, Bike Song [English], Chained to Your Lies, Fat Wreck Rec., 2003
Heroes & Zeros, Bicycle [Norwegian], Wake Up Call, Mad Butcher Rec., 2011
Human Alert, Opoe Bike Part 2 [Dutch], Sex, Drugs & Anarchy, earGear, 2000
Idiot Talk, Fixie Bike, Idiot Talk EP, Build Me A Bomb Rec., 2011
In Defence, Bike Thieves Can Suck It! {Minneapolis punk], Don’t Know How to Breakdance, self, 2007
The Kl'emones, Bike Punks [Polish, single]
Mönster, (Next) Bike Song, Death Before Disorder, Sabotage, 2005
Oi's 'R' Us/Mihoen, De Fiets Van Wim [Dutch], RaAST Door, In the Wok Rec., 1998
R.A.M.B.O., Bike, Skate, Mosh, Wall of Death The System, 625 Thrashcore, 2001
Small Brown Bike, Red Light, Recollected, Old Point Light, 2013
SNFU, Drunk On A Bike, The One Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Epitaph, 1995
Tom & Boot Boys, Going By My Favorite Bicycle, Pogo 77 Record Compilation, Brutus Rec., 2004
Über, I Will Go By Bike [Spanish in English], Segon Senzill EP, Bowery Rec., 2015
Viktors Hofnarren, Vive Le Vélo [German crust], Jobbykrust, Maximum Voice Prod., 1996

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rhapsody Apophenian

People have a tendency to superimpose patterns on random phenomena, what psychologists call apophenia. Epiphany can be creative, finding faces and forms in clouds, though its opposite, apophany, forcing everything to fit into your mania, is delusional and, depending upon degree, schizophrenic. This patternicity or randommania also ties to belief in the paranormal and other Type 1 Errors: Divination, gambler’s fallacy, numerology, unscientific conclusions. Every bump in the night isn’t caused by a ghost; world is noisier during day, so routine rattlings may not be noticed until quiet intervenes. Likewise, bicycling, though prevalent for last 150 years, wasn’t always such a profound influence on culture. Last year’s April Fools post stated, “Bicycles didn’t mobilize legions of Imperium Romanum.” Then odd ideas intersect your vector and warrant reassessment.

Though its name derived from Latin means “to run again”, a palindrome bears no resemblance to a velodrome, a track where cyclists race around. Why is it not called a palinilap? Can you guess who* is referenced by, "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama"? As a sentence or word that reads the same backward and forward, must palindromes also provide radar into someone’s identity? Clearly, no. There’s nothing to them other than humanity’s proclivity for play.

Shown in facsimile, the Sator Square, made before 79 AD, is considered among the oldest known examples. Cleverly constructed, it’s in Latin, readable from 4 directions. It has been analyzed for ages and ascribed with superstitious portent. Has it any connection to bicycles? Bicycles were realized millennia later, but aren’t these anachronistic terms suggestive?

SATOR could mean author, founder, god, originator, or sower of seeds. Scholars speculate that AREPO must be a proper name, though it could describe someone who creeps along or slowly measures, reminiscent of cyclists with cyclometers, especially those riding hesitantly forth as suitors to someone other than cousins or siblings to improve the gene pool. TENET holds or masters, OPERA works, and ROTAS are wheels, though as a verb it could mean spin. Wheels to modern ears would signify bikes or cars, though chariots or wagons to ancient Romans. Auriga, the charioteer, a diamond frame constellation balanced on celestial equator, was indeed the prototypical 2-wheeler.

Commonly translated, "The sower Arepo holds wheels with effort,” makes little sense. Context long lost, could be about charioteers, as “The wheelwright purveys wheels,” or ploughmen, “Whoever plants must attend plough’s wheels,” but what would be the point? As an amulet, probably symbolizes the perpetual rotation of day and night that sows new troubles with which to deal. Or may just be foolish graffiti no more meaningful than aibohphobia (fear of palindromes) or, "I’m a lasagna hog, go hang a salami." Rather imagine it as some prescient statement, “The author, a careful measurer of everything coming, has a book for you about bicycles,” thus making it personal and relevant.

This final translation is just a fantasy one shouldn't take seriously instigated by recently announced route of 2015’s Giro d’Italia; Stage 9 will swing near where Sator Square was found, in the shadow of Vesuvius, the volcano that erupted flowing ash, land and lava over Herculaneum, thus preserving this enigma to vex modernity.

* Rough Rider President Teddy Roosevelt.

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality. Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see. I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy, because I'm easy come, easy go, little high, little low. Anyway the wind blows doesn't really matter to me.”—Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, 1975, "A" Side to "I'm in Love with My Car"