Bicycles, Sgt. Pepper and “The One on the Right is on the Left”!

I don’t quite know what happened this week but my blogging mojo left me. First of all I had intended to write a few age-related posts ahead of my birthday next week but that old chestnut time, or the lack of it, got the better of me. I then spent a couple of hours last night looking at the screen, unable to string a coherent sentence together. My long list of “posts pending” and my American Odyssey series both require a fair bit of research and to be honest, at the moment, I’m just not in the mood. I blame the fact that this week has been especially spreadsheet-heavy at work, where the numbers side of my brain has obviously encroached on the space usually left for words. In situations like this, for the second week in a row, it will have to be a web-diary type of post.

On Wednesday evening we went along to the local college where Mr WIAA “works” in the art department (although it all sounds a bit of a lark to me). There was a year-end exhibition of the student’s work and it usually makes for an interesting evening where we also get the chance to buy some pieces at very reasonable prices – Who knows, maybe one day these young artists will become famous and their pieces will be worth something. For one group of students, yarn bombing was something that had featured heavily this year, and I did like this bicycle.

A bicycle of the knitted variety

This week has also of course been politics-heavy ahead of next week’s “snap” election and although most bloggers steer away from such topics, I cannot deny that the issues at stake have infiltrated my thoughts a lot over the last seven days. The television debates (or non-debates actually) have not been particularly effective and as usual I end up warming most to the Green Party leaders and candidates, but they are never going to be able to form a government (can you imagine them having a special relationship with Mr Trump after his withdrawal from the Accord de Paris this week), so the best alternative it will have to be. Like the Greens, Jeremy Corbyn is against nuclear weapons of any kind but of course he is continually hectored and harangued about whether he would ever actually “press the button” if the need arose. I’m with the young lady from the Question Time studio audience who shook her head in dismay at how so many in the room seemed bent on, in effect, killing millions of people. If things get that bad, it’s curtains for us all anyway.

In the meantime, my employers, as well as creating a new paper-less environment have also created a car park-less environment. This has led to the initiation of a cycle-to-work scheme, where eco-bikes are now at our disposal – The Greens would be proud of them although it’s not always easy being of that persuasion and Andy Hallett sang all about it back in 2001!

It’s Not Easy Being Green by Andy Hallett:

Still thinking fondly of the knitted bicycle from earlier in the week, Mr WIAA and I went to a local café today where they also show you how to fix and repair your bike. It is right next to the college so a frequent pit stop for staff and students alike. Called Velocity Café, it is run by enterprising youngsters who have created a great little hub for like-minded souls right in the centre of town. We sat at one of the long tables where you can have a chat with fellow diners or catch up with the newspapers. And this is where I had a bit of an emotional moment over my butternut squash and red lentil soup. In today’s Review section of The Guardian there was an excellent piece by the author Ian McEwan (link here) which really got to me. Right at that moment in time, I wanted nothing more than to live in a land full of Velocity Cafés, and not one where people who are reluctant to launch nuclear weapons are lampooned.

Fortunately I pulled myself together and we even had one of their award winning granola slices for which Mr WIAA managed to get the secret recipe last year. He has attempted to make them a few times now but they never turn out quite like in the café – Methinks they perhaps left out some of the key ingredients, as a secret recipe would no longer be secret, if given out willy-nilly to customers.

Not a lot of music so far included in this post and funnily enough, when it comes, it’s not going to be bicycle related although that does seem to have become the theme for this post. Whilst having lunch, BBC 6 Music was playing on the radio and it was a programme about the Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” which was released 50 years ago this week. I am not remotely qualified to write knowledgably about this ground-breaking album, so I’ll stick to the facts. It was their 8th album release and spent 27 weeks at the top of the UK charts. It was “lauded by critics for its innovative approach to music production, songwriting and graphic design and was probably the first album to bridge the divide between popular music and legitimate art“. Peter Blake’s album sleeve is arguably the most famous of all time, consisting of a collage of 88 figures which included the Beatles themselves. Copyright was a major problem as Brian Epstein had to locate each person in order to get permission to use their image out of context. Looking closely at some of those figures, this can’t have been easy. Today sitting in the café I think I found a renewed affection for this album as it is one of those that has perhaps become a bit over-familiar to my ears. Time maybe for a proper re-visitation over the coming week to mark its landmark birthday.


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles:

So, “What’s It All About?” – We’re heading to our polling stations again next week and although I have been very good at predicting the results of the last few elections and referendums, I have tended myself to always back the losing side. I often visit Jez’s site over at A History of Dubious Taste and he has put together some very good posts on the political goings on (read shenanigans) over the past few weeks – Informative but funny too, so I would thoroughly recommend a visit. This also reminds me of a song he featured a couple of weeks ago which is perfect for tonight’s post. I’d never heard it before but it has become a guilty pleasure over the last fortnight. I will leave you with Johnny Cash and The One On The Right Is On The Left and will return next week once we all know the outcome – Politically charged times indeed!

The One On The Right Is On The Left Lyrics
(Song by Jack Clement)

There once was a musical troupe
A pickin’ singin’ folk group
They sang the mountain ballads
And the folk songs of our land
They were long on musical ability
Folks thought they would go far
But political incompatibility led to their downfall

Well, the one on the right was on the left
And the one in the middle was on the right
And the one on the left was in the middle
And the guy in the rear was a Methodist

This musical aggregation toured the entire nation
Singing the traditional ballads
And the folk songs of our land
They performed with great virtuosity
And soon they were the rage
But political animosity prevailed upon the stage

Well, the one on the right was on the left
And the one in the middle was on the right
And the one on the left was in the middle
And the guy in the rear burned his driver’s license

Well the curtain had ascended
A hush fell on the crowd
As thousands there were gathered to hear the folk songs of our land
But they took their politics seriously
And that night at the concert hall
As the audience watched deliriously
They had a free-for-all

Well, the one on the right was on the bottom
And the one in the middle was on the top
And the one on the left got a broken arm
And the guy on his rear, said, “Oh dear”

Now this should be a lesson if you plan to start a folk group
Don’t go mixin’ politics with the folk songs of our land
Just work on harmony and diction
Play your banjo well
And if you have political convictions keep them to yourself
Now, the one on the left works in a bank
And the one in the middle drives a truck
The one on the right’s an all-night deejay
And the guy in the rear got drafted


As this was a very bicycle-heavy post it does seems wrong to leave without sharing anything musically related to bikes. Here is a clip that I revisit often as from that impressive London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. The song Come Together was very appropriately for this post a Beatles one, but in this case was performed by the Arctic Monkeys. I loved those guys on the bicycles and from what I have just heard this morning on the news, the sentiment of the song is more relevant than ever.

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

13 thoughts on “Bicycles, Sgt. Pepper and “The One on the Right is on the Left”!”

  1. Like you, I would vote green if they had a chance. I suspect many people feel the same but in the end will choose the only possible alternative to our current plutocratic despots. I doubt even that will be enough to effect a change. I almost wish I was in America now: at least they know it’s only a matter of time before Trump is unthroned. It feels like we’re stuck like this forever.

    I wonder what would happen if you took a knitted bicycle to the Velocity Cafe?

    Happy birthday if you don’t post again before the big day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a little bit in love with Caroline Lucas and also with our own Patrick Harvie as everything they say just makes such sense to me. Sadly the world we live in is not quite ready for them.

      I imagine the knitted bicycle might have been something suggested for the cafe but it would end up being infused with the scents of coffee and soup probably and deteriorate quite quickly. The lady who created it knitted a Mini last year which ended up in a garage showroom.

      Thanks in advance for the birthday wishes in case I don’t post again, although I will try.


  2. Alyson, I haven’t been on a bike in decades, but I’d be happy to pedal around town atop the one in the photo. It’s cool.

    Hard to believe that Pepper came out half a century ago. It seems almost like yesterday to me.

    Enjoy the remainder of the weekend —

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the bicycle does look cool but probably not a practical ride around town!

      As for Sgt. Pepper yes, scary indeed how it is 50 years now since its release. I have however noted since starting my blog that the late ’60s seemed to change everything – Early ’60s music was on the whole still reminiscent of the output of previous decades and the artists all dressed so respectably. By the late ’60s/early ’70s the music, the clothes, the social mores had all changed so much – The Sgt. Pepper album contains music that would not sound out of place if released today. I’m guessing you might have been right in the thick of it all back then – In a good way I hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very happy birthday to you for the day from here as well, in case you don’t post beforehand.
    I feel very much the same as everything you express here; I imagine many of your readers would! The Green Party totally makes sense to me but probably not to the world. As you say, hard to imagine them in power and the possibility of any constructive communications between Caroline and the Trump , but I do hope very much they will still be able to increase their influence generally. Seems to me from people I’ve spoken to that they have and they will. Then again, the people I speak to are of similar political leanings so I may not be getting a true picture, but will keep fingers crossed anyway.
    Another awful, sad day for the country – well, for everyone in the world who still holds onto hope for peace and unity – as I write this. Your knitted bicycle photo and shots of the lovely cafe have cheered me up, lovely reminders of the sweeter side of life.
    Great music choices too, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much – I kind of wish I’d not mentioned the birthday now as it would be overkill now to do another post! As I’m finding weekdays now out of the question for blogging however, it is likely I won’t return until next weekend.

      Yes I am noticing that everyone I exchange comments with on the blogosphere tends to think along the same lines which is understandable – I wouldn’t be likely to visit Mr Nuttall’s blog very often if he has one. The great thing about the Greens is that their policies have now had to be adopted by the big mainstream parties so their influence is definitely felt. I wrote this post last night before I knew about the attack in London – Another sad day for the country as you say.

      If all else fails we can set up a bloggers community where people ride knitted bicycles and eat all the lovely things as prepared in Velocity Cafe. I realised as I wrote the above that I was portraying a stereotypical image of myself which is not entirely accurate (don’t actually ride a bike myself as too scared of the traffic) but one I really aspire to. Mr WIAA of course does cycle, and climb, and windsurf, and everything else! Puts me to shame.


  4. Mrs S and I live a fairly isolated existence and it’s sometimes easy to forget that there’s a whole world outside of our little bubble. The last couple of weeks of political squabbling and violent atrocities have served to remind us that not everyone is content with a quiet life, good music and long walks in the country. When I was a lad I wore a badge on my lapel for years that said ‘Peace in the world – not the world in pieces’. Youthful idealism for sure, but it still seems like common sense to me.
    Thanks for introducing me to the excellent looking Velocity Café, for throwing an enjoyable Johnny Cash curve-ball and for teaching me that ‘yarn bombing’ is actually a thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we too lead a fairly simple existence and it does sadden me that such a life is not the norm for most of us. I did watch the benefit concert on Sunday night and was very impressed with all the young artists – Such awful things happening in the world but the word “love” came up time and time again so there is hope.

      I was right in the middle of listening to your Perfect Day compare and contrast when your comment came in so will head back there now!


    1. Gosh – fancy you finding this one. Yes when the mojo leaves me a web-diary type post it has to be and funnily enough a theme seems to develop as you write.

      The paperless office is now up an running but both sterile and cluttered! Sterile because of all the acres of what looks like white kitchen worktop and cluttered because humans do accumulate “stuff” and now no drawers to put it in. Brave new world.


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