SPIN

by evalyn parry

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about

evalyn parry's SPIN was released in March 2011, with the premiere of her theatrical stage show of the same name. Featuring a 1972 CCM Galaxie Bicycle as an electro-acoustic instrument, the recording is an audio and thematic celebration of all things bicycle - from the story of the first women to ride around the world on a bike in 1895 (Annie Londonderry), to an infamous 21st century Toronto bicycle thief, SPIN travels from across centuries, finding creative, contemporary connections between our own time and 1890's golden age of the bicycle.

credits

released March 20, 2011

Produced by evalyn parry, Don Kerr and Brad Hart

Recorded at The Rooster Studio, 2011

Featuring evalyn parry (electric and acoustic guitars and vocals), Brad Hart (bicycle, air pump, chains and vocals) and Anna Friz (vocals, accordion, melodica, mbira, electronics)

Mastered by Jeff Caroll, Bluefield Mastering

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about

evalyn parry Toronto, Ontario

Award-winning Canadian songwriter, spoken word artist and theatre creator evalyn parry's genre-bending performances explore a powerful vision of social change. She's been featured at music, storytelling, pride, poetry, and theatre festivals all over the continent, taking her unique perspective on the world and transforming it into art that spans genres, genders and generations. ... more

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Track Name: She Rides
SHE RIDES

spin me like I have already spoken
like a spoke holds its tension
like it’s together that the spokes are the invention of a wheel
that a wheel is only as round as it’s tension
that a wheel is a round invention

She gets on her bicycle, She gets on her bicycle
She gets on her bicycle: she rides!

fragile bodies soaring through the city
on two-wheeled cycles through the traffic and people
steering clear of the potholes and car doors and the streetcar tracks
tuned into our own personal soundtrack
I’m singing out loud as I pedal through the streets
spinning to the rhythm of 4.5 million heart beats

I tend to miss my turnoffs
when I’m tuned in to my turn-on’s
I tend to write sentences that turn into run-on’s
I tend to recycle the same thoughts that circle round
the way I re-cycle the same stretches of ground
on my two-wheeled bicycle that gets me around.

She gets on her bicycle, She gets on her bicycle
She gets on her bicycle: she rides!

I get this feeling on my two-wheeled steed:
when I pick up speed: it feeds something free
the desire for autonomy, moving outside the dominant economy
two wheels, not four: no gas, no oil, no war for this machine
all I need is air, two pedals, a crank and a chain,
two wheels, and a frame
A revolution that keep me arriving, again and again

She gets on her bicycle, She gets on her bicycle
She gets on her bicycle: she rides!

And it’s the back wheel that’s attached to the chain!
It’s the back wheel that’s attached to the chain!
The back wheel is attached to the chain!
The past drives us forward, again and again

The past is behind us; the back wheel is the power
The front wheel freewheels, hour after hour

You can’t ride a bike in 30 pounds of petticoats
You don’t have a voice in a democracy without a vote
A wheel would collapse if it wasn’t for the spokes

She gets on her bicycle, She gets on her bicycle,
She gets on her bicycle: she rides!
Track Name: Instructions for Learning to Ride a Bicycle, by Miss Frances Willard, 1895
Strange as this paradox may seem
You will do this best by not trying to do it at all

You must quickly make up your mind
Or as quickly, be cast in yonder mud puddle

Two things must occupy your thinking powers
To the exclusion of every other thing:
First the goal
Second, the momentum required to reach it!

Do not look down,
Do not look down
Do not look down like an imbecile upon the steering wheel in front of you
that would be as wise as for a nauseated voyager
to fix his instruments upon the rolling waves

it is the curse of life that nearly every one looks down
but the microscope will never set you free:
you must glue your eye to the telescope

look up look up, look off look off
look on look on, look out look out
look out look out look out!
Track Name: Amelia Bloomer Sings for Fashion Reform
Listen ladies, you’ve got me to thank for
Letting you show a little more
of your leg, your legs!

I’m not talking about your shorty-shorts,
your hot pants, leggings or your skinny jeans
Not even in my dreams

In my day, a woman couldn’t show her ankles
Not even the legs of a table could be seen
it would be deemed obscene to show the length of your leg
your leg, your legs,
your legs: your political legs

My name is Amelia Bloomer
I endorsed those long baggy pantaloon-ers
That you see in the pages of history
I would wear them out on the town,
But folks didn’t like a gal who didn’t wear a gown,
No, flattery isn’t why they named them after me!

But in pursuit of emancipation
in the face of a scandalized nation
I said, to be free, a woman needs mobility
She needs the use of her legs!
her legs, her legs, her legs: her political legs

They told me I was off of my head
That a respectable woman should rather be dead
Than dress so indecently, but isn’t it funny
How the simplest fashion innovation
Can have striking political implications:
From bloomers to bikes,
To women gaining their rights

And so I say to all the fashion traitors, and all the innovators:
Don’t take for granted what you’ve got, and please don’t stop
Going out on a limb, fighting to win the rights to your political legs
Your legs, your legs, your legs, your political legs

Would you go out on a limb?
Would you go out on a limb?
Would you go out on a limb?
Would you go out on a limb?
For your legs, your legs: your political legs
Track Name: The Ballad of Annie Londonderry
Would you take a dare, would you take a wager?
What would you wear? Would you wear bloomers?
Would you leave your home without any money?
Would you care if people looked at you funny?

Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry, Annie Londonderry rode no Ordinary!

In 1894, a young woman by the name of Annie Londonderry
Began her journey to become the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle.

She went alone.
She left her husband at home, with her three children.
She was settling a bet between two businessmen:
twenty thousand dollars to ten
that no woman could beat the record of the only man
(one Thomas Stevens) to have cycled round the world, some 10 years previous
The terms of the men’s wager with this:
She must begin her journey penniless
Accept no gratuities: earn five thousand dollars on her journey
Collect the signatures of American authorities
in every foreign city she rode through
To prove where she had been
She had 15 months to complete the ride
And then the prize of ten thousand dollars would be hers.

So on a day in June, 1894, packing only her courage
a pearl-handled revolver
and a change of underwear
Annie Londonderry set out from her home in Boston
To stick it to the man.

Would you take a dare, would you take a wager?
What would you wear? Would you wear bloomers?
Would you care to change things, would you dare to change things?
Would you be laughed at, shrug off the laugh track
Would you ride your bike through a desert without a map
Would you go alone?

Annie Londonderry Annie Londonderry, Annie Londonderry rode no Ordinary

On the morning of Annie’s departure, a crowd some five hundred strong
Gathered in front of the Massachusetts State House to bear witness; to do business:
Sponsors, well-wishers, women’s rights agitators
Sufferagists; nay-sayers, family members, disbelievers
Disapprovers, on-lookers, curiosity seekers and
a representative from Pope Bicycle manufacturers

The Columbia Safety, Safety, Saftety!
Set the standard For Speed, Strength and Beauty!

The Columbia Safety Bicycle is made with Brains and Conscience by Pope Manufacturers: biggest and best bicycle manufacturer in the world!

Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry rode no ordinary

There are so many amazing things about this lady, not the least of which is that “Londonderry”
wasn’t actually Annie’s last name, though it became her claim to fame.
Imagine my surprise to discover that Londonderry was actually the name of her major sponsor.
“The Londonderry Lithia Water Company”
Know in its day to many
for it’s reported benefits in keeping you healthy:
Premium bottled water, for the wealthy!
The Londonderry Lithia Water Company
Gave Annie one hundred dollars to start her journey,
And an advertising placard to hang on her bike
And off she sailed like a kite in the wind: Oh freedom!

Prevents rhumatism, dyspepsia, indigestion and heart disease!

Proudly sponsored by bottled water!
The New Woman!

Cures insomnia, insanity, apoplexy and heart failure!

Taking the product as her own last name,
Effectively marrying a company for material gain.

Would you take a dare, would you take a wager?
What would you wear, would you wear bloomers?
What would it take for you to change your last name?
Is it all a game? Is it all the same?
A spouse or a sponsor? What’s in a name?

Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry! Rode no ordinary

“By the time I got to New York, I spent some time devising a more practical riding costume. Well, I set out from Boston in my blue serge skirt, petticoats, corset, shirtwaist, jacket, hat and gloves, but I found that my skirt kept getting in the way whenever I tried to make any speed and I would be obliged to stop and fix it. So my new costume is made up of long bloomers under a short skirt, which comes only to my shoe tops. This way, when the wind blows, I don’t have to stop to hold down my skirts. “

Finally she traded in her skirts altogether:
Now wearing long bloomers, gathered at the ankle
She also traded in her 42-pound ladies Columbia roadster
for a 21-pound men’s Sterling Rover: Lighter! Sleeker! Easier! Faster!

Sterling! Ride the road like a lady!
You could ride around the world like Miss Annie Londonderry!

"Miss Annie Londonderry, arrived in Buffalo yesterday afternoon and rode to the rooms of the Ramblers Cycling club, where she answered the considerable correspondence awaiting her. Miss Londonderry’s riding trape presents a very attractive appearance: she wears ribbons advertising various goods and received $400 for one firm’s ad that graces her left breast. "

“On my right bloomer leg I am carrying $100 worth of advertisements and I have just closed a contract to cover my left arm. My back is for rent yet and I hope to get $300 for it.”

Would you take a dare? Would you take a wager?
What would you wear, would you wear bloomers?
Would you stand out on a proverbial limb
Would you speak your mind, would you fight to win?
What would you do for freedom?
Cover yourself in slogans? What’s the problem?

Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry rode no ordinary!

“A few weeks back, I stopped in Elkhard, Indiana, where I was threatened with arrest for wearing bloomers. I was forced to apply to the chief of police in order to go about town. The Chief of Police eyed me from head to foot and when he got to the foot, he seemed satisfied and gave me the permit, but the women in town nearly dropped dead, staring at me as though I had escaped from the circus.”

Travelling unaccompanied, Miss Londonderry will be arriving in Cleveland Thursday October 25th, at Eberhart & Wright’s bicycle store on Euclid Avenue.

"I will be selling and signing photographs of myself with my Sterling Safety Bicycle, for the price of $1 each, as well as souvenir pins available for twenty five cents!"

By the time she got to Chicago, it was November, and her progress was slow:
only 11 months left to go, or lose the wager
So she decided that rather than cross the west in winter,
She would ride back to New York and, from there, take a steam ship across the Atlantic to France.

When Annie got off the boat in Marseille, a huge crowd was gathered to greet her
She rode down streets lined with curious and cheering on-lookers:
the stars and stripes flying from her bicycle!

Zee courageous and daring Miss Londonderry pedals with only one foot! Zee other is wrapped in bandages and propped up on zee handlebars:

An injury she proclaimed to have sustained in a highway robbery!

Unabashed self-promoter, full of plucky, derring-do!
Annie was the face of the New
Woman: the legendary Londonderry!

-- who’s real last name, by the way, was Kopchovsky.
That’s right, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky was actually
a 23 year old Jewish, Latvian immigrant to America;
Before Annie had departed on her around-the-world adventure
She had worked as an advertising solicitor for several daily Boston newspapers.
This was a woman who knew a thing or two about sales and promotion
and not only that: she had the audacity to ride on her own publicity.

So around the world she went, riding and then sailing from continent to continent:
Egypt, Jerusalem, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Singapore:
In every port a signature: In every new country, another photo opportunity.
Along the way, she shed her long bloomers.
Simply dressed in men’s riding britches, shirt and jacket: she never tried to pose as a man,
But a trip like this demanded practical clothing!
10 thousand miles away from home,
she dressed for the long, dusty, dirty, muddy, hard-working road
She became lean and strong, riding thru Saigon, Hong Kong, Lushun China,
Vladivostok Russia, Nagisaki Japan: Finally boarded a ship
to sail the Pacific back to her homeland, arriving in San Francisco on March 23, 1895,
with three months left to go.

But neither her growing celebrity, nor appearance in many bicycle ads
were enough to meet the terms of the wager: she was still short a couple thousand dollars.
At this time, most people in America had never traveled further
than 25 miles from the place they were born,
and Annie discovered people would pay good money to hear her lecture
about her travels in so many distant, foreign lands.

Her wild tales of high adventure on the road
Were enough to capture the imagination of a two-wheeled-nation:
And to raise the remaining funds in question.

But in the heady days before syndication or fact-checkers
If Annie Londonderry told different stories to as many
Different audiences and as many different circulars about her adventures, did it matter?
Isn’t it all in the spin?

Spin spin spin

15 months to the day from her departure
She made it back into Boston,
Where she won the ten thousand dollars.
Or so seems.

Wasn’t there a dare, wasn’t there a wager?

Upon her return, Annie moved her family to New York,
And enjoyed a short-lived career in journalism
Writing sensational stories under the by-line “The New Woman”

What would you wear?

And then, the records fade into obscurity:
Buried under a mountain of more famous men in history.

Would you take a dare?

It has been said that perhaps there never was a wager:
That she simply made up a story in order to go on an adventure

Would you take a dare, would you take a wager?
What would you wear, would you wear bloomers?

Shyster, sell out, entertainer?
Athlete, charlatan, daring adventurer?

Would you tell a few tall tales, make up the details, follow the train rails?

Against all odds, in any weather

Was she everything she seemed?
Would you follow your own dream?
What would it take for you to get you where you want to go?
Would you let them tell you “no”?

Would you ship your bicycle across the sea?
What would you do for a fee? What would you do to feel free?
What would you do to prove what a woman can be?
What would you do to prove what a woman can be?
What would you do to prove what a woman can be?

Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry rode no ordinary!
Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry! Annie Londonderry rode no ordinary!
Track Name: Progress (isn't progress)
Progress! Isn’t progress!
Isn’t progress a fine thing?

I don’t want to ride at the side of the road,
No, no, no, no

Progress! Isn’t Progress!
Isn’t progress a fine thing

Spin spin spin
Track Name: Names of the Chains
Look at us, all locked up: we are all in a row
Look at us all shopped up: we are in the mall, uh oh!
I’ll take another, take a t-shirt or a sweater and so?
So what, if these are not our own names
emblazoned on our own breast, no

They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains we wear

What kind of choice is a mall full of chains?
What kind of choice in truth remains?
What kind of choice is all owned by the same,
The same few names: make every town look the same

They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains we wear

What genius thought of this? How did it come to this?
Slap another name on another empty chest!
Oh chains

I make a proud display, it was my choice to pay
I endorse them for free, and all my friends will see
And they will want the same chains as me

They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains we wear

Do we believe? Do we believe
that sales are what will save us,
that freedom lies in what we can buy:
another vicious cycle that is never satisfied

They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains we wear

They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains
They are the names of the chains we wear
Track Name: World of Spin
Spin spin spin spin spin spin
Spin spin spin spin spin spin

it’s easy to get dizzy in a world full of spin,
when you try to keep your eyes wide open
trying to see through all the stuff there is to buy into,
Trying to cultivate a thicker skin, impermeable
to the spin doctors and the special offers, the whirling turnstiles,
changing hairstyles
the spinning cursors on lap top screens, the whirling screens of slot machines, the city

Spin spin spins, spin spin spin
Spin spin spin spin spin spin

Faster than Fox News anchor on leaking oil tanker,
a presidential speech writer,
a back-peddling banker
Like a wheel of fortune you spin until you win, trying to navigate a path
Through this world we’re caught up in

Spin spin spin Spin Spin Spin
Spin spin spin spin spin spin

trying to stay free in
a world that’s busy trying to catch us in it’s clever spinning web
words twist together with the thoughts in my head
raw fibers that form a continuous thread
that twist and turn, turn and twist:
Spin: Resist. Spin: Resist.
like the foot meets resistance when it pushes on the pedal,
resistence is how we move this piece of metal forward.

Without resistance, we’d never get anywhere.
Without resistance, we’d never get anywhere.

spin spin spin spin spin spin
spin spin spin spin spin spin

would you speak your mind, would you fight to win?

Spin Spin Spin

Would you cover yourself in slogans?

Spin Spin Spin

What would you do for freedom?

Spin spin spin, spin spin spin
Spin spin spin Spin spin spin

Two wheels is where so much begins
Track Name: Open Letter to Igor Kenk, Bicycle Thief
Dear Mr. bicycle thief: I’m writing to you with the belief
That you are the one who stole my bike five years ago

And if this letter seems somewhat delayed, it’s only since they came and took you away
That I understood what I had to say, so now I’m writing to you

I went to the warehouse, but I didn’t find anything, the police told me it wasn’t that surprising
Since apparently they were all just parts to you, and you took them apart as you needed to

But to me, that bike was more than a part: when you stole it, you stole a piece of my heart
And I walked home that night crying

Well you know as well as I
that is sure is great to ride
so I don’t know how you justified stealing bicycles

Maybe you think that stealing is funny? Or maybe you think that I’m made of money?
But I am just an ordinary rider.

for me, a bike is not a luxury item, it’s my primary form of transportation
And what you stole from me that day was my freedom

Also, that bike was full of memories: my ex-lover gave to me,
And even though all we used to do was fight, now that she’s dead, I really wish I had that bike

That bike was the only thing that she gave me that I still had, and sure, maybe
You don’t know or care about my story

But do you know what it’s like to lose the one you love?
To have something stolen from you?
To lose the one you love?

So now your little Queen street shop is closed down, and boarded up
but every time I ride by, I still think of you

and I think of all those bikes you stole, and all the memories they hold
for all the unlucky people who like me, loved and lost
a part of their history when you stole their bicycles
yes you, yes you, yes you
yes you know as well as I
that is sure is great to ride
you know as well as I
that is sure is great to ride
yes you know as well as I, Mr Bicycle Thief
Track Name: Oh Come On Come On
She thinks she wants change, but will it take a disaster
before everything will move a little faster
She wants to feel the difference, she wants to hold it in her hand
Something hard enough to feel an impact when it lands

Oh come on, come on

In her dreams she’s in a theatre, which is filled up to the brim
the crowd is chattering and the show is about to begin
Her seat is in the front row: this ticket was a gift
From her great great grandmothers, who insisted that she had to see this

Oh come on, come on

The ghosts are everywhere; she wishes she could be
More than a production, be more than painted scenery
How about a little insight? How about a flashlight in the dark?
How about a program that would tell us how to interpret this part?

Oh come on, come on

But the lights all grow dim, and the orchestra begins to play
and now she can’t hear anything the inside voices are trying to say

How about a little progress? How about something new
Not just the same old voices dictating what she can do
Even recycling everything they’ve ever done,
she can’t ride hard enough to make the knot of contradictions come undone

Oh, come on, come on
Oh, come on, come on

Oh, come on, come on
Track Name: First Flight
She remembers

A hand

on the back of little blue
First two wheeler
Blue and white knight in chrome armour
On the slightly sloping, damp asphalt of the spring schoolyard
Two small feet pushing two small pedals
He holds onto the metal frame
Of the two-wheel, three-speed steed
She pedals harder
He runs behind her
holds her steady steady, steady!
knows she’s ready ready, ready?

And faster
And faster
And faster
And faster

And I don’t remember
The Moment When He Let Go
Didn’t know I
Was flying solo
All I felt was the feeling
Wind and free wheeling
Suddenly glorious
Amelia Earhart:
victorious
under my own steam
Chrome fenders gleam

I am a spinning
machine

Loooookk oooooutt!
Track Name: A Letter from Annie Londonderry's Granddaughter
Dear Evalyn Parry,

My grandmother was Annie Londonderry
My cousin Peter sent me your CD.
I have just finished listening to your ballad about Annie,
And I want to tell you what it did for me.

I had a loving relationship with my grandmother.
She died when I was sixteen. But unfortunately for her children,
the repercussions of her exploits were not always of a positive nature,
and until today, I have struggled to be free: of resentment,
and of the impact of her journey on my family.

But they say not to give up on anything, as one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle,
They say not to give up anything

Sure enough your Ballad about Annie made me realize, finally
the significance of her journey to the future emancipation of women

(Until today, I have struggled to be free)

The universe clearly moves forward with its own priorities.

And I am grateful to you for this opportunity to learn that it is NOT JUST ABOUT ME.

They say not to give up on anything, as one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle,
They say not to give up anything

Sincerely and Gratefully,

Mary
Track Name: A Letter from Annie Londonderry's Granddaughter
Dear Evalyn Parry,

My grandmother was Annie Londonderry
My cousin Peter sent me your CD.
I have just finished listening to your ballad about Annie,
And I want to tell you what it did for me.

I had a loving relationship with my grandmother.
She died when I was sixteen. But unfortunately for her children,
the repercussions of her exploits were not always of a positive nature,
and until today, I have struggled to be free
of resentment for the impact of her journey on my family.

But they say not to give up on anything, as one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle,
They say not to give up anything

Sure enough your Ballad about Annie made me realize, finally,
the significance of her journey to the future emancipation of women

(Until today, I have struggled to be free)

The universe clearly moves forward with its own priorities.

And I am grateful to you for this opportunity to learn that it is NOT JUST ABOUT ME.

They say not to give up on anything, as one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle,
They say not to give up anything

They say not to give up on anything, as one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle
They say not to give up on anything: one might miss the miracle,
They say not to give up anything

Sincerely and Gratefully,

Mary