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SPIN

by evalyn parry

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She Rides 04:51
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!
3.
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!
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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
5.
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!
6.
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
7.
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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
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
11.
First Flight 03:09
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!
12.
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
13.
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

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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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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