Year of Release: 1971
"The gross and net result of it is that people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles...when a man lets things go so far that he is more than half a bicycle, you will not see him so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones."
Flann O'Brien "The Third Policeman"
I freely admit that I have absolutely no idea whether or not Kes Wyndham's wistful "Broken Bicycle" tune is inspired by Flann O'Brien's bike-obsessed police officers in the "Third Policeman" novel. However, lyrically it certainly seems to have several key pointers - "We were one body of flesh and of steel" he sings mournfully, whisking the listener away into a hellish, surreal world where men may become methods of two wheeled transportation at any time.
It has to be said, "Broken Bicycle" is a rum little piece of work, being a subtly orchestrated ballad about the end of one woman's love affair with her jilted Raleigh. It comes drenched in the slightly twee, pie-eyed melodies of the sixties despite its 1971 release date, and was considered good enough to work its way on to the Ripples series of compilation albums (volume three - "Autumn Almanac"). Sadly, there is no information about who Kes Wyndham was or what else he did in the booklet, which is usually the compiler's polite way of sidestepping the issue that nobody has the slightest clue. I certainly don't either, but if the possibility of some royalties cheques can't smoke Mr Wyndham out of his hole, I sorely doubt I mention on this blog will. Still, Kes - if you happen to chance on this entry, please let us know what else you got up to.
The A-side "Honey Call Me Home" is less pleasing, being a rather middle-of-the-road ballad lacking a sufficient hook. I've included it in the download so people can satisfy their curiosities. I doubt anybody would have had more luck with this single if they'd flipped the sides around, since "Broken Bicycle" is far too subtle to crash the charts, but it might possibly have established Kes Wyndham as an interesting artist to watch.