For Vespa Video Vednesday, here’s a song NOT about Vespas, and without an actual video, but hey, it’s still Wednesday!
It’s the feel-good single of the summer, a month too late, but whatever, the LP just came out this week… “My Lambretta” by North Cackalacka’s The Gallows Birds is just what you’d hope for, a surf-ish pop-punk love paean to the World’s Finest Scooter.
I’m not the foremost scholar on Lambretta history, but I’m pretty sure the “TV Special” is not a model that ever shipped out of Milan, but it does have “a two-stroke engine and the body’s painted baby blue” so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re taking some poetic license. The B-side (of the digital single — I wish it there was a 7″ for my jukebox) is a fantastic cover of the Graham Parker favorite “Local Girls.”
The rest of the debut album (which is thankfully available on LP from Rum Bar Records) is a quick romp through familiar pop-punk territory, but there ain’t a thing wrong with that. If you liked the Smugglers, you’re gonna dig this. Along with a few other 100%-solid originals, there are top-notch takes on Wreckless Eric and the Beach Boys. And the front AND back covers feature a Lambretta, and it includes a mini-poster, so… I see you’ve already bought it, nevermind… (Thanks, Matt, for suggesting I preorder this two months ago, ha!)
I need a “winter project” to keep me sane through the long Chicago winters. Last year, it was my first Lambretta after 25 years of Vespas. This year, in January, I resolved to finally get our 1962 Seeburg LPC-1 jukebox running again. A month or so ago, with a lot of help and a level of obsession approaching my scooter projects, it came back to life, and we’ve really been enjoying blasting our scratchy old 7″s through the house at the press of two buttons.
On the last day of school before the COVID-19 quarantine here in Chicago, my son Calvin brought home an origami piano that his friend Kingston taught him to make, and I thought “That shape looks familiar!” During our first weekend of quarantine, I made a prototype, then a fancy papercraft model of our jukebox based on Kingston’s piano, and here’s a PDF file so you can print it and assemble it yourself! Hopefully this project entertains you for a brief period while you’re housebound.
If you’d like some background music while you assemble it, check out our Jukebox Playlist on Spotify:
Someday we really hope you can come by and see the real thing in person, it’s a beauty. If you enjoyed building this, maybe you’ll want to check out the 2strokebuzz Action Toy we made way back in 2001!
OK, it’s actually Vednesday now, so it’s Vespa video time! This one comes from 2sb editor Matty, and you’ll find it features the rare confluence of a great song, great video, and front-to-back vintage Vespa content…
Amerivespa 2013 registration is now open! The Vespa Club of America’s national rally returns to San Diego on June 27-30, with all the usual good stuff, plus a Friday night performance by the English Beat!
Even though Bryan has his weekly VVV where he showcases a scooter centric videos each and every week, I had to share this new video from The Lions. The Lions feature members from Hepcat and a few other LA area bands and the video for their new single features some nice Vespa/Lambretta footage. Notice that only the Vespa riders receive credit at the end.
Jen points out that Heritage Helmets now offers Trojan Records helmets to go along with their Consortium-approved Lambretta helmets. They even offer one with both Trojan and Lambretta logos, which is kind of surreal. Beautiful stuff, but, once again, they totally forgot the part that covers your chin and face. If you can afford an extra helmet for parades and photo shoots, pony up!
A few years back, Lambretta Clothing teamed up with The Who to reissue some of the band’s Mod-est attire, including the famous parka from the cover of Quadrophenia, pre-stenciled for your convenience. Apparently Lambretta marketing contracts aren’t worth much these days, so with a new Quadrophenia CD/DVD “Directors Cut” box set coming out, they’ve switched alliances to Vespa. Mancunian twit Liam Gallagher will display a new PX125-based Quadrophenia scooter, film memorabilia, and Who-insipired fashions–including (again) the Quadroparka–at his Pretty Green clothing store on (where else?) Carnaby Street.
In other news, Noel Gallagher has installed turnstiles at Easington Colliery, charging punters £5 to urinate on a lump of concrete.
Quadrophenia, aside from its obvious charms to scooterists (and I admit a compulsion to watch it occasionally), isn’t much of a film and is even less of an album, so it’s interesting to see it repackaged yet again. Confusingly, (“Director’s Cut?”) this new 6-disc set doesn’t include the film at all (the DVD is surround mixes of the album), and omits all the great music (by the Who and other R&B greats) that appeared on the original soundtrack, which was re-released in 1993 and 2000.
The album (as opposed to the soundtrack) isn’t horrible, it’s just neither the Mod music that’s the subject of the film, nor the Mod revival music that sparked its release. It’s exactly the noodly late-’70s stadium rock that Revival Mods and Punks were rebelling against at the time. It may be sacrilege (and completely against the point), but I’ve always felt, aside from a couple tracks, the film would have been better off with all music from the mod era. The book included in the box set is the most compelling component, I’d be far more interested in the backstory and Townshend’s memories than hearing demos and gimmicky 5.1 mixes. Townshend calls it “…the best album that I will ever write,” but it says a lot that the album was blocked from #1 on the charts by Pin Ups, David Bowie’s great ’60s cover album… containing two early Who songs.
It’s been a while since Vespa Video Vednesday, unless you count last week, and let’s not. Here’s another good one from David Smith’s big list:
Generally I like to go on at great length about these, but it’s five minutes to Thursday and I have a lot of American Scooterist work to do still. More importantly, I don’t know jack about these guys aside from what I see on their Myspace page. They’re English, they’ve been plugging away at it since 2005, and this video is from circa 2008. The video’s got a good chunk of joyful P-series Vespa riding footage shot with a secret prototype Holga Super-8 camera and cross-processed for a nice vintage look.