Businessmen On Bicycles

Businessmen On Bicycles

1986 To 1987

The Mark 1 line up of Business On Bicycles dressed in 19th century military uniforms before a gig in 1985
Businessmen On Bicycles with Bertie Bingo centre rear and The Schenzy Reaper to his left

Little is known about the popular music group Businessmen on Bicycles whose existence is shrouded in uncertainty layered upon supposition and garnished with a light coating of conjecture.

An excerpt from a Mark I rehearsal

BOB, as they are known to aficionados, are thought to have operated in the South Of England during the early to mid 1980s with several witnesses claiming to have seen them performing live around ‘Orsham in Sussex.

Bertie Bingo of the Businessmen On Bicycles playing keyboards
Bertie Bingo at the keyboards. Not actually his keyboards but borrowed from the pioneering ambient instrumentalist Piers Hernu

The picture that emerges from theses recollections is one of chaotic happenings led by a six piece group of musicians freely interchanging instruments and non-playing band members engaging audience-centred improvisation, whether the audience wanted it or not.

A dancing Arab is reported in a number of accounts and one deponent mentions a performance of Astonishing Shrubbery during a disastrous concert at Worthing Art College. But as with much else about the band these stories must be treated with appropriate caution.

The photographs included here are said to be of an early incarnation of the ensemble though doubt has been cast on their veracity by a self-proclaimed BOB sketpic who alleges they are in fact of a group of sixth form students partaking in a jolly jape.

Ian and Simon of the BOB in 1985
Some Businessmen Without Bicycles Yesteryear

More certain is their recorded output, two long playing albums entitled ‘Enjoy Christmas With Businessmen on Bicycles’ and ‘Groid LVIIII (A State of Mind)’. These reveal a band that employed a layered, eclectic sound embracing any and every style that fitted their prevailing mood. Some editions credit a three-piece lineup including The Schenzy Reaper and Bertie Bingo, however nobody has been able to confirm the accuracy of this information.

Ian of the Businessmen On Bicyles singing in a bathroom
Recording Astonishing Shrubbery During The Groid LVIIII Sessions

So who were these people, demi-gods if you will, and what is their relevance to The Sessionaires? There is a similarity in their creative approach but less subjectively one cash-in reissue of Groid LVIIII (Your Place Or Mine) is credited as ‘Jon E Parker Presents A Businessmen on Bicycles All Night Sing-A-Long Summer Go-Go Party’.

But Jon E. Parker himself has refused to make any comment on the subject since 1989 in what has been interpreted as either an obsessive desire to protect his artists or a complete lack of interest.

Simon of Businessmen On Bicycles posing with a prop flintlock rifle
Modelling the year’s hottest fashions

Rumours abound though and one such is that The Schenzy Reaper disappeared around 1987 or 1988 and that this occasioned the break-up of the band (and according to speculation the transition of elements of the existing membership into The Sessionaires).

Certainly 1986’s Groid LVIIII (A Waste Of Time) was their last official release, although later recordings are thought to be in the hands of collectors. This then is the looking glass world of Businessmen on Bicycles.

Excerpts from Groid LVIIII (A Modern Spacious Design) recorded by the Mark II trio including, Brass Band On A Bandstand, Barbecue Blues, Bit O’ Room, Lonely Crocodile, Hat On The Rails, Pete & Ben, Horrible Spoon, Chip On The Floor, Boogie Woogie Mushroom Man, Aniseed Kisses, Christmas Song, Fans Go Wild, It Smells Like A Pub Downstairs, Lank In A Bank, Hand On My Knee, Astonishing Shrubbery, Groid LVXIIII and very few others.

The Band Businessmen On Bicycles Stood Against A Wall

The Mark I Line Up In Happier Times

Wait There’s More!

Lonely Crocodile

A rare BOB track before it was swamped in sound effects. Live to reel in 1986.

By clever use of studio trickery the sound of people shouting from some distance away was created by standing some distance away and shouting.

But even then the tensions can be heard which would lead to the split in 2014.