Minister for cycling gets kinky - BikeBiz

Minister for cycling gets kinky

Ropey promo video shows junior transport minister Norman Baker singing a track from forthcoming rock album. Really.
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Norman Baker, the minister responsible for walking, cycling and local transport, has finally made it into the publication he's always dreamed about: the NME. The MP for Lewes is releasing a rock album, recorded with his band the Reform Club. A video shot for the launch shows Baker walking around Piccadilly Circus in a trilby miming to the eponymous track. The lyrics include "London Bridge is falling down / Zombie tourists flock into town / Buying plastic policeman / Japanese banker taking digital pix / A drunk's mad laugh looking for a fix / Singing Rule Britannia," and the track, going all political and transporty warns "don't get caught under flashing neon signs in recessionary times."

The track, the video, the album, the singing, they're all for real. The band website urges visitors to send in messages but "just because Norman is a transport minister, we don't want to hear stuff about trams, bikes or mobility scooters." (So, there will be no remake of the early Pink Floyd track with the classic line 'I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like.")

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Neil McCormick, The Telegraph's chief pop and rock critic told Baker “just because you can sing, doesn’t mean anyone else should have to listen." McCormick, himself an ageing rocker with a dad band, wasn't complimentary in his review: "To be kind, you could say that Piccadilly Circus is in the tradition of the Kinks's witty, observational songs about London life. To be less kind, it is so in debt to the Kinks it borrows the opening chords, rhythm and melody from Well Respected Man."

The Reform Club was founded 30 years ago. Baker is the lead singer and lyricist in the band. The new album - 'Always Tomorrow' - is the first the band had recorded. Baker told the Today programme: “Music has always been very important to me. That’s what I like to do when I go home and switch off the day job.”

Sadly, the minister said future recordings wouldn't stray into the world he normally inhabits: "I wouldn't write a song slagging the prime minister."

Naturally, newspaper reviewers have focussed on Baker's day job (although haven't twigged he's not the roads minister).

McCormick snarked: "I don’t really want to think about the transport minister knocking about having fun with his musical mates while there are potholes in my road and temporary traffic signals blocking up every junction."

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