Friday, 29 January 2010

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize

"Les bicyclettes de Belsize carry us side by side. And hand in hand we will ride over Belsize. Turn your magical eyes round and around, Lookin' at all we found. Carry us through the skies, les bicyclettes de Belsize ..." As a kid whenever I heard Engelbert singing Les Bicyclettes de Belsize it always sounded so glamorous and exotic, and even when I knew it was a version of a film theme I somehow imagined something shall we say big budget and French rather than an arty little romantic film about Belsize Park in north London. It is only recently that Les Bicyclettes de Belsize has appeared on DVD, hand in hand with The London Nobody Knows. Bit of an odd couple that. The Les Reed score has also recently reappeared twinned with another of his great soundtracks, Girl On A Motorcycle, which featured Cleo Laine singing the lovely Don't Ask Me. In the London of the mid-1980s that film was a bit of a by-word for beat boho-cool, with lots of images from it used in fanzines and the TVPs seemingly besotted with it. Not sure we were so familiar with the film of Les Bicyclettes de Belsize though, or the rest of Les Reed's score which includes gems like Episode Six singing about the Gentlemen of the Park. Incidentally pedants do like to point out that the film is a bit more 'Ampstead than Belsize Park. Tsk. The other big hit version of Les Bicyclettes was by the great Mireille Mathieu ...


  1. Lovely. Like you, as a child I always imagined this was from some incredibly glossy Parapluies De Cherbourg sort of affair, and I'm sure the Aged Ps even had it on a Reader's Digest comp with 'I Will Wait For You' and Francoise Hardy's 'All Over The World' - just because a few words are in French RD? Arretez vos connerries!

  2. That rings a bell. I often blame a lot on my parents' Reader's Digest comps. There were always a few gems on those, like the Peddlers or whatever.