The champion cyclist who made a pretty good record

December 24, 2012

You may have read Inner Ring’s piece on Bernard Hinault making, or at least lending his name to, a naff disco track released in 1980. It reminded me that there is another champion racing cyclist who made a record almost as obscure as Hinault’s, although it’s in an entirely different league.

24 Years Of Hunger is an album by a duo called Eg and Alice. Eg is Eg White, who went on to win an Ivor Novello award and write Chasing Pavements for Adele. Alice is Alice Temple, who became the first female to win the British and European BMX championships before becoming a singer. She sang on the track Bloodstain from Psyence Fiction, the first UNKLE album, and was also a model.

Released in 1991, 24 Years Of Hunger was the only album they made together. I was mildly obsessed by these songs back then and they’ve never let me down whenever I’ve revisited them. The album’s sound contains elements of Prince at his sparsest and most percussive, while Alice’s voice sounds vulnerable yet defiant. It has a very London feel, evoking a weariness beneath its poise, and there’s a truthfulness to these songs which I’ve not heard anywhere else.

The album has never been re-released on any format, which is why I’ve seen second-hand copies sell for up to £60 on Amazon. YouTube has the video for the first single Doesn’t Mean That Much To Me, although the clip has been taped off The Chart Show and only contains three-quarters of the song. But if you look closely, you might spot Alice and Eg riding bicycles.

I’ve never really followed BMX so I don’t know anything about Alice Temple’s brief cycling career, and I’ve no idea what she’s up to now. I don’t really need to know any more, though, because 24 Years says so much about her. That’s how good it is.

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