11
Aug 04

A LONDON SONGBOOK

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A LONDON SONGBOOK

SHAM 69 – “Red London (Live)”: Did you know that in their first ever review Julie Burchill wrote “Sham 69 play rock’n’roll in the manner that American negroes fight, not for fun but for existence”!! Nor did I. Rigid angry sneer. “Free yourself from this individual -” last word garbled. Signal failure.

WARREN ZEVON – “Werewolves Of London”: This must be one of the most famous records I’d never heard. I’ve heard the Dexy’s track which nicked from it, maybe that’s why I’m enjoying it. I have no idea at all what Zevon is on about but this does make me think of London: that corner of Soho around the Raymond Revuebar, rain-slicked; sleazy; callous almost; media boys rubbing suits with market traders, whistling the hook.

THE MISFITS – “London Dungeon”: Lead singer walks through the Iggy Stooge trick-book, nice widescreen feel to the music, “I don’t want to be here in your British hell”, presumably the band had fallen foul of Plod on tour?

THE POGUES – “Dark Streets Of London”: I like the Pogues. They might or might not sing about places you know, but they tended to sing about places you feel you could know, if you turn the right (or wrong) corner. I was in a bar once with my brother, it was under new management. We stood by the jukebox and the new landlady came up. “At least a quarter Irish, lads” she said, quietly but sternly. Our fingers wandered away from 2 Unlimited and towards the Pogues. Here I like “the chill that comes to the streets around Christmas time”, a worse lyricist would have just gone for “at” not “around”. Not quite as evocative of being on the lash in town as “A Rainy Night In Soho”, though.

THE ACTION PACT – “London Bouncers”: “London bouncers ANTAGONISE!” – terrific, self-righteous new wave buzz-pop, plummy and shrill at the same time. It’s like Kitten off Big Brother made a record!

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