13
Aug 04

A LONDON SONGBOOK

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CAETANO VELOSO – “London, London”: “A group approach a policeman / He seems so pleased to please them” – Veloso wanders in London, alone, knowing nobody, slightly melancholy but safe. The song drifts like its writer, doubling back on itself, curious and distracted. The things Veloso knows about London – its politeness, its peacefulness, its police – seem odd until you realise that perhaps this is London as a Not-Rio. (It’s a fair point: live in London and you become focussed on the place as a presence, but as with any city whose population fluxes daily it’s also a collection of absences; the not-home of commuters, business travellers, daytrippers, tourists, visitors…) Veloso spends his time, beautifully, looking for flying saucers in the big London sky.

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – “Last Train To London”: ELO accomodate disco, uncomfortably. Provincial disco at that: where is the song set? (my bet is Cinderella’s in Guildford).

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