Belfast Part Two: The City in Pictures

Part two of my Belfast trilogy. Mainly photos, but putting them together reminded me how much I loved this city. Even though I’d never looked properly around it before, I felt it was part of me. My second city – after London, of course.

This is St George’s market. A great place – and the Belfast Bap, below, was particularly awesome. Four slices of bacon, two sausages and a runny fried egg, between some lovely soda bread. Oh wow! Didn’t eat again until the evening.

The City Hall.

The Ulster Hall – a music venue amongst other things. Led Zeppelin played “Stairway to Heaven” live here in 1972 for the first time!

The Europa Hotel – most bombed hotel in Europe. Apparently there are plaques in the hotel telling you this. Stay cool if you go there – things have moved on!

Belfast’s Albert memorial.

Guess what this is called. Yes, the Big Fish.

Footbridge over the River Langan.

There’s a lock by the footbridge. It makes the river a bit frothy on the other side.

Unite the Union got a bit carried away with socialist realism art here. The Belfast mural tradition, I guess.

The MAC arts/drama centre, in the Cathedral quarter, looking down on one of the cafe spaces. Great place.

There was a Gilbert and George exhibition on there. Strange thing to be viewing in Belfast!

A view out of our hotel window over East Belfast in the morning.

We went on an open top bus trip – real tourists. First couple of things I have better photos of later. But this is Stormont, where the Northern Ireland Assembly would be sitting, except it hasn’t done so for over a year, as a result of intractable disagreements between Sinn Fein and the DUP. Which means they get British rule instead. Tragic.

Best mural in Belfast. A celebration rather than sectarian. Georgie Best and Van Morrison, amongst others.

Another great mural – and on Newtonards Road, East Belfast too. Defiantly cool and celebratory, just ahead of the hard line stuff.

OK, here goes. A taster for the Shankill and the Falls. Newtonards Road still.

Queen’s University. A place of peace.

Can’t quite remember, but I think this is a peace monument – before we enter the heavy zones.

Before the murals, I think you need to read this piece in the Ulster Museum, on a floor exploring the “The Troubles”. The last sentence especially.

And so into the Falls Road, a Catholic/Nationalist zone.

This one I like – it must have involved all religions.

When Berlin shook off Communism, they tore down the Wall. In Belfast, when peace arrived, they kept it – apparently because the local people wanted it.

Into the Shankill Road. Protestant/Unionist.

As the Sex Pistols sang in “God Save the Queen”, We love our Queen!

This is where the Orange marches start in July. King Billy on his horse on the top. A King of England who is hardly known in England, but revered by half of the Northern Irish population.

Light relief as we got back into central Belfast. Lenin! It was a dance club, I think.

And back to the High Street. Consumerism today trumps sectarianism.

Later that day we crossed the footbridge, on the way to the Titanic Centre,

Hey, another West Five! This one a science and discovery centre.

The SS Nomadic. Started as a boat taking people from Cherbourg (France) out to big liners that couldn’t get into the port  – including the ill-fated Titanic. Involved in World Wars 1 and 2. Almost scrapped. Became a trendy club venue on the Seine in Paris. Almost scrapped again. But returned to Belfast and is now something of a museum piece. But it has survived the ups and downs of decades.

The Titanic Centre. Tells the story of that ship. A really interesting museum if you ever go to Belfast. The Titantic was built and launched in Belfast. As they say here: It was fine when it left.

Architecturally, I found it fascinating.

 

Titanic Studios is owned by HBO and is where they film much of “Game of Thrones”. I referred to the dynamic effect of it in Part One and will revisit in Part Three.

The Harland and Wolff cranes remain iconic. They are named Samson and Goliath. This is one of them.

I mentioned the Ulster Museum earlier. It is great. The floor on the Troubles is very moving, as was a temporary exhibition by the artist Colin Davidson, called “Silent Testimony”. A series of amazing portraits of people who were affected by the Troubles, losing loved ones, or injured themselves. Sombre and very powerful. Just made you want to cry out Why?!

Note the rather odd architecture too. A neo-classical Victorian building with a bit of what looks like 60s brutalism tacked on.

10 April. It was the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement. I wrote about it in Part One. Great and good here – or maybe just some university people – hanging around, I assume, for even greater and good.

So, some pretty heavy stuff in the preceding photos. But let us not forget that Belfast has some truly great pubs (and restuarants). Here are a few pubs I sampled.

White’s Tavern. I don’t think I’ve ever had a smoother pint of Guinness than I did in this place.

The Dirty Onion was rocking on Saturday night.

The Crown is a famous old pub, take over by tourists now, but still really good.

Kelly’s Cellars was a hoot! On a Monday night too.

So cheers y’all. Belfast is a wonderful place. Hurt by the past, but vibrant and a pleasure to be in right now.

Crown.

White’s Tavern, second visit at lunchtime after the open top bus. Just had to sample the steak and Guinness pie!

 

 

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Belfast Part One: A Driver’s Story

My wife, Kath, and I have just been to Belfast and environs for a few days. It was a brilliant trip. For me, the first proper visit to the the place that my mother is from – I’ve had a few work trips to Stormont in the past. Not exactly a return to my roots – more a discovery of them. Better late than never, I guess.

There will be a couple of photo blogs – one of the city, the other of the the stunning coastline north and east of Belfast. But I want start with a story. It’s the story of modern Northern Ireland, as told by our coach driver on Sunday, as we went up to the Giant’s Causeway and Bushmill’s whiskey distillery and then back along the stunning coastal road to Belfast. He was a true raconteur, and very funny at times. He had the timing of a comedian, and an irresistible laugh. He gave an interesting potted history of Northern Ireland, going back to Celtic times. As ever, it was a sobering reminder of how much England has messed up things in the past for the people of Ireland. That’s not to say they haven’t also messed things up themselves, but the blundering, murderous, discriminatory, cruel, exploitative attitude and actions of the English over the centuries is truly shameful. And I say that as a proud Englishman.

But our driver’s exposition of the last forty years, through “The Troubles” to the peace process and on to today, when Belfast, in many ways, is booming, was the most memorable thing. Early on in his general banter, as we drove out of Belfast, he said “You need three words to understand Northern Ireland: priorities, confusion…and idiots.” The latter was reserved mostly for politicians, especially the modern day ones, who are so unable to compromise with each other that the Northern Ireland Assembly hasn’t been able to sit for over a year. Throughout his patter, he’d come back to one of those themes, whether it was about road traffic signs or Irish history.

Quite a lot of his stories were well-rehearsed, I’m sure. I heard versions of the same from the guide at the Giant’s Causeway, and from the man on the open top bus, on a trip round Belfast, the next day (yes, we were real tourists on this trip). But on the journey back into Belfast, he began to speak straight from the heart. He was born in 1974: a child of the Troubles. He grew up in the Falls Road area, a Catholic/Nationalist area. He spoke of how his childhood and adolescence was “scarred” by the Troubles. He will, no doubt, have memories that he didn’t share with us. But he did talk of how police helicopters flew over his home every night, shining the searchlights into their windows; how getting into Belfast city centre meant crossing through a ring of steel. How you could be searched countless times while you went in and out of shops. How kids going to school could be shot because of the colour of their blazers. How all of this was normal. Just part of daily life. And, therefore, how incredibly important the Good Friday agreement (20 years old today) was, even if it wasn’t perfect for anyone. How could it be? But it set Northern Ireland on the path of peace and prosperity. On a transformation to the vibrant city of today.

A short digression. By chance, Kath and I walked south to the Ulster Museum today (10 April). That is well worth a visit by the way, and I’ll cover it in a later blog. It’s in the Botanic Gardens, close to Queen’s University. The 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement was being commemorated at Queen’s. We stopped to look – lots of dignitaries were hanging around outside one of the buildings. We spotted Gerry Adams, looking dapper. Inside were probably the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, George Mitchell, the senator who played such a crucial role in the negotiations. Or maybe they had already left. Anyway, there were plenty of people on the pavement of University Road, looking into the university, waiting for something to happen. Way less security than you would get in London these days for a similar event. I overheard a Japanese tourist asking some young women what was happening. One of them said, “They are celebrating the Good Friday agreement. It ended the Troubles and brought peace to our country.” What more do you need to know?

But back to our driver, who did tell us more. Two more stories, the first a personal experience of his. He works for a charity that takes children from different communities up to a residential centre on the north-east coast. His job is to drive them there and back. He described how, when they went up there, the Catholic kids sat at the back of the bus, the Protestants at the front. He could overhear kids saying, “I’m not going to sit with them.” And then, how, when he went to pick them up a couple of days later, they were all mixed up: friends, sitting together, sharing pictures and messages on their phones. Having discovered that they were all the same, just kids growing up in different bits of the same city. I think that is a wonderful, simple, salutary story. The hope for the future is, as always, with our youth.

The second story concerns that mega-hit series, “Game of Thrones”. Confession: I have never seen it. My son, Kieran, declares that it is the greatest TV series ever made. I do want to see it, but I will have to start at the beginning. The series is filmed in Northern Ireland. When on location, it’s on the same north-east coast that we took a trip around. We saw a few of the spots. Disused quarries seem to be a favourite. But the point is that the popularity of the programme has contributed both to a huge boost in tourism, and in the film industry in Northern Ireland. These are now two of the three biggest industries in country, according to our driver. Top is agriculture, and heavy engineering must still be up there. HBO, the makers of “Game of Thrones”, have built a huge studio in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, near the port, and you can see a cluster effect developing. These are exciting times for Belfast, and none of it could have happened without the peace process.

So, I guess our driver’s message to the local politicians is: get your priorities right, don’t sow seeds of confusion, and stop being idiots. Put the benefits of peace before your own selfish concerns.

And my message to English politicians obsessed with Brexit is: don’t f*** with the peace in Northern Ireland. It’s still a fragile thing. For once, put Ireland at the forefront of your thinking. Don’t dismiss concerns about the border; don’t regard the Good Friday agreement as a nuisance, a fly to be swatted away. You have a responsibility to safeguard the interests of all the people of the UK, not just your faction of the English. You can’t recreate the Empire. It’s gone. We are friends with our neighbours now. Keep it that way. And the most important neighbour is Ireland. Put it first. Please.

 

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Have you Heard? – (87) “Golden Hour” by Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves has just released her album “Golden Hour”. It’s her third album, not counting a compilation of Christmas songs in 2016 (let’s not go there). The first was the breakthrough “Same Trailer, Different Park” in 2013. It was an album which, it is said, set her apart from the typical female country singer. More challenging to the norms, more willing to deal with the social issues affecting the USA. It was a portrait of small town America, a documentary of the struggles that people face. It was honest about people’s drug use, for example. I was a bit late to it. My friend Steve recommended it to me. And when I listened, I really liked what she was doing. Not that she was that different to the country singers I do like – Lindi Ortega to the fore. None of them are the supposedly typical mainstream types. I’m not even sure who the mainstream ones are.

My favourite songs on “Same Trailer, Different Park” were “Merry Go-round” and “It Is What It Is”. “Merry Go-round” articulates the pressures people are under to conform to the small town conventions, even as they grapple with love affairs, drug habits, depression.  Grim subject matter, set to quite an upbeat tune. “It Is What It Is” is a classic country love song, really: two people who are mixed up, not right for each other, but can’t really do without each other. Sung so beautifully. Definitely one to weep into your Jack Daniels to.

I didn’t ever explore the follow up, “Pageant Material” properly. Truth is, I’m not a massive country fan. The songs and artists I end up liking almost find me, rather than me looking hard for them. A decent review from someone I respect, a chance viewing on Facebook, that sort of thing. But when I like them, I love them!

I recently booked tickets to see Kacey at Wembley Arena this autumn. So I was attuned to the new album, “Golden Hour”. I read some glowing reviews on Facebook and then the Guardian gave it five stars last Friday. Alex Petridis, no less, a great music journalist, and someone whose approval is always worth taking seriously. So I listened to the album on Friday, and then I listened to it again – and again. It is a wonderful album. It’s not really a country album at all. The country influences are there – in the first song “Slow Burn”, for example. It is a consummate pop album. Not in a Taylor Swift style, but in a more subtle way. Alex Petridis describes the songs as effortless, and I think that’s right. Not throwaway – just so right. Beautiful melodies, sometimes wistful, sometimes hard hitting, and other times just celebrating life. This is an album where Kacey has moved from the observations of other lives in “Same Trailer” to something a lot more personal. And some of that is happy. A country artist happy! Now there’s something different.

So “Golden Hour” is an upbeat, joyous album for the most part. Not corny, but feelgood. My favourite songs right now, along with “Slow Burn”, are “Butterflies”, “What a World” and “Golden Hour”. And the best of all is “What a World”. That could be a resigned cry at the way of the world. But it isn’t – it’s a celebrations of the wonders of the world, enhanced by a new love. It starts with a bit of vocoder – that’s definitely a bit Taylor – and then is just anthemic, in the way that Coldplay are anthemic. Except Coldplay wouldn’t introduce a banjo motif to the song. And Chris Martin can’t sing in the way that Kacey Musgraves sings. Just beautiful. This one is going to be awesome live.

“High Horse” is the one song that seems like a blatant attempt to move into the Taylor Swift market, with its dance beat (although the lyrics are still pretty countryish). I’d say it’s more like Kylie Minogue – and that’s not a bad thing in my book. But again, it’s just a good song, really. As is the short paean to her mother, called “Mother”. Incredibly sentimental, but lovely. You can’t knock it.

So throw away your doubts, your cynicism – yes, I’m sure this is an attempt to get a more “mainstream” audience –  and your loyalties to certain types of music. And just listen to “Golden Hour” for what it is: a rather wonderful pop album.

 

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Music for a Celtic Soul

Celtic soul is a term I use quite a lot when describing some of my favourite music.  I devoted a chapter to it in my book, I Was There – A Musical Journey. It’s music that almost always has a sense of melancholy, longing, loss, even when the sounds are big and bold. It’s music that doesn’t disguise its emotions. It always sounds great, but it sounds even better after a few beers. It is, for me, the music of Scotland and, especially, Ireland. It’s a feeling which travelled the Atlantic and became fundamental to American country and folk music. And when that collided with soul and the blues, we ended up with rock’n’roll, which conquered the world.

On one level, this is just a playlist of some of my favourite Scottish and Irish bands over the years, going right up to the present with, you guessed it, Honeyblood. But it is also some of the music I love the most: music to which I will always return – especially after a few beers!

And maybe it’s the Irishman in me. While I was born and grew up in England, and have lived in London since 1980, my mother is from Belfast, and my father’s mother was from Dublin. Next weekend my wife, Kath, and I are going for a few days’ holiday in Belfast and the surrounding area. It will be the first time I have been to Belfast for anything other than work. I’m really looking forward to it – and I think this playlist may provide a soundtrack…

 

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Palace Winter at the Sebright Arms, Bethnal Green, 20 March 2018

Palace Winter are a band I’ve been dying to see live. Formed by an Australian, Carl Coleman, and a Dane, Caspar Hesselager, their debut album “Waiting for the World to Turn” came out in 2016. I made it No 4 in my top ten for that year. I loved the melodies, the big sound, the mellifluous guitars and the washes of synthesiser. There’s a bit of 80s bands like Talk Talk and Tears for Fears in them, but also the pumping beats and the melancholy feel of a band like The War on Drugs. All with that Scandinavian (and Aussie) pop sensibility.

They played last Tuesday at the Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, East London. Not my turf at all, but I liked the pub and the music space, which was in the basement. Probably held about 300 people. My friend Jon G came along too.

The support act was a singer-songwriter going under the name of The New Spring. He was Danish, his actual name Bastian Kallesloe. He introduced his songs both sincerely and amusingly. The topics were rather bizarre at times and he made light of that. But the tunes were good and he played the acoustic guitar beautifully. There was certainly a hint of Nick Drake in some of the sounds and melodies.

Palace Winter’s performance was mostly a showcase for songs off the forthcoming album, “Nowadays”, out in May. So, to me, they were unfamiliar, but they immediately struck a chord. There’s no doubt some will become great favourites. I particularly liked one which built and built and then built some more. If it was a dance number they would have been getting us ready for the drop, the moment where everything lets rip. It didn’t quite do that, but it was a great song. Throughout, all those Palace Winter qualities – great tunes, interesting sounds, big sounds, were there.

Carl and Caspar were accompanied by a guitarist and a drummer. The guitarist, who was a dead ringer for Paul Simenon in his Clash days,  laid down some excellent soaring solos. The bass was coming from Caspar’s keyboards I guess. Carl sings with real passion and puts a lot of energy into his performance. He referred to Joe Strummer at one point – there’s a bit of Clash inspiration going on, even if the sounds are miles apart. An engaging character too – well he is an Aussie!

There were only three songs from “Waiting for the World to Turn”, which I was a bit surprised about. But they couldn’t have picked a better three: “Positron”, “Soft Machine” and “H.W Running”. Those three are bunched together on the album, and are the highlights for me, along with the last song, “Independence”. “Positron” opened the set and was awesome, especially those slow booming chords as the song grinds to a halt. The other two came together about two-thirds of the way through, and got a rousing reception.

So yeah, I wouldn’t have minded a bit more of a celebration of the first album, but it was a terrific, uplifting concert and augurs well for the new album. They return to London in October, when are playing the Oslo, Hackney, which is a really good venue. I will be there!

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Four concerts: Catherine McGrath, Soccer Mommy, Jack Grelle and Rews

The concerts stacked up again last week. Four in six days. All incredibly enjoyable, in their different ways.

First it was Catherine McGrath at the Camden Assembly on Monday. A pub with an upstairs venue, not far from the Roundhouse. DC did the honours and of course there was a magnificent Sushi Salsa at Camden Lock first. When we finished that there was still a bit of time to kill, so we went to a pub to watch the first half of Crystal Palace v Man Utd. That, and having a second beer, meant we ended up cutting it a bit fine, and Catherine had just started when we got there. She was half way through “Just in Case”. Hope we didn’t miss anything else, but I fear she might have come on slightly earlier than advertised. I guess I’ll never know!

I’ve waxed lyrical about Catherine McGrath on many occasions since I first came across her at Latitude last year. Suffice to say that, in her first ever headline concert, she was excellent, and played quite a different show. The main difference was that there were a few new songs – forerunners from the first album, due in May. They were good – punchy and melodic as ever. She played the lovely version of the Rascal Flatts song “Ellsworth” which I previously saw her perform at the Cambridge Audio music centre near London Bridge.  And, of course, a few of the songs which have become her “classics”: “Hell Would Have To Freeze Over”, “Cinderella” (still the heartstring tugger) and the making-your-way song, “Talk Of This Town”. That was the last song, and was greeted with great enthusiasm by the capacity crowd. People really know the words to her songs. Throughout she was expressing her delight that this, her first headline show, had sold out in 24 hours. It’s not a massive place, but it must be so exciting when you are just starting. She has sold out the bigger Bush Hall too, on 2 May. Definitely going places. I’ll be there!

On Tuesday, it was over to Hackney, and the Moth Club, for Soccer Mommy. My good friend, Jon G, had bought the tickets and invited me along. Then he had to drop out because of work commitments. A friend from work came along in his place. The Moth Club is a funny old place. I saw Amber Arcades there before. It’s a veterans’ club, which has realised the commercial potential of a decent sized venue, which presumably is normally the bar and dance hall. They’ve decorated it in a completely over the top way. Glittery golden ceilings and a shimmering gold and silver foil backdrop. I’m sure there was a disco ball the first time I went there too.

Soccer Mommy is Sophie Allison and band, from Nashville. She/they have made two albums, “For Young Hearts”and new release “Clean” and a few EPs, which have been compiled into another album called “Collection”. I knew the name, but hadn’t heard the music until I did some homework before the gig, on Spotify. I immediately liked it: a combination of lo-fi indie and some lovely ballads. Sophie has a beautiful voice, and apparently the same sort of wistful outlook on life as another recent favourite of mine, Faye Webster. (Soccer Mommy are a lot better known – the Moth Club looked sold out). Did I say another there? Well yes, because after a great concert, I’ve been playing those three albums on rotation!

Even as recently as Tuesday, I was struggling to put names to songs, though new single “You Dog” and “Cool” from “Clean” stood out in that regard. But it didn’t matter, because every song was good. She and her band gave the guitars a bit of oomph at times, and that complemented the stunning renditions of the ballads, often delivered solo by Sophie. Best of all was the encore, which I now know is “Waiting for Cars”, off “Collection”. What a lovely song! It is my new favourite.

So, thanks Jon G, for getting those tickets. My first great discovery of 2018. I’ve no doubt there will be more; and I hope we see Soccer Mommy on the festival circuit this year.

Then, on Thursday: from the veterans’ club to the Conservative club. Oh no! How could this be? Well, a couple of weeks ago I got one of those annoying unsolicited ads on my Facebook feed. It was for a country music artist who was appearing at “Westfield House” in South Ealing, about ten minutes’ walk from where I live. He went by the name of Jack Grelle, from St Louis, Missouri, and had a very impressive-looking beard! It looked like he’d got some decent reviews and only cost £11, so my wife, Kath, and I decided to go along. There was a support act called Ags Connolly. I assumed that was a woman’s name until I read more. Ags is a country/folk singer from the West Country, although his music is very much in the American mould. Kath also pointed out that Westfield House was actually the home of the local Conservative Club, but I decided not to let that deter me. In the event it was a lovely place – like a giant living room, with flock wallpaper and, of course, a portrait of the Queen. I didn’t see a picture of Margaret Thatcher, but there must have been one somewhere. The beer was cheap too, which is always welcome!

As for the music, it was excellent. Ags sang trenchant songs about lost love, his love of American music and more besides. He was good and had a nice, self-deprecating wit. Jack Grelle though, was different class. Strangely, they shared the same guitar. It may have been that Jack’s equipment was en route to another venue – he is supporting another act called Pokey LaFarge around Europe. But whereas Ags bashed out the chords (by his own admission) Jack caressed the strings, and made it sound like a completely different instrument. He had a mellifluous voice too. Similar subject matter, but somehow sweeter in tone. He was pretty dapper too, in classic country singer attire, including the shoelace tie. And that beard. Quite an image. Both Kath and I liked the music a lot. I shall most definitely check out his albums, once I get over my current Soccer Mommy fixation.

That leaves one last show, Rews at the Lexington, on the Pentonville Road. It’s a great venue above a good pub. Holds about 200 at capacity, I’d say; maybe a few more. This time I went with my mate Shane. Kath and I saw Rews by chance about 18 months ago at the 2016 Hanwell Hootie, a great event in Hanwell, West London, where all the local pubs host bands, many of them from the area, for free. And make a fortune on booze if they organise themselves. It’s an event which has grown in popularity over the year; last year there were a couple of new open air stages, which took a bit of pressure off the pubs – and the punters. Anyway, Rews – two Northern Irish women who know how to rock – were excellent; and I’ve been watching their progress ever since. They played Glastonbury last year, and their first album, “Pyro”, came out last November. On album you could describe them as tuneful rock’n’roll. Not stunningly original, but pretty energetic. Live though, they are terrific. They absolutely give it some. Shauna Tohill, on guitar and lead vocals really knows how to deliver a good punky riff, and shakes her hair very impressively! Drummer Collette Williams lays down some piledriving beats and sings a lot too. They are a band who clearly love what they are doing. There’s always a smile on their faces. It would take a real killjoy not to enjoy a Rews gig, even if it’s not really your music.

Now, just to keep DC happy here’s my obligatory Honeyblood reference! There are obvious similarities between the two bands: two women, guitar and drums, know how to rock’n’roll. I’d say Honeyblood’s songs have more depth and variety, a wider range of emotions (they are the best band in the world, after all) but you come out of concert by either of them feeling uplifted, by the timeless spirit of rock’n’roll.

A double bill of Rews and Honeyblood. How good would that be? Their record labels should talk!

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Sounds of London

A while back I put together a New York songs playlist. Well, if New York, then why not London too? Two of the great cities – very different and very similar. And one of the similarities is that they are hotbeds of music. All sorts of music. Every sort of music. They are cities of music.

This list is just a few of the songs that remind me of London. In some cases they are about London. In others, they somehow encapsulate the sound, the meaning of London. Some are about the inner city, conveying a sense of night time, unease as well as beauty. Others are about life in the suburbs. Songs of yearning, hope and sometimes hopelessness. Some are about attitudes: anger, love, wheeling and dealing, making your way, or just having a good time, dancing.

Mostly I’ve limited each artist to one song, or maybe two. But I had to make an exception for The Jam  and The Clash, both with four. Two of the greatest punk bands, one articulating the frustration of surburban London, the other, the swaggering heart of the inner city. Bands that will always be central to my teenage memories.

So stick on this playlist (60 and growing) and immerse yourself in London. And let me know if you have any favourite London songs which I have missed. Do not suggest Ralph McTell’s “Streets of London”!

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