Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Devils of London & Goodbye Stroud Green Road

More Club of Queer Trades songs about London. I had no idea then, of course, that I would be leaving London, and under what circumstances; so these seem like parting shots to me now.

The Devils of London is, of course, a pun on The Devils of Loudon by Aldous Huxley and the the first line puns on the name of the protagonist of that novel Urbain Grandier. So far so pointless. Grandier was played by Oliver Reed in Ken Russell's film version (called simply "The Devils")and that is why the middle eight is entirely constructed of the titles of Oliver Reed films including the Jukebox Jury appearance that Russell saw and which persuaded him to cast him as Debussey.

I'd forgotten I'd done this until I came to type this up and I suppose the real question is: why? No idea.

Stroud Green Road is the high street bisecting Finsbury Park and leads directly onto Crouch Hill where delicious and popular celebrities live (Simon Pegg! David Tennant (though not any more!) Arabella "Does my bum look big in this?" Weir! And Bernard Butler.) The song is my fantasy, and by criminy it IS a fantasy, of moving into that salubrious yummy mummified enclave and breathing the same rarified air as Caitlin Moran and Peter Paphides! Imagine!

The Devils of London

All this urban grandeur,
Black stone books, finger-printed with smut,
If these too, too solid walls could talk,
What would they say to us,
Here's a burly boulevadier,
A neat scar torn across his cheek,
Has a ring on every finger,
A conscience that plays hide and seek,

The devil's in the details,
In the dovetails overhead,
A trumpet sounds and the walls come down,
This is the city of the dead,

A jug of orange with a vodka chaser,
And a pint closing the gap,
Ten to one that he can't make it,
To the bathroom without mishap,
I've seen them all come through here,
My gift of vision doubly strong,
Like Silenus, this drunken prophet,
Admits his losses and is never wrong,

The devil's in the details,
In the dovetails overhead,
A trumpet sounds and the walls come down,
This is the city of the dead,

A right royal flash in the pan,
In this shuttered room with the shattered damned,
No love for Johnny and an angry silence,
A hunting party that ends in violence,
Spasms, venom and days of fury,
Hello London, hello juke box jury

Goodbye Stroud Green Road

I needed a refuge when the floodgates opened,
After the deluge,
You can't trust your friends,
When the port-cullis of fame descends,
I woke up one morning to find myself famous,
And rich as Croesus,
And by the light of a new day dawning,
I ripped my address book into pieces,

So goodbye Stroud Green Road,
It was fun but now I've had my fill,
With all the success I've won,
Now i'm moving up the hill,

My face is so banal, it's everywhere,
On posters and towels,
I'm in the papers everyday,
My clippings library is off the scale,

Please don't get me wrong,
I've lived hand to mouth for so very long,
I've followed so many pursuits,
I'm not entirely sure which one bore fruit,
I'm on Dragon's Den,
I'm sneering at desperate deluded men,
And I guess it's sort of funny,
As i've no idea how I've got so much money,

I was an actress, held a criminal practice,
Before being called to the bar,
I was an actor, temporary contractor,
Model and valet driver, blood and sperm provider,
I was a battery hen, sold my body now and then,

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