Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Ginger's Guide to London Streets #2: Stephen Street, W1

So, Stephen Street. Off Tottenham Court Road, and really rather dull. Which doesn't make it an ideal candidate for my guide, but I have a diversion in mind.

When I first considered selecting this street I thought to myself, 'But there's nothing on it'. I've walked down it a few times an
d had no recollection of there being anything of note. It just looked rather officey (see right).

But, stick a camera in my hand and challenge me to actually write about something of interest, and I'll start paying attention. I was rather surprised, therefore, to discover that this humble road is actually home to the library of the
British Film Institute! I could probably be forgiven for this oversight though. You'd have thought such a place would feature an enthusiastic display of the best of British cinematography. Or even the mediocre stuff. A celebration of recent BAFTA and Oscar successes by British actors perhaps? But no, a rather dull building with very little to entice you (left). Hardly inspiring.

Why on earth is this not-very exciting thoroughfare on my personal radar then? For an indirect reason: every time I see the road sign I think of Parklife by Blur, as
Stephen Street was the name of the producer.

Doing a bit of research I discovered that he in fact had a hand in each of their first five albums. (Interesting that his involvement ceased prior to the release of 13, which is my least favourite Blur album by far.) And now I discover that he was also part of the team behind The Queen is Dead by The Smiths. So I'm more of a fan of this guy's work than I realised! Nice to know that the Kaiser Chiefs are still keeping him in gainful Employment.

Seems like a good excuse to celebrate Blur's name-checking of London places and life:


It's six o'clock on the dot and I'm halfway home/ I feel foul mouthed as a I stand and wait for the underground/ And a nervous disposition doesn't agree with this/ I need something to remind me that there's something else.

Blue Jeans

Air cushioned soles/ I bought them on the Portobello Road on a Saturday*/I stop and stare awhile/A common pastime when conversation goes astray.

Best Days

Bow Bells say goodbye to the last train/Over the river they all go again/Out into leafy nowhere/Hope someone's waiting out there/For them

Country House

City Dweller, successful fella/Thought to himself, "Whoops - I've got a lot of money"/Caught in a rat race terminally

Ernold Same (narrated by Ken Livingstone)

Then Ernold Same caught the same train at the same station/Sat in the same seat with the same nasty stain/Next to same old what's-his-name/On his way to the same place with the same name/To do the same thing again and again and again/Poor old Ernold Same

For Tomorrow

London ice cracks on a seamless line/He's hanging on for dear life/So we hold each other tightly/And hold on for tomorrow.

London's so nice back in your seamless rhymes/but we're lost on the Westway

Jim stops and gets out the car,goes to a house in Emperor's Gate/Through the door and to his room then he puts the TV on/Turns it off and makes some tea, says, "Modern life, well it's rubbish/ I'm holding on for tomorrow."/Then Susan comes into the room/She's a naughty girl with a lovely smile/Says, "Let's take a drive to Primrose Hill, It's windy there and the view's so nice/London ice can freeze your toes/Like anyone I suppose/I'm holding on for tomorrow.."

He Thought of Cars

There's panic at London Heathrow/Everybody wants to go/Up into the blue/But there's a ten year queue.

London Loves

London loves/The way people just fall apart/The way you just don't stand a chance/The mystery of a speeding car.

Tracy Jacks
Tracy Jacks saw a Harley Street doctor/Who prescribed healthy living/But he's getting past forty/And all the seams are splitting.

So, a bit of a diversion really. But that's what this is all about.


*Incidentally, I thought Yahoo's lyric's search was supposed to put an end to mondegreens. It records this lyric as 'ports of Bello Road'. Honestly!

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