London 1976

Aussie in London stuff. While flat-hunting we were living in a bed and breakfast hotel near Kings Cross. The IRA was conducting a violent bombing campaign and we passed underneath a tube station at the instant a bomb was going off above ground. Every night the TV broadcasts would be interrupted with news of some blast. When they finally located the main bomb factory (after the bomber caught the train going the wrong way – back into the shunting yard – and was sprung by a guard) it turned out to be about half a dozen blocks from where we lived. In those days, everybody was told to be on the look out for suspicious packages. When we went to sell our useless Kombi, we travelled to a pub where the Queens Guards drank, around Marble Arch. About half-way through negotiations I noticed a brown bag sitting on the floor. It seemed to have no apparent owner. I was torn. I should have pointed it out but feared being labelled a scaredy-pants. I never said anything, I just shrunk into a corner. It was still there when we left and I guess it was just a bag. But if it wasn’t? Larry, Des and I could all be dead or living limbless. What is so powerful about the desire to avoid ridicule that we’re prepared to risk being blown apart? The line in the song London about no correspondence refers to lack of communication from Yvonne, the girl I’d left back in Perth. She’d dumped me once before and I suspected the worst again. I was proven right. Yvonne worked her way over to London on a ship and by the time it arrived she’d fallen for one of the seamen on it and I was history. Brutal rejection captured in the subsequent song Amsterdam. Don’t think we ever performed London but Amsterdam was a staple in the early Suburbs gigs.

LONDON

It’s cold for me to be in London
It’s cold for me to be in Earls Court
It’s cold for me on the London tube
It’s strange for me to be in London
It’s weird for me to have a coat on
In the months when winter’s usually through

But I’d row round the ‘quator
Nearly half a dozen times
If everytime I passed the start
It helped me read the signs
But there aren’t any letters
Just bills and parking fines
And when there’s no correspondence
You can read between the lines

It’s strange to be in London
It’s fun for me to go to Upton
Park and cheer the Hammers when they’re through
It’s hard for me to be a stranger
And sympathy is bound to linger
For myself when I start feeling blue.
Well that’s the lot
There isn’t any more I’ve got
To say, I may as well say see you soon and have a loon on me
It’s strange for me to be in London
It’s weird for me to have a coat on
In the week when my birthday’s due.

AMSTERDAM

I threw it all back into the wind on a pier in Amsterdam
But it started long before as a boy then as a man
It started with the magnet of the stage
And it’ll finish in a dragnet of blind rage
But if I wasn’t such an impotent bastard it might go away.

A maiden voyage, voyage maiden verging on the insane
For the comfort of a Julie London song
The wind had cut his brow and he was strong
And all the things I’ll never be
Love’s not meant to last no not for long
When you’re standing on a pier in Amsterdam.

5 Comments on London 1976

  1. I remember this julie london song you mention above, you sang early in the days of 1977′ ‘gone with the wind gone like the leaves that have blown away gone with the wind…yesterdays kisses are still on my lips …’ and then “perth”-‘ perth when I think of the girls I loved it hurts . oh perth i lost count of the amount of times I traveled down your freeways making a leway oh perth peeerthhhh
    the indian ocean is our fench the narrows is our golden gate…..’ect
    & of course your version of bee gees ” every day i have to cry some…..

    or when a when a string would break & you’d sing” i ve got spurs that jingle jangle jingle as i go riding merrily along & they sing oh ain’t you glad your single & I’m sure that aint that aint very far to roam, oh sally jane (sally jane) I’d like to stay forever but this is why i caint remain cos, i ve got spurs et al….laughingly entertaing us

    & not forgetting lepoard laughingly singing” hey ho the west needed winning there was drinking @ the bar & the women were sinnin’ there’s a pot of gold over every hilll all you gotta do is be the first to kill…. etc that was a time oh yeah ‘coward of the county & ra ra rasputin” ‘Poof!’ still laughing now…..

    & not forgetting paul noonan ‘man o war’ & the big o song penny arcade better stop now getting sentimental , wait howie johnsons intro to slades ‘gudbye to jane’

    some of your trick lines catching us unawares until later “like audie said we’d better run” – he won the purple heart for non cowardice, gotta laugh & tthats from nothing to lose song which is reminding me of ‘stand up stand up & play the game poem, gee I could go on….
    the shortest version of munity on the bounty ever too as for the cricket lines aint the aussies still in the mess today about it all?????…..

    most of the songs about us suburban boys &
    thinking about it now it the kinks influence still holds up?

    anyway before i keep going……
    general fritze 2013 still going strong.

    • Fritze you will like this – in going through some old cassettes I discovered a version of Coyote Pass we recorded at the ABC studios in Perth so will try and get that digitized in the near future. Coyote Pass was a Warner original I wrote especially for the wester set “Dave and The Dugites” before The Dugites – forgot about Noons and Penny Arcade! Please help me with all lyrics from “perth” you can recall – I think the opening was “lonely city founded on a whim of fate” and now you have given me a few more possibles.

  2. thanks for the reply – will be scratching the old grey matter for you & keeping thememory working… – get back to you, might have to give hans fairhurst a ring for prompts –

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