Friday, 30 October 2009

I live in Camberwell

"Said 'eaven will protect an honest girl. Next day I pawned me shawl in Camberwell. Then me skirt and blouse I sold 'em. And went trampin' back to Oldham ..." Camberwell now? Well, Basement Jaxx, one of our premier pop institutions seem to have cornered the Camberwell market. Camberwell Skies. I Live In Camberwell. Great stuff. But Camberwell has quite a tradition in popular song. In 1915 Lionel Monckton wrote Chalk Farm To Camberwell Green for his wife Gertie Millar on the 'how far are ya going' theme. The splendid south London (literally) blog 'zine Transpontine has helpfully posted the words for you to singalong. Then there's the fantastic Gracie Fields number from the '30s, Heaven Will Protect An Honest Girl. In this song, written by the great R.P. Weston and Bert Lee team (with Harris Weston too), Gracie sets out for London to go into service, gets into trouble, and heads home to Oldham in her undies.

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