Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Finchley Central

"Finchley Central is two and sixpence from Golders Green on the Northern Line. And on the platform, by the kiosk that's where you said you'd be mine. There we made a date. For hours I waited. But I'm blowed, you never showed. At Finchley Central, ten long stations from Golders Green. Change at Camden Town. I thought I'd made you, but I'm afraid you really let me down ..." Not a song for London transport pedants but nevertheless one of the most frequently suggested for this project, Finchley Central by the New Vaudeville Band is a great excuse to talk about the genius of Geoff Stephens, one of the great London songwriters and one of the great people associated with the Southgate area, along with soul ambassador Randy Cozens and mod legends Back To Zero. The New Vaudeville Band is regarded as a bit of a novelty act for its nostalgic stylings, and of course Winchester Cathedral is known worldwide, but there was a lot more to mainman Geoff Stephens. Among the other songs he wrote or had a hand in composing are The Crying Game, Semi-Detached Suburban Mr Jones, There's A Kind of Hush, David Soul's Silver Lady, Carol Douglas' Doctor's Orders, the New Seekers' You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me, the Hollies' Sorry Suzanne, Scott Walker's Lights of Cincinnati. The New Vaudeville Band itself did have other entries in the great London songbook, including I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet and Green Street Green. It's stretching a point to call Green Street Green a London song but it is technically part of the London Borough of Bromley. To locals the joke is that Green Street Green can be found just below Pratt's Bottom, but we won't go into that. If you took Geoff Stephens' advice and took a trip to Green Street Green you might not recognise the place Peter Noone sings about here. I still like to think he sings about onomatopoeic evenings but suspect I'm wrong ...

1 comment:

  1. blimey what a list of songs to've written. i feel dreadful for never noticing what with a bunch of those being huge favourites (silver lady being a recent discovery once you lose the hutch thing)