Thursday, 25 February 2010
"When the weather's better and the rails unfreeze and the wind don't whistle 'round my knees, I'll put on my wedding suit and catch the evening train. I'll be home before the milk is on the door. Crawling home, running home, to the gasoline alley where I started from. Going home, and I'm running home, to the gasoline alley where I was born ..." sings Rod Stewart during the lovely Gasoline Alley. Well, Rod was born in Highgate, and by all accounts his family ran a newsagents in Archway Road. How much gas street lighting was around in Rod's youth I couldn't say, though London had the first gas street lighting in the world when Pall Mall was lit up in 1807. Indeed there remain parts of London that are gaslit, including some of the Royal Parks and Covent Garden. As for Rod, well I can remember going shopping with an aunt in a Peckham department store (Jones & Higgins?) and her buying me a copy of Oh No Not My Baby though I think I really wanted The Sweet's Ballroom Blitz. Then a little later she took me to a charity football match at Bexley United's ground where Rod was playing but every time he came on to the pitch he was mobbed by young ladies. I think Georgie Best was playing in that match too, along with some of the old Radio One DJs, but it was Rod people were there for.