Sunday, 7 March 2010

Cockney Bill of London Town

"At Shoreditch was a little school at which for a penny a week it was knocked into me head that to be Cockney bred was a glorious thing to say ..." sings Harry Champion in his number Cockney Bill of London Town. Harry Champion was one of the great (genuine) Cockney comedians/singers of the music hall era. He is best known for numbers such as Any Old Iron, Boiled Beef & Carrots (Harry had a thing about food-related songs)and I'm Henery The Eighth. If you read up on him you're likely to see mention of his rapid-fire delivery, which Colin MacInnes refers to in his book Sweet Saturday Night: "He shot on from the wings as if projected by a missile and, with an enormous grin on his broad rubicund face, battered out his numbers like an amiable machine gun." More recently Harry has been championed by Chas 'n' Dave who cite him as one of their chief influences ...

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