Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Working Class Millionaire

"I don't wanna be a clerk, a conductor, or a spark. Life's too short for working who knows where. So I'll just sit back and dream, forget the 'ouses inbetween, and be a working class millionaire ..." sings Richard Digance during his wonderful song Working Class Millionaire. It dates from his time recording for Transatlantic, and I'm willing to bet the overlap between the folk revival and music hall wasn't that great at the time. But Richard smartly marries the two. He references Gus Elen, taps into familiar music hall themes about being suspicious of work and fond of making a bit of money some other way. The song has some brilliant lines about having a mansion down in Bow or a palace down at the Royal Albert Dock, having lions either side of the gateway to the drive, and in the marble halls goalposts painted on the walls and other things the 'Ampstead crowd detest. In the one of the most famous of London songs Harry Champion inherits a watch and chain which he hopes will make him rich. It doesn't. And his friends mock him, offering to buy up Any Old Iron. Rather nicely when the Trotters do become working class millionaires it is with a watch and chain they thought was worthless ...

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