Thursday 23 July 2009


“Let’s go down to the old West End where we used to go when you were my girlfriend. Take a 73 to the city. You sitting there looking so pretty ...” 1979. Just kids. With Red Bus Rovers. The freedom of London’s buses for the day. Up to Blackheath and change on to the 53. Off to the West End. Oxford Street for the latest independent innovations on 7”. And Soho Market for the fanzines. Safe As Milk. Damaged Goods. Jamming! Maximum Speed. If you were lucky Shane McGowan would be working on the stall. Or Shane O’Hooligan, as he was then. The singer with The Nips. Later that year their single Gabrielle would be the coolest London anthem. A sweet, sweet song, which would lead irresistibly to other older r ‘n’ b records by the likes of Them and the Downliners Sect. The lines from The Nips’ Gabrielle about: “And though you never once gave it away I can still remember those crazy days. We’d dance all night and sleep all day. In the old West End everybody was dancing ...” would lead inevitably to the Pretty Things’ Midnight To Six ...

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