Saturday 14 November 2009

Cutty Sark

"I dream of empire. I dream of sailing ships. A fortune beneath their decks. Heavy with cargo, copper and ivory ..." sings Charles Hayward on Cutty Sark by Camberwell Now. Over Blackheath, through Greenwich Park, down to the river, and the Cutty Sark. This is for anyone who has stood by that beautiful clipper and heard it sing of another way of life. Tragically the Cutty Sark was all but destroyed by fire in May 2007, apparently as a result of a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner left plugged in. Hopefully the restoration project will be a success, as it is such an important landmark. Charles Hayward is a Capital treasure too, and Camberwell Now is an impeccable south London name for a group. And the track Cutty Sark comes from an EP appropriately called Meridian, recorded at Cold Storage, Brixton, the now famous base for the group's predecessor This Heat. I love what the great Steve Walsh wrote about This Heat for Zigzag in January 1979: "A quaint, nauseous, halting tune emerges. These 'quiet' interludes often employ quite pretty melodies, but the kind of charm they exude is that sinister sense of foreboding that one associates with Victorian music boxes. I listen and watch transfixed with a morbid, unhealthy fascination ..."

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