Monday 22 February 2010

Solitary Confinement

"At Holborn station the vagrants greet my eye. It's a wonder they survive these cold and bitter nights. The chill I feel comes not from these cold winds. But from seeing youth pulling food out of the bins. And hour by hour their numbers increase and you know ..." sings The Neurotics' Steve Drewett on the excellent single Never Thought. The group was previously known as the Newtown Neurotics, which is significant for our London theme. The Neurotics' home town was Harlow, one of the New Towns built on the outskirts of London after WW2 to provide new housing and opportunities. Other locations included Stevenage, Basildon, and Hartford. Many working class couples and families moved out of an inner London still recovering from the Blitz to these New Towns where affordable housing and employment was promised locally. The only proviso was that you had to stay and work there for a set period of time, which put my dad off but that's another story. Another Neurotics' single was Living With Unemployment, which dwelt on the theme of recession and long-term youth unemployment with the Army seen as an escape clause. Some things don't change. The song itself was an affectionate adaptation of the Members' Solitary Confinement, one of the great entries in the London songbook. And now The Members are gonna tell you about reverse migration and what it's like to be on your own in London ...

No comments:

Post a Comment