Thursday 20 May 2010

Percy From Pimlico

"No doubt to see me you'd think I am a millionaire by the clothes I wear. Think that I ride around in my carriage and pair round Leicester Square to make folks stare. I've got no 'oof but I always play spoof. I'm a rickity rackity bloke. I'm as happy as the Prince of Wales although I'm stony broke ..." sings Tom Leamore in his music hall classic Percy From Pimlico about a cove wot's "a slasher, a dasher, the up-to-date masher." It's another of the numbers Ian Whitcomb includes on his Titanic Tunes set, and covers familiar themes of the chap with nothing creating an illusion to the contrary. The roots of modernism? This recording of Leamore was made in the '30s when there was a brief revival of interest in music hall and variety which resulted in electric recordings of a number of original artists who had been stars pre-WW1. I like it for the use of the word masher, which is a piece of slang that's long gone referring to a fop that acts the part of a lady killer. Talking of fops, many years on David Devant & His Spirit Wife would claim we've all been to Pimlico, and that it's the kind of place lovers like to go. Well, certainly the Ealing Comedy Passport To Pimlico is the kind of plucky Londoner against the establishment story we've all been part of in our dreams ...

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