Weekly ‘Spill Challenge # 26 – The green grass of home

It’s a focus on the prose and poetry of ‘Spillers this week because the topic is A song about where you live(d), and it won’t make sense to anyone unless you explain why.

I’m thinking songs with local references, songs about a local event, or even a song or piece of music that somehow captures the spirit of the place.

Don’t be daunted by the narrative challenge; we’re not shortlisting for the Booker here. I’m just hoping to learn a bit of geography and history and whatnot while listening to some cool tunes.

162 thoughts on “Weekly ‘Spill Challenge # 26 – The green grass of home

  1. First thought would be Dalmatian Rex & The Eigentones – “There’s An Alien Research Facility Hidden In The Co-op On Fosse Road North “. I used to live 5 minutes walk from there. Much as I’d like to romanticise the place in a cod-X Files way, the co-op in question is tiny, with barely enough room for Fairtrade Custard Creams or whatever, let alone an alien lab.
    No link though , back in a few minutes.

  2. I wanted to post Red Letter Day – Great Wall Of Leicester but no link. There isn’t a Great Wall of Leicester, there is a bit of an old Roman wall but I doubt it can be seen from the moon. I asked the singer once where the title came from and he explained it was about the north/south divide and the’s just chosen Leicester as the place in the middle.

  3. Which pretty much leaves Rabid – Jubilee.
    Rabid were Leicester’s biggest punk band in the 80s. Not a favourite song of mine to be honest, but there are people I know who still reminisce happily about this band. The problem is that it was originally written about Derby which had been awarded city status by the Queen to mark the Jubilee in 1977 but the lyrics mention Sanvey Gate in Leicester Confusing eh?

  4. Kettcar – Landungsbrücken raus

    Landungsbrücken is the name of the station overlooking the harbour in Hamburg and it’s against international law to visit Hamburg without going there – you can take a ride on a barge or a Mississippi steamer (I kid thee not) or a passenger ferry, fight off seagulls swooping down in attack whenever humans are too slow to devour the delicious Matjes [herring]-in-a-roll they’ve just purchased from the quaint quayside tourist rip-off merchant (think ‘bus station kiosk floating on a pontoon’ and you’re nearly there), or you can walk alongside an array of buliding sites blocking your view of the water until you finally reach the beach…

    I love the melancholy feel to this song, despite the underlying energy – Hamburg can be miserable on a grey and rainy day. The opening line is fantastic:
    Did I want to live and die like a slice of white bread in the rain?

    P.S. The crossroads with the bridge in the video is called Sternbrücke and is about 10 minutes’ walk from my front door

    • I have a soft spot for the German language and I like the song. It seems a bit rainy and overcast in feel. Hamburg is one the places I will visit when I finally get to Germany. Your description is very evocative 🙂

  5. My first thought was Al Stewart and “Clifton in the Rain”. Closely followed by Steve Tilston and “Sleepy Time on Peel Street”. Both these songs have Bristol references. But I’ll plump for Dave Evans and “St Agnes Park”.

    St Agnes Park is in the St Paul’s district of Bristol – it was very run down, though it has had something of a renaissance recently: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2001/sep/19/guardiansocietysupplement15

    The song is told from the point of view of an old soldier who is sitting on a park bench dreaming while the sun goes down – I can imagine him there, watching the light fading through the trees. He remembers his youth – the trenches – and “some young dare-devil in an aeroplane, (who) flew under Clifton Bridge again and again” (this being a reference to Clifton Suspension Bridge,which is about 250 ft high and spans the Avon Gorge in Bristol). I’ve got it on Spotify but not sure how many of you can access it:

  6. Chris Rea’s Nothing’s Happening By The sea always reminds me of my home town. The opening line is “Salty river falls asleep in the bay…” My home town is called Saltburn by the Sea. It may be a stretch to think Chris was really writing about Saltburn (where nothing happens by the sea) if it weren’t for the fact that his Dad had a chain of cafés called Rea’s of Saltburn and Chris’ first gigs were played in Saltburn.

    • This is a lovely track ! ! ! It is really interesting about you dad and the cafes.

      I love his voice in this track.

      Did you know Chris Rea?

      • Glad you like it, Sakura. The song’s a lot nicer than the town, really. I have never met Chris Rea but do know a number of musicians who worked with him in the early days. (He may have served me in his dad’s café at some time but I can’t be sure).

    • I like the sound of nothing happening by the sea, and the song’s lovely. MummyP and I had our first holiday together at Great Ayton, and had a lovely day visiting Saltburn, Staithes, Runswick Bay and Whitby; quite a lot of it spent in cafes. Very happy to be reminded of it.

  7. This live performance should nail down 2 places i lived and loved in one pop. Great song about NYC. And i was actually at this particular concert in my home environs of Philly. If i could find any actual footage of the concert, you might possibly see my wasted 20 year old self and friends not far from the front of the stage.

  8. Damn. Just lost a long comment to a PC glitch.
    Short version: will leave Liverpool & the Wirral to others (HMHB’s Friday Night And The Gates Are Low, maybe, eh webcore?). Not going to nom S&G’s Homeward Bound as it doesn’t AT ALL describe the Widnes it’s famous for being written in. It’s tempting to post Bill Oddie’s version of On Ilkley Moor B’aht ‘At, but I’ve never lived on it so I won’t.

    So I guess, it’ll have to be this, which very accurately nails the “What the f*** is happening here?” feelings stirred in men too … domesticated, I suppose, to get sucked into (or even comprehend) the violence that was the Bradford Riots.

    New Model Army – Carlisle Road

    • So, what’s wrong with “Can I Get A Widnes” …..?

      Carlisle Road now has the Carlisle Business Centre, with a good cafe – on a Friday lunchtime it’s a haven of cultural integration, with white folk queuing for spicy food and people of Asian origins queuing for fish and chips.

    • I love the track ! ! ! It is really evocative ! ! ! I do not know Wigan, but this song is not really so positive, but your description is nice – I love fish and chips also ! ! !

      • Sakura, we’re being silly and confusing things. DarceysDad is from Widnes, Wigan is another Lancashire town where he’s never lived but it suited Mitch to make a pun about it. Carlisle Road is in Bradford, where DarcyesDad now lives, and which had rioting 10 years ago after a fascist march sparked off trouble; and the song is about Bradford and those riots..

        That might or might not be clearer now….

      • Wigan’s just where Mitch took the pun, Sakura. Wigan would have been easy: there was even a band called Wigan’s Chosen Few – it was one of the centres of the Northern Soul scene in the 60s/early 70s, so a Wigan native could pick from a whole host of tracks recorded in Detroit, Memphis, Philly, Houston etc.

        Widnes, on the other hand, has less of Wigan’s glamour and it’s why DarceysDad’s gone for the bright lights of Bradford. I’m also now trading in some of the deadpan Northern irony they serve in the fish and chip shops up here so don’t feel bad if it gets confusing, Sakura chan. Just know that they are all nice places – sincerely, they are, especially Bradford which is really beautiful in parts.

      • Thanks fellas: saved me a job there.

        And thanks, Sakura, it is evocative, isn’t it? I don’t know how genuine the mob sound effects are around 2 mins into the song, but I do remember shaking my head in disbelief at what the multicultural oasis of a city I moved into in the early 80s had become when the Manningham area of Bradford (the first place I lived here) went up in flames.

      • Oh OK ! ! ! I got lost….I understand now (I think so)

        Maybe I need a map to read this thread properly 🙂

        They seem like very nice places and the track is great ! ! !

    • I know very little of New Model Army, but it’s an evocative and powerful song. The instrumental breaks are of the “words fail me” kind that people were discussing on the Earworms. It makes one thankful that the English Defence League protest this year was well contained. I still fear for Bradford and its social-economic future, but there are signs of hope too. Some strong community organisations adding to its resilience. My teenage nephew’s list of ‘friends’ on Facebook looks pretty integrated.

      • The EDL’s showing at both Tower Hamlets and Birmingham have made them look pretty stupid recently. Potential support has been put off by their habit of fighting amongst themselves, their leaders being nicked and the derisory turnouts at what they described as their “big ones”.
        The problem is more now with covert Islamophobia, people on the soft left getting steamed up about immigration in order to gain votes from Daily Mail types and racism against Roma and travelling people.
        Given that the BNP is imploding due to financial scandals, the organised fascist right are in a bit of disarray. That doesn’t mean anti-fascists should be complacent, just gives us a bit of breathing space.
        Oh, and I have recently become a fan of New Model Army, especially their more recent material.

  9. Damn – just lost a long (and wordy) post! Bugger…

    I have the very track for you.

    As some of you may know I live (if you can call it living) in Watford, once a smallish market town, now in danger of becoming engulfed in the London urban sprawl.

    It’s not a town which tends to inspire great works of art – I’m not aware that any songwriters or poets have ever attempted to sing its praises – and if you lived here, you’d understand why. The centre of Watford used to be the Market Place – it was a classic medieval market town, with a long, straight High Street and a succession of alleyways and courtyards leading away from it – and that was it for hundreds of years. Nowadays, Watford’s heart is its shopping center – the Harlequin Centre. It’s not pretty but it’s not entirely a bad thing to have on your doorstep.

    The town is best appreciated for its exits. By which I mean that it’s well served as far as transport is concerned, sitting, as it does, on the junction of the M1 and M25 and also on the main west coast line that links London with Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow (not to mention Llandudno). Unlike Michael Stype’s experience with New York, leaving Watford is really quite easy.

    Watford is also (relatively) well served musically – at least it is if you consider Elton John and George Michael worthy of note (and on another day, I’ll argue that both are more than accomplished song writers who have rightfully earned their place in the history of popular music). But in my humble opinion Watford’s greatest musical export comes from the pen and voice of Martin Rossiter and his criminally underrated britpop-era, indie band Gene.

    While his songs aren’t exactly packed full of references to his erstwhile home town, there can be little doubt that Gene’s 1994 single Sleep Well Tonight is a thinly-veiled homage to the ‘joys’ of living in Watford.

    It’s the end of the year, I have just settled here
    It may not be much, but it’s enough
    Yet trouble has sprung from the pubs and the clubs
    We’ll see blood soon, when the night’s through

    Still you can have it all, there’s a hole in the wall
    Get some money and we’ll show them
    This is our territory, this patch belongs to me

    Why don’t they understand, but I’ve got a plan
    So take my hand.
    And sleep well tonight,
    Tomorrow we fight, would you like it in town?
    As the bass drums boom by
    We’ll leave this lay-by, this excuse for a town.

    Now that everybody knows all about me
    I’ve been rumbled, I’ve been sold
    Born with plenty but you’re left empty

    You can have it all, there’s a hole in the wall
    Get some dough out and we’ll show out
    But still trouble comes from these pubs and these clubs

    Why can’t they understand, but I’ve got a plan
    So take my hand
    And sleep well tonight

    ‘…this lay-by, this excuse for a town.’ – I really can’t imagine a better description of Watford.

    Here’s a live version …

  10. One of the quieter locations of my music collection is occupied by Phil Gilbert, a Texas-based singer who found himself, much to his own bafflement, in Bradford in the late 1990s. He recorded an album here, which he named after the city centre greasy-spoon he spent much of his time in: the Britannia Coffee Lounge. To labour the point, the album cover is a picture of the streetfront of the caff. That’s what caught my eye and made me buy the CD way back when. The album’s OK, covering the range from personal acoustic singer-songwriter fare to bluesy rock-lite, but what always brings a smile to my face is the opening paragraph of Phil’s liner notes:

    Somewhere north of Austin and south of Heaven. Actually, Bradford is WAY south of Heaven. But that’s about as close as I can get to describing where it is that this is.

  11. The first thing that springs to mind, through lack of knowing any songs about places where I’ve lived properly, is Pink Floyd – Grantchester Meadows. I studied in Cambridge a really long time ago, and either punting up the river or walking to Grantchester really felt idyllic, like the song.

    Otherwise, it would have to be Wanstead / Ilford / north-east London suburbs where I grew up; Bedford where I spent my late 20s – earliest 30s; or Leeds where I’ve lived 17 years. So, a song for my priviliged university life it is. Though I wish to say at this point, that school life was very much Baggy Trousers and not at all Another Brick In The Wall.

  12. If I may be permitted a choice for “where you live” and a choice for “where you lived(d)”, the latter is easy because someone’s written an anthem about the place. There is a proper video for it by the Captain somewhere, but not detectable on YouTube tonight, so you’ve got some (occasionally very lovely and evocative; sometimes bafflingly generic) images in the fan-vid. I have to say it’s largely a Croydon I don’t remember, not just because I lived at the northernmost tip of the borough, Lambeth in a strong wind, but also because they didn’t have no trams in the town centre and the Whitgift Shopping Centre (which in any case was never the same once Webster’s bookshop got taken over and stopped selling radical badges) was roofless in my day. Still, it was home through my school years:

    Captain Sensible – Croydon

    For where I live now, I’m also picking a staggering obvious anthem, partly out of panic at the choices available to me. Back in the 30 day challenge, I had Wah!’s Story of the Blues as a song that reminded me of a place, and at various times since 1985, I could have picked The Weed Bus by The Stairs, Children of the Ghetto/Stanhope Street by The Real Thing and Penny Lane by The Beatles and been only a few streets out. Spoiled for choice, as I say, and I’m sure wyngate won’t object to my saying that Leicester, this ain’t (though am I pushing it to enquire whether Engelbert Humperdinck’s punk enough to fit the bill?).
    My trouble is that, as saturated with music as Liverpool is, there haven’t been too many jingly jangly scallywag songs about ‘the bit between Aigburth and Garston’. I am in the position to go out by myself and take a look across the water, viz The Zutons’ Valerie, but instead I’m going to opt for a tune that, like Story of the Blues, first got hold of me when I was still in Captain Sensible’s hinterland and had the capacity to induce a feeling of belonging for a place in which I had no idea I was going to spend my whole adult life. And, though it’s a thuddingly obvious selection, what I would say is that the Gerry and the Pacemakers original, though perfectly nice, does virtually nothing for me. This cover, on the other hand, showcases what a bloody good singer Holy Johnson was, and it still gets the nostalgic tingles going (though whether this is actually for Liverpool or for being 16, I’ll not detain any of you with unless Doctor Freud’s logging on any time soon):

    Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Ferry Cross The Mersey

    • I had never heard this version before, but it is very dramatic. I went to Liverpool when I was on Holiday this year and really loved it very much. The people were very friendly and charming ! ! !

    • Yes, you’ll have noticed that it should have ready Holly Johnson. Don’t know him but, from his autobiography, he seems a good lad, Holly. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure he’s not ready for beatification, not on Pope Benedict’s watch.

      A further point about Frankie, if amylee in particular is about, that with this, War and their (duck and cover) better-than-the-Boss* version of Born To Run, you’ve got to say they were a rather tidy covers band.

      *OK, I won’t go to the wall on behalf of arguing that it’s better, since the original does tend to be viewed as a Holy and not a Holly, but if it wasn’t for the knockout Clarence Clemons sax solo, I reckon the Scousers could claim a clear points victory.

      Here it is, by the way, with apologies for the thread hijack:

      • You’re right, he does sing well. I agree about the sax solo too, plus I prefer Bruce’s “1 – 2 – 3 – 4” to come back to the verse…

    • May –

      Other than sharing a home state, and liking a good chunk of his music – i don’t hold any particular brief for the Boss. And that particular song isn’t really a big fave – so either version will do for me.

      I was really looking forward to Frankie’s Ferry Cross the Mersey, but it was a bit lackluster for me, and a bit too slow. I still think there may be a better version in them though. If they still were, that is. Even Bands Reunited couldn’t get them back together again. I think Holly just wasn’t into it.

      • I was thinking more about your interest in covers, amy, not thinking you had a particular proprietorial interest in Springsteen. Edwin Starr beats them on War, for sure, but it’s another one they have a good stab at.

        I take your point about there being a better version of Ferry in FGTH. The spacey swirling synths of the 80s would probably be replaced by something more insistent to push Holly’s vocals towards the heights reached towards the end. A reunion would seem to be out of the question because of Holly’s health but a very good mate of mine is the brother of the Leather Pets, the girl backing dancers for the early singles, so it shouldn’t be hard to get them to re-form at least. A pair of 50something women in bondage gear in a cage…I’m sure there’s a market.

      • Other side of Aigburth, that, DsD: Smithdown, Sefton Park area. I’m Grassendale – Aigburth Cricket Club, Garston Rec, as near to Speke as I am to Smithdown. Style Council — Speke Like A oh doesn’t matter…

      • Hi May. Yeah, looking at Google Maps, it would appear my memory has been playing tricks on me for a decade or two! Whenever I hear the song Greenbank Drive, it looks like the images coming to my mind’s eye are probably Brodie Avenue / Long Lane.

        In fact, I (like many hundreds of others over the years, I’ll wager) should remember Greenbank Drive from my driving lessons – I took my [two] driving tests at Garston.

      • DsD – Snap! Now, had I spent those months of driving lessons slogging up and down BroUdie Avenue instead of Brodie, right now I’d have been living the Life of Riley with my selection!

      • I’ll always remember my Driving Instructor, a bloke called Les Shimmin. At the time he was newly-divorced, and lecherous as hell. My gentle manoeuvring on the wide roads around Sefton Park would be periodically interrupted by Les grabbing my steering wheel in one hand and my head in his other, so as to turn both in the direction of the object of his “Jeez! Look at the tits on that!” outbursts!

        My dad worked in the same building in Speke for over 30 years. Once I’d passed my test, I moved back in with my parents, and spent the last six months of my schooling driving between the BlueCoat School and Evans. As one of the 6th Formers with a car on a daily basis, I suddenly found myself rather popular.

        Ee, Tinny, you certainly are stirring up the memory juices with this week’s challenge.

    • Some of my formative years were in Croydon – I went to school there (Selhurst Grammar). It has changed beyond all recognition

    • Ok May, you got me intrigued enough to do some research. I found these, and am ready to concede that they’re a great cover band. I thank you.

  13. I live in Meguro neighbourhood of Tokyo.

    This is quite central, and a nice area actually. There is a really fancy part of Meguro where there are some embassy and really fancy houses and Masako the Crown Princess of Japan lives here, but most the neighbourhood is just nice but not too fancy at all.

    There are some nice parks in Meguro and an art design museum and some nice cafes and restaurants and bars and a Jazz club. It is not really an arty district or really fashionable but it is convenient and a friendly and relaxed area for such a central location.

    Meguro is called after the Meguro River which runs through the area. I live quite close to the river. The river is actually quite urban but in spring it is one of the famous places in Tokyo to come and see the cherry flowers. And it is also a romantic place to walk in Spring with your lover.

    Actually this month on the 26th (the day of the rooster in Chinese Astrology) is a really nice festival at my local shrine which is called Ōtori Shrine. The festival is called Tori-no-Ichi (Bird festival) and it is to welcome the winter. At this festival there very many stall which sell kumade (good luck rakes) which are bamboo rakes of different sizes (most quite small and symbolic) which are decorated with good luck charms and you use the rake to rake in good luck for the coming year. You have to bargain to buy a good luck rake and once you make the deal the seller will bow and clap his or her hand once. It/ is a lot of fun! ! ! There are also very many food stalls and it a very colourful festival with a procession of people carrying coloured paper lanterns. It is a really fun festival.

    This shrine, the Ōtori Shrine, is the oldest in Meguro and one of the oldest in Tokyo actually and is very beautiful. I go there to pray maybe three or four times a week normally on my way home after work or at weekends to thank god for what a lucky girl I am and that my family and friends and boyfriend are all healthy and happy.

    In summer we have fish festival where along the river stalls are set up which grill fish and the smell is wonderful (if you like the smell of grilling fish ! ! !) And this is given away free to the people that come to the festival.

    I have lived here now since I was 18 and came to Tokyo to study, so it is seven years now. I have lived in the same apartment since I came here. My dad paid for it at first but now I pay for it. I know all the neighbours and shop keepers and we always say he when we meet and I really like that friendly neighbourhood feel to Meguro. So even if it is part of a huge city you have like a small town feel.

    This song is called Megurogawa by Miwa. Megurogawa means Meguro river.

    I love this song, but this is really not my favourite version of it, but it is the only one I can find on Youtube.

    The lyrics are very romantic. She is singing about walking along the Meguro river and missing her lover who is away from her.

    She sings

    Ima ne, anata ni
    Tegami nante narenai mono kaitemasu
    Shashin, iretoku ne
    Megurogawa no hashi no ue de torimashita

    Aitai to kotoba ni sureba mune ga itaku naru
    Shinjiteru to ietara kitto tsuyoku nareru no

    Ah haru ga kite kaze ni nosete
    Anata ni dake todoketai omoi
    Koishikute mo koishikute mo
    Negatte iru itsu no hi ni ka
    Kono hana no you ni anata no yume sakimasu you ni

    In English this is:

    Now, I’m writing
    a letter to you though it feels so weird
    I’ll send a picture that
    I took on top of the bridge at the Meguro side

    When I say I miss you, my heart
    starts aching, and will I say
    I always believe in you
    and I’ll be able to grow stronger

    Spring comes while riding on the wind
    I want to send my feelings to you
    “I miss you” “I miss you”
    I’m praying that someday
    your dream will bloom like this flowers

    I hope you like it ! ! !

  14. I’m sure there’s a blindingly obvious song about Manchester sung by a Manchester band but the song that popped into my head is by Gomez, from Southport. It has that slightly stoned Manchester swagger and namechecks two locations I’ve grown up with: the University Union (now called the Academy something), where I’ve seen plenty of gigs and even played, long ago; and Piccadilly Station, where I’ve caught many a train and once fell in love.

    Shame they didn’t film the video in Manchester.

  15. I’m no Hank Snow but I did live in Winnemucca for a year and a half. I picture this one just outside Battle Mountain. I’m not 100% sure but I believe the dirt road shown at the beginning is the Midas – Golconda Road. enjoy.

    “I was totin’ my pack
    Along the dusty Winnemucca road”

    And this describes the road to Reno

    “‘Cross the deserts bare, man
    I’ve breathed the mountain air, man”

    And I’ve lived in Reno, Oklahoma, Baltimore, Charleston & Jacksonville.
    So that’ll do.

  16. No one in their right mind would ever write a song about Horley in Surrey, where I grew up. In brief, it’s a dormitory town for Gatwick Airport that makes Watford look sophisticated and cosmopolitan. I loathed it with a fiery passion; my parents still live there, and whenever I visit I’m catapulted into deep depression. Ghastly place. Least said the better.

    So instead here’s a song about where I live now, a pleasant country town in south-east Somerset, the sort of place where it takes an extra twenty minutes to walk down the high street because you keep meeting people who want to chat. This is a sort of folk-punk song that I stumbled across a year or so back, written by someone who grew up in the area, and so includes lots of local detail. I’m fairly sure that it’s historically inaccurate – most evidence suggests that the castle was pulled down by the mid-fifteenth century, rather than being besieged in the Civil War as the song proposes – but it’s good rousing stuff anyway.

    • I feel your pain.
      Horley and Woking, two cheeks of the same arse.
      I too can’t wait to see my childhood home n the rearview mirrow.

      • Rubbish, there are at least two shops that stay open until 5.30, and the Co-op even opens on Sundays. Actually it did take me a while to get used to the fact that I couldn’t simply nip out for a loaf of bread or packet of rice in the evening, but after ten years I now think it’s wonderfully old-fashioned and heroic to stand up to the tyranny of 24/7 consumerism in this way.

      • it’s true Abahachi, the Co-op was open, and the hardware store was open until 5.30pm (I was exaggerating for effect), but we had hadn’t realised the limitations of arriving at a place when most of the facilities would be shut.

        I’ve never seen so many signs declaring things like “open weds-sat 11-2pm” and the open air swimming pool which was open for something like 3 saturdays in July, for 2 hours, weather permitting.

        It was a very sweet town and we were there for the Moors not the shops, but I’m used to the big smoke now, lived here too long!

    • the whole town? We stayed in Moretonhampstead over the summer and discovered that there are still places where everything closes at 5pm!

  17. Tricky one, I come from near Woking originally and can’t think of any decent songs that feature that noble town of great boredom. ( Can’t stand the Jam, not too keen on the Quo and there’s no way I’m going for War of the Worlds ( written in Woking by P.G.Tipps and actually features the name of my home village in the text. The only other reference I’ve come across is in Defoe’s tour of Britain where it is described as a hotbed of footpads and robbers (plus ca change !))).

    I can’t really think of a song about our current home, here’s one from it though.

    They’m vrum Zinderfud. The “unbelievable” bit is, probably, referring to the town and it’s overwhelming grottiness. It’s like a blotch of poop in a field of green.
    The song that I think most captures the spirit of the place though, might seem a little surprising;

    “Eh ?” I hear you call “What is he on about ?”
    It’s true that I don’t live in Taiwan. What you have to see is the cover to the international version of this record ( http://www.last.fm/music/Samingad/Voice+of+Puyuma)

    This features three of the things that are most dear to me about where I live now.
    Hills ( green, grassy, steep)
    Fog ( Like today the cloud is low and the hill opposite my house is obscured by mist)
    Sheep ( or “ship” in “local”) We got lots of the and they are allowed to roam free under ancient rights. It’s always fun to watch tourists rather surprised faces when they come across a flock in the middle of the main road. The guys who own them are known as “badgers” and are fiercely protective of their rights. Villagers, especially incomers, sometimes get a bit riled by the poops ( sheep are good at pooping) on the pavements and stuff and complain when they get into their gardens. The response from the badgers is usually along the lines of “Good fences make good neighbours”.
    They ships wuz yer long before we were and, I hope, will still roam free long after we have gone.

    I love it here. It’s a bit rough round the edges but within 5 minutes of my house I can be lost in the woods and not see a soul for hours except deer,squirrels, buzzards and , if really lucky, one of the recently returned wild boar.

    • My brother-in-law lived in Woking for several years on one of those new estates of the type epitomised by Malvina Reynolds in her song “Little Boxes”, I was always filled with dread and depression as we approached this Thatcherite hinterland.
      Fortunately, he now lives in a village in Cornwall.
      I share your dislike of The Jam, but Quo? Most members came from Catford, I thought and Frances Rossi’s dad’s ice cream parlours were in Croydon, near East Croydon station.

      • Rick Parfitt. Borned in Woking went to same sink school as my brother ( “Don’t bother doing “O” levels” he was told “They are not for the likes of you”).
        Other famous Wokingians include me, Derek Griffiths ( Play Away), Delia Smith, Harry Hill and a Booker prize winning novelist that went to the same school as what I did ( you can tell , can’t you ?).

        The village where my mum lives is notable for giving birth to that great musical phenomenon The Spice Girls and a large mental hospital ( now closed).

      • I should add that your greatly admired chum E.C. comes from Ripley which is just a couple of miles down the road.

      • I didn’t know that Rick Parfitt was a Woking boy. Frances Rossi went to Sedgehill School in Catford as did our drummer. When we did a gig with Quo in 1968, they had a lot to talk about.
        I did know about the Ripley Racist!

  18. Doh ! Forgot to say that the sound of Samingad’s Myth is the perfect accompaniment for walking the misty hills of a morning too.
    I think she’d feel at home here.

  19. I grew up and feel very attached to Cornwall, the song that represents it for me today is Siouxsie and the Banshees Land’s End. The awesome power of the sea is the thing I miss, the quiet sea in Suffolk doesn’t work for me, it’s the crashing of the waves

    By the way, no idea if it is about Cornwall, but I listened to it there.

    Also in this category could be Justin Sullivan’s whole album Navigating by Stars, especially the first track Twilight Home which was inspired by Cornish beaches.

    • I was born and grew up on an small island and so I was never far from the sea when I was growing up. I do miss it very much and quite often go to look at the sea near Tokyo bay, but it is not the same. The sea is powerful, mysterious and unforgiving but beautiful and spiritual also. I can really understand how you feel about it ! ! !

      I liked the song very much!!!

      • There is something very special about the sea, once you’ve lived beside it, it’s always there, isn’t it? I am very glad you liked it. The pictures of where you live are lovely.

      • sorry, I meant the pictures you evoked with your poetic descriptions, not actual photos, although is there one of you with the cherry blossoms on facebook? Is that near where you live?

      • No! That photo is near Sendai where my boyfriend lives. It is the Hirose River. It is very beautiful there. We had a lovely day that day actually ♥ ♥ ♥

        Thank you for your kind words about my descriptions, you are really very kind ! ! !

  20. Until yesterday I lived in the ancient kingdom of Galloway, and from my windows I saw many’s the sea creature – but I never saw one of these:

    There’s a maid has sat on the green merse side
    These ten lang years and mair;
    An’ every first night o’ the new moon
    She kames her yellow hair.

    An’ ay while she sheds the yellow burning gowd,
    Fu’ sweet she sings an’ hie,
    Till the fairest bird that wooes the green wood,
    Is charm’d wi’ her melodie.

    But wha e’er listens to that sweet sang,
    Or gangs the dame to see,
    Ne’er hears the sang o’ the laverock again,
    Nor wakens an earthly ee.

    The Mermaid o’Galloway by Emily Smith. You can hear a bit of it here if you click the little arrow.


      • I’m not missing it at all at the moment, because I’m staying with Ab and Julian in their lovely warm dry flat – when I opened the case with my clothes everything smelled really musty (including my TP T shirt collection, oh no) so now I’m having to air everything. You really don’t realise how damp your house is till you’re not living in it any more.

      • Frankly I think I’ve had a lucky escape. The house needed a lot of work doing and only one lot of people who came to see it was actually interested in buying it…and they’ve bought it! And I don’t have to worry about it any more. So, view or no view, my first feeling is relief.

    • The song is beautiful, but I found the words hard to read. It was easier listenign to the song actually!!! It is a shame it is so short.

      I do hope you are happy in your new home ! ! !

      • That’s cos it’s in Scottish! The original song/poem is VERY long – if you google it you’ll see.

        I’m not in my new house yet but staying with Ab in Oxford. The house buying/selling process here is really complicated and slow – what’s it like in Japan?

      • I do not know all the process as I have never bought a home and I have never really discussed in detail, but I do know it can take a long time and the contracts and things are quite complex and also there are lots of fees to pay so it can be expensive I think so…..

        I will google the poem ! ! !

  21. The cathedral cities of southern England are very pleasant places to live, but don’t tend to inspire great pop songs. I can’t think of any references to Salisbury, where I grew up, or Canterbury, where I went to university, though there is a mention of finding God in a Wiltshire field in a British Sea Power song.

    I spent a few months living in Peterborough, immortalised in a song by The Long Blondes which is, frankly, better than the place deserves (although the west front of the cathedral is a thing of unsurpassed beauty, and there’s a barge on the river that sells excellent beer).

    Anyway, I’m going for a song that reminds me of where I live now, though it could be about any British “seaside town that they forgot to close down”. Not the Morrissey original but the 10,000 Maniacs cover: Natalie Merchant’s voice gives the vicious lyrics an air of melancholy, and even fondness:

    • could you have had Winchester Cathedral? Or is it too far away, I thought the song was okay, but the only version I can find of it on the internet is terrible.

      I went on a bus to Clacton on Sea once, in the winter when I lived in Colchester. It brought to mind the song you chose.

      • That’s one of those songs I’ve heard of but never heard – just had a listen on Spotify. Nice, but I’ve only been to Winchester a couple of times.

    • It’s not quite Salisbury, but Andy Partridge is from Swindon and this song apparently references the area. Justin Hayward is from Wiltshire too, i think some Moody Blues songs may vaguely reference the area too.

    • “I spent a few months living in Peterborough”

      No-one lives in Peterboro in my experience. A horrible, horrible place.

    • Lots of Canterbury songs by ‘Canterbury scene’ bands like Caravan. Blind Dog At St Dunstan’s springs instantly to mind. I’m sure there are others.

      • I was very surprised when I discovered there’d been a “Canterbury scene” once upon a time. I haven’t really investigated it, but I recognise the view on that album cover.

  22. I’m from Monaghan town in the north east of Ireland. We don’t have many famous sons but I guess Barry McGuigan would be well known, and possibly the poet Patrick Kavanagh who was a farmer and wrote eloquently about the place.

    O stony grey soil of Monaghan
    The laugh from my love you thieved;
    You took the gay child of my passion
    And gave me your clod-conceived.

    You clogged the feet of my boyhood
    And I believed that my stumble
    Had the poise and stride of Apollo
    And his voice my thick tongued mumble.

  23. Mmm dunno what happened there, let’s try again!

    I’m from Monaghan town in the north east of Ireland. We don’t have many famous sons but I guess Barry McGuigan would be well known, and possibly the poet Patrick Kavanagh who was a farmer and wrote eloquently about the place.

    “O stony grey soil of Monaghan
    The laugh from my love you thieved;
    You took the gay child of my passion
    And gave me your clod-conceived.

    You clogged the feet of my boyhood
    And I believed that my stumble
    Had the poise and stride of Apollo
    And his voice my thick tongued mumble”.

    His work was really only recognised quite late in life by which he had moved to Dublin where he hung out with Brendan Behan and Flann O’Brien and the three of them set about drinking themselves to an early grave.

    One of his Dublin poems was set to music by the Dubliners, Van Morrison, and The Blessed Sinead. I used to live round the corner from Raglan Road, so the sing has home written all over it for me. Beautiful lyric about growing old and not being as desirable as you’d like to think you are.

    • Lovely song, great performance though I’ve a soft spot for Irish Heartbeat; so Van and the Chieftains for me every time, especially as their Carrickfergus was my first RR A-lister of not very many !

      • I was tempted to go for the Van version, but Luke Kelly had a great voice and is maybe not so familiar.

  24. My first thought was Del Amitri’s “Nothing Ever Happens” because that’s what my original home town of Melton Mowbray felt like. In fact, for a while I was convinced that they’d written it about Leicester (which is close enough) – but then I realised that they were from Glasgow, and that I’d somehow got them mixed up with Diesel Park West.

    But spiritually, it’s about right.

    However, I’m going to have a better think about songs about other places I have lived. Somehow, I doubt that I will find many songs about Melton Mowbray.

  25. I live in Hampshire at the moment; I have just thought of Jarvis Cocker, who “I seem[s] to have left an important part of [his] brain somewhere / Somewhere in a field in Hampshire”.

    Pulp, “Sorted for E’s and Wizz”

    Well, maybe. But I’ve got several other places to consider. And I haven’t found any of Jarvis’ brain while out walking in the local fields yet, either.

    • I am rather disturbed by the thought that there might be a physical reminder of his brain loss somewhere, ew! Cool song though. Surely there’s a song about pork pies out there?

  26. Well I grew up (sort of) in Welling in Kent which is one of those endless London suburbs and although I could obviously have gone for Sound of the Suburbs by the Members I think this trumps it. One of the best songs to come out of the original punk explosion imho and it sums up my feelings about the place !

  27. Seeing as I went to uni in Durham and now live in London…

    Doesn’t really remind me of either, but couldn’t think of anything else that did! (Yes, I know there are loads of London songs but I’ve never latched onto a particular one.) I wonder if Glen has ever sat in Durham County…

    • That’s indeed a nice little tune. The Merrie England reference in the video made me smile, as the place is a byword in MummyP’s family for having your plates cleared away before one is quite finished, as they try to move customers on as quickly as possible.

  28. I’ve lived all my life in London. Mostly south of the river. I was born and brought up in Merton Park and after a few years away from there I moved back to Morden which is only a few inches away (approx).

    Since I have already posted Morden by Good Shoes more times than I would care to mention I thought maybe I’d better go for Merton Park’s only one-hit-wonders but I don’t think they ever wrote a song about the place and I was never a great fan anyway.

    So here’s a song by Keen. It’s sung by a Scottish singer called Gillian but written by a Mertonian called Pauline (also on backing vocals) and released on a record label based two doors from where I now live. Yes I think that reminds me of home. The fact that Pauline is my sister does not in any way constitute bias.

  29. I have a wealth of provincial English towns and cities tio choose from, but relatively few have songs about them that I already know (Googling reveals a multitude that I didn’t know, but that doesn’t seem to be playing the game).

    After Melton, I have Brighton and Hove, Kingston-Upon-Hull, Guildford, Newbury (and it’s satellite, Thatcham), and now a village in Hampshire not far from Basingstoke. Which I try to disassociate myself from.

    I had a feeling that ‘Ull might be a fertile source; after all, it was home to Everything But The Girl, The Housemartins and the Beautiful South, Fine Young Cannibals and, um, Kingmaker. Southampton gave us Craig David. Brighton is a wonderfully disreputable old lady near the sea but I couldn’t think of many musical associations other than the Levellers. And Frazier Chorus. Guildford is a dormitory town for London (that’s how I saw it) and is generally rather staid and a bit boring. A prim old lady. Newbury is a nice enough town, but it’s quite insignificant and I couldn’t think of any songs about it.

    So, with regard to the slightly eccentric city of ‘Ull (where I spent a most enjoyable year as a postgraduate), I was going to plump for The Housemartins’ “Happy Hour”, because the video was filmed in their local on Grafton Street not far from where I lived (it’s basically right in the middle of the student gheto, although the ‘Martins weren’t students. EBTG were, mind) when I remembered this:

    The Beautiful South, “The Rising of Grafton Street”

    It’s an instrumental and I couldn’t find a YouTube (“hooray”, I hear you say), but Grooveshark will stream it for you if you like. I’m not sure what Grafton Street is rising against. The influx of students, no doubt.

    A few words about what Hull is like. It’s a port town, stuck in a corner of the north east of England. There isn’t much else out there; just “Spurn Point and the rest of it” (EBTG, “Flipside”). Basically, you don’t go through to Hull to get anywhere (except maybe to the ferry to Amsterdam). Mostly, you don’t go there. It’s a bit run down – the fishing industry is dying, and its remoteness makes it a poor choice of location for many businesses. (Makes it a cheap place to live.)

    But… Kingston Communications always seemed to do well. I understand that they bankroll the local sports clubs. They are the local telephone company. When the rest of the UK amalgamated all their little telephone companies into British Telecom, somehow Hull got left out (probably opted out on purpose). The result was visible, when I lived there, in the white telephone boxes dotted around the place. Classic British telephone boxes – just not red. The glass ones were starting to enroach. Hull also had it’s own chain of supermarkets and convenience stores. There seemed to be more independent shops (ie not part of national chains) in the city centre than in most places.

    The place had a reputation for being a bit rough – it was certainly rough around the edges in parts – but I never encountered any problems. Possibly because I’d been told which pubs to avoid. There were some wonderful historical buildings, including a pub where the English Civil War had been started (I think). I loved the street name “The Land of Green Ginger”. And then… I remember the fogs. They smelt a bit funny. Apparently it was something to do with fish.

      • I didn’t know that, TFD. There are plenty of folk songs about Hull – they’re discussed in this mudcat thread. I just wasn’t familar with any of them.

        There’s “Three Day Millionaire”, by Mike Waterson, about the fishing trade and wanting to buy a house in the posh bit of Hull. Lyrics here.

        There’s one about the Humber Bridge (I never did get around to cycling over that) and assorted other bits ‘n’ bobs.

        And how could I forget that pen to the M62? Chris Rhea’s “Road to Hull”… (might have got that a bit wrong).

  30. local (to Brighton) celebrity Terry Garoghan has a whole album of obscure local reference points in “Brighton: The Musical”. It really is very good, here’s one track off of it:

  31. and here’s a video of someone doing ballet where I live now, i’m not quite sure why !

    This small island is a few minutes away by car or a short cycle ride over the bridge. Or a short stroll and a 2 minute boat ride.

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