Something for the Weekend



Another record to file under “Bugger me, I’d forgotten all about this” — at least I had. Though the silly chorus gives it the whiff of the novelty one-hit wonder (which Sherbet were in the UK, huge in Australia though apparently) this is a terrific record, an almost perfect example of 70s radio pop. I can easily imagine it blasting from our little transistor radio during the summer holidays. Noel Edmonds probably loved it but don’t let that put you off.

Young, Gifted, and Black London


If you read the NME in the late 70s you’re probably familiar with the work of photographer Dennis Morris who, along with the likes of Pennie Smith and Anton Corbijn, took some of the most iconic pictures of the era — he also designed the famous tin-can packaging of Metal Box.


Morris was a black kid from Hackney which was something of a rarity in the world of pro photography at the time (being black that is, not coming from Hackney) and his personal work is collected in a new book called Growing Up Black which captures the lives of black people in London in the 1970s: the politics, the churches, the street life, and the sound systems.


It’s a bit pricey for my wallet (300 quid!) but there’s a nice gallery of photos from it here.

Download: Is It Because I’m Black? – Ken Boothe (mp3)

This is a fantastic cover of the Syl Johnson song which I think I prefer to the original, Ken Boothe’s vocal on it just kills me. From the album Darker Than Blue which is a must-have compilation if you likes the reggae music (and pretty bloody expensive now too it seems).

Something for the Weekend



See if you recognize the girl in the yellow dress before the caption identifies her.

They’re Absolute Beginners



Fab look at the Soho coffee bar scene in the 1950s, full of Bohemian characters and beat-grooving teens. You’ll want to pull up some cushions and have a cuppa Java to watch this one, Daddio.

Scout’s Dishonour


I wasn’t much of a joiner when I was a kid (I’m still not), I was briefly in the Chess Club at school but only long enough to learn how to play the game, not long enough to get any good at it (still not either). Apart from that the only other organization I ever joined in my youth was the Boy Scouts and I didn’t stay long there either.

I started going to the 20th Fulham Boy Scout Troop (The Mohicans!) because two of my cousins went and they told me it was a good place to hang out in the evenings and there was a billiard table in the back room of the church hall which you could play on when Scouts were over. I was certainly more interested in that than I was in the whole camping and tying knots, Dyb Dyb Dyb, Bob-a-Job, helping-old-ladies-cross-the-street stuff, and during my time there I think I became a better billiard player than Scout.

I can’t remember how long I actually went but I never got to become a full-fledged, proper Boy Scout and wear the uniform (with the all-important Woggle) because shortly before I was due to go through the ceremony of swearing the Scout Promise (I think you had to do it on the Union Jack) and reciting the Scout Law my career there came to an end, and not because I was rubbish at Granny Knots.

There was a kid from my school in our Troop named Stephen Burgess who everyone called Stephen Birdshit (us crazy kids) and one night during some making-a-fire-with-two-sticks class or something I called him that quite loudly which caused the Troop Leader to take me aside and very sternly tell me to “go home and come back when you’ve learned to speak properly” — those exact words. So I left and still remember walking home in a huff thinking it was all a bit stupid and pathetic — I’d only said shit, I knew far worse words than that! — and there and then decided that Scouts wasn’t for me and I wasn’t going back. I was already a bit dubious about the whole promising to do my duty to God and the Queen bit anyway.

So I was basically kicked out of the Scouts for swearing, it might be the most punk rock thing I’ve ever done.

Download: The Boy Wonders – Aztec Camera (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



It feels a bit shitty actually, Noddy, but I’m OK.

Sorry, Smithers-Jones


I got laid off from my job last week which was a bit of a shock as I really didn’t see it coming. They used words like “restructuring” and “reorganization” which I guess is the corporate version of “It’s not you, it’s me”.

So I am now unemployed. On the plus side I should have more time for blogging.

Download: Smithers-Jones (Single Version) – The Jam (mp3)

New Monday



I’ve a feeling I overuse words like “lovely” and “gorgeous” to describe music around here but dammit if they don’t apply to this one by Sophia Knapp too. Maybe I need to listen to some ugly music now and then.

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The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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