By Louie FB
In the May before the last London Games in 1948, the city welcomed a boatload of West Indian immigrants on the now famous Empire Windrush. Among the passengers was a calypso legend who’s name seems to perfectly sum up the irony of British imperial decline – Lord Kitchener.
Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) was already a big name in Trinidad and Jamaica and came to London to further his career, which he did quite successfully. The lilting happiness of the calypso sound mixed with his comical but shrewd song writing provided much needed relief to a British public battered and drained by war.
His lyrics covered many aspects of life in urban post-war Britain; from the horrendous transport system in ‘Underground Train’, to the shared love of sport in ‘Cricket, lovely cricket’ to the trials of racial integration in ‘If You’re Brown’. The cheek and wit of his writing is a precursor to London reggae artists like Smiley Culture and Tippa Irie, not to mention his massive influence on ska which pretty much defined a generation.
Yet, his most famous and certainly his most appropriate song must be ‘London is the Place for me’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGt21q1AjuI). Composed on his year of arrival the song talks about his immediate love of the city, it’s people and the comfort he feels living there – sentiments that we hope 2012’s visitors will share.
Rumour has it that a timely new version of the track is ready for release in the next few weeks so keep your ears open for this from a real unsung hero.
By Louie FB
It’s the Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary this year and it seems fitting as everyone seems to have gone mod mental. The button up polo, the parka, the scooters – they’re all back, even road cyclist Bradley Wiggins has been branded ‘King of the Mods’ by the Independent. People love the nostalgia, harking back to a time of crazy excesses and free spirits of the 1960s.