Monday, May 02, 2011

Sweet home High Wycombe

I did some stand-up back in the late 80s and early 90s. One of my acts was pre-emptive of recent comedy hits like M J Delaney's 'Newport State of Mind' performed here by the original team of Alex Warren and Terema Wainwright:

This was a huge YouTube hit and was even re-recorded with famous Welsh celebs for this year's Comic Relief Red Nose Day:

Anyway, I say I was pre-emptive because I played a character, a kind of dreadful lounge singer called Guido Libido, who was angry, raging, furious that all the classics featured US cities rather than British ones. I had karaoke style backing tapes to sing over and my set included such gems as The Witchqueen of Milton Keynes, York - So good they named it once, I left my heart in Sutton Coldfield, Loving you is easy 'cos you're from Bootle and my personal favourite I've been to Paradise but I've never been to Leeds. It was always a popular act. But there was a serious message behind the comedy ... why don't we have more songs that celebrate where we come from? We do? Sing me five of them then. Go on. Chances are they're comedy songs, folk songs or Cockney singalongs. I can't think of a single crooner, rocker or popper who's sung about a British town in recent years.

I'm told that it's the names. I don't accept that. If there was a major city in the USA called Sheffield or Portsmouth, they'd still have written a song about it. We don't say 'Boston ... ooh that's an odd name?' do we? Or Washington or Portland. Lots of American towns were named after British towns. So maybe it's simple British reserve and not wanting to make a fuss? If that's the case, I urge you to reconsider. Just do something slightly more tuneful than this well-intentioned attempt by someone to immortalise the town where I've lived in and around since 1993. Bring me home Chevronz ...


CM said...

Rousing. I moved away from Wycombe last year... Whyyyyyy?

Morrissey - Come Back To Camden
but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

There are quite a lot of songs about British towns - Arctic Monkeys were very geographically rooted in Sheffield and Rotherham, for example, and who could forget The Smiths' 'Panic' which referenced a lot of towns. But I do take your point. Our geographic references don't tend to translate outside the UK, where we happily accept songs about almost any US location (and similarly, by bands with US placenames like Boston, Kansas, Texas (which inexplicably is a British band!) and so on.

- Naomi Tayler