Glamweazel’s London-anthem for our time is indeed a poignant one, lamenting the demise of many of that city’s iconic music venues, in particular Tin Pan Alley aka Denmark Street.

Lionel Bart, another very London songwriter (Oliver!) gave us ‘Things ain’t what they used to be’ as long ago as the early Sixties and indeed they are hardly likely to be so again! I’m sure Glamweazel would agree wholeheartedly. Sadly, things can only get worse. As the artist sadly proclaims in his ‘The Ghosts of Denmark Street’, “They’re ripping out the guts from my hometown”… of course, ‘they’ refers to the property developers and capitalists.

Gone and going are the places where the mavericks and the rockers gave the world its beat, and indeed the song alludes to venues such as The Astoria, the 12 Bar Club and the Regent Sounds Studio. From the late Fifties to the late Seventies this little area was a virtual haven for budding and established musicians alike… and with Charing Cross Road just around the corner for the avid bibliophile (many of whom were musicians).

As Glamweazel observes, “The town hall planners ain’t got no beat” and how very true this is! The song is redolent of a 60’s folk-rock track that in this nostalgic context works extremely well. We are talking a catchy beat and a riff you can whistle albeit with a tear in your eye. Talk about an upbeat tune with a downbeat message!
A golden era that is gone, gone, gone… thanks Glamweazel for spelling it out a little more loudly!

Glamweazel’s Jerry Thornton-Jones would like to share his opinion with Music-News readers in the following interview:

Music-News:
Jerry, when did you decide to write a song about this sorry state of affairs?

Jerry Thornton-Jones:
I occasionally travel into London from the sticks, and I always seem to end up window shopping and soaking up the nostalgia of Soho and in particular Denmark Street…for such a non-descript little street it’s amazing how influential it has been in our culture. The last time I wandered down it was just after The 12 Bar had closed down, and protesters had moved in, and it struck me how sad this was and how many other shops and venues had shut down in the last couple of years …it felt like the end of an era. The song wrote itself really… all done in 30 minutes. So I thought, let’s get it recorded and see what happens!

MN:
Do you hope to get extensive airplay and it will shake up people – especially those responsible for the shambles?

J T-J:
To be honest I would be surprised if it gets any airplay outside London because it’s so London specific, but then again the same problems are happening in Manchester, Newcastle. Liverpool etc…The grass roots of music are being destroyed without a thought as to the lasting consequences… Where are new bands going to be able learn their trade and pay their dues in the future…? It’s now all about instant YouTube success with nothing of substance to back it up….

MN:
Can you see London ever getting back its swing again?

J T-J:
I think things are going to get worse before they get better…its all about money at the end of the day, but everything is cyclical and out of it a new movement will come out from the suburbs and beyond. The one certain thing is that the human spirit will always find alternative ways to express itself.

MN:
Do you plan on a protest letter or a petition which will be send to various councils, town planners and 10 Downing Street?

J T-J:
Quite frankly no… but by talking and singing about it will certainly help. We have met up with Friends of Tin Pan Alley who have been actively campaigning to ‘Save Soho’.

MN:
What, in your opinion, could or should be done to make those in charge more aware of the damage they cause?

J T-J:
I think that the powers that be need to be brave enough to think twice about this redevelopment juggernaut that seems to be running riot, and designate these iconic locations as 'heritage sights'…. Lets preserve the buildings, get the private businesses back in and the tourists (and money) will follow. Let’s celebrate this great cultural and rock ‘n’ roll contribution that these little back streets and scuzzy little clubs have made before its too late.

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