Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Newtown People

10 Days 22 hours 15 mins to go…

Despite all my best efforts, and with the date I want the CD’s by clearly stated on the order form (which was accepted), I was told yesterday that I was ‘pushing it’ to be able to get my order by the end of the month, the last possible date for me.

To me, ‘pushing it’ means, ‘you aint gonna get them when you want’, so the release date of November 1st isn’t going to happen.
This is not entirely their fault; I would have got the designs and the data to the manufacturers earlier, but people and things outside of my control have created the ‘perfect storm’ to bring me to this point.

The countdown is still relevant, as it is applies also to celebrating my 60th Birthday on Nov 1st (as opposed to the 29th October which is mid-week).

Newtown People.

It is a song about alienation. During the formation of this Newtown in the late 50’s, in which people from the East End of London were transplanted into Harlow while it was still being built, there was a phenomenon called the ‘Newtown Blues’.

Originally, this described the depression that young mothers would fall into after moving to Harlow, away from the close knit support structure of the family back in the East End. They found themselves living in an enormous building site with no facilities and no-one to see each day. Struggling with bringing up new-borns or just older children continually misbehaving because there were no parks and nothing to do, depression or post-natal depression set in.
By the Eighties things had improved regarding facilities but it was still way behind in providing things for young people to do. I began my young adult life, listless and bored. There was plenty to do in London, but the last train (no-one I knew had a car) left so ridiculously early, that to go out for a night in the city meant putting up with a fair degree of discomfort i.e. I spent many a night sleeping rough on Liverpool Street station waiting for the first train of the new day.

So I wrote Newtown People to express the feeling of alienation and hopelessness my friends and I all felt. Everyone I knew, wanted to move out of their parents place and get a flat in London and in those days it was possible.
I later bemoaned about the soullessness of Harlow in an interview in the NME, which a year later was picked up by the Harlow Gazette which then ran a feature on my views in a double page spread. 

But after all these years I am still here, maybe I am suffering from ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ because I actually love this town. I love playing this song, but it has been a long journey from my view of Harlow as expressed in Newtown People.

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