Friday, November 02, 2007

The Notting Hill Set

I went to meet my very good friend Dr Al for a pint up at Notting Hill Gate recently and with lots of time to spare and a nice evening settling in, decided not to take my usual bus up there from Shepherd's Bush Green but to stay on the Hammersmith & City Line to Ladbroke Grove and make the walk up Portobello Rd.

I used to hang out in this area a fair bit - in the back room of the Earl Of Lonsdale mostly with my 'in an indie band' mates and my bought in Camden Market leather jacket, drinking pints of Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Bitter and trying to look rock and roll. Emphasis on the word 'trying'.

Realistically it is probably 15 years since I last walked those streets.

Unsurprisingly I suppose, but it still came as shock to me, the red flock wallpaper sticky-carpet corner pubs are all now chi chi bar-restaurants with covered terraces, the second-hand record shops, piercing and tattoo parlours are emporia for brightly-coloured soft furnishings, chrome table lamps and designer DAB radios and the always-on-the-edge vibe of the place, which I am not romanticising but which gave it an inner city something, has been firmly supplanted by the well-heeled and rather smug ambiance of young Cameronistas living in £3.5M Georgian terrace houses.

I felt like I'd stepped out of the Tardis - which in a way, I had.

May I then good people, as the soft pinko liberal nostalgist that I am, offer for your Friday night delectation three songs in honour of the W10 I kinda miss.

And yes before you ask, I miss rickets and open sewers too.

I Roy - 'Black Man Time' (1973)
The Clash - 'Groovy Times' (1979)
The Clash - 'One More Time' (1980)

Play LOUD.

[PS: All the music files on this page are now up & running again - with MediaFire]


  1. Nice one Davy - you know I havnt set foot in that part of London for about 25 years. I dont think I ever will again now. The thought of a community without a soul will be too much to bare. I'm all for change but surely that change needs a pulse to drive it. Great songs too.

  2. You're going all 'LondonLee' on us. It's true what they say, you can never go back. I hardly recognise the little town I grew up in Six-toe county. That's mainly due to retired Thatcherites moving from London :(

  3. I lived on Chepstow Rd for a while and remember vividly how the Prince Bonaparte went from being a huge old man's pub into this really odd place with stripped wood and old tables and food. The same thing happened with the pub next door to my old flat which suddenly became The Cow and had a dining rooom. A dining room! Imagine...

  4. you'd still like bits of the old place i'm sure - i did a stall under the westway for years and the back street off of golbourne road and even down by rough trade are as rotten as they ever were. well they were a couple of years ago.
    i'm slowly getting a london and it's kids are damn fine rant together in preperation for my return. i miss the old place so.
    although i was mighty pissed off when the earl percy got niced.
    ps - the only time i've been robbed was down the portabello road too.

  5. What on EARTH would we want with a dining room in a pub? Have your tea before you go out!!!

    'Niced' - good verb; I'm going to use that.


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