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