The Cockney Amorist – Sir John Betjeman

Betjeman’s Banana Blush is a strange album. A slightly funky collection of light jazz played by a swing band doing unusual things with timing behind the Poet Laureate as he reads a dozen or so of his poems. What’s even stranger is why I own a copy. These days though, it’s an album I would not be without despite not really knowing how or why it came into my posession.

The Cockney Amorist is notable to Skinny Jeans these days as the track sampled on Jamie T’s Sheila. The oldey worldy bit of dialogue between the verses about ‘the ones that smelt of gaslight’ is taken from this track.

The poem is a post relationship love letter. Not written as you first assume because the couple have split up but because death do them part.

‘No more the Hackney Empire’, ‘I will not go to Finsbury Park’, Sir John’s options are becoming limited in his time alone. ‘Not cross the crowded High Road, to Williamsons for tea’.

The killer line is as ever saved for the last verse. ‘I love you, oh my darling, And what I can’t make out, Is why since you have left me, I’m somehow still about’

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