London is the Place For Me – Lord Kitchener

“All peoples of the world, this is London Calling, This is London Calling!”

Joe Strummer continues to point us in a right direction with his words all this time after he left us. The transmission mission from his Bush House broadcasts is one of focus on a city that contains and embraces the whole world. It was on Joe’s show that I first heard Lord Kitchener. Not the British Army needs YOU! Guy, a different Kitchener.

“London is the place for me, London this lovely city, You can go to France or America, India, Asia or Australia but you must come back to London city, well believe me I am speaking broadmindedly, I am glad to know my Mother Country, I have been travelling to countries years ago but this is the place I wanted to know, London that is the place for me”
Lord Kitchener was the stage name of Alwin Roberts the Calypso King. And this song is state endorsed propaganda. You see after the second world war our capital was short of hands to do all the work. We’d lost so many in the fields of France, the deserts of Egypt, the seas and oceans, the cities, mountains and skies of almost all over the whole planet that we were short a generation. We had been victorious but at what cost?
The Boys and Girls who became men and women during WWII were so depleted in their numbers. And yet the kids still needed schooling, the grannies still needed nursing and the country still needed to run. So the Home Office commissioned a pop song. I’m not sure that’s something they get into very often. But on Pathé news reel footage shown throughout The West Indies Kitchener sang,
“To live in London you are really comfortable, because the English people are very much sociable, They take you here and they take you there and they make you feel like a millionaire, London that’s the place for me”
And so, the Windrush Generation climbed aboard and set sail for merrie olde England.
It’s easy to be cynical in hindsight, to see that the chirpy ‘London’s streets are paved with gold’ call out cannot in reality have been quite as fab as made out. Of course many of the Windrush Generation have stories of English people being less than polite and welcoming upon their arrival.
You hear the same from Indians who have arrived since the 70’s, from the Eastern European’s who’ve been staffing our hospitals and working our construction sites ever since, but overall London is a city that reflects the whole world.
From East India Dock to Chinatown to Golders Green to Notting Hill Carnival. The whole world is right there within the sound of Bow Bells.
I’m not pretending London is perfect. It’s cold, wet, dirty and it’s eye-wateringly expensive. But…
“At night when you have nothing to do you can take a walk down Shaftesbury Avenue
There you will laugh and talk and enjoy the breeze and admire the beautiful scenery of London, that’s the place for me”

Next stop. Mill Hill.

25 thoughts on “London is the Place For Me – Lord Kitchener

    1. It the Kitchener era it was because there were not enough young men left to carry out the rebuilding required after the war. So many had died on battlefields there were not enough for building sites. Since then it’s been a more about economic balance and expectations.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s not my digs I would imagine that view would come at the cost of many millions. That’s a shot from the Prison Cells at The Tower Of London. Seems as good a place as any to discuss this port city’s international flavour and place in the world stage.
      I try to meet genuine inquiry with what I know. And I appreciate the support as ever Mate.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I kind of guessed that about the photo, but made my silly self smile at the idea of a ‘Dickensian Tour of London’ which might well include a straw pallet in a grotty garret.
        I’m really enjoying the variety you’re chucking in mate.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s not have a YouTube style comments section around this nice bit calypso. Hate speech is a lot bigger and uglier than anything we’ve seen here today. I hope my first answer seemed sincere (it was) and I’ll trust no offence was meant from your response.

        There does seem to be an undercurrent around the follow up question of ‘What Are They Doing Here?’. Truth is we’ve been part of the EU for my entire life and just like I could go and work in Madrid when I wanted to those in other parts of the union can freely come here an earn money doing jobs the locals don’t seem to want. Personally I think that’s rather brilliant and I’ll be very sad to see it change.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Big question for a music blog but there are of course those who can’t work, those who are between opportunities and those who exploit the system all mixed together. Kinda like listening to Planet Rock Radio really. You’re there for the Dio and the Pearl Jam but you know once in a while there will be some Nickleback and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I was, still am, a primary school teacher. I had a post for one term in Newham at a failing school. Then I worked as a supply teacher in the East End working in boroughs like Newham, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Dagenham and Barking.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is quite the snapshot of a particular time, eh?

    In an age of Brexit and anti-immigration rhetoric, this is rather topical.

    Anyhoo, I’m here for the music.

    Liked by 1 person

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