Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks

In conjunction with Bon Jovi and more importantly Tommy and Gina comes another version of one those songs that seem to be about the universal “us”.

Livin’ On A Prayer might be the American Dream made song, but I’m from Lahndahn Mate. Born in the sound of Bow Bells I woz.

So while the English equivalent of Livin’ On A Prayer is probably Waterloo Sunset, the Transatlantic counterparts to Tommy & Gina are undoubtedly Terry & Julie.

We’ve been up this particular alley before. Last time I shut up shop I staged a London Week during working out me notice. I’ve got to hand it to Ray Davies. He’s almost the poet laureate of Little England. From The Village Green Preservation Society to Come Dancing he has got us down Pat. We might not have all had his adventures down in old Soho but he’s one of us and no mistake. One of the best of us.

I’ve made claim to our alternative nation national anthem being a London Song (steady Mr Dury!) before. Sure London Calling gets the blue jeans and leather jackets crowd stomping every time. They all “Live by the Rivuuurh” when the songs playing (even if they’re out on the Amersham end of the Metropolitan line on the tube home). Waterloo Sunset though? The Milkman (of Human Kindness) could whistle that.

To hear the gentle melody and the words “Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night?”
in a crowd of my city folk is a spine tingling pleasure. Young or old. Black or white. Asian, European or Aussie bartender on a gap year. If you’re in Hyde Park, Hammersmith Odeon, a buskers booth at Bank or supping tea at Bar Italia while the street sweepers dance outside (Gawd Blimey Mary Poppins an’ no mistake) you feel it, here.

“But I don’t need no friends as long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset I am in paradise”

We do need friends though Ray. And lovers and family and neighbours you can nod to when you pass them in the street. I’ve flung arms around strangers and danced great aunts around wedding receptions to this song. I’ve kissed girls under the stars (blokes too if the moods right. Sorry Doug) and cried tears of joy with my parents on New Years Eve as we align ourselves with Terry and Julie.

“Millions of people swarming like flies round Waterloo underground, but Terry and Julie cross over the river where they feel safe and sound”

Last time I posted this song it was a live version by Ray accompanied by Blur’s Damon Albarn. It came with what was the origin story for The Head. For Rock And Roll Valhalla and as a touchstone for some of the happiest memories of my life.

Here at the end of the show. We should have the proper version. For my Mum & Dad too. They were down the river a fair bit, There was a time they were about as Terry & Julie as it gets.


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