Observations: Ray Davies' ode to icons of London
Friday 11 December 2009
"Some people seem to think my new single "Postcard From London" is a Christmas song. It wasn't meant to be one, although it does mention snow. I'm looking ahead to when I have grandchildren and they ask me: 'London – what is this place?' I feel the culture of the London I used to know is disappearing. That's something I explore in Olympicland, and I'm hoping to get that project finished for a run at the Theatre Royal in Stratford before the Olympics get underway. I just hope the community around Stratford can afford to live there when the Games are over. We don't want a repeat of the ethnic cleansing that went on in Beijing.
The single is the first song Chrissie Hynde and I have released together. She wasn't my first choice – I wanted Dame Vera Lynn, because the song has the sort of melody that she would handle rather well. Having said that, Chrissie came into the studio and did her bit brilliantly. I wasn't there at the time, and of course our relationship history [Hynde and Davies have a daughter, Natalie Ray Hynde, now 26] adds yet another texture to the song. But it wasn't recorded around a log fire or anything. We weren't toasting marshmallows and cracking nuts. My girlfriend Karen sang on the demo and, with Chrissie, it was quite clear what the vocal parts were. Some artists are happy to let the writer direct things. There was no real discussion, which surprised me. The places and things that I mention in the song – Waterloo Bridge, Carnaby Street, the Charlie Chaplin statue in Leicester Square – are icons or symbols of the London that I think is under threat.
Hopefully they will remain, but if the buildings around them are all different, will they still have the same impact? Carnaby Street means a lot to me because The Kinks' office was round the back of there in Kingly Court. We were there every day.
'Postcard From London' is out now on UMTV. Ray Davies tours to 19 December (www.raydavies.info)
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 2 Y-40 Deep Joy: The world's deepest swimming pool
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Syria air strikes: President Obama undergoes Damascene conversion as Isis forces America to change tack
- 5 Pink Floyd new album: Band unveil cover art for first record in 20 years
Idris Elba 'absolutely' wants to play James Bond
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine
Kendrick Lamar: New song 'i' released on Soundcloud sampling Isley Brothers - listen here
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Labour Party conference: Ed Balls to set out plan to freeze child benefit to balance books