THERE’S a good reason why classic songs don’t involve British towns and cities. Try singing along to these without feeling mildly depressed:
If your vagabond shoes are longing to stray, why not choose Swindon? When making a brand new start of it, you could do a lot worse than finding employment at the Halfords call centre, or one of the many retail outlets in the Brunel mall. Swindon is a city that quite often sleeps, but if you make it there you can definitely make it anywhere. You just won’t bother singing about it.
’24 Hours From Birmingham’
In the British version of this classic, if when driving to be with your love you saw a welcoming light and stopped to rest for the night, it would be the M6 Hilton Park services. Upon asking a woman where you could get something to eat, she would have pointed to WHSmith and walked off, so you wouldn’t have danced and slept with her and then ditched your current partner. You’d have bought a Twix and a paper, and phoned to say you were actually less than 24 minutes from Birmingham, traffic permitting.
To some, the place I long to be might not be beautiful, sunny Jamaica, but the drizzle-splattered remoteness of Cumbria’s once-magnificent shipbuilding town. However, the lines ‘And now I am king, and my queen will come at dawn, she’ll be waiting in Barrow-in-Furness town’ don’t feel so believable. No woman in her right mind would stand gazing out over Morecambe Bay at 5am, freezing her tits off waiting for some bloke. Take her to Kingston, it’ll be much nicer.
‘Do You Know The Way To Wrexham’
Had enough of LA? Then why not return to your home town of Wrexham? You won’t go wrong and lose your way, because you’ve got satnav on your phone, so no worries there. You can really breathe in Wrexham, you think, they’ve got a lot of space. Unfortunately, on arrival you’ll remember that you left because it’s boring as f**k, and wearily start making your way back to LA, which might just be a great big freeway but at least it’s sunny.
‘Straight Outta St. Ives’
Rapping about gang life on the west coast of Britain will be tricky, as the Cornish town of St. Ives doesn’t quite rival Compton for drive-by shootings or a high crime rate. You might be a punk-ass watercolour artist or a crazy motherfisher, but songs about ill-mannered tourists and pesky seagulls won’t be streamed a million times, even with lines like ‘Damn, that pasty was dope’ and ‘Attitude legit cause I’m tearing up jazz festivals’.