The Future Sound of (New Age) London?

Between South Kensington tube station and the museums, there’s a covered walkway/underpass. It has, at various times (when they weren’t ‘moved on’ by the Police) been a haunt for buskers and other ‘street’ entertainers aspiring to a better income from passers-by than might be received somewhere like, say, Hounslow High Street.

A number of years ago, I was taking my then (German) girlfriend on her first visit to London and she had expressed an interest in visiting the Natural History Museum … so, off we went.

Not far from the entrance to the tube station, were three young (late-teen, maybe twenty-one at the oldest) girls, sitting on the floor, singing in harmony. No accompaniment, pure acapella. They had the purest voices I had ever heard before, or have since … the harmonies weaving and interweaving as they echoed along the walkway.

I observed to my girlfriend how remarkable their voices were and they were sure to be successful, whatever avenue they chose to pursue in their careers … to which she replied (translated) “There’s music being pumped from speakers, yeah. So?” — at which point I had to point to the three young women and say “No … it’s them.”

I wonder what became of them.

But I digress …

Walking around a part of town not far from where I live, you’ll find street buskers/entertainers most of the year around … even in winter.

Now, I don’t care how skilled or talented you are, if I’ve got some shrapnel on me, I’ll throw something in your ‘hat’ to reward your courage; no matter how good you are, I know from personal experience that it takes guts to get up in public and perform — these days, of course, an empty room would fill me with despair but, when I started out DJ-ing, I was absolutely terrified of anyone hearing my performance and would (paradoxically) rather play to an empty room than to even one person, let alone many heaving bodies ¹.

That said, I won’t do so, if your performance is an adjunct to some sort of religious, philosophical or pseudoscientific purpose like Scientology — I’m not gonna join your cult and don’t want to encourage you to engage with me (which stopping to drop some cash in your collection tin almost certainly will), so I’ll lower my head and walk on by without looking your way.

So, as I was walking along today and heard the busker singing “[something] [something] Jesus [something] {something]” and then trail off at the end of the verse, I noticed and thought to myself “Okay, it could be a lyric from whatever the song is” and, despite not having any spare change to give … so not going to wander over and reward his bravery anyway … I didn’t scurry past in a veil of “Don’t notice me, just carry on as though I weren’t here and we’ll avoid any unfortunate unpleasantness that might arise from my having to explain to you that, no, I’m really not interested in hearing the word of [whoever] and being saved/enlightened/relieved of my burdensome wealth by beneficent aliens, if it’s all the same to you, no really I’m not.”

Walking past him again some fifteen or so minutes later, I caught the refrain “Jesus, you’ll always be the same. Jesus, your love will always be here.” to the tune of Oasis’ song Wonderwall and thought “Uh-oh … it’s a good job I’m in a hurry, eh?” as I went about my business.

Half an hour later, I passed him again on my way home … and he was still singing the same two lines.

I have to wonder if he’s some sort of United Reformed Church of the Latterday Hare Krishna Adventists type … or similar religious/mystic refugee desperately seeking comfort.

I mean … look, I’m an unreformed raver … nobody gets Marcus Brigstocke’s point that “If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music” better than me.

But …

Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here
Jesus, you’ll always be the same
Jesus, your love will always be here

… for hours at a stretch, like a needle locked in a groove …

Why not …

Christmas Jesus
Jesus Christmas ²
Christmas Hare
Hare Jesus

… instead?

At least it would have the virtue of a recognisable pedigree (or two).

Hey ho … I’ve got thee behind me now, Harry Jesus … good luck with your search for life everlasting — and at least you weren’t trying to persuade people of the benefits of freezing their head .


¹ Nowadays my biggest fear is talent scouts and wandering promoters — but that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.

² By a process of induction, it has been determined that his family name must have been ‘Christmas’ ³: unless the population of Nazareth was less than 100 or so then there’s no way ‘Joseph of Nazareth’ was sufficient for the purposes of ensuring he paid his taxes; what about all the other Josephs living there? You can’t have some guy turn up, say “No, no, I paid mine last week, look” and reply “Yep, you’re absolutely right, my bad, on your way” when it was someone else (that’s no way to grind the faces of the poor into the dirt).

³ ‘Mary Christmas’ indicates that her husband’s name was ‘Joseph Christmas’ … ergo their son’s name was ‘Jesus Christmas’ Q.E.D.

⁴ Apparently it was anywhere between 400 and 2,000 (latterly estimated to be at most 480) — which means there were likely to be at least a couple of Josephs, if not ten or more.

⁵ I’ve seen what happens to the cell walls of fruit when you let it thaw from the freezer — it’s not pretty … and I don’t think Professor Farnsworth will be gluing that mush back together again in a hurry.

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Where Angels Fear

Where Angels Fear

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There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live and too rare to die.