The Times – This Is London
The Times were formed by Ed Ball, ex Television Personality and future Creation Records exec. This Is London came out in 1983 and was one of the first Mod albums I bought. Part Jam and Kinks, part Monty Python, This Is London creates it’s own little world. A world where Groovy London stuck around and became twisted.
It’s quite twee, but edgy all at the same time. Ed Ball’s lyrics are sarcastic and witty, painting a picture of a dirty old town, where hope is losing the fight. There’s a lot of Ray Davies here, but it’s fed through John Lydon’s sneer.
This Is London was one of the first albums I listened to where the lyrics meant more to me than the music, perhaps in preparation for my later obsession with Costello…That’s not to say the music is weak. Each track takes something of a different style: This Is London and Goodbye Picadilly are vaguely New Wave in their attack, Big Painting and Goodnight Children Everywhere are more 60s, Stranger Than Fiction is reminiscent of The Who tune The Real Me and Chimes Of Big Ben is ska influenced pop.
“I’m walking in the streets of Battersea in search of happiness
But all I find is misery in this London borough mess
My very best friend deserted me for someone else today
She met a small time insurance broker
And they’ll be married by next May”