Friday, 10 May 2013

The Battle of Cable Street

I'm wandering through Shadwell in the East End, which is a curious, lively part of town, filled with all sorts of weird and wonderful fabric and food shops, mostly catering the Bengali community, many of whom live in the area. 

The studio I've been working in all day is on Cable Street; an historically important road which wears its past on its sleeve. In the early 20th Century, this was the place where dockers rubbed shoulders with Jewish immigrants, and it was the scene of the infamous 1936 Cable Street Battle, when both communities united to stop Mosely's fascists marching through the East End. 

Sir Arnold Wesker writes about the riot in his play, Chicken Soup With Barley, and he once gave me a beautiful print of a painting of the battle, which takes pride of place on our living room wall. It's a remarkably detailed piece; a gloriously colourful image of street barricades, reminiscent of something from Les Miserables. A young lad in a cloth cap stands in the very left upper corner of the picture, on the roof of a building, throwing a flour bomb onto the street below. His simple missile narrowly misses a policeman who's vainly trying to disperse the gathering crowds. 

Today's studio session went incredibly well. We were really just mapping out the tempi for all the White City songs and putting midi files (synth sounds and guide tracks for live instruments) into place. It's great to be working with Julian again, especially in the knowledge that my other favourite producer, PK, will soon be sitting to my right when we start mixing the Pepys Motet. 

I'm off now to an even darker corner of East London to watch a musical about Sherlock Holmes. It's a beautiful evening and everything's taken on a rather syrupy light, which I'm very much enjoying. An evening off? Surely this is too good to be true? 

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