Over to Hugh Barker...

A few people have asked me about where various ATS songs were set – a disproportionate number are based in either Stoke Newington, where I lived or Shepherds Bush, where Hank lived. But thinking about locations around London I came up with the list below - a partial, biased A-Z of places that were mentioned in songs (or where we recorded, rehearsed etc). HB

Archway - Seven Days
The first place I lived in London was in Archway. Rhiannon (20th birthday) was one of my flatmates. The Rose and Crown (30th) is back in Stoke Newington, my local pub for a long time before too many gangs of idiots started drinking there. The 40th birthday and onwards were imaginary as I was in my early thirties when I wrote the song – actually I was in a nice restaurant in Majorca for my real 40th birthday, so it wasn’t as grim as predicted. I’m hoping that the rest of the song doesn’t come true, as the 50th and 70th ones don’t sound too great either.

Battersea – King Beer
The Townhouse 3 studio used to be owned by the Who and was where we managed to sneak enough studio time to record King Beer.

Berwick Market – Dirt
This was recorded in a studio here, along with a demo of Sixteen Letters, nice place to record in the heart of Soho.

Brick Lane – Madame Yevonde
Location for the not-very-good video for Madame Yevonde, which is thankfully unavailable on Youtube.

Caledonian Road - A Good Day For Everyone
The pavement shining in the rain is on Caledonian Road, where I got my first “proper job” – at a publisher near to Pentonville Prison. I was working there full-time round the time of Happiness From A Distant Star, which made the recording of that album a bit of a hassle.

Camden – Vic
The gig mishap Hank describes in the song was at the Falcon, though we also played with Vic at the Borderline once. A charming man and a great songwriter. (For younger viewers, the Falcon was a pub with a tiny, sweaty backroom which was where the Barfly organisation used to put on gigs).

Clapham Junction – I Was The King, I Really Was The King
The photos on the cover were taken in Clapham – the outside shot is on a path that goes over the railway line. The label gave us some money for clothes in a vain attempt to get us to look a “bit more Britpop”, thus the slightly weird array of clothes worn.

De Beauvoir Town - Despatches from Lula
Actually this song has a scattering of references to different places. The rainbow pipe over the canal was the one over Regent’s Canal by the Rosemary Branch, where we used to put on gigs very early on. The new town hall with fountains and a square was Hackney Council.

East Acton - Happiness From A Distant Star
We recorded most of Happiness From A Distant Star in Dare’s house near to Loftus Road football ground.

Fulham - Workshy
Workshy was recorded in Fulham, near Lillie Road.

Goldhawk Road – How To Make A Chandelier / London Bridge
Hank was living round here at the time so I think How To Make A Chandelier is based in the area, while the laundromat in London Bridge was also his local one.

Goodge Street – The Greenhouse
Hank based this on stories told by Kev, who ran the Greenhouse vegetarian restaurant in Chenies St, where most of the band washed dishes in the squalid basement for minimal wage at one time or another. It’s not there any more.

Green Lanes – Faded Glamour, All Your Stars Are Out
The mayday parades in Faded Glamour were on Green Lanes, and All Your Stars Are Out is partly about Clissold Park on a day when there was a street festival on Church Street. The pub with a lock-in would be any one of four or five in the area that used to close the curtains and turn the lights down before all-day drinking made that ritual obsolete. I can’t remember the name of the Irish pub co-owned by one of the Pogues down by Newington Green, (Molly Malones?) but that might be the one.  We also used to put gigs on at the New Pegasus on Green Lanes (now gone).

Al’s home for years, though he’s moved a bit further out now. Also home to a nice indie club called the Playpen, where we used to play with Sidi Bou Said. Not sure if it’s there any more.

Hackney – Faded Glamour
Most of the references in this song are to the borough of Hackney. It was based on a conversation I had with Adam (who along with his partner Stacey probably counts as the first ATS fan ever), in the Rose and Crown. The garbage riots were in Dalston, in the late 1970s. The meteor in the street was in Bouverie Road N16, though it was really just a hole that opened up in the ground overnight. The sleeping lion is in Abney Park cemetery, the sequins are from Ridley Road market. Hackney has a lot of crooked lamp-posts and building because of the subsidence (it’s on clay soil). The unlabelled tin cans were from over the Islington border in the off license on Blackstock Road.

Highgate - The Last Thing You Said To Me / Holloway Aviator
It’s probably nothing to do with it but I always think of the cricket pitch in Highgate Woods on the line about “third man boundary” - Hank lived on the top floor opposite the Woods at one point. But maybe he was thinking of Lords when he wrote that line? Holloway Aviator was loosely based on an epigraph on a grave I saw in Highgate cemetery.

Islington – Chapel Market
Home of the squat where two members of The Invisibles lived and rehearsed, over the road from Chapel Market, and also of Chris who is in the song of that name, and was very briefly our drummer. The Invisibles later mutated into Mambo Taxi and the Voodoo Queens - we borrowed Lenie the bassist from the former, and she lived down there at the time. The squat was knocked down about ten years ago. The Invisibles were a top band, sounded a bit like a cross between the Au Pairs, Joy Division and The Cramps.

Kensington – Madame Yevonde
I’m pretty sure that Mme Y lived on Campden Hill Road, near Holland Park, although she also lived in Berkeley Square at one point.

Kings Cross
Another area that has changed an incredible amount over the years. The photo on Happiness From A Distant Star is in a car park round by the cobbled alley that ran up to CopyArt, the cheap photocopying place used by many bands who needed to make posters, opposite the gasholders. There’s one gasholder left, but CopyArt and the alley are gone.

Leyton – Fifty Dresses
Location of Charlie’s studio, where the Fifty Dresses ep was recorded, in a damp railway arch.

Morden – A Good Xmas / Shipley
Del used to live near Morden station and the neighbour with the woolly hat was one of his real neighbours there. The bit in Shipley about someone with a horse in their house was also a Morden story.

Muswell Hill - Barney
I might be wrong but I think Hank was thinking of some of the odd people he knew when he was living in a bedsit in Queens Avenue in the 1980s.

Ravenscourt Park - Homunculus
Hank had moved to Hammersmith, in the Brackenbury area, by the time this song was written, thus the mention for this tube station.

Scratchwood – The Longest Road
I seem to recall that “the shop by junction six” was actually meant to be Scratchwood services (which is nowhere near junction six of the M1, but junction two wouldn’t have rhymed with “pick and mix”).

Shepherds Bush – Fifty Dresses / East Street O’Neill
These are tales from Hank’s time in Shepherds Bush

We used to rehearse at the Premises, near Columbia Road flower market. At the time Hoxton was not trendy, most of the pubs were strip clubs for city types to sneak off to at lunchtime and after work. The only decent pub was the Bricklayers Arms – it was when that turned into a gastro-type pub that the area started to go downhill. When we stopped practising our gear was still stored at the Premises, I ended up stuck with a big bill for my bit and they kept my guitar and wouldn’t give it back until I’d paid the bill, which took the best part of a year. The photo of us looking (relatively) young on the back of Fifty Dresses was taken on the steps outside.

Stamford Hill – Silent Film
The pink campion, black bags, and neighbourly domestic abuse date from when I lived near to Amhurst Park, between Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill.

Stoke Newington - Near the Moon
I wrote this in a really horrible flat on Stamford Hill, near the corner of Manor Road. It was a top floor , with psychos in most of the flat below. The views of blocks of flats were not that inspiring, and there was no roof terrace, so the song makes it all sound a lot more romantic than it really was.

Stoke Newington High Street  - King Beer
The first place I lived in Stoke Newington was on the High Street in the dilapidated vicarage of a weird church. This song was partly written there in a rather odd dream in which I was jamming with Van Morrison…

Union Chapel, Islington
Where we filmed the Faded Glamour video. Nice to see that one is up on YouTube, as I thought it was a pretty decent video.

I Was The King… was recorded in a studio down opposite News International. Bit of a grim location, a trek down from Tower Hill or from the Shadwell DLR station, very desolate late at night, and not many shops or cafes. Though the local chip shop did have great chips with curry sauce.

Faded Glamour 2CD
I Was the King

This article
© Hugh Barker 2009


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