Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Disclaimer:- For those of you from outside the UK, this one might not mean a lot...

The Cockney flags are flying at half mast, the tubs of jellied eels come in respectful black polystyrene and the market stalls are closing early. Yes, it's a sad day as Cockney songsmiths extraordinaire Chas 'n' Dave have, after 35 Rockney years, gone their separate ways.

Now, obviously, thanks to name-checking by pointless, attention-seeking junkie and supposed musician Pete Doherty*, the duo had achieved a new-found sense of fame in that arch, sneering, ironic, studenty way and, fair play to them, they didn't seem to mind - money spent going to see their gigs was still money spent on their gigs, regardless of the intent behind it. But I have to say that my enjoyment of them has always been heartfelt and (mostly) un-ironic.

"Really? Chas 'n' Dave? You actually genuinely like them?" I hear you say. Oh yes, very much so. Partly because their songs are good, daft, old-fashioned fun but also because their music is inextricably linked with happy memories throughout my life. Let's assess the nostalgic evidence...

1. Der Family. As is always the way, different generations have different musical tastes and you're unlikely to find something that three different generations agree upon. Enter Chas 'n' Dave. My Nana and Grandad had the 7" single (oh yes, vinyl) of Rabbit (with The Sideboard Song as the B side) and it was very much played incessantly by both grandchildren and enjoyed by parents and grandparents alike. generally accompanied by much frantic jigging about the living room. (Well, until we'd listened to it enough times and The Muppet Movie soundtrack went on instead. Or maybe Jungle Book.)

2. First Festival. I'd never been fussed that much by the idea of festival-going. There was just something about being dirty, muddy and unclean that never really appealed. Then, in January 2005, I suddenly woke up one morning and decided I was going to go to Glastonbury. So, having decided to go to Glasto for the first time, who should I discover are playing but the Cockney boys themselves? And quite the gig it was too. Having thought I was one of about 5 people who actually liked them, it was quite a delight to be in a field with 7,500 other people jumping around like idiots to Rabbit and Gertcha.

3. Job Offer. So, I was at a folk festival in Oxfordshire, pretty drunk on home-made cider and jumping around like a mad thing to the opening act who were... well, I'm sure you can probably imagine by now**... when I get a call to tell me that my second interview was successful and they'd like to offer me the job. Three years later and I'm still here...

Good times and Chas 'n' Dave. A natural association. But sadly no more. So, pork pie hats off to the boys and huge Cockney thanks for all the memories. Wallop, they've gone down.

Play us out, lads...

* I'm not a big fan of his. Does it show?

** No, I'm not quite sure why they were at a folk festival but the important thing is that were.

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