Seemingly out of the blue, my friend Lee asked me yesterday if I knew that The Clash had recorded the London Calling album in Highbury. It’s the kind of anal-retentive conversational nugget I usually love to hoard away for a rainy day but on this occasion I was out analretentived. Apparently it was at Wessex Studios, at the old church on Highbury New Park. Maybe it’s St. Augustines. When quizzed Lee admitted he’d seen an article about it in the Independent a few weeks ago. But I feel a trick was missed in The Groundwater Diaries in terms of local history and the punk influence on hidden London.
What Lee didn’t tell me, and which I had to find out myself at the University of The Clash’s history archive, was the mention of Blackstock Road’s bus in the song ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’:
“Sing, Michael, sing-on the route of the 19 Bus
Hear them sayin’
How you get a rude and a reckless?
Don’t you be so crude and a feckless
You been drinking brew for breakfast
Rudie can’t fail”