Up the Clapham Junction
April 13, 2014 4:21 AM   Subscribe

How a pop song described a certain place in a certain time, and how parts of the area were transformed from an industrial slum into a nightlife epicentre. Here's the radio version.

† 4 May 1979 - The Conservative Party wins the general election and Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Two weeks later Squeeze releases their single Up the Junction.
posted by sidra (18 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I love this song, and Squeeze.

Here's a link to the video that can be viewed in the US
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:41 AM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

I discovered Squeeze way back when I picked-up this 6-song EP at a local record shop. Been a big fan ever since. I love this band.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:51 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I remember hearing that song as a teen in '79 and loving how alien and mysterious the the lyrics sounded.
posted by octothorpe at 4:53 AM on April 13, 2014

The song itself, not blocked in the UK through petty, pointless annoyance. Take that, The Man. Hah.

I saw Glenn Tilbrook a while back playing solo at a small festival. The man is a force of nature, and you should never pass up an opportunity to see him.
posted by Devonian at 5:04 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I feel that the changes around London aren't sustainable and feel like another bubble that will cause huge damage when it pops.

I like the song too, but the inconstant temporal reference of the singer drives me crazy every time I hear it.
posted by YAMWAK at 5:21 AM on April 13, 2014

What the hell is going on in London?

It seems there are a lot of vocal critics of what's happening but nothing at all is being done to change course. I remember being shocked and horrified back in 2006 at the cost of everyday things, I can't even imagine what it's like now...

When do the riots start? Oh wait
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:47 AM on April 13, 2014

It is notable for not having a chorus.

she'smm snth mm nm mnm telly . . . Nmn hmn dadada dada . . .

Well sonofab***h. Huh.
posted by petebest at 6:47 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

When my sister was in high school and college in the early 1980's, she developed quite the crush on Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook and All Things British.

So much so, that after college graduation she packed up and moved to London.

She got a job at the original Hard Rock Cafe, fell in love with her London-born manager, married him and they got a lovely flat in Dulwich.

But things don't always work out as planned, her husband had a wandering eye, and so my sister called me in tears, explained that she was leaving him and moving back to America, and would I come over and help her pack.

And so I did.

We went through the small flat, choosing carefully which items would return with her back to New York.

After several weeks of milky cups of tea, biscuits and boxes, we were all ready to fly home with the exception of one item that we could not figure out how to get home:

her well-loved bicycle.

Our flight was leaving Heathrow at 5:00 pm, and in a last ditch effort to get her bicycle home, we ran down to the main shopping street, as my sister was certain there was a bicycle store where we could possibly purchase a box, pack the bike, and all would be better. Not well, but better.

The bicycle store clerk informed her sadly that the boxes had all been rubbished earlier in the week and that he could not help us.

Sadly, she went to the door, head down, prepared to return to America with her broken marriage behind her, her dreams of all things British crushed.

As she approached the door, a man approached from the high street, opened the door and observed the look on my dear sister's face as he said, "Cheer up, love, it can't be all bad."

It was Glenn Tilbrook.
posted by kinetic at 7:03 AM on April 13, 2014 [36 favorites]

I prefer: "The sweeney's doin' 90 and they got no place to go".

The Sweeney.

Also, squeeze are named after the last velvet underground album, sans Reed, Cale, Morrison and Tucker.
posted by marienbad at 7:07 AM on April 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I didn't realize quite how much I loved Squeeze until I saw Chris Difford solo on his first US tour a number of years ago. He was doing Squeeze songs, including this one, with a tiny band centered around a slide guitar, and was visibly moved by the enthusiasm of longtime fans.

(Tillbrook is good live, too, but he couldn't top Difford.)
posted by immlass at 7:14 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Love earlier Squeeze which produced "Up the Junction". My favorite of their albums is Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti which is surreal, enigmatic, and semiotically plural. So good.

Unfortunately, that album was followed by Babylon and On and (even worse) Frank, so I stopped following.
posted by mistersquid at 7:48 AM on April 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mumble mumble.... man on a Clapham omnibus... mumble mumble...
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:52 AM on April 13, 2014

Interview Glen Tilbrook chatting and singing live with Steve Jones, Indie 103.1 November 2004
Steve "Are you still pals with 'im then ?"
Glen "Our relationship is very strange"

"Up the Junction" written "20 miles outside of New Orleans"

( Live "Untouchable" , "Up the Junction" , "Reinventing the wheel" , "Baby i dont care" ,"Another nail for my heart" )
posted by stuartmm at 12:20 PM on April 13, 2014

Such a gorgeous song. Wistful and sad, but never cloying. And home to one of the greatest couplets in pop music: 'I never thought it would happen, with me and a girl from Clapham'.
posted by tim_in_oz at 3:07 PM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

"I saw Glenn Tilbrook a while back playing solo at a small festival. The man is a force of nature, and you should never pass up an opportunity to see him."

You aren't kidding. One of the top 3 shows I've seen in my life was a Tilbrook show.
posted by litlnemo at 5:18 PM on April 13, 2014

There are very few songs that I want to or am able to listen to several times in a row, but this is one of them.
posted by snottydick at 7:23 AM on April 14, 2014

Transformed? Certainly. Nightlife epicentre? Really? Any article that claims that Clapham has the best bars and clubs in South London is simply wrong. Pah.
posted by leo_r at 3:26 PM on April 14, 2014

Surprised this hasn't been posted already, a wonderful Squeeze documentary.
posted by NailsTheCat at 8:22 PM on April 14, 2014

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