This is our truth, tell us yours
‘I met a fresh faced teacher in a big leather coat
On a dance floor crowded with guys
And though he never told me he loved me
I know he never told me no lies.’
What’s not to like about a jazzy, downbeat song of cruising, boozing and sweaty nights that end up with you ‘freezing at the busstop in Coldharbour Lane’? As Tom Robinson says ‘hitting the bottle I can hardly remember his name’.
Coldharbour Lane appeared on a now rare album called Cabaret 79 – much of the album is still as relevant today as it was in 1981/2. The version of Sartorial Eloquence is far better than the Elton John version, and the whole album is a powerful reminder that before Tom Robinson was a prince amongst punks, or a post punk explorer with Sector27 he was also a musician with deep roots and a wide musical hinterland. The languid tone and smooth sounds elegantly previewed the huge sucess of War Baby, but for me, Coldharbour Lane is a song that speaks to my teenage years, to the boy I was and the man I feared I could never be. For every night spent going on the tube to town, to the upstairs room on the right, there were endless days in a suit and a respectable smile, as straight as the creases on my shirt sleeves.