‘The locals’ exhibition of unnatural suspicion…’
Well they was a different type, they was very… how can I put it ?…they were sort of stuck together, Bletchley people stuck together. They looked on outsiders with a little bit of suspicion – there must be another word for that - but a little bit of suspicion!
(Bob Berry, LAMK 1996)
Bob Berry’s interview for Living Archive was one of a number where London settlers to post-war Bletchley recalled being bemused by the natives’ reaction – a considerable contrast from that described in Kevin Adams’ other song about moving house, Settling In. Both songs were part of LAMK’s 1996 musical documentary Bigger Brighter Better, devised by Rib Davis and Roger Kitchen.
Kevin comments: ‘I wanted to show Londoners’ indignation, as if in a London pub…. All these songs are based on the life experiences of real men and women. Some are no longer with us, it is true, but some are sitting there in the front row of the audience!
‘Once the source material has been absorbed I will start by listing words and phrases that I would like to get into the lyric, looking for obvious rhymes and trying to find a metrical pattern that suits the song. With a guitar I will look for a chord sequence and my melodies usually derive from wherever my fingers can get to from within those chords.
‘Then it’s revision after revision to find the neatest way of saying things, poetically and musically, until the deadline forces you to stop. Once the song is written and given to the band something special happens - if they like it - when they take the song and do the magic on it. At that point it escapes and is no longer ‘my song’. It’s an indescribable feeling.’
The Lakes Estate got labelled because some people the Greater London Council sent down were rogues they were glad to get rid of, members of a gang. Unfortunately they got housed near each other. People who criticised the Lakes didn’t realise there were 7,000 people there but it was the bad eggs that got all the publicity.
(Ron Staniford, 1996)
I feel very defensive when the Lakes Estate gets a negative press, because there is a tremendous community there.
(Ken Beeley, 1996)
Images and interview extracts from LAMK archive
The song is featured on the Living Archive Band’s album All That’s Changed Vol 1 (LAMK)