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about

This song tells the story of a tour around BBC Television Centre, which I did in 2011. I love classic BBC programmes and Television Centre featured a lot in my childhood, as an iconic place.

Many thanks to Rich Lawden for suggesting the use of strings and timpani, and also the radio tuning effect at the beginning.

lyrics

Lyrics:

Christmas week in 2011
Waiting at Wood Lane
With my new, Nelson, graphic novel and Ghost’s album playing in the rain
Ayse’s knife was taken from her by security
But not their one-armed man…
Approaching a mosaic building; like a question mark on a napkin

And W12 7RJ, meant more to me than Hollywood...yay!

The real BBC2 black and orange clock was not a graphic
The real Gordon the Gopher
The model Tracey Island, in cereal boxes
Christmas beers with all and pregnant Liz, in the Defector's Weld
There’s a mistake that they made earlier…
Losing a temple
Answers on a postcard please

References:

* Wood Lane - The area of London where BBC Television Centre is

* Nelson - An excellent graphic novel, which I'd just bought at the time. Every few pages changes to a different artist, so multiple people get to add their vision

* Ghost - A Swedish rock band, whose album I'd just bought. I was listening to it on the way to meet my friends

* Ayse’s knife - On the way into Television Centre we had to have our bags searched (which has been common since 9/11 and the London bombings of 7/7). My friend Ayse had a penknife in her bag, which she needed to hand in. It became a joke, as it wasn't a dangerous one and the idea of her being heavily "tooled up" was amusing

* The one-armed man - A BBC documentary about Television Centre mentions a one-armed security guard, who worked on the front gate for many years

* Mosaic building - The main foyer features distinctive mosaics. They were often seen in the background of BBC shows

* "Like a question mark on a napkin" - The architect of the building drew his intial idea on a napkin, whilst brainstorming. He eventually settled on a question mark design, so that the multiple TV studios could radiate around a central circle

* W12 7RJ - The postcode of Television Centre, which was often mentioned on Children's BBC when they asked you to write in

* Hollywood - Seeing Television Centre filled me with awe, which I didn't get in the same way when I saw the real Hollywood sign

* The BBC2 clock - BBC2 often showed a very 1970's clock between programmes. I was amazed to see that it wasn't a graphic but a real clock, which they simply pointed a camera at between programmes. Seeing the real clock, in a glass case in the foyer, filled me with joy

* Gordon the Gopher - A puppet character, who co-presented Children's BBC in the early 1990's. He was much loved

* Tracey Island - This model (from the Thunderbirds TV show) was the most popular thing made on Blue Peter. (They always showed viewers how to make a model out of cereal boxes or such like, and this one was amazingly popular). On our tour of the building we saw the actual model!

* Pregnant Liz - My wife was pregnant at the time, which was of course a big deal

* The Defector's Weld - A nice pub, very close to TV Centre. I was aware that I was about to become a Dad, so getting to stay late at pubs was something I really focussed on, as a joyful thing I'd probably be doing less of in future

* "Made earlier" - Blue Peter's model makers were famous for using the catchphrase "Here's one that I made earlier"

* Losing a temple - I'm sad to say that Television Centre has now been closed down (although thankfully some of it has listed status and can't be demolished). BBC Television has now moved to Salford (and a sadly much less iconic building)

"Answers on a postcard please" - Another catchphrase from BBC Children's programmes (when they asked you to write in, pre-the invention of e-mail!)

Why would you swap a much loved icon for a generic and more "business over art" focussed building? I don't know

credits

from Reader's Voice (E​.​P​.​), released March 20, 2016

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Ian Evans UK

Pop/experimental/rock musician and songwriter from London

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