The Soho Hobo (2015 – Pop)

Tim Arnold - The Soho Hobo

“His labour of love is universal.”
Q Magazine

“As Much Peter Ackroyd as Pete Townshend.”
Fatea Magazine

“Possibly the concept album about Soho that Ray Davies never wrote about Soho.”
Daily Express

“This is an admirable project, conceived and delivered with love.”
Classic Pop Magazine

“A hybrid of early Madness and Dury’s Blockheads, this is a delight.”
Press Association

This album became an enormous part of my life for 5 years. It combined my passion of London, my family’s Soho roots and the character and charm of a community whom I was privileged to live with for 20 years. In 2012, I became The Soho Hobo – an imagined time travelling character, who inhabited London’s golden mile across the 400 years of it’s history. Part Mod, part Spiv, part minstrel and part local historian.

Through the character, I wrote and sang about everything from King Charles II to Paul Raymond – The King of Soho. 17th Century men who hunted for hare, and nude dancers who were hunted by 20th century men. If it was in Soho’s rich history, it found its way into a song. But I also wanted to celebrate the Soho of today and the extraordinary people who I grew to love like family – tailors, landlords, strippers, school teachers, cake makers and criminals. Soho never discriminates, so neither does the album. All my Soho heroes are in these songs.

The beautiful part of this project was similar to all my albums – entirely fuelled by the enthusiasm and love of everyone involved, without any budget whatsoever. From the support of the local community, to the countless musicians who enabled me to present the music time and time again in live shows that are among those I treasure most. Venues who opened their doors to me like Ronnie Scott’s, Soho Theatre, The Union Club and The Groucho Club – the life of a project all about Soho could not have been better served if a record label had been behind it. To result in the album winning one of the best albums of the year on BBC Radio London is one of my proudest accomplishments, which I also credit to everyone involved in the project.

But the real prize for me was being able to remind so many people what Soho represents in it’s acceptance, freedom, tolerance and diversity. This album opened my life to a wider world that stretched beyond the realms of my imagination. The Soho Hobo will always hold a special place in my heart.

Guest artists: Gary Kemp, Jessie Wallace, Phil Daniels, Lisa Moorish, Peter Straker and Ray Gelato.

 

Tracks and Lyrics

2. Manners On The Manor

We get a wide variety of all comers on this patch
Variety’s the spice of life, but sometime’s there’s a catch
I come here for the culture, The Cosmopolis is good
But even I get terrified……by a nipper in a hood

We’ve always had an open heart

‘cause every walk of life is a work of art

I get my pine nuts from Camisa
Dumplings from Mr Jerk
Bar Italia for the coffee
You wanna see how those boys work
But when we all get to the weekend
You see the townies on the pull
They don’t have much respect. Is it the Vodka or Red Bull?

Yes, some of them go to far you know
The trouble that we get here, it ain’t ever been home grown

Yes we want you to feel at home now
So mind your manners on the manor and you’ll know how
You know we want you to fit right in here
So mind your manners on the manor if you don’t live here
Because we want you to feel cosy
So mind your manners on the manor and don’t be nosy

Well I learnt my trade on the Totty Court Road
Not quite bustin’ rhymes, more a kind of ode
To a community of diversity
Which is why they always sell hello to me

I earned my stripes busking on a bench
Now I’m welcome everywhere I go from AA…
…to The French

But you’ve got to keep your eye out
For that certain clientele
The kind that throw up on your doorstep

Then ruffle your lapel

We’ve all learnt to accept the trials of National Debt
But there ain’t no excuse for lack of etiquette

Yes we want you to feel at home now
So mind your manners on the manor and you’ll know how
You know we want you to fit right in here
So mind your manners on the manor if you don’t live here

What would Charles the second say if he were alive today?
His statue in the Square looks grim
With pigeon droppings on his chin
Would he pray for us in old St Paul’s?
Or would he grab us by the balls?
Charlie wouldn’t be impressed
But Nellie Gwynne would keep him fresh

Yes we want you to feel at home now
So mind your manners on the manor and you’ll know how
You know we want you to fit right in here
So mind your manners on the manor if you don’t live here
Because we want you to feel cosy
So mind your manners on the manor and don’t be nosy
So mind your manners on the manor and don’t be nosy
So mind your manners on the manor and don’t be nosy
So mind your manners on the manor and don’t be nosy

3. The King Of Soho

I am The King of Soho, I was born to spin a hustle
It took time to find my mojo, till I found it on The Dean Street Shuffle
The name is a derivation from an age-old hunting cry
And if you follow The King of Soho
You’ll be hunting till the day you die

And what you won’t see, you won’t know,
When you find yourself in Soho
You can’t avoid it or confront it
You’re gonna have to be the hunter or the hunted

If someone’s gonna win, someone needs to lose
I’m begging on a whim but I take what I’m due
I fall in and out of love to the sound of the street
I know it’s wrong ‘cause every night she takes me and she breaks me
But she makes my heart beat.

Yes they call me The King of Soho, like a knife that’s double edged
I’m the life and soul. I’m out of control or so it’s been alleged
No I can’t stop this excursion; it was in my destiny
I changed the rules of the game, just to entertain
I started in variety

And what you don’t see, you don’t know,
If you find yourself in Soho
You can’t decry it or deny it
You’re gonna have to keep your mouth shut till you’ve tried it

If someone’s gonna win, someone needs to lose
I’m begging on a whim but I take what I’m due
I fall in and out of love to the sound of the street
I know it’s wrong ‘cause every night she takes me and she breaks me
But she makes my heart beat.

So gamble everything you’ve got tonight
She won’t care if it’s wrong or right.

If someone’s gonna win, someone needs to lose
I’m begging on a whim but I take what I’m due
I fall in and out of love to the sound of the street
I know it’s wrong ‘cause every night she takes me and she breaks me

But If someone’s gonna win, someone needs to lose
I’m begging on a whim but I take what I’m due
I fall in and out of love to the sound of the street
I know it’s wrong ‘cause every night she takes me
And you know she’s gonna break me
Escaping is a no go, yes they call me The King of Soho

4. Piccadilly Trot

“No doubt you’ve heard about the Turkey Trot.
Some say it’s rot. Some say it’s not.
Well, I’ve got another one that speaks a lot.
And it doesn’t come from Yankee land.

If you see a Johnny in the latest style,
money a pile glossy new dial
With a swagger you can see for half a mile,
you will quickly understand

It’s the Piccadilly trot trot trot trot
Now the rage in town
It’s the Piccadilly trot trot trot trot
See Him strolling all up and down
With a pretty little girl. What’s what what?
It’s a day for a hot plate, something
Very fine, fine, simply divine
Grab yourself a girly and fall right into line
Dance the pic pic piccadilly Trot

When the lights are gleaming in the crowded square
Glad eyes are there. Pickles to bare
Songs about the circus, something’s in the air
But no one there to sing behold

See the dainty duchesses a slip him a wink
Ah, that means a drink, what do you think?
Meet the son that’s prodigal
And he’s in the pink, he ated all the fatted calf

It’s the Piccadilly trot trot trot trot………..

Under blue skies where cupid flies
Love spread those wings
You’re on the scene that’s always been
A destination to pulls the heart strings

Oh it’s fine fine simply divine.They take ‘em to the station ‘till the p’liceman calls the fine. That’s the pic pic piccadilly trot

5. Ain't Made To Measure

PHIL: First up is Mr. Powell, he’s always on the prowl

MR POWELL: We don’t do made to measure

PHIL: Comes the friendly growl
Tucked away on Marshall, always looks his best
His workshop is a castle for the sartorially obsessed

PHIL (spoken) & TIM:

Tie bars, collar pins
Watch chains, cufflinks
Knitted ties and clobber make you slobber to behold
It’s not a joke to do bespoke, to make a gent of every bloke
It’s a way of life they’ve chosen and it’s true if you’ve been told…

TIM (PHIL – spoken)

They walk in style on the golden mile
They talk in style on the golden mile
Their cuts are slick and wild at your service with a smile
For your pleasure, textile treasure, it ain’t made to measure
On The Golden Mile.

PHIL:

Next up Mr Candilio, Rafaelle to those who know
D’ya know he took this shirt in while I waited? What a pro
Next door from Mr Newell, now he’s another Jewel
Cutting with the precision of a surgeon is his rule.

PHIL (spoken) & TIM:

Alteration elation, material temptation
Fabric creations, ridiculous, sublime
Their legend is certain, so raise up the curtain
This season there’s conclusive proof that they’re all in their prime

They walk in style on the golden mile
They talk in style on the golden mile
Their cuts are slick and wild at your service with a smile
For your pleasure, textile treasure, it ain’t made to measure
On The Golden Mile.
.
TIM:

Some of them are born to it. Mr Pearse is one I know
Each of them, a moving shaker
Not forgetting Nino’s and those who began on Saville Row
Like rocking Sir Tom Baker

6. Covent Garden

If you go to a market in London town
There’s one that just won’t settle down
They call it a garden, but half a chance
Will show you more than pretty plants
There’s beautiful freaks on the streets at times
Who don’t say much, in fact they only mime
Where ballerinas call the shots
And local divas sing the dots

I came in from outer space to find a little help
I don’t know another place where I could be myself…

It don’t feel like the Sun is shining anywhere else like it’s shining here
It don’t feel like the rain can get us anywhere else like it gets us here
It don’t feel like the summer started till I met you, till you came
It don’t feel like the future found me, I couldn’t see it but I’m looking at it now

If Inigo Jones could see the show he started all those years ago
The Piazza king who paved the way is raving in his grave today
Fire starters, circus troops, a weekend tourist jumps the hoop
Another comic
Genius counts his coppers to catch the bus
The minstrel plays his part to a crowd he longs to know
The secrets of his heart are joining strangers as they go….

It don’t feel like the Sun is shining anywhere else like it’s shining here
It don’t feel like the rain can get us anywhere else like it gets us here
It don’t feel like the future found me, I couldn’t see it but I’m looking at it now

Those yesterdays they’d sell a case of pears, of plums and Apple’s too
Today’s the same, but we’ve raised the game
So get your reservation, join the queue!
It don’t feel like the Sun is shining anywhere else like it’s shining here….

7. Soho Sunset

J: You know on that first day, something happened to us
T: I felt the April rain smile as if it knew us
J: Strangers in the afternoon, lovers with a favourite tune
that don’t give up

J& T: And as the city fell around us, we were drinking champagne From a plastic cup

And there’s nothing like that first rendezvous
A Sunday for two in an East End sunrise
Heading back up west, how could we bet
A Soho Sunset would change our lives?
It changed our lives

T: I’ll let you in so deep until you’re part of me
J: I’m taking you for keeps, and throwing away the key, I
was Looking for an answer but I couldn’t see for blinding lights and broken alarms.

J & T: On motorways and cobbled streets, from airplanes to hotel suites. I found a home in your arms.

And there’s nothing like that first rendezvous
A Sunday for two in an East End sunrise
Heading back up west, how could we bet
A Soho Sunset would change our lives?
It changed our lives

T: When the taxi comes, the cabbie starts to moan
J: But it’s music to us, on our way home

We’re driving away, but we’ll always stay
In the Soho Sunset

8. Neon Glow - Duet

TIM I take a right down Bateman, I’m straightening my tie
Lights crawling out the window of The Lorelei
A rickshaw bell is ringing, d’ya know what those things cost?
It’s giving me a headache but without it I’d be lost
I’m turning a corner as I spot another chain
This place don’t stop changing, but it’s always been the same.

TIM & GARY So kneel below that scary neon glow
And wave hello to strangers as you go

TIM The Streets are paved with gold, though coppers all you know
So they raise the parking rate, then they really clamp your soul
But the thought police are beat when we’re

TIM & GARY Singing in the street, singing in the street, singing in the street

GARY Where everyone called Tony is a captain of a ship
Bar Italia to Gino’s, Pulcinella, Sunset Strip
Let’s hear it for the ladies, give ‘em all a serenade
Queen Bergonzi, Lady Lewis, Mrs. Earnshaw, Madame Wade
You’ve never seen such heroes in a square mile stretch
So don’t miss a chance to dance in this Toulouse Lautrec Sketch

TIM & GARY Just kneel below that friendly neon glow
And wave hello to strangers that you’ll know

TIM The Streets are paved with gold, though coppers all you know
So they raise the parking rate, then they really clamp your soul
But the thought police are beat when we’re

TIM & GARY Singing in the street, singing in the street, singing in the street

TIM You’ll see the pennies begged for as often as they’re spent
GARY You’ll see the gap get smaller between a scoundrel and a gent
TIM Where every day’s the worst day of at least one person’s life
GARY Where every day’s the best day of at least one person’s life

TIM & GARY I kneel below my favourite neon glow
And wave hello to our friends we used to know

They’re singing in the street.
They’re singing in the street.
They’re singing in the street.
They’re singing in….the street.

9. Heroes

TIM Ronnie Scott -1927-1996. Francis Bacon:
PETER If you can talk about it, Why paint it?
TIM Muriel Belcher – 1908–1979. Jeffrey Bernard:
PETER One way to stop a runaway horse is to bet on him
TIM William Blake – 1757-1827. Sarah Bernhardt:
PETER It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich
TIM Sebastian Horsley – 1962-2010. Peter Cook:
PETER Everything I’ve ever told you, including this, is a lie

From classical to Dada, for Jazz and Rock and Roll
Where a legend from the RADA played a Journalist with Soul
So get that final helping, ‘cause it’s going, gone, bye-bye
Yes everything must go, but Soho Heroes never die.

TIM Canaletto – 1697-1768. Maurice Huggett
PETER Don’t Touch The Props! Leave The props alone!
TIM Casanova – 1725-1798. Karl Marx:
PETER Workers of the world unite!
TIM George Melly – 1926-2007
John Logie Baird – 1888-1946 (Still watching)
Paul Raymond, Lucian Freud, Keith Moon, and Danny La Rue
Laura Henderson:
PETER We have made rather a go at it haven’t we?
TIM Mozart – 1756-1791. Michael Wojas:
PETER It’s not about the money, it’s about the art
TIM William Hazlitt, Lord Nelson, Sid Vicious. Derek Jarman:
PETER I’m not afraid of death, I am afraid of dying
TIM Sir Joshua Reynolds – 1723-1792. Shelley:
PETER Fear not for the future, weep not for the past
TIM Franz Liszt, John Snow, Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud
Vivian Van Damn, Sheila Van Damn, when are Westminster Council going to give a damn?

Tim: …but from a Revolutionary to a May Day Riot Cop
It’s beautifully hairy and that energy won’t stop
So get your final helping, ‘cause it’s going, gone, bye-bye
Yes nothing lasts forever, but Soho Heroes never die.
Yes nothing lasts forever, but Soho Heroes never die.
PETER John Dryden – 1631-1700, Samuel Johnson – 1709-1784, Peter Mark Roget – 1779-1869, Samuel Romilly – 1757-1818, Johann Strauss – 1825-1899, Frankie Vaughn – 1928-1999, Ian Board – 1929-1994, They say ‘Soho is not what it used to be’.
It never was!

10. The Bells Of Saint Annes

I don’t mind your dig and poke, you r shopping sprees when we are broke
You might laugh with your friends at my expense,
That you fell in love with a joke

And I don’t mind you keeping me up late with movies I must tolerate,
And when I’m on my own, you never answer the phone.
But maybe this time it’s my mistake.

Then the bells of St Anne’s draw me out to play my hand.
Babe we both know that it’s the end, until those bells ring out
And we’re lovers once again.

Soho Square at midnight was our first date
No it was Frith Street babe, and not that late
I remember your smile
I hadn’t been out in a while
Oh, didn’t we get in a state?

The silent hours that we now fill
In coffee bars that used to thrill
I’ve got nothing to say
It’s stranger every day
Even noise from the street fades away

‘till the bells of St Anne’s draw me out to play my hand.
Babe we both know that it’s the end, until those bells ring out
And we’re lovers once again.

And the moment that the morning comes,
The poison leaks away
The more we feel we don’t belong
Something’s telling me to stay

Is it the bells of St Anne’s that draw me out to play my hand?
Babe we both know that it’s the end, until those bells ring out
And we’re lovers once again

11. Stage Door Johnny

stage-door Johnny (plural stage-door Johnnies or stage-door Johnnys)

(idiomatic) A man who is infatuated with one or more theatrical actresses and who routinely lingers in and around theatres in an effort to meet and form relationships with the female object(s) of his affection.  [quotations ▼]

(idiomatic) A devoted fan of live theatre and of performing artists, who habitually spends time in and around theatres

12. Little London Lou

There was a club on Old Burlington Street
Where we met when she was just fifteen
I’d just got back from Old Siam to sing
About a place of miracles, but

Nobody heard a word,
Until the message found her
She had a way to stir
The wonderful worlds around her

She was sunshine, she was sunshine. She was you and I
When I think of Louise tonight
She was sunshine, she was sunshine. Can you feel the light
When you think of Louise tonight? She was sunshine

She had a way of leading every troupe
A dance a day inside a hula hoop
Made her mark on every London street
Too cool for that X Factor heat

She was just too fine for a dream to be less than perfect
Her eyes on a new design, making each moment worth it

She was sunshine, she was sunshine. She was you and I
When I think of Louise tonight.
She was sunshine, she was sunshine. Can you feel the light
When you think of Louise tonight? She was sunshine

Some of us burn too bright to stay for long enough to find our way

There was a club on Old Burlington Street
Where we met when she was just fifteen
I hardly got to know her well at all
But there’s one thing that I can recall…

She was sunshine, she was sunshine
She was you and I
When I think of Louise tonight
She was sunshine, she was sunshine. Can you feel the light
When you think of Louise tonight?
Think of Louise tonight
Think of Louise tonight

She was sunshine…

13. Old Compton Street Blues

Oh your pictures they don’t really do you justice little girl
For you’re careful not to let the camera touch your private world
And there’s just a hint of sadness in your smile through the dark
As you slip your dress off slowly for the sailor or the clerk
And it could have been so different, and at times you feel bad
For you really did have something that the others never had
And the circle turns and turns and turns so mad, little girl

So you must have been just fifteen when you made your mind up first
That you’d make it in the movies and you couldn’t lose the thirst
And it took you to the attic where the Agent King holds Court
And his courtesans are fully paid up losers of a sort
He looks at you and tells you that you just might get the part
But you don’t get things for nothing and he doesn’t want you rheart
And the circle turns and turns and turns so mad, little girl

Yeah, you made it to the silver screen and yet you’re not a star
And advertising corsets didn’t get you too far
But money has its favourites and yours went back to them
So you modeled in a studio in Greek Street for the rent
There you met Antonio, your lover from afar
Who put you on the streets to make the money for his car
And the circle turns and turns and turns so fast, little girl

So your pictures they don’t really do you justice any more
For they’re crumpled now and faded and were taken long ago
And that faintly coy expression has now left without a trace
Ah there’s little of it buried in the ruins of your face
It could have been so different, and at times you feel bad
For you really did have something, something the others never had
And the circle turns and turns and turns so mad, little girl
For the circle turns and turns and turns so sad, little girl.
Oh the circle turns and turns and it’s too bad, little girl.

15. Rockin at the 2i’s

I go every night, I make myself some tea
I rush into the bedroom , put on my old blue jeans
Back down the stairs, I said goodbye to mum
She looks at me and says ‘Where you going son?’

Goin’ rockin’ at the 2i’s
Well, rockin at the 2i’s
Yeah, rockin at the 2i’s
Well, rockin at the 2i’s
Well, rockin at the 2i’s
We won’t be home tonight

Now, rushed out the gate, went walking down the road
I got up to the bus stop, put on my overcoat
Along came a bus, a number 54
When I got inside, they were rockin’ on the floor

Goin’ rockin’ at the 2i’s
Well, rockin at the 2i’s
Yeah, rockin at the 2i’s
We won’t be home tonight

I out picked a chick, she was the most
We rocked and we rolled till we lost that ghost
We danced and we jived the whole night through
I lost her heel on my blue suede shoe

Goin’ rockin’ at the 2i’s
Well, rockin at the 2i’s
Yeah, rockin at the 2i’s
Well, rockin at the 2i’s
Well, rockin at the 2i’s
We won’t be home tonight

16. Fanlight Fanny

Up the west end, that’s the best end, where the night clubs thrive
Down into a dive you go.
There’s a jazz queen, she’s a has-been, has been Lord knows what
Every night she’s there on show.
She dances underneath a magic spell
She’s full of charm and beer and stout as well.

She’s 66 but looks sixteen,
Her friends don’t know her now her face is clean
Fanlight Fanny the frowsy night club queen.

See her glide around the floor, then glide around into the pub next door.
Fanlight Fanny the frowsy night club queen.

Every morn at the break of day,
They call for the empties and they cart away
Fanlight Fanny the frowsy night club queen

By tecs she’s followed and when she’s collared the judge she always cheats,

Twice a month two weeks she’ll do.
 She’s often boasted she’s been toasted, toasted by her friends.
She ought to be cremated too.
You can’t tell if she’s brunette or a blonde,
She’s like something you drag out of a pond.

Now She’s a peach but understand
She’s called a peach because she’s always canned.
Fanlight Fanny the frowsy night club queen.

When she’s dressed she’s like Mae West,
She wears two saucepan lids upon her chest.
Fanlight Fanny the frowsy night club queen.

She looks well in the lime, a queen all the time,
You get your money’s worth.
By day you’ll say “It’s her second time on earth”.

She waltzes in the west end shops,

Then waltzes out in between two cops.
Fanlight Fanny the frowsy night club queen.