August 8, 2006 at 9:48 am (Classics, Future Classic, random, Summer Banger!!!)

So its the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Sir John Betjeman who was Poet Laureate from 1973 until his death in 1984, and I was reading somewhere that young scruffian troubadour Jamie T had sampled one of Betjeman’s tune on his latest single.

Jamie T – Shelia (demo)

Sir John Betjeman – The Cockney Amorist

Shelia samples The Cockney Amorist which is typical Betjeman recording – all postwar tea room swing and his inimitable old school British accent talking over the top. This is also a very insightful tune as Betjeman was instrumental in the creation of the Shell Guides which promoted weekend driving trips to churches and places of interest either side of the Second World War. His was an era of village fetes, tea with mother, healthy tennis playing girls and train stations.

Sir John Betjeman – Eunice

Sir John Betjeman – Myfanwy And Myfanwy At Oxford

I really like Jamie T and he really reminds me of my other favorite troubled poet junkie Pete – I recently found this tune and its amazing, not only does he keep shouting the chorus too loud but towards the end he starts to make little trumpet noises along to his song – soo sweet.

Pete Doherty – Don’t Look Back Into The Sun (acoustic)

It wouldn’t be fair to chat about poetry without mentioning Youngblood Brass Band. Lead vocalist Dave is never to be found without a couple of books on stanzas or some complicated structural poetry book. This is one of my favorite tunes of theirs and I’ve even seen Dave perform it as a straight poem which was awesome.

Youngblood Brass Band – Is An Elegy

The band have an arts collective called Layered which works to promote all sorts of arts in scholls from poetry (they’ve published a couple of Dave’s books) and they also go round to schools getting kids into playing instruments – nice. You can purchase Jamie T’s new single from CD Universe here, some Betjeman stuff from Amazon here and Youngblood Brass Band from their own website here. N.B this was not meant to be any sort of all encompassing piece about modern poetry in contemporary music, hopefully we’ll revisit this topic with some nice Saul Williams, Earl Zinger and Mike Ladd amongst others.



  1. dalston shopper said,

    I think I’m going to link you. Nice!

  2. lexi said,

    hey just stimbled across this page when looking for an audio version of the cockeny amorist.. was wondering if you could re-upload as I looooove this poem.
    Anyway you have amazing taste in music et white heat is good. do you ever go to trash?x

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