On 'Tin Pan Alley' (Denmark Street)

Guitar Boxes and Construction Workers, Tin Pan Alley, Ricoh GR

I've been visiting Denmark Street since the early 1970s when my father indulgently traipsed around the guitar shops with me on my quest to own my first Gibson. Over the years I have bought more than two handfulls, in fact so many guitars that I would literally have to sit quietly and concentrate for some time to remember them all. All come and gone, though.

The name 'Tin Pan Alley' is an attempt to associate it with the centre of the New York publishing industry. Denmark Street flourished as a centre of music publishing during the 50s and 60s. One of my favourite composers, Lionel Bart (who wrote Oliver!) worked here and was even known as the 'King of Demark Street' during the zenith of his career. I think by the time I was whistling in and out of the music shops most of the publishing industry had disappeared.

Today Denmark Street faces an uncertain future. The developers are eating away at the backs of the properties as they develop the area adjacent to the new Tottenham Court Road station and although there is much talk about 'preserving' the unique character of the street, we all know how London has been hacked about for the benefit of developers and not the people or businesses who work and live here.

My photograph is therefore a statement.