We had a full house at Leytonstone Pop-Up Cinema last Wednesday for Henry Scott-Irvine’s brilliant documentary, Tales from Tin Pan Alley.
I first met Henry in the alley behind the 12 Bar Club on Denmark St while it was being occupied by musicians and protestors following its closure. I made a couple of videos about the campaigns to save live music venues in Soho and Denmark Street, some of the footage appears in Henry’s film. Tales from Tin Pan Alley, is far more than a protest film. It’s a documentary that tells the stories of the street of music from its Georgian heritage (with Dan Cruickshank) to its brief period as London’s ‘Little Tokyo’, to the place that gave us the pop charts. It’s an incredible story, brilliantly told in this absorbing and essential documentary.
In the Q&A afterwards, Henry passionately told the audience about the campaign to save Denmark Street’s music heritage. We were also joined by Jimmy Winston, one of the founder members of the Small Faces (formed in East Ham) who told me about coming to Leytonstone as a youth to look at the guitars in Friedman’s Guitar Shop on Leytonstone High Road. It was a memorable evening.
“The true ‘unsung heroes’ of Tin Pan Alley are the musicians, the songwriters, the music publishers, the technicians and the people from behind-the-scenes who have come out of the woodwork, out of history and out of retirement to approach us. Individuals that would be very hard to find in any other circumstance have come forward from across the globe, saying, ‘We want to be in this special documentary film!’
We have them here now. This is their story – a contemporary urban Canterbury Tale – a vital testament from over 30 musicians, broadcasters and historians.
In 2018 Tin Pan Alley’s 110 year old music legacy is currently in peril due to ensuing gentrification, leading to upcoming penthouse flats, hotels, restaurants and a shopping mall.
The legacy of those who worked in the street is our testament to Denmark Street’s unique place in international cultural history.
The struggle for those remaining, continues …”