Well here we go with this week’s free song featuring our third special guest, Paul Creasey on piano. Communism, London’s East End and Arthur Bacon. We’ve got it all here and I bet you never knew Stalin lived in East London. Enjoy ‘Flowers Of Fortune’ in memory of Stalin and little Arthur Bacon.
Joseph Stalin In The East End
Have you ever played messenger with a piece of information of which you had no understanding the importance of. Maybe you handle official documents at work, or just loose gossip that you have passed on. Overhearing Barry bragging about an altercation during lunch hour, in which he gave Tony a good seeing-to in the car park. Going inside and passing this on to colleagues, realising months later that not only was Tony female and Barry’s ex-wife’s is now ex-best friend, but that this ‘seeing to’ was of an entirely different nature.
At the turn of the century in Stepney, East London there lived a boy named Arthur Bacon. Aurthur used to run errands for the local residents.On a street called Jubilee Street, there was a dilapidated block of flats that provided cheap lodgings, run by a Russian Jew. Arthur used to run errands for this landlord and tenents and one day whilst doing just that, he met a big Georgian guy called Mr Ivanovic. Mr Ivanovic had just arrived from Russia and didn’t really know much about life in London. After they struck up a friendship Aurthur would take care of many odd jobs and errands for the man.
Now every day Mr Ivanovic would meet with his fellow countrymen at a church run by a Reverend Swan called the Church of the Brotherhood. On the days when the Georgian was not meeting these folk, he would send Arthur to run messages back and forth to them. Now no one paid attention to this because in those days in Britain there were enough problem with suffragettes and the Irish seditionist to worry about some Russian bookworms.
On and on it went with Arthur running through the streets carrying these messages. Mr Ivanovic hadn’t fully grasped the currency system as yet and would pay Arthur half crowns instead of half pennies (which was the going rate). Half crowns were 60 times the amount he should have been paying and so of course Arthur was very very grateful. In return after would give the Russian toffees which he had never tasted before.
Now time went on and Ivanovic eventually disappeared. Arthur would look back fondly on his days running through the streets of Stepney. He was well into middle aged one day when he opened his doors to a host of media who had uncovered a little known fact. London without knowledge had hosted a group of Communist dissidents who spent their time in London plotting the overthrow of the Russians Tsar back in Russia. Eventually returning there are doing just that. And then generous Georgian with the sweet tooth and heart of gold? None other than Joseph Stalin.