Now for something tricky. I found a great old story set in London’s East End and thought, why not write a trilogy! This week it’s the first instalment of three songs based on a 100 year old short story written by Thomas Burke incredibly entitled ‘The Chink And The Child’ and set in London’s East End.
This is called ‘Sunshine From The East’.
Play song above, view video for story, or read below.
‘Blue Rinse Racism’. A phrase I coined myself to encapsulate that moment when you’re chatting away to a sweet old lady or a vintage gent and out of no where they say the most racist things. Blaming the lack of quality daytime TV on Eastern Europeans, or the rise in cold weather on ‘all those black faces’. Whereupon it’s “Thanks very much for the lemon drizzle cake Widow Hess but I’ve really got to get going”, as you tiptoe past her snoring Alsatian.
It was exactly that kind of feeling I felt when I discovered a book called ‘The Chink and the Child’ written by Thomas Burke. Now it won’t surprise you to know that the book was banned at the time, but not because of its racist title and allusions to pederast activity, but because it promoted interracial relationships.
It was written by a guy called Thomas Burke and it tells the story of a Chinese sailor living in Poplar in East London. Canton Street to be exact. An area that has landmarks all around the place referring to the Chinese culture of the day. The book tells the story of a Chinese sailor who falls in love with a teenage street urchin. Her father treats her like dirt and abuses her and as their love unfolds the father becomes more and more incensed. Leading to eventual bloodshed
This is a great story and the inspiration behind my song ‘Sunshine From The East’ found on my free London Songs album