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Captain Sensible talks punk, Palace and puddings

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Andrew Jameson caught up with Croydon's Captain Sensible - legendary frontman of The Damned and composer of a certain snooker-based TV show theme tune...

Tell me about your new album

Never being one to follow trends I am on a crusade to rehabilitate the image of the concept album in the eyes of music fans. The Who's Tommy and The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow are magnificent. I've worn out several vinyl copies of each over the years.

So, my Damned bassist colleague Paul Gray and I decided to write a bunch of songs, which have as their theme things about this country that we find annoying, amusing, or plain daft. So there's plenty of potential for material there.

Entitled 'A Postcard From Britain' it names names... Clarkson, Jade Goody, Blair – they're all in there – and of course being a closet progger there's no shortage of guitar solos and sitars either.

Do you ever come back to Croydon?

I only live down the road in Brighton so nip up all the time to visit friends and watch Palace. I recall, as a kid, standing at the top of the Holmesdale terraces where it was a grass hill. Those were the days of Budgie Byrne, Bobby Woodruff and Bert Head. I wish I knew what happened to the collection of white covered programs I collected. They must have been lost somewhere in subsequent years.

I often bore people by pointing at the trees I planted when a landscape gardener... which, although fairly small when they went in, are now 30 or 40ft high. Before joining the Damned I spent a year or so in that job and there's thousands of my trees all over south London – which makes me happy.

What memories do you have of your time at Stanley Tech Boys?

Well, I didn't know any different at the time, but looking back it was an extraordinary school in that they were strongly influenced by the public school thing. Boys were split into different houses, lots of classroom debates, teachers all gowned up, etc. Oh, and corporal punishment.

It was all gloriously old fashioned and the kids were messing about with ladles of molten iron and making horseshoes and the like while, as befits a school named after African adventurer Stanley, learning all about the days of the British Empire.

All that made a bit of a rebel out of me and for that I have to thank the school for my anarchic tendencies.

I do remember loving the school dinners though... pies, mashed potato with lumps in, stews, etc. I always went back for seconds. And the puddings... why does nobody eat semolina any more? Delicious stuff.

Captain Sensible talks punk, Palace and puddings


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