Where the Pink Flamingos Stand

I’ve really been getting into Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series of late. For those not in the know it’s a series of urban fantasy books about a rookie cop in London who finds himself apprenticed to the UK’s last operating wizard, who also happens to be an Inspector in charge of a department of the Metropolitan Police that they don’t like to talk about. They’re great reads with sharp, funny writing and plenty of geeky references to both popular nerd culture (book number three mentions Space Hulk for crying out loud!) and the history of London – both subjects dear to my heart.

I’ve read the first three so far. I actually enjoyed the first one (Rivers of London or, if you’re American and thus can’t be trusted with proper book titles Midnight Riot) so much that within ten minutes of finishing it I had purchased and was reading book two, Moon Over Soho (it helped that I was in the city at the time and hence only a few minutes walk from White Dwarf Books). On two occasions while reading the series I almost shouted out loud in a public place – the first when I figured out who the villain in Rivers of London was (a full two pages before his give away catchphrase I would like to point out ;)), and the second from sheer astonishment at Nightingale’s reminiscences about tiger hunting – which is pretty impressive for someone as reserved as my good self.

Prior to picking up Rivers of London I was chiefly familiar with Ben due to his work on Doctor Who, he being responsible for the classic McCoy era story Remembrance of the Daleks and its brilliant novelisation. I was already a fan simply because he included in that work a reference to the British Rocket Group, but he has now been elevated into the pantheon of my absolutely favourite authors. I’m very much looking forwards to reading the continuing adventures of PC Grant, but am taking a break before moving on to Broken Homes to minimise my risk of hyperthaumaturgical degradation.

Now, it’s inevitable that the title of book two in the Peter Grant series – Moon Over Soho – would not as intended remind me of jazz music, but of The Drew Carey Show. As such I’ve been wandering around the flat singing to myself…

Moon over Soho bring my love to me tonight!
Guide her to Lambeth, underneath your silvery light!
We’re going shopping! So don’t lose her in Wapping!
Moon over Soho, tonight!

(I cannot see any reason why someone would travel from Soho to Lambeth via Wapping, but when the Muse calls you gotta accept the charges).

After several weeks of such awfulness it occurred to me to do some poking around to try and find the source of Mr Carey’s first season ditty, and with very little trouble I tracked down the original, as broadcast on Cleveland area TV station WJW in what would appear to the early 70’s, but based on contextual clues can be no earlier than 1988…

I really like it. Singer/Songwriter Bob “Mad Dog” McGuire has a fine voice, and I enjoy the way his slightly tongue in cheek lyrics depict the North Coast of Ohio as a setting for romance equivalent to Hawaii or Capri. Well done Bob!

On top of his cut down opening theme performance Drew Carey actually recorded a full version of the song, giving it more of a swing…

Also, in an act of wonderful lunacy, 90’s Canadian white boy rapper Snow also did a version for the final season of The Drew Carey Show, which is one of those things that you need to hear to actually believe…

So yes. Read the PC Grant series, keep an eye out for anything involving Ben Aaronovitch and consider Lake County Ohio for your next romantic getaway!

PS: I wonder if Mr Aaronovitch is aware that a branch of the river Tyburn passes almost exactly underneath the Folly? This cannot bode well…

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