(A poem about the part of East London, Dagenham, where I grew up. Published in Ghosts, The Linnet’s Wings, 2016)
Sandie Shaw and Dudley Moore came from my hometown. Not much of a claim to fame, I agree, especially as our paths never crossed, though my dad knew Dudley Moore's mum, but that's another story. Sandie Shaw sang shoeless, which sounds like one of those tongue-twisters or something Sean Connery might have said. I suppose the look came from the name, like she was paddling at the ocean's edge. And Cuddly Dudley, he had a club foot, though it didn't stop him from playing the fool from Oxford to Hollywood, on stage and screen, including on a beach with Bo Derek in 10. There were no beaches in Dagenham, just endless factories and sprawling housing estates, homes for the hands at Ford's and elsewhere, like the ones where Sandie and Dud grew up and fled, fleet-footed, as fast as they could.