Not sure why this happened - maybe I was temporarily possessed by the ghost of John Peel - but the last three albums I've bought have all been ridiculously eclectic. On Tuesday, Britpop-era Welsh medieval-folk in the form of Barafundle by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Wednesday: dissonant '80s Icelandic pop from The Sugarcubes' Life's Too Good. But the strangest of the three has to be Sir John Betjeman's Banana Blush.
Banana Blush, originally released in 1974, is twelve tracks of erstwhile poet laureate John Betjeman reading poems while a backing band play the kind of old-style jazz that may ring a bell if you've ever heard the theme tune to Jeeves and Wooster or The House of Elliot; the sort of tuneful jazz you get over the credits of Woody Allen films (tuneful jazz – ain’t that a thing!).
Betjeman has one of those English churchyard voices that don't seem to exist any more – a wistful, gentil grandfatherly lilt that comes from another time. When he mentions Camden and Finsbury Park, you know he's talking about a London that's no longer there.