In a recent second half of my group guitar lessons at Old Town School of Folk Music, one of the instructors passed around music for the 1965 song, “Downtown” by British singer Petula Clark. If you’re too young to know the song, you can check out a version by Emma Bunton, former Spice Girl (a.k.a. Baby Spice) on YouTube.
Anyhow, I was trying to play the really hard F chord and a ton of split measures. But my mind was wandering as I belted out the tune. (Um, yea, I know a lot of songs from the 60’s.) See, I used to live “Downtown” in Chicago. When people would find out, the responses usually ranged from “Wow!”, “That sounds exciting!”, and “Really?” to”You are lucky!” and “I bet it is so much fun!” In the beginning, yes. In the end, not so much. Visiting someplace is different from living there everyday, which we did for 13 years.
Here’s my piggy back version of the song, with a side of sarcasm. Enjoy!
If you have money and status is important,
Then you probably live – Downtown.
You have no worries, have a pet that is furry,
And buy it clothes at a boutique – Downtown
Can’t hear your conversations, trains are screeching through the city.
See the great tall buildings, cover all the green that’s pretty.
How can you sleep?
It’s so much noisier there,
Go out and get drunk, take a cab everywhere,
Downtown – You think it’s great you live
Downtown – You’re friends are envious
Downtown – You have a great view –
Don’t stay inside, it is time to go shopping
On Michigan Avenue – Downtown
Maybe you’re hungry, but you don’t like to cook
In your upscale kitchen – Downtown
When you walk into N9NE Steakhouse , they all seem to know you,
They pour your favorite wine, and you place your standard order, Happy again
Take a walk by the river, see the buildings lit up.
Wake up with Starbucks, buy department store make-up,
Downtown – Show off at the East Bank Club
Downtown – Go get your nails done
Downtown – They all have cleaning girls, too.
And you may find someone who can shack up with you
Someone who is just like you, eventually you’ll marry
And find your condo tiny, set your sights on a house, where you can raise your kids. But of course it won’t be
Downtown – You’ll forget all about it
Downtown – Fall in love with suburbia
Downtown – Of course they have better schools