Going Underground: Victoria Line Tube inspired album recorded
- 16 June 2013
- From the section London
From Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street to Suggs' Camden Town, via Duffy's Warwick Avenue, London's Tube stations have inspired many musicians.
But now one north London songwriter has used an entire Tube line as his muse.
Primary school music teacher Vincent Sheehan, from Enfield, has been writing and recording songs based on each station on the Victoria Line.
He began 10 months ago in north east London's Walthamstow Central and is working down to south London's Brixton.
The 35-year-old says he came up with the idea when he was sitting on a Tube train.
"It was my eureka moment," he says. "I wondered if anyone put a whole line to music. I think it's pretty unique."
"I went home and started writing my first track," he says.
Of the 11 London Underground routes, why did he opt for the pale blue hue of the Victoria line?
"Plus it only has 16 stations - which is quite manageable."
Each of his tracks references a different station, the area it serves, its history, as well as the singer's personal impressions.
Mr Sheehan sings and plays all the instruments for each track, including violin, piano and guitar, while his wife, Michelle, occasionally sings backing vocals.
He says he is enjoying doing the project as it allows him to "personally explore different musical styles and write in different ways".
For his ode to Kings Cross St Pancras, he delved into the station's history to discover it was named after a monument for George IV, which has long since been demolished.
"He was quite a character and not very concerned about the subjects he served" Mr Sheehan says. "I wanted to convey his quirky personality."
"My song has a musical humour to reflect this."
But halfway through, the song changes note and segues into a homage to St Pancras.
"In my humble opinion, St Pancras station is one of the grandest buildings in London and I felt it deserved being set to music," he says.
Meanwhile, his track about Euston takes a more personal note.
"I grew up in Watford so when my parents took me into the city, I always saw Euston as the gateway to London.
"Occasionally I saw some things there that frightened and disturbed me."
In his song, he talks to the boy he was, introducing some of the "darkness and malevolence" he felt about the city.
"Lyrically the song sounds very dark - like a cry for help," he says.
"The song's middle eight references the shops around the station and their slogans," he adds.
So have his songs captured the public's imagination?
Well, the tracks are yet to set the charts on fire, but have received up to a modest 650 listens each on music sharing website SoundCloud.
"As I publish each track online, people latch onto what I'm trying to do, and some comment as I publish each track."
And it sounds like Mr Sheehan may have some younger fans.
"Sometimes I play my songs in the classroom and my pupils love it," he says.
Mr Sheehan says he hopes to complete his tribute to the Victoria Line by August, but with some track lengths at five minutes, he has a plan that might help ease the drudgery of commuting.
"I might do an edited version so each song fits in with the length of time it takes to travel between stations," he says, which would work perfectly unless there are delays on the line.
Does the music teacher plan to give other lines a similar treatment?
"It would be pretty amazing, but this has really taken it out of me," he says.
And the task would certainly prove more mammoth for a route like the Piccadilly Line, which has more than 50 stations.
"I might have to collaborate for that line," he says.