Places I’ve been running which appear in songs #1

This post might be the first of a series of one, but I just had to tell the world where I’ve been running this evening. Little Ilford Park! I didn’t know such a place existed before my running club organised for me to pay a visit in the company of about 40 other runners. I also didn’t realise that Little Ilford Park in deepest East London was the inspiration for this song:

To be honest I always thought this was about an imaginary place that was conjured up in the minds of the Small Faces after they’d indulged in some of the practices that the late 1960s were infamous for. However it seems I was mistaken. There’s a whole Wikipedia page about the history of the song including a bit of controversy about exactly which East London park inspired it. There’s even disagreement about what put the “Itch” in “Itchycoo” – stinging nettles, wasps or the contents of rosehips?

It has to be said, Itchycoo Park doesn’t really live up to what was promised by the Small Faces in their tribute:

Over bridge of sighs
To rest my eyes in shades of green
Under dreamin’ spires
To Itchycoo Park, that’s where I’ve been

I think we entered the park through a rickety kissing gate, not exactly a “bridge of sighs”. There was greenery, well flat scrubland, but dreamin’ spires? There were a few tower blocks but Itchycoo Park was decidedly spire-free. At one stage a few of us were confronted by a group of local kids who spotted the panting bunch of grown-up wannabe runners and decided to show us we were no match for them. Amazingly, after a few metres of jogging alongside they ran out of puff, the wise old tortoises overcoming the younger hares.

Ulimately, it was a warm summer’s evening, we were in the middle of a 6 mile run and I guess we had “all come out to groove about, be nice and have fun in the sun”. Itchycoo Park wasn’t “too” beautiful but nobody left nursing any stings.

UPDATE: Turns out I wasn’t the only runner moved to blog about out trip to Itchycoo Park on Wednesday night – check out the Fatty Must Run version of events HERE

Itchycoo Park is the green space at the southernmost tip of the route

Itchycoo Park is the green space at the southernmost tip of the route