South London Forever

Album: High as Hope (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • Born and raised in Camberwell in south London, Florence Welch was educated at Alleyn's School in Dulwich before studying at the Camberwell College of Arts. After dropping out to pursue her musical career, Welch continued to live in south London and on this song she pays tribute the area that she still calls home.
  • Welch recalls during the song a memory from her art college days at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, which is on top of a hill in Forest Hill in south east London.

    And we climbed onto the roof, the museum
    And someone made love in the grass


    Welch told The London Sunday Times: "I think that song is about this… blink, almost. I was on the roof of the Horniman Museum, being a teenager, you know 'woah'. Then I blinked, and four albums later, it's 'oh my God, there's a whole other section of life I'm supposed to figure out. When do I do that?'"
  • The song also finds Welch recalling her alcohol-fueled days when she used to drink at the Joiners Arms pub, at 35 Denmark Hill, in Camberwell.

    I drive past the place where I was born
    And the places that I used to drink
    Young and drunk and stumbling in the street
    Outside the Joiners Arms like foals unsteady on their feet
    With the art students and the boys in bands
    High on E and holding hands with someone that I just met


    Speaking about the lyrics to the Daily Telegraph, the now sober Welch said of her past partying lifestyle: "At first it's freeing but then it becomes a prison of its own making. I thought you needed a hangover to write."

    She added: "I'm happier now, I'm content, but I'm never going to be fixed, ever. I don't think that's how it works."
  • Florence + the Machine debuted the song live during an intimate gig at The Joiners Arms on July 4, 2018.

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