On 20 September 1898, 15 people were injured when a service from Richmond approaching Broad Street at slightly excessive speed ran into the buffers at the end of platform six. A Board of Trade report on the incident stated: “Fifteen passengers are reported to have complained of bruises or shock, and a few others have claimed compensation for damage to their hats.” The train’s driver testified: “I committed an error of judgment in not applying the brake quite soon enough.”
I love the idea that, over 100 years ago, people claimed compensation for damage to their hats.
The scene of this minor incident – Platform six at Broad Street station – has long since disappeared. Once a thriving London station, the development of new networks rendered Broad Street economically unviable. A shopping centre and office block now stands where the station once was.
PJ Bond has announced a new single from his forthcoming album that’s out in May. It’s a finely crafted piece of Americana that excites more on each listen. Titled ‘Broad Street’, I very much doubt that it’s about the long-forgotten London train station. Indeed, I’m quite sure that there are 100’s of Broad Streets across the world.
But, it is a song that reminisces, a song that remembers a scene from a few years back. We find PJ thinking about a previous, ultimately doomed relationship. Broad Street is the place where they’d last met. “The last time I heard from you, I’d grown tired of listening“, sings PJ in the opening line to the second verse. Miscommunication has done for the protagonists. The happier meeting, listening to choirs in church aisles on Broad Street, is but a dim and distant memory.
There’s something of Springsteen about the lyric here. Place is used to define a moment. Broad Street is PJ’s Thunder Road, Kingstown or Atlantic City. The very best Americana aligns a moment within a place – Broad Street achieves this expertly. It’s easy to see why PJ Bond has drawn comparisons to Elliot Smith, Wilco and Micah P. Hinson.
Sonic Breakfast gives regards to Broad Street and concedes that it’s anticipating great things from the new PJ Bond album.