Foggy nights, burnt out cars and scrappy marshland: Billy Bragg's ode to the romantic, lawless landscapes of Essex

  It had the biggest fishing fleet in the country, the largest gasworks in the world – and wastelands full of things to smash up. The singer revisits the streets, rivers and sewage pipes of his childhood It was a strange feeling to lie abed on foggy nights in my childhood and hear ships’ horns echoing through the empty streets, the mournful sound carrying through the cold, still air. Living in an east London suburb, I was used to falling asleep to the sound of traffic and trains, but boats? Their voices in the mist were a ghostly reminder of a time when our town was home to the biggest fishing fleet in England. I recently cast my mind back to those formative years while writing an Ode to Essex for a series of essays to be broadcast on Radio 3, exploring the nature of this much-maligned county. Continue reading... .. Full story on 

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