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Street single

September 08 2010
Rough sleepers in London record a track about their experiences on the city‘s streets

Rough sleepers in London have written and recorded a single about their experiences on the city's streets, which can be listened to for free online.

The song 'Written on the Streets' was produced at the end of June in collaboration with homelessness charity St Mungo's, which has a music production facility at their Endell Street hostel in Camden.

The single was composed in just two days using the "cut-up technique" made famous by David Bowie, whereby the writers string together their thoughts and feelings through a narrative or journey. Staff at St Mungo's felt this provided a great chance to express feelings, from frustration to wisdom, about their lives in temporary accommodation, homelessness and joblessness. Lyrics include: "It seems I've lived many lives/ Echoing in space/ Standing at the crossroads/ My urban little fox/ Wandering the streets/ Caught in a sound."

Matt Catlow, music production trainer at St Mungo's, said: "We're very fortunate to have a recording studio in the hostel at Endell Street. It's one way we can connect with residents and use music both as therapy and a way back into employment."

The Endell Street hostel went through a 3.2m refurbishment programme in 2008 with money from the previous government's Places of Change programme.

The new space was developed in partnership with Camden Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. The studio has also produced an album to raise money for St Mungo's, and is also available for use by other Camden-based charitable projects.

Residents at the north London hostel provided lyrics, sang backing vocals and even rapped on the song, which can be heard here: