The classic England football anthem that was filmed on streets of Hoxton - do locals remember it?

The classic England football anthem that was filmed on streets of Hoxton - do locals remember it?

I took to the streets of Hoxton to find out if residents and shop owners recall the iconic ‘Vindaloo’ music video, which was filmed in the neighbourhood. The 1998 FIFA World Cup anthem, by Fat Les, is a spoof of The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, and it remains a memorable piece of football history.

The song is co-written by Blur bassist Alex James and bassist Guy Pratt, with lyrics by comedian Keith Allen. Its name comes from vindaloo, a popular spicy Goan curry in the United Kingdom. Originally intended as a parody of football chants, 'Vindaloo' quickly became a classic in English football culture. The song soared to number two on the UK Singles Chart in June 1998.

As I strolled down Hoxton Street, I asked locals if they knew about the song’s connection to their area. However, I quickly realised that while the streets remained the same, many businesses had changed since the video was filmed.

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Vindaloo's music video starts at Hoxton Street's junction with Falkirk Street
Vindaloo's music video starts at Hoxton Street's junction with Falkirk Street -Credit:MyLondon / UnionSquareMusic

Covering the full route featured in the music video, from Hoxton Street's junction with Falkirk Street to Stanway Street, I discovered that most shop owners were unaware of the video’s history. The manager of La Véranda bakery said: “I have heard about something related to football being filmed in Hoxton, but I had no idea it was ‘Vindaloo’. Unfortunately, there aren’t any football fans who come here because of the song.”

However, the owner of Fennec & Parsley, a falafel restaurant featured in the video, told me that some England fans had visited during tournaments. He added: “I’ve noticed some fans coming here and taking pictures, even though I do not remember the video being filmed here. But this hasn’t especially impacted my business in a positive way. It’s still nice to be associated with this anthem, though.”

The Hoxton Trust is a community garden heavily featured on Vindaloo's original music video
The Hoxton Trust is a community garden heavily featured on Vindaloo's original music video -Credit:MyLondon / UnionSquareMusic

As I visited the last storefront featured in the video, the Howl at the Moon pub, a worker recalled the video because there is a Jamaican food van featured in ‘Vindaloo Two’, a remake of the song made three years ago for charity. This updated version was recorded by Will Mellor and included celebrities like Paddy McGuinness and Danny Dyer, raising funds for the NHS.

So, I paid a visit to Richie's Caribbean Spices van, and spoke to its owner - Richie. He said he remembers the experience fondly, sharing his excitement about participating and the positive recognition he received from fans who visited.

Richie added about the Euros 2020 charity music video: “I remember receiving an email and then a call from the filming crew asking me to be on this football advert. So, of course I said yes, and it was a great experience - everyone was super nice to me and I’m glad they chose me!”

Richie's Caribbean Spices van was featured in Vindaloo's 2021 remake
Richie's Caribbean Spices van was featured in Vindaloo's 2021 remake -Credit:MyLondon

While 'Vindaloo' holds a special place in the hearts of football fans, the streets of Hoxton have largely moved on, with few locals remembering its filming. The football anthem may be a cherished memory for some, but it seems the area itself has quietly forgotten its moment in the spotlight.

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