Ian Dury: An Upminster Kid whose roots helped make him a star

Ian and Jemima Dury, picture circa 1973

Ian and Jemima Dury, picture circa 1973 - Credit: Archant

One of the most famous Upminster kids, Ian Dury found success with bands the Kilburns and the Blockheads. Ian Weinfass spoke to his daughter Jemima about her new book.

Ian and Jemima Dury in April 1999. Picture: Kees Bakker

Ian and Jemima Dury in April 1999. Picture: Kees Bakker - Credit: Archant

“When his mum and her sisters settled in Cranham, the roots of something were set,” Jemima Dury states.

The daughter of the Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick singer spent years working on a book of her father’s lyrics which she said helped her gain a better understanding of the complex man.

She explained that his roots in the area helped fashion his working class Teddy Boy image which he proudly displayed in his music, including on songs like Upminster Kid, despite moving away from the area long before she was born.

She said: “There was something very grounding with being from out east, it gave him an identity, and he also had his Teddy Boy obsession.

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“I think that was a good way he found of taking the edge off of being so incredibly bright, it stopped him being a bit geeky.”

When he died in 2000, Jemima had the idea to compile a collection of her father’s lyrics but she did not complete the project for 12 more years.

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“I had a book deal about six months after he died, and I started to put the material together from listening to his CDs, but I didn’t know what material there was in storage.

“When I went into the storage unit where he had all his stuff it was full of boxes and boxes of paper, including drafts of lyrics, receipts, old ticket stubs, I thought it was amazing.”

Many of the drafts of Dury’s poetic lyrics feature in the book to help give the reader a better insight into his work.

But they also helped his daughter gain an insight into her father.

“It was very much a compulsion to do it, I felt like I had to, partly to preserve the writing and partly as a personal journey to go on for me to find out about him,” she said.

“When I was young he wasn’t there all the time, he was almost like a mythical figure, although when he was he was a great presence.

“Putting the book together was very hard work, but I never get bored of reading what he wrote, and I’m still trying to work out some of the lyrics even now.”

Jemima will be speaking about the book at the Essex Book Festival in Canvey Island on March 18.

Hallo Sausages: The Lyrics of Ian Dury is out now through Bloomsbury.

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