Mercury winner, Speech Debelle, to quit south London over traffic congestion

Speech Debelle to quit south London because of

Speech Debelle to quit south London because of "traffic and parking" problems

First published in News Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Assistant Editor

Just a week after sensationally scooping the Mercury Music Prize, Speech Debelle is saying goodbye to south London to escape its “traffic and parking” problems.

The fact that the Crystal Palace born hip hop artist has decided to move out of her mum’s home in Streatham Vale comes as no surprise.

But the fact the former Norwood School pupil looks set to move north of the river will be a big shock to many.

On Tuesday she told the Streatham Guardian that she was leaving her south London roots because she had had enough of traffic congestion and wanted to broaden her horizons.

She said: "Its a real nightmare to drive round here, and don't even talk to me about parking. At least in North London I can get above 20mph."

But she said her decision was testament to her promise "to keep her feet on the ground" despite her new-found success.

She said: "Nothing has really changed. I will still always be about the music. I think the album deserved to win."

The 26-year-old was transformed overnight from a little known artist selling less than 3,000 copies of her debut album, Speech Therapy, to the most talked about name in the music business.

The rapper- whose music has many jazz influences - has turned down interest from major labels interested in signing her from her current independent label DaDa Records since scooping the award - considered the most prestigious for "real" UK contemporary music.

However Speech - real name Corynne Elliot - said she is more interested in starting her own label and supporting up-and-coming artists.

The singer was born in Crystal Palace but a troubled childhood saw her leave home in her teens.

Her experiences living in hostels across south London formed the basis for many of the lyrics on her debut album.

But she said she has "good memories" of her childhood south of the river - including visiting the Megabowl and Streatham Ice Rink when she was younger - then a pupil at St Luke's Primary School in West Norwood.

Now she is set to spend her last days in the area for some time.

She leaves on a UK and European tour on September 25, and will then be looking to do dates in the US and Australia. She says she is looking at flats away from south London to live in when she comes back.

She said: "I have always wanted to broaden my horizons."

Comments (3)

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12:48pm Tue 15 Sep 09

Fred1 says...

Ha ha! I think it's funny that Speech Debelle has taken a swipe at south London traffic congestion - the same south London that was once upon a time intended to have a Ringway 2 and an M23 extension, but which now has to make do with the A205 and A23, and other roads of lower standard than these.
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I think urban planners shouldn't underestimate the psychological impact of traffic congestion. Humans really don't like it when they are prevented from moving about, which is the reason why we consider depriving someone of their liberty to be a form of "punishment" - which, in turn, is why we have institutions we call "prisons". So it wouldn't be particularly surprising if the effects that traffic congestion have on people's behaviour were to turn out to be similar to the effects of being taken hostage, or being in prison.
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For example - they both quite obviously make you want to "escape". And if anyone ever thinks that prison makes people violent, I dare say the same is true of traffic congestion. After all, what do we think "road rage" is?
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Does road rage truly happen on uncrowded motorways where drivers can happily chug along at the speed limit, or less if they feel like it, or perhaps even slightly more if they think the Old Bill might not notice? I think not. Seems to me that road rage most often happens in urban areas, where drivers are queueing up for road junctions, and have been waiting for ages, and so naturally get annoyed when they think someone else has jumped the queue or cut them up. And that, in turn, only happens when there's too much traffic congestion.
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No-one's expecting to be able to get about instantaneously by being "beamed up" Star-Trek style. People don't mind the fact that distance naturally constrains their ability to get from one place to another. However, when people feel that their ability to get about is being artificially constrained beyond these natural constraints - for example, by the layout of the urban environment - then I think that's when they start to feel that they're being deprived of their liberty, and start to want to lash out. And I think that's not good for social cohesion.
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Still, I'm no expert on transport psychology.
Ha ha! I think it's funny that Speech Debelle has taken a swipe at south London traffic congestion - the same south London that was once upon a time intended to have a Ringway 2 and an M23 extension, but which now has to make do with the A205 and A23, and other roads of lower standard than these. . I think urban planners shouldn't underestimate the psychological impact of traffic congestion. Humans really don't like it when they are prevented from moving about, which is the reason why we consider depriving someone of their liberty to be a form of "punishment" - which, in turn, is why we have institutions we call "prisons". So it wouldn't be particularly surprising if the effects that traffic congestion have on people's behaviour were to turn out to be similar to the effects of being taken hostage, or being in prison. . For example - they both quite obviously make you want to "escape". And if anyone ever thinks that prison makes people violent, I dare say the same is true of traffic congestion. After all, what do we think "road rage" is? . Does road rage truly happen on uncrowded motorways where drivers can happily chug along at the speed limit, or less if they feel like it, or perhaps even slightly more if they think the Old Bill might not notice? I think not. Seems to me that road rage most often happens in urban areas, where drivers are queueing up for road junctions, and have been waiting for ages, and so naturally get annoyed when they think someone else has jumped the queue or cut them up. And that, in turn, only happens when there's too much traffic congestion. . No-one's expecting to be able to get about instantaneously by being "beamed up" Star-Trek style. People don't mind the fact that distance naturally constrains their ability to get from one place to another. However, when people feel that their ability to get about is being artificially constrained beyond these natural constraints - for example, by the layout of the urban environment - then I think that's when they start to feel that they're being deprived of their liberty, and start to want to lash out. And I think that's not good for social cohesion. . Still, I'm no expert on transport psychology. Fred1
  • Score: 0

10:57am Wed 16 Sep 09

Jeff Rowlings says...

Don't blame her ... south london is heaving with lazy people who won't use the transport system!
Don't blame her ... south london is heaving with lazy people who won't use the transport system! Jeff Rowlings
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Wed 16 Sep 09

becks scoffer says...

Yes - and some even drink drive - but they'll get caught eventually... it just takes time.
Yes - and some even drink drive - but they'll get caught eventually... it just takes time. becks scoffer
  • Score: 0

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