The link between music and memory is a constant theme in Good Morning, Midnight (‘The gramophone record is going strong in my head: ‘Here this happened, here that happened….’) whether it’s the crackle and static of a wax gramophone disc or the crack orchestra or accordioniste in one of the many whitewashed, lowly, smoke-filled cafes that Sasha takes her drinks in, the bal-musette sound, perennially evocative of 1930s Paris, is a strong presence. Such sounds were forged among the immigrant and gypsy communities of the city at the turn of the 20th century and would find live audiences in the 1930s through such iconic chanteuses as the young Édith Piaf, Kiki de Montparnasse, Josephine Baker and Lucienne Boyer. This music would later evolve into modern jazz.
A major West London thoroughfare, Notting Hill Gate is where the Jewish painter tells
In the 1930s, Notting Hill Gate was shabby, slummy, desperately downbeat and home to many immigrants, especially West Indians (Rhys herself being a Creole woman, or white West Indian) whose presence would increase greatly in the both Notting Hill Gate and the wider area in the post-war years.