Glossary entry for
Cleaning Windows

To quote from Steve Turner's biography Too Late to Stop Now:

In his song "Cleaning Windows" Van sketched out the details of his life during 1961 and 1962, and captured the balance between his contentment at work and his aspirations to learn more about music.

In the song Van refers to "Sam", his partner Sammy Woodburn. "He was a Ted with a big drape coat", remembers Roy Kane [drums player with the Monarchs]. "He had naturally curly hair and a wild turn in his eye. The two of them used to clean windows around the terraced houses in the area. Wee Van always used to do the downstairs windows because he couldn't climb the ladders".

According to a Van-L submission from David Chance, the "v" referred to in the lyrics for "Cleaning Windows" ("I was on the bottom with the v") is a type of ladder used to reach windows for cleaning (this apparently from Van himself, in an interview - although the specific interview was not noted...)

Note: The "chamois" (pronounced "shammy") mentioned in "Saint Dominic's Preview", is a piece of soft, pliable leather used in cleaning windows, or to buff-polish other surfaces.

Van references in:

Part of the van-the-man.info unofficial website

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