Archive for January, 2008

January 27, 2008

Another venue bites the dust!

Another iconic venue is about to close its doors.  News came through this week that  Turnmills will be shutting down its sound system for the last time……

In two months the Farringdon dance institution – home to legendary club nights such as Trade – will close to make way for property developers – the scourge of any venue!    With the recent closure of fellow dance mecca The Cross in Kings Cross, it seems the London property developers have a particular agenda for severely damaging the choice cuts of London house-music venues.   

Its not only the dance clubs that are feeling the weight of developers money.   The Astoria in Charing Cross Road has been involved in property speculation for quite some time.  Whether it manages to hold on to its central location remains to be seen.  There is talk that this could be its last year  One thing is for certain, when crossrail begins its demolition stage you can be sure The Astoria will be first on the bulldozers list!  

 Of course this poleaxing of historical London music venues has been happening for decades.  Last year was the Hammersmith Palais – to create space for yet more million pound designer flats.  Beyond that there has been countless others, including some of the iconic sixties venues like The Marquee Club and The Astoria Theatre in Finsbury Park, which played host to early performances from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.  The latter is now a Brazilian church while the former has been redeveloped into a Conran eating factory.

 There is something wonderfully nostalgic about researching the former glories of all these lost temples of enjoyment.  The sense of cultural significance allied with decayed grandeur displays a romantic attachment with these buildings that are non-existent when recalling the recent acquisitions to our musical heritage.  The Islington Academy and The O2 are merely shopping centres, with bad acoustics and sterility personified.  The sense of grandeur is crestfallen somewhat when walking past Frankie and Bennie’s!

That isn’t to say there are no decent music venues left in London.  On the contrary there are still many Theatres entertaining the discerning gig goer – mainly thanks to the injection of cash that Carling has incorporated into the scene.  KOKO in Camden is one of our latest and most thrilling restoration triumphs.  Built in 1900 and assuming many different guises over the years it has been lovingly restored and returned to former glories whilst infusing 21st century technology.      

January 16, 2008

Radiohead go East

Radiohead seem to be on their biggest publicity drive ever!  Never have I witnessed such multimedia courting by one of the most notoriously reticent bands of our generation.

Watch a clip from the show

In what was meant to be a record store gig at Rough Trade East, it got moved due to safety fears (massive crowd gathered outside record store – never saw that one coming!)  to 93 Feet East.

Well Radiohead are utilizing every possible form of new media to express their new found joy for the art of ‘entertainment’………….Long may it continue………………….