I’ve seen London in shock (Diana), angry and defiant (7/7), and disbelieving and delirious (winning the Olympic bid), but, until yesterday, I’ve never seen it sad. In the summer I led a music walking tour of Soho, the most popular stop (more than the Beatles themed ones) was Heddon Street, site of the Ziggy sleeve; that thrill of sharing a space in which he’d been, loving the alien. Like all great pop stars he was otherworldly, but his star burned the brightest of them all. So yes, a Starman who belonged to everyone, and, like Lennon, ultimately a New Yorker, but also a London lad (who never hid that in his voice), a Brixton/Beckenham boy who did good and went far, as acknowledged yesterday by the moving and eerie quietness in his hometown. Ashes to ashes, funk to funky. x
Below is a blog I posted this week for Live Music Exchange, a hub for live music research whose advisory board I joined in the summer. The blog, ‘Gig Going on London’s Periphery: Charting the Mainstream in the Margins’, touches on threats and opportunities relating to music performance and creative practice in London. In particular, it focuses on ongoing changes in the creative standing of west and south east London since the 1960s, taking as its starting point the contrasting fortunes of two Gaumont Palace cinemas (later Odeons) built in 1932, one in Hammersmith, the other in Lewisham.