Tuesday, 8 December 2009

London I love you but I also need my space

So I have left my darling London and like the bird, flown south for the winter. Of course it is always exciting to be somewhere new and warm, but as much as London gets me down sometimes it will always be my home and I will always be glad to get back after a break away.

People not from London find this strange. It’s dirty, its crowded and everyone shoots each other. How can you possibly like that? I agree that’s not so great, however the thing that makes me love my city so much is the music scene. I’ve traveled around the world and found so few places that have anything like it.

Someone said to me once that they’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. What they fail to realise is that in smaller cities and towns there aren’t that many ponds. In London everyone can be a fish because we’ll swim even in the smallest puddles, and whatever time or day they’ll always someone who will come.

The fact that there are so many puddles means that you get a huge diversity of music. You can go to a rockabilly burlesque night on Tuesday and be at a gay bangra night on Wednesday. And there is always something new happening. Some of it is pretentious art school nonsense, but some of it is different and exciting.

So yes I have left the filth and fury for a few weeks in favour of some space and sunshine. When I get back however there will hopefully be a small collection of gig tickets waiting for me and I will give a little girly squeal of excitement at the new season of exciting live music before me.

My five favourite music venues in London:

  1. Camden Crawl – every nook and cranky in the north London suburb is turned into a space for music. The festival has provided the break-through for some of the biggest names in music. I can’t friggin wait!
  2. The Sun and 13 Cantons – a tiny room below the pub in Soho has hosted many a great party. Small enough to be intimate and big enough to build up a crowd. The only downside is the DJ bit is behind the bar and I once got a bit tipsy behind the decks and smashed a pile of pint glasses in the middle of my set!
  3. Bardens Boudoir – a reliable and cheep night out where you can catch a selection of new bands. Always a good crowd, especially on the Gypsy Hotel nights when some crazy burlesque action can normally be caught.
  4. The Lock Tavern – the Camden pub, owned by Mr Monkey Mafia himself, can host some very big names in very small rooms. Even if you don’t get in on one of those nights you can usually find something else that’s definitely worth a listen. Arrive early to avoid very long and disappointing queues.
  5. Brixton Academy – there are very few places I can say I’ve been going to for over 15 years, but the academy is one of them. It’s got some ridiculous corporate name now, which I chose to ignore. What’s important is that it still hosts some of the very best bands from all over the world. And although a sizeable venue it never loses its intimacy.

1 comment:

  1. I have a similar dichotomy trying to decide between Chicago and its suburbs. Guns, dirt, and overcrowding seem to be recurring themes in these situations. Thanks for the list of venues, I'll keep those in mind if I'm ever on your side of the pond!