City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Remembering a noisier London

Written in


Absolutely superb article by Jonathan Bell (of thingsmagazine notoriety) over at The Morning News again. Gracefully tracing his understanding of London from a personal history plotted around a series extremely noisy gigs by bands such as Whitehouse and God – and therefore the relationship between popular music, innovation, and the city. But it’s not as dry as that sounds – it’s wonderfully written, dashed with asides around South London, memory, the Scala cinema, nostalgia, the redevelopment of St. Pancras, and the psychogeography of Kings Cross – a place forever to be associated with the word ‘terminal’.

"So while the city changes, we become more set in our ways, despite our protests to the contrary. London is constantly tearing itself apart with a capacity for reinvention that any musician would envy. Dumpsters – which we more elegantly know as ‘skips’ – line the streets, bearing the trash of an endless cycle of commercial fit-outs. Plasterboard and outdated bathroom suites sit on street corners as new homeowners make their mark on the steep climb up the capital’s property ladder, a subject of constant fascination for anyone in their late 20s onwards. At what point did I mentally shuffle musical innovation to the back of my mind and focus on real estate? Perhaps it’s because nostalgia is such a powerful emotion, especially when the flux of physical space – the city – makes memory all the more necessary to frame our image of a past disappearing behind shiny new buildings."

Used to know that Kevin Martin out of God. Nice chap. Emailed him some dodgy fonts once. Don’t do that kind of thing these days of course. Just as Jonathan now wears ear plugs to gigs, I guess.

The Morning News: Letters from London: New Fidelities
[via George – thanks!]


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