I read an article in the paper the other day about the fate of the site that once housed London’s Astoria music venue. Read the article for yourself here (yeah I read the Financial Times. I’m still punk though).
The Charing Cross Astoria theatre in London’s West-End housed the Astoria and Mean Fiddler music venues, which formed a large part of my youth. The building was demolished in 2009 for the building of Crossrail, the new underground railway.
Here’s a picture!
Because if this, the article brought back many happy memories, and of course, tugged at the heartstrings.
Growing up in one of the capital’s many suburbs, the Astoria was just 35 minutes on the tube from my parents house. This meant that I was lucky enough to see many great bands there.
This led to a well practiced gig routine that my friends and I developed: School, tube, change out of uniform on the tube, McDonalds in the queue, go in, mosh, go home sweaty.
One such time I was when I saw Hot Hot Heat with a few friends. Whilst the headliners were cool, we were all blown away by the support, a completely unknown band called Franz Ferdinand. We met the leader singer outside the venue afterwards, who signed my tube travel card. A month later the band had exploded into the mainstream.
Another time I saw the All American Rejects, who, let’s be honest, are not a great band. I went purely in pursuit of trying to win my ex girlfriend back. I’ll point out now that I was 15 years old at the time.
Needless to say, my romantic endeavours were not successful. My frustrations boiled to the surface when the lead singer staged dived into the crowd directly in front of me. I then did what all other romantically challenged teenage boys would do. I wrestled the singer for his microphone. I’m still proud of the fact that I made him miss several lines during their hit song “Swing Swing”.
Of course there can only be one song fitting for such a trip down memory lane. That is of course, So Long Astoria by The Ataris. I saw the Ataris at the Astoria Theatre, and actually got with girl who I was pursuing at the All American Rejects gig. We dated for a few months until she broke my heart, as you do when your fifteen. I still can’t listen to this song because it reminds of that time. Happy days!