Friday, 14 December 2007

Staying underground

Yesterday it was Wembley Park to Hammersmith via Baker Street - today it was Wembley Central to Hammersmith via Piccadilly Circus. (Hello Wembley!) Another of my favourite Tube stations, Piccadilly Circus was refurbished in a reasonably sympathetic way in the 1980s. Although the original 1906 tiling was replaced, the station still has an special atmosphere, which is best experienced from the north end of the north-bound Bakerloo Line platform.

Photo taken by myself from the same spot, 25 years ago; Piccadilly Circus 1982.

"Piccadilly 1972: Taking a turn off mainstreet, away from cacaphony and real-life relics, & into the outerspaces myriad faces & sweet deafening sounds of rock'n'roll. And innerspace...the mind loses its bearings. What's the date again? (Its so dark in here) 1962? Or twenty years on?....." (From the sleeve notes to the eponymously-named first Roxy Music album*)

Although the old tiles have been replaced at the busier deep-tube line interchanges, the originals can still be found on many Bakerloo and Piccadilly Line stations. A longish wait at Regent's Park (reason: defective train at Oxford Circus) gave me the opportunity to photograph one of four station name signs. Note variations in apostrophe usage! Shame on those Edwardian tilers!


* The sleeve notes of Roxy Music, by the band's publicist Simon Puxley, struck me (and still do) as the perfect accompaniment to the songs' ambience... And in full...

piccadilly, 1972: taking a turn off main-street, away from cacophony and real-life relics, & into the outer spaces myriad faces & sweet deafening sounds of rock’n’roll. And inner space … the mind loses its bearings. what’s the date again? (it’s so dark in here) 1962? or twenty years on?
is this a recording session or a cocktail party? … on the rocks, please … where’s the icebox? … oh! now! that is … so cool … (there’d been rumours, of course, nothing certain, but the suggestion of truth). musicians lie rigid-&-fluid n a mannerist canvas of hard-edged black-leather glintings, red-satin slashes, smokey surrounding gloom … listening to the music re-sounding, cutting the air like it was glass, rock’n’roll juggernauted into demonic electronic supersonic mo-mo-momentum - by a panoplic machine-pile, hifi or scifi who can tell? Wailing old-time sax, velvet/viscous, vibrato/vicious or ensemble jamming (& more) … synthesised to whirls and whorls of hardrock sound … mixed/fixed/sifted/lifted to driving, high-flying chunks & vorticles of pure electronic wow - gyrating, parabolic, tantalising (oh notes could not spell out the score).… fantasising: phantomising: echoes of magic-golden moments become real presences … dreamworld & realworld loaded with images (of a style & time & world of - celluloid artefacts? heart-rending hardfacts?). Monaural and aureate fragments sea-changed & refined to pan, span the limits of sensation … leaves of gold, crossing thresholds & hearts. Saturday nite at the Roxy the Mecca the Ritz - your fantasies realized … & are they still? & is this the end? (or the beginning?) &, so help me, so many questions? & are the answers naked to the eye - or ear? or are they undercover?

1 comment:

scatts said...

Thick as p*gsh*t, those Edwardians!