Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Back on 'Old' Street

Taking a day off work to attend a Microsoft MSDN training event (read my work blog entry for more details on that), I found myself back in the area where I used to live before I moved south of the river - Old Street near Hoxton and Islington.

The street lived up to its name, making me feel very old indeed!

It seems only yesterday that I used to rush to Old Street every Friday and Saturday night (and Sunday lunchtimes too) from my temporary Bejam-supplied flat in Stanmore, because The London Apprentice was the best venue in town, playing great music in its basement dance floor area with a friendly, clone crowd, decent ale and a closing time past 2am. I liked the venue so much I ended up moving into Islington, not far away and got my first DJing break there which led on to my opening up my own night at The Paradise Club just up the road and then getting the Bromptons gig in Earl's Court and finally Heaven in Charing Cross and The Fridge in Brixton. Happy days!

Arriving early for the Microsoft event I took the opportunity to revisit Old Street itself and I hardly recognised it. The run-down street has turned into an up-market yuppified area where the 'greasy spoon' caff I was looking for has been replaced by endless bland 'salad and fancy coffee at inflated prices' franchises everywhere you look. I wonder if the Mildmay Mission Hospital where I used to do volunteer work at weekends is still there? Alas, I ran out of time to go and check.

But seeing all the changes, it suddenly occurred to me that what had seemed like 'yesterday' was actually more like 'fifteen years ago'. The area is probably safer now, with its high rise glass office blocks and up-market coffee bars, but it's turned what was an area that had real character into just another expansion of the City. You know you're getting old when you find yourself reminiscing for the 'good old days' of an area that has dramatically changed!


Anonymous said...

Aaaah I remember The LA - and Paradise Bar. 1985 - 1992 or thereabouts.

Happy times.

Anonymous said...

Ah, The London Apprentice -

Discovered it in 1972 before a Genesis gig in the Town Hall opposite when they played to about 25 people! My then girlfriend and I went back many times after that. It was a traditional Trueman's East End pub then, often almost empty in the evenings, but with a most amazing juke box in the public bar that played whole album sides of good rock music. I only have to hear Clapton's 'Bell Bottom Blues' nowdays to be instantly transported back to those timeless interludes in the London Apprentice!

Alas, life moved on and I have never been to Old Street again since 1974. Somehow, I'm glad I never saw what became of the place - for me,being 18 at the time, it represented a whole carefree, optimistic, exciting era that has long gone.

There was also another pub up the road towards the tube station which we used to walk past. It had the rather strange name of 'The Crosby Head' and was dedicated to the American entertainer Bing Crosby. Is it still there I wonder?

With best wishes from Devon

Nick Gilman

Anonymous said...

London apprentice I worked on my door in the 1980s
it was just a cruising club/pub

Makes me laugh now thinking about it
I am now 49 years old.

So it's all gone now than?
Max pollard and Philip Glover the bosses.

APLH Personal Licence said...

So thanks for an informative and entertaining article which has pulled me away from the day job for a happy five minutes!