Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

It’s sad when a rock heritage site disappears because, with its importance never widely recognised in its lifetime, no one thinks to preserve or protect the place when its existence is threatened. Jim Marshall’s old shop in Hanwell, west London, is one example; ‘That was where Marshall amps started’. ‘Really?!’. ‘Yeh, not a lot of people know that’. And they wont, ever, without a commemorative plaque. It is verging on the criminal, however, when someone destroys a site where the history was not only well-documented but had been formally recognised. Hang your head in shame La Suites Hotel in Bayswater. La Suites was formally known as the Hyde Park Towers Hotel. In the 60s it was the hotel used as a base by visiting Newcastle bands like the Animals. It was where Jimi Hendrix first lived in London; it was where he wrote several songs, including ‘Stone Free’; it was where we had a plaque mounted in 2010 to commemorate 40-years since Hendrix’s death. Refurbishment has not only seen the historic name go, but also the plaque. ‘Hendrix doesn’t fit our new upmarket image.’ So there’s nothing to mark the place. No exterior plaque; no photo display in reception, as used to grace the old reception; no dedicated bedroom. Nada. That Hendrix lived there for 3-months while he was exploding onto the London scene and forming the ‘Experience’ is unimportant it seems. The Hendrix connection is seen as a hindrance rather than a marketing plus. One can only shake one’s head in disbelief and quietly bet that the Hendrix brand, and indeed by association the Hyde Park Towers name, will be around long, long after the pretentiously named ‘La Suites’ has been long forgotten. Forgive them, Jimi, they know not what they do. Here’s their address if you want to tell them what you think …

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