Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rock plaques; where and when?

It’s encouraging to see a number of new plaques appearing on some of London’s rock heritage sites; most recent additions have included one in Hanwell on the site of Jim Marshall’s (Marshall Amps) first shop, and one commemorating George and John on the old Apple boutique building in Baker Street. Like London buses, you wait ages for one to come along and then three do in quick succession! It begs the question what should plaques commemorate, and should there be some criteria underpinning their use. Currently, we have four types of plaque; the ‘official’ English Heritage on, those placed by the charity The Heritage Foundation, those mounted by the local Westminster or Camden Councils and a few private ones. Only the first demand a strict criteria; the commemorated must have been dead 25-years, have contributed something significant to their art, and have a good chance of being remembered. There are just two rock ones in London, one for Hendrix the other Lennon. They don’t always get it right. ‘Who was that; never heard of him’ is an oft heard cry from Londoners and tourists alike as they read the inscription on a Blue plaque’. The mould was broken last year with the black plaque for Ziggy Stardust, a fictional character. But why do they have to be dead? Why can’t we commemorate more places of significance, as the Marshall plaque does? It’d be good to see a plaque on Alexandria Palace commemorating the famed ’14 Hour Technicolour Dream’ hippy festival of 1967 for example. Or one on Green Street, Mayfair, on the only flat where all four Beatles lived together. One that cries out for commemoration, especially since the redeveloper vandals have even removed the iconic name sign from the front of the building, is Olympic Studios in Barnes. Any more suggestions?

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