Thursday, December 27, 2007

Last Man In Hammersmith Palais

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha you think it's funny
Turning rebellion into money

The song White Man In Hammersmith Palais demonstrates Joe Strummer's disappointment with black youth preferring pop reggae over roots consciousness. Joe wanted a black and white revolution, to a soundtrack of serious music. He didn't get it. The white punks were more interested in showing off their fashionable clothes.

How on earth did we lose the Hammersmith Palais? One of London's most "iconic" live music venues? Now an office/live coffee complex! Oh dear.

Phill Jupitus (him again for fuck's sake) is apoplectic with rage that it became the home of School Disco, Le Palais' reliance on the silly mainstream as opposed to the cutting edge of Jupitus music bringing about its downfall. If only it were still open, Jupitus could have performed Wake Up And Make Love With Me with the aging Blockheads. Imagine Jupitus singing "I come awake, with the gift for womankind, you're still asleep, but that gift don't seem to mind." to an audience of portly middle aged men. What a mindbogglingly revolting image!

I shocked myself by agreeing with something Robert Elms said. His parents met at the Palais at a dance. A lot of London's couples did meet there. He said School Disco was performing the same function in the 90s and noughties, though not just Elms's beloved "West Londoners". How many couples met at a Pogues or Cramps gig in the 80s? I never saw anybody copping off.

Maybe we'll see a resurgence of old fashioned dance music, inspired by Strictly Come Dancing and we'll need venues like the old Palais again, with its dance floor and its stage in the middle, not at the end. What we won't see is a new punk or a new Two Tone. The mid 70s to mid 80s have gone forever and a Mick Jones/Tony James tired punk rehash won't see us through the future. Tribute bands and original bands with over the hill surviving members do not a vibrant live scene make.

Your time is dead, Phill. Face up to it.

Geoff ("danced"* at the Hammersmith Palais in the 80s)

* no you fucking didn't, you stood still as a corpse!

To watch go here


  1. Its not like that . i think not only the whites the blacks are also doing the same they are less concentrating on their higher priority job .These songs are not only the songs but they are now left with the showoffs and the videos.

  2. The best thing that the Beeb have ever done is the introduction of iPlayer. I will watch this program with interest after I eat my pie and chips (a Jupitus staple diet - just to make for an authentic viewing experience).

  3. In Manchester it was/is(?) The Ritz.
    It had every sort of 'Nite' - but only one 'night' which was 'Alternative Night'.

  4. MM - I'd rather watch a video than see a live band nowadays. And I've never moshed in my life.

    Istvanski - See if you can guess if Don Letts makes an appearance.

    Kaz - But did The Ritz have Ted Heath and Joe Loss playing live? Did it have shows at midnight during the Blitz? Did it have a lake of piss in the Gents?

  5. Well that was an interesting programme. You're right in what you say about the Jupitus era coming to an end, Geoff.

    We simply cannot have people like Jonesy and Primal Scream rehashing old Clash songs whilst listening to commentators who are obviously too emotionally nostalgic to gush on about what a great moment it was.
    It was bloody terrible, they should've rehearsed before the gig.

  6. That's all it was, a moment in the history of the venue. There was too much emphasis put on that gigging era just because Strummer wrote a song about a frustrating night out he had there. I would have liked to have seen more couples who met there over the years. Maybe a couple of the ska-loving sieg heilers got together!

  7. I always think it's funny that a certain generation of commentators and performers go on and on about how punk was the last (and only) time that a new wave came in and swept away everything stale that had gone before it. And that nothing like that will ever happen again... ever!

    Hmmm. Funny that. What about Acid House? Oh no wait, that was just noise, loved by kids, all about drugs, didn't really count. Is that not what the old rockers thought about that whole punk thing? I wonder.

    Anyway, Hammersmith Palais. I saw Basement Jaxx there. They were alright. It was just a building really.

  8. Jupitus has always been open to new young exciting music like The Ordinary Boys and Gogol Bordello. He is the voice of my generation and I don't like it. He'll be doing a radio show in his dotage with regular live sessions by Billy Bragg. It's just all too depressing.

  9. It must have been mortally painful actually agreeing with something Robert Elms said. His parents meeting at Hammy Pally? Do you think he made it up just to out-kudos is the kind of thing he would do. Why is he quite so irritating? I might have to post about it. Happy New Year Geoffster.

  10. Maybe he did make it up, like everything else. He "danced" at the Palais in the 70s and 80s when it was still cool to do so. He's really too cool for school, isn't he? Always there at the beginning of any new youth cult. And so smug with it!

    Happy New Year, Romo.