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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Al-Jazeera on the end of SARM studios

Just in case you think I am a stupid old nutter, ranting on about the modern world and how it's ruining London…. read this article on Al-Jazeera.

Yep, the Qatari-based news channel is running this story about the rampant greed that is currently destroying the cultural fabric of this strange "city" we live in.

The studio in question, SARM,  is famous for many reasons - Queen, Bob Marley, Band Aid and many others - but the point is that there are only so many of these iconic places left in London.

And the real point, behind this point, is that the people who own these places are now under irresistible pressure to sell up and move out. It no longer makes economic sense to run a a recording studio - that is, a space equipped for the production of a highly valued global commodity, popular music - in the central zones of this city.

A music factory - one week's recording of artists such as  those named above might produce a return of a hundred million over a decade - is simply not profitable enough in a "city" where similar sums can be made in a few days or weeks by hedge funds.

About the only creative industry that can still survive in central LOndon (apart from creative accountancy) is fine art  - and that is thanks to the curious bastard child of the art-marketing revolution of the 1990s, Frieze and all that - that fine art has become a high-value commodity on a par with arms or diamonds.

Earlier today, on the excellent Robert Elms Show on Radio London,  I heard a musician lamenting  there was only one full-size recording studio left in this city, Abbey Road.

 Once they've all been turned into expensive places for expensive people to spend a few weeks of the year shopping in expensive shops or doing deals - well, the next generation will have very little reason to be interested in this brutal Thames-side mudflat settlement that was once so attractive.

It is now,  visibly,  the place to come to spend the vast amounts of money you have acquired by crushing the spirits of millions of others in other parts of the world.

We live by the river. We watch Waterloo sunsets, we know it's the Great Wen. We don't do the Lambeth Walk and we don't want to go to Chelsea.  I was there this afternoon and I tell you, it is  dull, dull, dull these days.

SO, if we manage to dodge their 4 x 4 wagons on our bikes on our way to our little part-time jobs selling things to these very rich people, or pampering them, or building the next block they can invest in - what happens next?  Is there somewhere for us to live or must we move away, back to Croydon?

No, Croydon is undergoing re-generation and re-gentrification. You will have to go elsewhere.

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