Saturday, November 13

The People's Palace

I fly into Heathrow and drive like mad to join Nat, Justin, Dafna and Charles and Sonnet for LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip - Christian, you get hug props. The concert at Alexandra Palace in N22 on Muswell Hill, which I know of but never here before. There are panaramic views of London. This city sprawls man.

First opened as “The People’s Palace” in 1873, Alexandra Palace gave the Victorians a great to party. But, alas : sixteen days after it’s opening, the Palace, which had already attracted over 120,000 visitors, was destroyed by a fire in the dome. On 1st May 1875, less than 2 years after the destruction of the original building, a new Palace opened. Covering 7 acres, it was centred on the Great Hall (where we are here) home to the mighty Willis Organ which was driven by two steam engines and vast bellows. After financial problems, an Act of Parliament in 1900 created the Alexandra Palace and Park Trust. The Act required the Trustees to maintain the Palace and Park and make them “available for the free use and recreation of the public forever”. In 1935, the BBC leased the eastern part of the building from which the first public television transmissions were made in 1936. Alexandra Palace was the main transmitting centre for the BBC until 1956, when it was used exclusively for news broadcasts. Six months after the transfer of trusteeship to Haringey Council, on 10th July 1980, the Palace caught fire for the second time. An area comprising the Great Hall, Banqueting Suite, and former roller rink together with the theatre dressing rooms was completely destroyed. Only Palm Court and the area occupied by the BBC escaped damage.
Development and restoration work began soon after and the Palace was re-opened on 17th March 1988. Today it continues as a Charitable Trust. (source: A P website)

LCD Soundsystem amazing - techno disco, pulsating and intelligent. The crowd young and dedicated - they know the lyrics and bounce. No standing around, beer in one hand, other in pocket. The light show zany and takes the noise to another level. A highlight occurs about the middle when a silver disco ball lowered from above and rests for about a moment, speaking to us somehow, before hit by light which refracts and dazzles across the auditorium. I buzz afterwards which turns into a mild ringing the next morning as I head back to the airport.

"Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it now
Say it, say it, say it, say it, say it, say it, say it now
Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it now
Say it, say it, say it, say it, say it, say it, say it now
Do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it now"
--Hot Chip, 'Ready For The Floor"