So Long Astoria
While spring cleaning my drawers I stumbled across the glorious collection of ticket stubs I had amassed over my early years attending gigs in London. As the memories came flooding back to some truly epic shows I was particularly saddened to spot a few tickets to shows that had gone down at the legendary, and now sadly defunct, Astoria venue.
Since it’s reopened in 1985 as a nightclub and live music venue the Astoria was one of the Infamously punters had to que all the way round the building, often in the rain, but once bouncers finally granted their sacred permission to walk through the venues glorious entrance you knew you would be treated to great sound and a surprisingly intimate experience for a 2000 capacity venue.
Once you walked through the entrance doors and passed the ticket hall you’d be greeted by a dark narrow staircase bringing you to second level area; regulars would know exactly how to run up the spare staircase to get to front of stage quickly . Having finally made it to the top the burst of light and massive stage were quite a sight, not to mention the queues at the two dimly lit bars on either side of the stage. seasoned fans would know how to wiggle past the huge poles and down to the dancefloor while avoiding being kicked by crowd surfers or disturbed by noisy chatters. Seasoned fans also knew it was best to avoid the toilets.
It was clear in 2006 when a large property group bought over the land that the venue’s days were numbered. Despite petitions and support from fans and artists the years the final nail was delivered with plans for the new crossrail system to be in place for the upcoming Olympics could not be derailed.
By October 2009 all that remained was a pile of rubble. With Brixton Academy, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and- the sporadically used- Forum still flying the flag for venues era I can’t help but feel that London needs another iconic venue to host music rather than more office blocks.