Monday, July 25, 2005

30 Seconds under Chislehurst

Reading Simon Reynolds' marvellous new book 'Rip it Up and Start and Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984'. Deptford's finest Alternative TV and This Heat both get their dues, along with just about anybody making interesting music in that period. I hadn't realized that David Sylvian and Japan came from Catford - a quick Google search shows that the world's most beautiful man (as he was once described) was born David Batt at Stone Park Hospital, Beckenham, and met other band members at Catford Secondary School.

But the best vaguely South London story concerns Pere Ubu. In 1978 the Cleveland band staged the UK launch of their LP Dub Housing with an 'Ubu Mystery Trip' with ticketholders transported by bus to a secret location - the freezing cold Chislehurst Caves in the London Borough of Bromley. The Caves are well worth a visit, if you can take some of the guide's more lurid tales of Druid sacrifice with a pinch of salt. They have been variously used as an ammunitions depot (World War One), a mushroom farm (between the wars), an air raid shelter (World War Two), and a venue for gigs and parties - Jimi Hendrix played there in 1966, and Pink Floyd the following year. As a film location they have been used for Doctor Who (The Mutants - 1972), Insemenoid, Bliss, Neverwhere and Randall & Hopkirk (deceased).

2 comments:

John Eden said...

I saw Current 93 perform at Chislehurst caves in the early 90s too...

Neil-NewX said...

There's something here about that. It was apparently on March 3 1990 and also featured Sol Invictus. I've also come across mention of an album by Rachel Goswell (ex-Slowdive)on 4AD, 'Waves Are Universal', for which her vocals were played back in Chislehurst Caves and re-recorded to create a natural echo.