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A West London Rock and Roll Tour

 By Ian Mole

 
Following our request for articles, Ian Mole sent us this one on the local rock'n'roll  history: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, The 101’ers, Brian Eno and more...

Westbourne Park Tube Station to Lisson Grove - Turn left outside the station into Great Western Road and just up on your left you’ll see Meanwhile Gardens which in the late Seventies/early Eighties hosted many a free gig. I recall that the band Fuck Off, who of course were on Fuck Off Records, featured once. A little further on the left is the site of the former ZigZag Club which was squatted in late 1982 and on 18th December hosted a big festival of anarcho bands such as Flux of Pink Indians and Crass. 

Continue onwards at the junction with Harrow Road, take the left fork and you’ll be in Walterton Road W9, where Joe Stummer once lived in a squat at no. 101 on the site of the modern house. His first well-known band The 101’ers were named after this house and the area has many Clash connections too. 
 
Continue up Walterton Road, turn right into Shirland Road and you’ll soon see a pub called the Chippenham on your left. As gigs were a bit hard to come by for the 101’ers in late 1974 they established their own weekly club-night called the Charlie Pigdog Club (named after the squat’s own dog, Trouble) in an upstairs room at the Chippenham. It ran from December 1974 till April 1975. 
       
Head back to Harrow Road, turn left and after five minutes or so, on your right, you’ll come to the Windsor Castle no. 309. I was in here recently and I’m rather ashamed to say that it was the first time that I’d ever been in one of London’s fabled pub-rock venues.
 
Many up-and-coming bands have played here including U2 in December 1979, Madness who played to about eight people here in May 1979 and got 50p each and The 101’ers, who played three times. The early Clash song ‘Protex Blue’ is supposedly about the condom machine in the Gents toilet here.
         
It’s a nice-sized pub venue but in fact it’s closing very soon as the site has been sold for development into flats and that will be the end of another musical era. Just up from the pub is the police station where The Manic Street Preachers’ manager reported that Richey Edwards was missing on 2nd February 1995. On the other side of the road no. 330 was once home to musician, U2 producer and all round amazing guy, Brian Eno. In 1975 he was hit by a taxi driver as he crossed the road here and while recuperating from his injuries at home he noticed he could only hear one channel of his stereo and this led to the birth of ambient music.   
                                          
In the late Seventies Mick Jones from The Clash lived in flat 111 on the 18th floor of Wilmcote House, which is just by the canal on the left about ten minutes’ walk eastwards from the Windsor Castle. It was here that he wrote ‘Complete Control’ and other early Clash anthems while sharing the flat with his grandma. Joe Strummer was inspired to write ‘London’s Burning’ here after watching the traffic down below. Later, in his Big Audio Dynamite days, Mick released a track called ‘Harrow Road’. Continuing eastwards from here Harrow Road almost fuses with the Westway, which was something of a symbol to The Clash and their documentary D.V.D. was called ‘Westway to the World’.
 
Continue to the end of Harrow Road and cross Edgware Road into Marylebone Road. After five minutes or so you’ll come to Lisson Grove on your left. The jobcentre is located at nos. 26-46 on your right and in 1976 Joe Strummer used to sign on here as did Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. On 21st April, shortly after they’d seen Joe perform with the 101’ers at the Nashville (supported by The Sex Pistols, no less), they saw Joe here and looked at him with interest for a while but Joe didn’t know them from a bar of soap and was worried in case they were going to jump him when he got outside. Fortunately for rock and roll there was no fight and Joe was soon a member of the Clash


Ian Mole 
 
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Comments  

#2 celine 2011-07-28 07:55
ive done the Joe Strummer tour in 06 all around London, took me months to find exact addies thru his entourage and biographies but i made it with my dear friend Michael.i now live in the middle of all the places you mention :) Best area in the world the Kensals xx
#1 bigred 2010-03-29 14:22
Nice little article. One glaring omission. Namely, the man who's more rock'n'roll than all of the names mentioned in your piece, a former long-time resident of Ladbroke Grove...laydeez'n'gents...I give you LEMMY!

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