History of The Camden Palace

By Uncle Nemesis, as posted to uk.people.gothic

Used by kind permission of the original author

The Mean Fiddler is the large club venue under the Astoria in Charing Cross Road. The venue used to be called LA2 (and still is, by many people). When the Mean Fiddler promotion company took over the venue a couple of years back, they changed the name. Here's the venue's web page: http://www.meanfiddler.com/version1/meanfiddler/index.asp

The Camden Palace is the ornate Victorian theatre in, erm, Camden. It's an old vaudeville house. Back in the late 1800s, when it was known by its original name of the Palace Theatre, Charlie Chaplin trod the boards there as a young comic.

Later, the theatre became a BBC radio studio and for some years in the 1950s was the venue where the Goon Show was recorded. During the 1960s it became a cinema.

In the 1970s the Palace became a live music venue and was renamed The Music Machine.Many of the first-wave punk bands played there. If you've seen the 1981 noo-wave movie 'Breaking Glass' with Hazel O'Connor, the live sequences (where the lights fail and the band have to play by torchlight) were filmed at The Music Machine.

There's an entire website here devoted to the Breaking Glass movie. Beware the alarming picture of Hazel O'Connor dressed up as a robot! I'd forgotten about that bit. It gave me quite a turn... http://www.breakingglass.net

In 1982 the venue was taken over by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan of Visage, who were then in their heyday as rich pop stars. They came up with the name by which the venue is still known - The Camden Palace. They refurbished the venue as a luxurious New Romantic hangout, and for a while it was the coolest club in London. Big stars like Grace Jones would fly in from the USA just to be seen there. There's a brief reference to all this on this Visage-related website: http://www.globaldarkness.com/articles/visage.htm

Later in the 80s, when all the New Romantic stuff went off the boil, the Camden Palace became an all-purpose indie/dance club/gig venue. Feet First, the daddy of all the indie clubs, started up at the Camden Palace around this time, and is still going strong. A brief review: http://www.irlondon.co.uk/venueguide/detail.php?venueid=15&skin=g_txt

In 1993 or thereabouts the venue was given another makeover, and emerged with the stripped-down, minimalist decor we see today. Flag Promotions moved the Gotham all-dayer into the Camden Palace a couple of years back from its former home at the Mean Fiddler...and that brings us pretty much up to date.

I have no idea what the venue's official policy regarding photography might be - suffice to say that nobody's thrown me out yet. And here's the evidence: http://www.starvox.net/photos/gotham/gotham1.htm

And that's all I know (again!)

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