Comment: ‘I mourned the Astoria a decade ago but maybe Crossrail’s worth it’

·1 min read
 (Ewan Munro / Flickr)
(Ewan Munro / Flickr)

The first time Crossrail ever dented my consciousness was in about 2006 via a petition to save the London Astoria, a stalwart of London’s music scene even since my parents had been frequent gig-goers.

Their misty-eyed memories of David Bowie et al would make me bristle with indignation at their claim to MY venue, even as I enjoyed the reassuring continuity of rock history watching Fun Lovin’ Criminals or Franz Ferdinand (look, you get the era you’re given).

The idea that we could lose this historic venue for shops and offices or, far worse, a new train station, was devastating proof of London’s seriously muddled priorities.

I still don’t think any 21-year-old should be more enthusiastic about a transport upgrade than a nightclub but I will concede that after more than a decade navigating the series of building sites peppering central London’s Elizabeth line stations, the opening of the new line is a seismic event, worthy of excitement.

Some people were quicker off the mark but the rest of us have been catching up.

Like the coming of the railways and the construction of the Tube 150-odd years ago, the demolition of the Astoria was just one of many breaks with the past needed to make way for a new London geography.

Space and time will shift for swathes of the capital set to find themselves newly accessible, transforming housing and high streets.

Welcome to the Age of Crossrail.

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