Jools Holland’s Studio


Ever stood on the west end of Platform One at Westcombe Park Station and wondered what the rather startling apparition is up the slope above you? That rather odd Gothic building with the arched windows high breezeblock walls, strange cupolas, classical pediments and curious tower with a whale-shaped weather vane, which lights up at night? So did I.

It took a brainy friend of mine, Mike, who absorbs information like a sponge mops up spills (he once unapologetically recited the London to Dartford line timetable) to put me out of my misery. It’s the local pad and studio of that jovial jazzman Jools Holland. Being a local lad, the ex-Squeeze-boy must have had his eye on that old station house for years and snapped it up when he could.

I understand he’s decorated the old gothic, boarded building in suitably eccentric fashion. Of course, we don’t get to see much of it as it’s got high walls and solid gates (though you’d have thought he’d have rendered the outside so the world didn’t KNOW it was all made of breezeblock) but I think I prefer it that way.

Nothing real could live up to the image I have in my mind of what it’s like inside. For me the place is the closest thing to a modern day folly that this dull age of the purpose-built and functional can muster, and I raise my glass to Mr Holland for not only creating some great music, but a fun building too, to cheer the soul every time one sees it.

Recently, The Nosy Phantom has noticed much building work going on around the back by the shops at the station. A peek over the fence reveals a fabulous-looking Victorianate street and what looks suspiciously like his own private pub, the Holland Arms. Absolutely brilliant. Though he would not make a song and dance about them, (and I am reliably informed that he won’t talk about them at all) Jools Holland’s studios must be one of the wonders of Greenwich. Not that I’ve ever made it inside those hallowed portals – oh no – I’ve hinted enough times to my mate who’s in his band, but he’s not having any of it, so I have to be content to do like everyone else and just fantasise about what lies behind that breezeblock exterior…

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