Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Is it just me, or is the first thing you get when the phrases “Rock & Roll” and “Hall of Fame” are bandied about is a vision of Annie Lennox in a yellow tartan suit, David Bowie in a cape and Thriller-era Michael Jackson covered in pigeon-shit? I have a horrid feeling that the O2 are going to have to work very hard indeed to get the Rock Circus image out of most people’s minds with their new ‘state-of-the-art’ British Music Experience.
I’m not going to forget that place in a hurry – epitomising the word ‘seedy’ from inception, with its poor plastic models of great pop stars waving mournfully from the balcony of the Trocadero at Piccadilly Circus, gradually turning a white-ish grey from gifts left by the square’s feathered inhabitants, attractive only to red-booted foreign teenagers on exchange trips (though of course eclipsed now by the sex ‘museum’ in the Trocadero’s basement. I suspect that the sex museum has a similar target audience.)
On the other hand, I do actually think that if you’re going to have a Rock & Roll museum anywhere (which isn’t necessarily a given – Rock & Roll is a transient, ephemeral thing – of the moment, almost impossible, it could be argued, to capture,) the O2 is the one place that might just pull it off. It’s not a new idea – it was always in the plans (i.e. it’s not there instead of the ill-fated casino) and let’s face it, the amount of space left in the Dome even after the Arena, Indigo2 and all those eateries would house a hall of fame for every music style going, so it’s worth a go, I guess. They will have a ready-made audience in the crowds arriving early in the (probably vain) hope of missing the, well, the crowds, actually, and if they can pull it off it could just work.
Apparently rare items once owned by David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and, ahem, The Arctic Monkeys, will be featured with interactive displays and booths where visitors can record their own songs, opening next February. IMHO the problem is that Rock & Roll is almost inherently grungy and even tacky (which of course is much of its charm) and somewhere as slick and corporate as the O2 getting the balance between edgy-tack and safe-pap will be an interesting challenge. We’ll see.
Will I go next February when it opens? Do pigeons crap on Freddie Mercury?