22 December 2014

Rock on, the tourist edition

We have had a bit of oddball touristy destinations over the past year--seriously who else makes visiting a place because of a sole tree their priority? Another niche that is not so unusual is going to places because of a popular musical reference or influence.  We've done 3 guitar factory tours in the states (Gibson in Memphis, Taylor in El Cajon, and Fender in Corona, the latter was the best!), gone in search of Stevie Ray Vaughan's grave site in Dallas, visited Ray Hennig's Heart of Texas shop before it was torn down (another SRV reference) and a few other places that have yet to be written about.

An impromptu trip down to London (it still seems odd that I live only 2.5 hours away!) yesterday resulted in us ending up at another one of those locales of music history--yes, yes, I know England is so full of those that it's easier to visit somewhere that does NOT have some sort of connection but this living here lark is still sort of shiny and new to me. If you are of a certain vintage *cough, teenager in the 80s, cough* then I'm sure you have listened to Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue" at least once (or a few thousand times).  With me being a somewhat sheltered youth I had no clue until years later that it was talking about the 1981 riot in Brixton...watching the video now I can see the anger and understand the lyrics of the song but as a 14 year old who paid no attention to the world news I had absolutely no clue. To me it was just a very catchy song that was over-played on the radio and MTV for a few years.  Cue a few decades later and I point out an Electric Avenue in a neighbouring city and start humming the song and my partner says "Hey, I will take you to the original one on our next trip south!"

Electric Avenue itself is so named because it was the first market street to be lit by electricity. The Brixton Market is still going strong and I hope to visit again when the vintage and retro market is on but even on a dark Sunday evening it was still bustling.  However it was a very pensive stroll last night because of reflecting on the history of the street.

Electric Avenue street sign

We thought we would be able to listen to a group of street buskers playing while at Brixton just in front of the Underground entrance but every time it sounded like they were going to get started they paused again. There was a large group of people gathering to listen but the crowd lessened with each false start.  We soon gave up as well. 

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