First Rock and Roll Let Down by Philip Hartigan
And so it came to pass that Implosion became a Rainbow.
London, winter of 1972/73 and it was a hard one, not just hand to mouth but much worse.
I kept on falling into comas and apostrophes.
The crew of the Roundhouse - the riggers and electricians those warm hearted lighting men from rockabilly Chalk Farm, those old smokers who had loved me who had supported me in all my poverty, who took my paintings and put them in their apartments and in their friends apartments and gave me the luxury of twenty different places to crash out in London. Well, someone made them an offer that they couldn't refuse and they all gathered to work in Finsbury Park at the old Empire Music Hall renamed the Rainbow Theatre… So the transition from alternative to mainstream was made as simple as ABC, it just needed money from conservative sources to make what was alternative obsolete. I got an invitation to the opening night’s concert with an option to paint a giant mural on the fire screen which according to the regulations had to be lowered and raised at the beginning and end of every performance. My network of friends, sympathetic people all over town, was protecting me but no cash getting round was crashing the barriers, no welfare begging in the street painting, well maybe the Firescreen at the Rainbow would clinch it this winter. More notoriety and maybe, baby… The difference, of course, was that with the Rainbow was the politics. These guys were conservatives of a new kind, Neo Conservatives with cultural theory and ambitions. The utopian trench warfare believers from Camden Town were becoming replaced by entrepreneurial fixers from Kensington and Chelsea, another form of patronizing megalomaniac.
The new guys wanted every body to love money just as much as they did and otherwise they didn't trust you. Figuring that any body who didn't do it for money was just another burned out acidhead.
So who is playing at the opening concert? Opening set by Rod Argent lovely guys. Westbourne Park Ladbroke Grove just pure… and the big name: The Who... The Who?? Ten years ago they were good but since they became millionaires and lost Keith Moon, their demon drummer. They were all at sea.
So lets see. Some one loaded me with Tibetan temple balls so I drifted out to the concert hall to watch the sound checks. The whole Who concert was on tape and orchestrated by a sound engineer. Not completely fake but getting close.
All they had to do was the twirly bits with the microphones the power chords and the Townsend scissor kicks and, Bob's yer Uncle, Tommy can you hear me we are going down the tubes.
That night I walked out in disgust. That night Rock and Roll in Britain became part of the Conservative Party election campaign /millionaires club.
Too sensitive that’s my problem
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