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Blog: RIP Princess Charlotte

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News reaches me that LEGENDARY ROCK VENUE The (Princess) Charlotte is probably going to be closing down in a couple of weeks which, I reckon, is MUCH bigger news than the crappy old Astoria being flattened. BOTH venues were foul smelling with disgusting, ludicrously priced beer, but The Astoria was one of TENS of places like that in London, whereas The Charlotte was the only place of its kind in Leicester, and it DIDN'T employ arsey security staff to push people around.

The heyday of The Charlotte was when it was The PRINCESS Charlotte, when it had two proper BARS seperate from the actual gig venue. It meant that you could pop in for a pint (usually on the way to The Magazine) and see who was around, and if anybody interesting was playing. When they knocked through it meant you'd NEVER just happen to be there, and it also meant there was nowhere else to go if the support bands were rubbish. None of this would have been so bad if you could actually SEE. The MAD thing was that they never moved the sounddesk, which completely blocked the view of the stage from most of the venue. This meant they could sell more tickets, but that most people who'd paid to get in couldn't actually SEE. They also left the toilets up near the stage, so you had to either HANG ON or know about the SECRET DOOR to the room upstairs, where there were more.

I'm slagging off the downstairs bit, I know, even though it's probably where I've played MORE gigs than anywhere else - we did LOADS as The Council and as Voon that aren't in The Database Of ROCK, just because I was usually to DRUNK to write down when they'd been - but it's the upstairs room that I'll really miss if the place does shut down. This was where they had the Acoustic Nights that we'd occasionally go to and feel Rather Uncomfortable at, and where we put on several gigs ourselves, but MOSTLY it was where RAZZLE and it's successor The Tube Bar used to happen. These were the clubs run by TURK, aka Turk From Prolapse (not IN Prolapse, but nearly) and he'd play, basically, the playlist of Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone with slightly MORE TV Theme Tunes, slightly LESS avant jazz, and a HUGE amount more Tony Christie. We we looking for the way to Amarillo YEARS before Peter Kay.

I went and had a look up there last year, when we supported Half Man Half Biscuit, and just the SMELL of the room was overpowering - in a very different way to how the SMELL downstairs often was - with MEMORY and GOOD TIMES. The upstairs room hasn't really changed since I first went up there twenty years ago and, in a way, I'm still doing gigs up there with Totally Acoustic, albeit in a different city.

So yes, somewhat mixed emotions, falling largely on the side of sadness, which is rather a lot more than can be said for The Astoria!

posted 15/1/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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Didn't the Charlotte have the legendary Worst Soundman Ever though? So bad / crotchety / stupid he went beyond the point of annoyance, beyond professional concern, into the realm of pure hilarity.
posted 17/1/2009 by blognostic

There've been VARIOUS over the years, notably Steve The Reggae Soundman (bass UP) and Phil, who is MASSIVELY grumpy for about 5 years and then suddenly becomes really nice. You are correct however, there have also been a wide array of arseholes, although on reflection if I had to earn a living talking to people in BANDS every night I would probably also be a bit grumpy!
posted 17/1/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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