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Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Abbey Road Studios up for sale: Beatles history down the pan
For years whenever I've driven or taken the bus into town down Abbey Road in north London, I've been amused by the tourists playing with the traffic on the famous crossing outside the EMI studios, re-enacting the cover shot from The Beatles' Abbey Road album (1969).
The graffiti builds up on the white walls under the railings with love-lorn messages they probably think are there for posterity, only for it to be whitewashed every few weeks and the whole process starting over.
Pop groups, rock bands and classical orchestras have recorded here for decades, making use of one of the biggest and best equipped recording studios in Europe, dating back to 1931.
And now, beaten by the technology that means we can produce our own albums on Garageband in our bedrooms plus a massive debt of £3.3bn, EMI are putting it up for sale. However, the question does remain of how big orchestras are going to record. Yet another example of a society's culture imploding under the limitations of capitalism, the superstructure collapsing into the economic base like a cake left out in the rain.
EMI is just the latest and best-loved studio going the same way as the iconic Routemaster bus and the red telephone boxes. Bollards to this. (Has anyone noticed those disgusting dinky 2-dimensional yellow flaps replacing our beautiful solid white bollards in certain London councils?)
When the block is turned into the inevitable luxury flats, I trust the fans will carry on graffitiing. I may very well join them.