Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Bandstand for the 21st Century?

As you may know Plumstead Common used to have a Bandstand, it was located at the western end of the Common, near Blendon Terrace. The Adventure Playground now occupies the site. It was demolished in the 1970's apparently following arson attacks and vandalism. There is an urban myth that it was in fact dismantled and is lying in some forgotten council warehouse.

You may ask why am I blogging about this long gone and mostly forgotten relic of the Common's past, the reason is that I have an Idea and I want to know if people think it is a good one or have I in fact just gone quite mad?

My Idea, a new bandstand 'for the 21st century, I am not talking about some modern unused pastiche of a 19th century icon, but an open air performance space for the many communities of Plumstead. The Victorians knew a thing or to about making urban living civilised and bringing culture to the masses, hence among many other things, bandstands so why can't we update the idea for now and do something really exciting for the area?

I hope to get the PCEG involved and this is an extract of what I wrote to the chair, Nick Day:

' of the historical losses from the Common was the demolition of the Bandstand in the 1970's. But I have a vision for a 'bandstand for the 21st century'. It wouldn't be somewhere just for brass bands on a Sunday afternoon, (not that there is anything wrong with that, I think that would be fabulous in itself), but I was thinking more of a multi-use open-air community performance platform that could host music, dance, theatre, and even be a venue for a big screen during the 2012 Olympics.
I had a look at the 2012 website and in particular the pdf file on the cultural update on 2012
.... and I think if we move fast and can get local people enthused there is real potential for the funding of such a project, which I think would bring about a real legacy benefit for the area. It is also the kind of project which might just inspire the younger generation to participate....
..This may just be a pipe dream on my part, but I think it has the potential to be something really exciting. When I have travelled on the continent I have always been struck how even relatively small towns have cultural festivals, performances etc. often in a town square or similar central location, and I don't see why Plumstead can't do something similar.'

Now this is one thing where I would really appreciate hearing what people think, is it a good idea or have I just gone nuts?

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At 8:23 am, Blogger Barbara said...

I think it's a great idea, But how would you protect it from some of our less community minded citizens? If that problem could be solved then it would be fantastic.

At 9:39 am, Anonymous The ReV said...

Hmmm...I can see your point but when would it be used?
As far as I understand in Victorian times the bandstand was a place where church choirs/brass bands and the like would play in a Sunday afternoon or at special occasions. They didn't require any amplification (well actually there wasn't any anyway…), tastes in music weren't so diverse EVERYONE knew their hymns and unless played badly brass bands or string quartets weren't really offence to the ear and were the excepted norm anyway.
A sorta olde radio2.
I imagine the bandstand was abit like having the radio on in the garden or music in supermarkets which although is intrusive now would have been a novelty for the Victorians who only really had access to live music so "jolly" music while out on a constitutional was something pleasant.

If there was a 21st Century bandstand (can I suggest the name "The Sibsonictic"? LOL) who would play there?
Local churches? People are a lot less religious nowadays (well you know what I mean) and hymns aren't the excepted "norm" nowadays.
Local bands? One man's meat is another man's poison. Think about it would you want a local rapper "doing 'is thang" while you stroll around on a Sunday afternoon or walking the dogs or maybe a Goth hardcore grind band? Worse even a modern freeform JAZZ band? (Hell you might as well just throw the instruments down the stairs, you'd get the same sounds!)
Schools? Yeah, ok, maybe but is it sustainable?
In Victorian people belonged to societies or churches and usually they had a little concert band on ensemble and lots of other factors like stronger sense of community (probably cos there was bugger all else to do?), less free time, harder work ethic but nowadays do workingman's clubs still have their own bands? No, people have "their own lives" and watch telly, drink, surf the net etc.

"The Victorians knew a thing or to about making urban living civilised" - Again, Hmmmmm! Street urchins? Gin places?? Raging poverty and social deprivation?!
Mind you the idea of soundly thrashing a Chav is an intriguing!

It's an idea but I just don't see how it would be used in the current day.
Can I put forward the idea for a set of stocks or a tramp-chair?

At 11:35 pm, Anonymous Nigel said...

What a lovely idea.
Go for it!
The idea that we shouldn't bother, because it will only get vandalised, is too depressing to linger over.
I'm all for us having some stocks too...but seriously this sounds like something worth following up?

At 2:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bandstand sounds like a great idea, I'm all for it, but alongside it the village stocks should be functional for the kiljoys whos only purpose in life is to destroy the things that the majority like, will e mail Nick Day backing this idea.

At 8:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a raised platform in the adventure playground, above that storage bit underneath.. where bands can and have played (I have). What kind of a Plumstead Plum are you?

PS: I do remember the bandstand as well, I used to cut across and I played there once with an acoustic guitar, only it was night time.

At 5:03 pm, Blogger DogBrainDon said...

The bandstand is a great idea. My mates local band The 'Camel toes' could play there. It would be brilliant.


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