the other side of Denmark Street

Denmark Street London 072022 sm

Back to London last July. After a day’s touristing with the family – we went to the Churchill War Rooms, then wandered about central London until my feet hurt – I stopped off at one of my favourite old streets, the centre of guitar shops and music people, Denmark Street. Just off Charing Cross Road, round the back of the recently redeveloped Tottenham Court Road station, this was the center of the British music industry for a long time. Tin Pan Alley. As London has been pricing anything good out of existence for a long while now, but of it have been falling away and I was worried to finally come back and find it all gone down the pan. There’s a few old places no longer there, but I was pleased to still find a lot of places to mooch about looking at instruments, the character still exists. So I drew the street looking southwards, across from Wunjo and Regent sounds, and stood drawing until my feet hurt. This was intended as a sister piece to a panorama I drew of Denmark Street back in 2014 (see below) looking northwards, before major redevelopment started in the area. The 12 Bar club was still there, and Macari’s; I was saddened to see Macari’s on Charing Cross Road had closed recently, that’s where I got my beloved acoustic guitar that I still have. After drawing that picture years ago I learned about “Save Tin Pan Alley” – http://savetpa.tk/– which is devoted to preserving this historic and culturally significant London lane. As a guitar-obsessed teen I was often too shy to go into these stores, fearing that I would suddenly be found out and laughed at. They soon became my favourite places, though I still won’t get down an electric guitar and plug it in unless I know nobody is there to listen. They have different guitars than you see in a lot of guitar shops in the States as well. This past year I have finally rekindled my love of the guitar, having abandoned it for well over a decade, and got myself a new guitar, the Lake Placid Blue Squier Telecaster, as well as a Fender electro-acoustic for my son who is learning. Just last month I finally got myself a bass, for the first time in my life, and I of course got the Hofner violin. I should have been playing bass all these years, I love it, and the Hofner is nice and light, especially with the Flatwound strings. I need to fix the fret buzz though. Apparently I should adjust the truss rod, but I’m a bit nervous about that. I also need to fix up my old electric guitar in London and bring it back out here, the one my brother got me when I was 14, the Westone Concord II. I re-strung it and cleaned it up, but the third fret is pretty worn down where the B string hits it, making it hard to play an open D. Teenage Pete played that chord so much it filed away the fret. Maybe on my next visit I’ll take it down to Denmark Street and see if someone there can fix it. I’m still pretty basic with my guitar playing, and I don’t mind that, but it is nice to be back messing about with guitars again.

Denmark St panorama