“Where it all happens apparently. Unless you’re a Uni student straight out of public school in which case it’s where all the scary drug pushers, muggers and lefty bohemians hang out. A myth we’re more than happy to perpetuate to keep bastards out.” Nightshift Magazine as quoted in Wikipedia
Even as I type, The Zodiac on Cowley Road, here in Oxford is in the throes of its final night. I’ve mentioned this band/club venue several times on this blog and I’ve spent many other nights there that have gone un-catalogued.
The venue is going to undergo a 4 month, £2 million (or 3 million depending on which website you read) refurbishment and will reopen as the Carling™ Academy Oxford. The Zodiac name will survive as the name of the middle-sized of the three new venues within the new Entertainment Palace.
Those of you unfamiliar with The Zodiac may experience a glimmer of recognition if I say that the video for Radiohead’s song, Creep from their 1993 album Pablo Honey was shot on the stage of the Zodiac (although I’m informed that back then The Zodiac was called The Venue). In fact, it’s the very stage that you can see in the vid I took last Friday of The Destroyers, as blogged in the post directly before this one. Anyhow, there’s more history on Wikipedia, if you care.
Once again, the magic of YouTube means that you can see Radiohead’s Zodiac video below…
I’m reasonably ambivalent about the Zodiac sell-out. The venue will benefit from a good refit, hopefully with an improved PA (although the current one isn’t too bad) and facilities. There will be an extra space (bar) to add to the 2 existing performance spaces and there may well be a boost in the touring bands who play in Oxford.
On the other hand, I hope that this doesn’t mean that smaller bands such as my friends Stornoway and acts such as Sol Samba now won’t get a look-in. I also hope that the new management won’t suddenly feel the need to introduce character killing “security” measures (such as bag searches for “contraband” water bottles) in order to accelerate the Return on their £2m Investment by “protecting” sales of Carling. Likewise, I hope the ticket prices don’t go up too much either.
That may be wishful thinking but we will see. The next time I’m there is likely to be The Decemberists in October. I’ll let you know what it’s like.