Iggy and Lou woz ere! New plaque honours stars who rocked the Scala

Friday, 22nd July — By Frankie Lister-Fell

Iggy and lou

Iggy Pop [Man Alive], left, and the late Lou Reed [Marcelo Costa]

ROCK and roll returned to King’s Cross when more than 200 people saw a blue plaque honouring some of the famous acts who had played at the famous Scala music venue unveiled.

Sonic Youth musician Thurston Moore was given the job of revealing the plaque last Thursday evening. It celebrates the work of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop and the Stooges who played at the Pentonville Road venue in July 1972. The idea for the tribute came from Darren Van Asten, who lives nearby.

Fifty years ago, photographer Mick Rock took photos of the musicians during their performances at Scala that were later used as the album cover for Lou Reed’s Transformer and Iggy Pop’s Raw Power.

Zimon Drake by the plaque

“[The photos] are basically iconic,” said Mr Van Asten. “They’re just brilliant. So every time I walked past Scala I think ‘that needs a plaque!’

“I designed one on Photoshop and got through to the managers of Scala and they liked the idea.”

Buses careered past the crowd as music fans from all over London attended to see the plaque unveiled.

Tugging the curtain open to cheers from the audience, Mr Moore shouted: “This is for all you rock and roll animals out there.”

Zimon Drake, who has lived in King’s Cross for 40 years, came to the opening as he’s a fan of Lou Reed, but an even bigger fan of when Scala was an all-night cinema in the 80s.

“Scala is part of my history,” he said. “You used to go down there way past 11pm with half a dozen friends when you’ve run out of money.


Mr Drake added: “The staff were often quite stoned, so it was hit and miss whether you had to pay to get in.

“It was a non-policed an non-monetised space to be with people with similar of interests. It was symbolic of old London.”

Ian Crosdale, who lives in Peckham, also attended the unveiling to show his support for the old Scala.

“It was fantastic seeing films that at the time you couldn’t get on video,” he said. “All the uncut and all the bad stuff. So bad that it’s good. I’d do all nighters in the cinema.

He added: “I think I fell asleep a lot.”

Mr Crosdale will appear in the Scala Club Cinema documentary that is due for release next year. The venue’s famous old cat is also due to be recalled in the film.

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