Back to Wardour St: The Marquee lives again
One of the UK's most loved venues reopens its doors... but not for long
For one night only, the Wardour Street version of the Marquee (as opposed to the Oxford Street version, or the Charing Cross Road version, or the Islington Academy version, or The Leicester Square version, or the Upper St Martin's Lane version) has risen from the ashes. Here's what we learned.
It's The Marquee, Jim, but not as we know it
Tonight's event celebrates fifty years since the venue's move to the Wardour Street location — although the anniversary was actually in March — and it's not quite right. The old entrance is gone, so you enter through the lobby of the restaurant next door. The venue itself is now below ground, down a vast, sweeping staircase, the stage faces south instead of east, the urinals have a splashguard, the floor isn't sticky, and the bar staff wear ties and waistcoats and hand over your change on little silver trays. Despite the concessions to wealth and health sand safety, there is an old school rock'n'roll vibe: the original stripes on the stage are back, the club's founder Harold Pendleton is here, Thunder's Luke Morley and the Quo's John Coghlan are in the house, and there's a good number of silver-haired men with taller girlfriends. At times it looks like a Bernie Ecclestone convention.