Part 4: The Lyceum in the Strand was a
posh Mecca Ballroom for the straight people - and a hippie heaven for us:
a great place decorated in red plush and gold and equipped with a rotating
stage! One band stopped playing, the stage rotated and the next band went
into action. No more dull nights watching sweaty humpers in black T-shirts
carrying P.A. cabinets to and fro'! You could lie down on the soft carpet,
close your eyes and dream away... and too long a drum solo can make you
pretty drowsy in the middle of the night. And sniff!: there's a strange
smell in the air. Woodbines? Not quite. Makes me think of a cartoon in
NME or Melody Maker: Two bearded and dark-shaded hippies morosely reading
the sign "Keep Off the Grass" in a park, saying to each other: "Everywhere
you go man... propaganda!"
Was this the British Fillmore? And then walking home in the morning
(The Lyceum was open Friday nights 12 p.m. to 6 a.m.), passing Covent Garden
(ye olde version) which was already opening up for business. You felt you
were on top of the world - and very far from Växjö.
The queue outside The Lyceum was a motley and quite peaceful collection:
long hair, moustaches & beards, beads, rimless glasses, Levis jackets
- or sometimes a pinstripe jacket that had belonged to a suit in better
days. Everybody looked forward to a long night of music. Sometimes rumours
ran rife ("I heard from so-and-so that Mr. Bigshot is gonna show up and
jam tonite!!!") and were passed along the queue. Probably gradually made
And then the evenings first set of guests at The Lyceum left the impressive
building: elegant gentlemen and ladies, tipsy or downright drunk. I have
a memory of two gentlemen in dark suits fighting it out in mock with some
Martini umbrella. Very elegantly of course. And the perfumed ladies giggled
and then they all disappeared in a Jag.
And then WE took over for the next six hours...