by Dave Allan-Petale
The Beatles released their first single ‘Love Me Do’ fifty years ago and since then popular music has exploded in the UK. Carmen and I love London’s incredibly vibrant and diverse music scene, and have been to everything from big name concerts at colossal stadia to sticky-floored clubs vibrating to the sound of a new band.
British musicians are popular all over the world; I still find it strange to hear UK chart music in far flung places, such as Cambodia. So when we agreed to host the teenage daughter of a family friend for a weekend in London we knew we knew we had to offer her something sonic. The British Music Experience at the 02 wasn’t a live concert, but it was a good compromise.
The exhibits are arranged by decade from the ’50s till now, each with interactive displays telling the history and playing the music that defined the years. Costumes, microphones and other knick knacks are on show too; everything from David Bowie’s flamboyant Ziggy Stardust costumes to the Spice Girls’ iconic get ups.
The best part was the interactive displays with real guitars to strum or a set of drums to bash. You could sing along in a recording booth (we slaughtered Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody) or even mix a DJ set. We were also given a smart card to scan before we played that would record our efforts to the exhibit’s website. Cringe!
After we’d gorged on all the history for a few hours we went to the exit, but found ourselves in a simulated concert with thousands of adoring fans projected onto the walls. They cheered as we went offstage, back to our dressing rooms for a party with all our fans. Well, the gift shop at least.