Comment: “I cried the Astoria ten years ago, but maybe Crossrail is worth it”

J

he first time Crossrail shook my conscience was around 2006 via a petition to save London’s Astoria, a mainstay of the London music scene even since my parents were frequent giggoers.

Their hazy recollections of David Bowie et al would make me bristle with indignation at their claim to MY room, though I enjoyed the reassuring continuity of rock history watching Fun Lovin’ Criminals or Franz Ferdinand (look, you get the time you re given).

The idea that we could lose this historic place for businesses and offices or, much worse, a new stationwas devastating evidence of London’s seriously confused priorities.

I still don’t think a 21 year old should be more excited about a transport upgrade than a nightclub, but I will concede that after over a decade of navigating the series of works dotting the stations of central London’s Elizabeth line, the opening of the new line is a seismic event, worthy of excitement.

Some people were faster, but the rest of us caught up.

Like the arrival of the railways and the construction of the Tube some 150 years ago, the demolition of the Astoria was just one of many breaks with the past needed to make way for a new London geography.

Space and time will change so that whole sections of the capital find themselves newly accessible, transforming housing and main streets.

Welcome to the era of Crossrail.

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