Commentary: ‘I mourned the Astoria ten years ago, but maybe Crossrail is worth it’

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The first time Crossrail ever dented my consciousness was around 2006 via a petition to save London’s Astoria, a fixture on the London music scene even since my parents had been frequent gigs.

Their foggy memories of David Bowie et al would make me glow with indignation at their claim to MY location, even if I reveled in the comforting continuity of rock history when watching Fun Lovin’ Criminals or Franz Ferdinand (Look, you get the era that you’ again given).

The idea that we could lose this historic site for shops and offices or, much worse, a new train stationwas devastating evidence of London’s gravely confused priorities.

I still think no 21-year-old should be more excited about a transport upgrade than a nightclub, but I admit that after more than a decade of navigating the series of construction sites along the Elizabeth line stations in central London , the opening of the new line is a seismic event, worth excitement.

Some people were faster off target, 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 the many breaks from the past needed to make way for a new geography in London.

Space and time will shift for parts of the capital seeking newly accessible, transformative housing and shopping streets.

Welcome to the era of Crossrail.

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