A Plastic Rose Discuss: The Boileroom & UK Live Music
With Guildford venue the Boileroom facing the possibility of closure, TMMP caught up with Ian McHugh of alt-rockers A Plastic Rose to discuss the Boileroom and the state of the UK’s live music scene.
This interview is part of a larger TMMP feature which can be read in full here.
What is your general opinion of the Boileroom?
The Boileroom is one of England, nay, the British Isle’s finest venues. In terms of the work they do for up and coming acts and bringing higher profile acts to Guildford it’s a real cultural powerhouse, beloved by bands and punters alike. We are humbled and blessed to have played there a bunch of times on UK tours.
How did you feel when you heard about the Boileroom’s current problems?
We find it absolutely gutting. This is the latest in a string of top class English venues to have similar problems. I just can’t believe that such a cultural gem is under threat.
What would happen if the Boileroom were to shut down? What impact would that event have?
In terms of touring bands in Guildford, the Boileroom is the place to go. It would be a major blow to many bands of our profile trying to fill UK tours and reach out to people in their hometowns. For the Guildford music scene it would be devastating. We’ve had people travel to gigs there from as far as Brighton and London, drawn in by the venue’s famed intimacy and atmosphere. It would leave a gaping cultural hole.
What is your favourite Boileroom-related memory?
Noodles. There is a Chinese restaurant attached, accessible by the beer garden. Testament to the Boileroom’s legendary hospitality, they arrange noodles for touring acts, and those noodles are famous on the touring scene.
How do you feel about the state of the UK’s live music scene right now? What could be done to improve things?
This is symptomatic, I feel, of a general ambivalence toward hard working musicians and promoters.
In times of austerity it’s easy to take for granted the amazing independent musical culture we have here. For the price of a couple of pints, you can go to your local venue and see full lineups of incredible touring and local talent.
I think a review or overhaul of the regulations around venue licensing is long overdue, taking cultural and economic benefits into account. As government rolls back hard-earned and hard-fought-for arts funding, to have this happen at a local level is very discouraging. We need to have a hard think about the value of culture and music and fight for it on every level.
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