It’s Only Rock & Roll

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been distracted by juggling with two writing projects and also succumbing to the laziness of tweeting.

Yesterday I visited the British Music Experience for £1 (it’s ordinarily £15 for adults) and though it was fun, it’s perhaps worth half it’s retail price.

Before you enter the main exhibition you’re treated to a little video (well, large in screen size) of Lauren Laverne explaining how to explore the areas in tandem with your Smarticket, which allows you to bookmark areas of interest for later viewing online, as well as enabling you to download 3 songs for free off iTunes.

When you enter the exhibition the first thing you see is a gift shop, and it was there I picked up a couple of items while my friend spent £30 by picking up some iconic artwork and frames.

The experience covers British music from the 1940’s to present day. By having the word experience in there, this has allowed the event to tag some foreign artists like Jimi Hendrix as it was Britain that first cared about him. I even heard U2 a couple of times.

One thing I expected was that the experience was going to pander mostly to the most well known names and not necessarily the most respected, but they got the balance right. I wouldn’t bother being upset if your favourite artist isn’t in there as it’s about relating a decade rather than specific artists.

I was however glad to see that Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest were given some good attention as these guys were the lead figures in heavy music, and are still important today.

The segment I found most interesting though was a video presentation on UK Grime. I’m not a fan of that sort of music, but because I didn’t know much about it and it wasn’t a bunch of old white guys droning on about nearly medieval history, it stood out from a lot of the other exhibits.

There were other rooms in the place where you could try your hand at dancing (needless to say I didn’t embarrass myself) or have a go on some musical instruments. Although for the latter, the instruments could only be heard through headphones and you were goaded into playing along to a limited set of video songs.

Aside from interactive machines, essentially what you saw was memorabilia such as handwritten lyrics, clothes worn and instruments used. At a relaxed pace you can spend about 10-15 minutes in each of the decades.

Would I go there again? Probably not. But it wasn’t a bad day out at all; it just reminds you that Britain can pump out some good stuff if less than it used to. I can’t post any pictures as you’re not allowed to take any.

Another thing that enthused me was the Michael Jackson exhibition next door which costs £15 too. It had a limited run but was extended due to popularity.


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