Our intrepid communications lead Khris Raistrick heads north of the river and finally achieves his ambition of connecting South Norwood to St. Moritz….
Well, it’s a tenuous link. Extremely so. Who, amongst our fine readership, remembers Peter Sarstedt, he of ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely?’ [and not much else] fame? The singer once graced Stanley Halls with his presence, and I managed to track down someone who was at his concert, Dave Victor. He remembers:
“It’s now almost 30 years since I made my first visit to Stanley Halls, yet it’s an evening that I recall with enormous fondness. I am sure the reason I remembered this night, when I have forgotten so many others, isn’t because of the quality of the performance, or even the company of the friend who persuaded me to cross the river from my home in North East London. What I remember so clearly is the warmth and charm of this wonderful old venue.We went to see Peter Sarstedt, whose fame, following his main hit ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely?’ was fading fast. There were still plenty of tickets to be had at the door.”
[Note to fellow SPI members – this is a phrase that will not be tolerated in the future!]
“Although I liked the song and was even known to sing along to his follow up number “Frozen Orange Juice,” I didn’t make my journey south with much hope or enthusiasm. Yet as soon as I entered the lobby my heart lifted and I knew this would be a pleasure, regardless of the quality of the performance. As it turned out, Peter’s understated delivery was perfect for the venue.
“Back then an evening at Stanley Hall was a multi-sensory experience.”
[Note to fellow SPI members – this is a phrase that will be welcomed in the future…]
“The architecture and decoration was a visual delight and the fact that so much was in need of attention merely added to its charm. The dusty smell and fragrant aromas reflected years of use and misuse. (These were the days when cigar, pipe and cigarettes were not outlawed in public and was very much part of the overall olfactory experience). The single spot light suited Peter’s up-close performance and cast tantalising shadows that meant the eye was left to discover hidden details around the hall.
“There is no doubt that South Norwood has a hidden treasure and one that must be celebrated. As someone that still lives on the north of the river, I feel a touch of envy for those who are fortunate enough to have such a gem on their doorstep.”
And the St. Moritz link?
Er, there isn’t one, really. Just a lyric from the famous song:
‘And when the snow falls you’re found in St. Moritz
With the others of the jet-set’
Perhaps we can re-write it one day and get the Stanley Halls summer season on the international social calendar!
Altogether now: ‘Your name is heard in high places…’