There have been frequent rumours about it before, but now it seems almost certain: the Standard, after providing live music (and other entertainment) to Walthamstow and its citizens since 1986, is to be sold out from under its tenants’ reluctant feet and turned into a supermarket, or flats, or some such money-grabbing scheme. No matter that E17 already has flats a-plenty, and supermarkets galore (indeed, just up the Forest Road, the former Essex Arms is being transformed into yet another); no matter that E17 has no other dedicated music venue at all.
Live music will survive, of course; live music always does. But it’s a body-blow to all the local, up and coming bands who have long been given unswerving support by the Standard, not to mention that it will knock out a major venue for that genre which nobody will admit liking but which always manages to fill houses, the tribute band.
Of course we must declare that we are partisan here. Our very, very first public gig was at the Standard, and indeed we’re booked to play there again on 21st July. But the principal remains the same. Venues such as the Standard are the backbone of music; without the local support that they generate, without the opportunities that they give to musicians, an important brick in the wall is removed. And if you take too many bricks out of a wall, the whole wall falls down. If you don’t believe us, just ask Pink Floyd.
So let us hope that by some miracle these shameful plans fall through and that the Standard is once more spared by the skin of its teeth. And if the worst comes to the worst… well, the local paper confirms that the incumbent tenants must be given six months’ notice to quit, and those tenants, Paul and Amanda White, are on record as wanting to “make the most of the last six months”.
You get the message, I’m sure. Get out there and get down the Standard. While you still can. Because this is your last chance.