Legends of rock put Britain on the map

THE LATE Kurt Cobain of the rock group Nirvana proposed to Courtney Love in TJ's nightclub in Newport, Wales, after arriving in a bright orange Skoda car.

More than one reason there for her to turn him down, one would have thought. But, of such moments are legends made. And so TJ's duly appears on the British Tourist Authority's new "Rock & Pop Map of Britain", published yesterday to help the increasing number of tourists anxious to see Britain's rock attractions.

Newport is not the only place that might be virgin territory for the international tourist. One of the "tourist attractions" featured on the map is the Francis Service Station in Stratford, east London. Now an old folk's home, this is a dubious part of Britain's rock heritage. Its fame lies in the fact that, refused entry to the garage's toilets in 1965, three of the Rolling Stones chose to urinate against the wall. Magistrates fined them pounds 5 each.

At least something did happen on that warm June night in Stratford, albeit of marginal musical and historic value. The rock tourist who follows the map to other locations might be pushed even to find a 33-year-old wall to justify the fare.

Blackburn, for example, features on the map following its reference in the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" and the 4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. In January 1967 a local council survey noted 4,000 holes in the town's roads. Alas, most of them have been filled in during the intervening period. But not to worry. For the intrepid traveller it is but a short journey to Widnes railway station where Paul Simon wrote "Homeward Bound" waiting for the milk train to take him back to London following a gig in 1964.

The rock tourist needs to be of a morbid as well musical disposition. A fair few of the map references are casualty spots: the tree on Barnes Common in London into which Marc Bolan's tour crashed and killed him; likewise the Hungry Horse pub on Rowden Hill in Wiltshire outside which rock'n'roller Eddie Cochran was involved in a fatal car crash. The map even contains a slaughterhouse: the one in Digbeth, Birmingham, where Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne once dispatched at least 250 cattle a day.

Some locations on the tourist map do provide footnotes to rock history. In Hull, where Everything But The Girl's Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt met at the university, there was a furniture shop which used the slogan "You can buy everything but the girl". Sadly, furniture shops do no always anticipate BTA rock maps and it is no longer there.

Like all rock history, some of the "facts" are open to dispute. The map directs tourists to Waterloo Station where the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" is set. The song, the BTA tells us, is about a couple Terry and Julie, "named after film stars Terence Stamp and Julie Christie". Ray Davies of the Kinks denies this; but no tourist authority worth its salt is going to let the opportunity of a celebrity name-drop pass by.

The most imaginative tourist attraction must be Prestwick Airport in Glasgow which has been unearthed as the place that contradicts the legend that Elvis Presley never set foot on British soil. In March 1960 his aircraft did touch down briefly on his way back to the United States from military service in Germany. Well, kind of. Elvis actually landed at the nearby military base. But that is not open to the public. Still, Prestwick serves a very good cup of tea for the weary rock traveller.

This being Cool Britannia, a government minister launched the publication of the map at Madam Tussaud's Rock Circus at Piccadilly in London yesterday by the arts minister Mark Fisher.

Under the strap "One Nation Under a Groove", the pocket-sized map which unfolds into a poster with a guitar and amp in the shape of Britain, is free and will be available to overseas visitors through BTA's 44 offices world-wide, and via a hotline number, 01271 336083.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project