Author: vortexwonderland

Cotton Mill

Built in 1885 in Gronau,Germany, close to the border with Holland (Enschede),these were the last buildings standing since their closure in 1999.

They have been protected and will probably be turned into the usual luxury flats.

Gronau is a very small town but is home to an unusual Museum – The Rock ‘n’ Pop Museum. Sadly it was closed for renovation when we visited and will re-open in the Autumn of 2018.


Why is there such a large ROCK museum in such a small town ? Well, it was the birthplace of one of the rare truely original sounding vocalists to come out of Germany – Udo Lindenberg :


Portsmouth / Mike Oldfield


Even better than a derelict building is a disused building with the inventory still in view through the window.

This shop was/is on Albert Rd in Southsea,Portsmouth and judging by the style of the furniture it looks like it has been out of use for many years.

Opposite is a Pub that used to belong to local brewery, Brickwoods, registered in 1891. Portsmouth is the home of the British Royal Navy and there were hundreds of Pubs in the city so business would have been pretty damn good.The brewery (owning 600+ pubs) was purchased by the Whitbread Company in 1971 and the last beer as Brickwoods was brewed in 1983.

The empty Hotel was on the seafront of Southsea more or less opposite the historic Pier.

The music by Mike Oldfield is not really my cup of tea, but the music is/was also used by the local professional Football club (known as Pompey) when the team runs on to the pitch.

Play up Pompey


Chinese Takeaway / The Adicts

We found this Restaurant/Hotel building near Minden on the River Weser in Germany.

It looks like the staff left in a bit of a rush too as there were quite a few personal items in their staff area.

I wonder if The Adicts ever stopped off here on one of their German tours ?

The first time I saw them was around 1981/82 in the Korn Strasse in Hannover, a legendary Punk venue.

As I was having a cup of tea with them backstage, the band decided to enhance their buffet meal by adding something that looked like a sausage (but wasn’t) to a plate of noodle salad. I didn’t wait around to see if anyone sampled their designer menu.




Killing Joke and Fire Eaters


Sometimes there are concerts that stick in the memory and never go away.

Killing Joke at the “Scala” in Germany in 1980 is one such case for me.

The Scala was in a small town between Hannover and Bielefeld and used to be called the Jaguar Club. Between 1966 and 1970 people in this British Army garrison of Herford  would have been lucky enough to have had the chance to see legends like Hendrix,The Who,Hollies,Small Faces and Cream for just a few Deutschmarks.

It was 8 years before it reopened under the name Scala, and in three amazing years between 1978 and 1981 it served up a great mix of (usually) UK based bands,mainly Punk,Reggae or Post-Punk (but not just) in the main hall.

Anyway….one of those gigs was the double bill of Killing Joke and Basement 5 on a miserable midweek evening.

The turnout was low, only about 40, but because it attracted a motley crowd of freaks and misfits (fire-eaters, face tattooed(very rare back then) bikers from Hamburg, some nutty West London punks, plus the band members of  Kleenex from Switzerland, it turned out to be one of those Pistols 100 club moments. You just had to have been there.

Killing Joke came on and we all jointed the front stage tribal dance routine by the fire-eater , where we zoned out to the heavy, hypnotic ,almost techno beats.

All the songs on their amazing first album were played,but I am still sure they were double as good as live versions, especially “Wardance”, “Complications” and the non album (Pop Group/Certain Ratio style) limited single  “Change”… they were so good we all went and watched them again the next day….. however second time around the Basement 5 stole the show, but that is a different story.

The Scala had two years of glory and went bust,after this the smaller bar room carried on putting on local band Punk gigs until it was knocked down in 1982 and an Aldi was built in its place.

Unfortunately there are no pics of the derelict Scala, but I did find an old farmhouse decades later, near to the location  and took some pictures  – even the derelict buildings in Germany have swept and clean floors if the owner lives near by :


via Daily Prompt: Complication

Marquee,Roxy and Vortex – 1977 London Punk Venues – Then and Now.

If you were young in 1977 –  these were the places to be, especially if you liked yer Punk Rock !!  They were the answer to CBGB’S in New York.

The Clash played the very first gig at the Roxy on new years eve 1976, the Vortex is one of the reasons for my Blog name and the the debut Sham 69 album had live songs from both the Marquee AND the Vortex. All albums are incredibly full of energy and the crowd noise at the Sham gigs sums up the excitement of the time, essential listening all three :

So what are these venues now ? Have a look at the pictures below :

The Roxy was in Covent Garden at 41-43 Neal Street and is now a SPEEDO shop.

The Vortex was in Crackers Nightclub on 201-203 Wardour Street  and was until recently a Peter Stringfellow club.

The Marquee goes back to 1964, also in Wardour Street (90) but closed in 1988 , it is now a luxury apartment block.

London gentrification… UP YOURS !!


via Daily Prompt: Sleeve

Anarchy in the Naafi


The above empty building photos were taken in Germany in 2014.

I bought my first 7″ single ever in the building on the left in 1976, this building used to be a Naafi (British forces supermarket) and was on the British Military estate where I more or less grew up.

That’s right, I was a ” PADSBRAT” …

What is a pads brat I hear you asking yourself ?

Well,it is what the kids of serving Military families are called and there seem to be a number of reasons why this name came about, but the most feasible seems to be that B.R.A.T was the short version of  British Regiment Attached Traveler which was changed to P.A.D.S in the 1950’s and was short for the allowance received by the families ?

There were two of those Sex Pistols singles for sale in that Naafi and I grabbed one of them because a) I liked the name of the band (it shocked back then) and b) I had seen a picture of them in a German teen magazine and of course they looked like nothing else I had ever seen.

That record changed my life.

The building on the right was called “The Look-In” and was the community center and also our youth club on a Tuesday night.The evening mainly consisted of ping pong, table football,packets of “Smiths Crisps” and a fizzy drink laced with something a bit stronger,now and again.

Now and again too ,if we were lucky, we could squeeze in a Pistols ,Slaughter and the Dogs or 999 track in between the Bee Gees and Dr Hook during the “Disco” and our little Punk firm could have a good Pogo.

The barracks closed in 1993 but the estate was used by a few military personal up until 2015. Below a couple of the houses still being used in 2014, most were empty but not derelict.

I often wonder who took that other copy of Anarchy.


Hotel Grashoff / Cocteau Twins

Double goodies discovered today :

It is always cool to be lucky enough to find a good copy of the first Cocteau Twins (Garlands – 1982) album on the Intercord Label for just 2 euros at a Fleamarket.

Liz Fraser really does have a haunting voice, but I just love the echoey bass on a lot of these early 1980’s post punk albums. How do they get that sound ?

On the same journey we discovered this charming Hotel that has been closed since 2006 and is still in a remarkably good condition. Check the “before and after” pics.

I always wondered why people have to smash toilets and sinks once they get inside these buildings but this is because they are trying to get at the copper piping. Shame about the ballroom too, great sized gig venue.