Earlier this week I was scanning the Internet to see if there were any events in London commemorating the visionary musician Lou Reed, who died last Sunday. I could not find any, but I did stumble on a tweet from someone called Andy Pakula, which read: "Would anyone like to organise a rocking memorial service for Lou Reed? I'll supply the north London church."
I sent a message to Andy, who it turns out is the atheist minister responsible for two neighboring congregations in Islington and Newington Green. We starting discussing possibilities, and fast forward a few days, we have put together a small team to create "A Wake on the Wild Side." We to decided to hold a memorial service in Newington Green Unitarian Chapel this Sunday at 3 p.m. and we are hoping that it will be a fitting celebration of Lou Reed's life and work. The event is intended to provide a space for people who have been inspired, influenced or touched by Reed's music or poetry to pay tribute. We are expecting a diverse crowd of musicians, artists and aging punk-rockers as well as three generations of music-lovers. There will be performances, readings and tributes.
Musicians such as Kate Nash are following Wake On The Wide Side's new Twitter account and even Salman Rushdie tweeted on Tuesday to say that he would not be able to attend as he was in New York. Rushdie recently recalled an interview with Vaclav Havel in which the former Czech Prime Minister hinted at the Velvet Underground front man's impact on the Prague Spring. "Why do you think it was called the Velvet Revolution?" he said to Rushdie.
"This would be a very different world without Lou Reed. There are many people who feel a distinct need to say goodbye" says Pakula. "This is event is intended for anyone and everyone whose life has been touched by his music and poetry, be they old rock stars, young musicians or just ordinary folk."
It is fitting that the memorial is taking place in Newington Green Unitarian Chapel as the New Unity is a congregation that has always walked on the wild side as a center for dissent. Its 305 year history includes support for the French and American revolutions, women's rights and equal marriage. Mary Wollstonecraft attended and was radicalized there in the 18th century earning New Unity the right to the label, "The Birthplace of Feminism."
The program for the memorial is not yet fixed and anyone who would like to get involved with the event -- musicians, technicians and/or artists are more than welcome to participate. Seats are filling up and offers are starting to roll in. Dress code on Sunday is optional but people are encouraged to dress on the wild side.
WAKE ON THE WILD SIDE
Sunday, November 3, 2013, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Newington Green Unitarian Chapel
London N16 9PR
APPLY FOR TICKETS HERE
Tickets are FREE but space is limited.