last week i fell in love with a roadside cafe..it’s funny how many with music in their veins, fall head over heal for houses like these,and here’s maybe why..back in the 1950’s,the only places to hear records loudly were on cafe jukeboxes or at fairgrounds. it’s hard to imagine it now, but outside of america, national radio was slow in embracing the rhythm and blues, so places like the ace, are the earliest churches of rock n roll culture in england.
cafes with character are very photogenic. i got my first new iPhone in five years last month, and what i’m enjoying most is the camera. i love how they’re less of a deal than lugging around a more exacting affair…they slide in and out of your pocket with such ease, and that alone encourages the kid within to keep all eyes peeled for poetry in motion.
so here’s some photographs of the ace, and below that i’ll give you some history.
the ace was born in 1938,and being located by a roadside of one of the first motorways in and out of london, attracted bikers as well as the haulage lorries, but then during wartime it got bombed in an air raid. once the dust settled, it was rebuilt into what’s still there now… i’m so in love with this place, i’ve dragged thomas back there three times in the one week…we’ve taken friends there for fry ups and mugs of tea…the staff and bikers themselves have cool bad ass style…naturally it’s mostly a hetero joint, but what’s interesting is they play host to weddings and civil partnerships…i guess the gay bikers,of which there are indeed many, would gravitate there like any other gang who’s out on their wheels for the weekend.maybe one or two met and fell in love there..i dunno..but i saw all nationalities and skin tones hang comfortably under that roof..the food’s great..ten times better than those bog awful mainstream service stations..it’s got proper style and scrubbed integrity.
in the nightshot just above where i’m now writing to you,the actual owner is standing at the counter in terrific 50’s clothes and hair… i think he’s a rare and inspired businessman. the youtube i’ve embedded below is of an early english cult movie that features the ace cafe right in the opening scene…i was grinning watching this…even the tables are arranged in exactly the same way as they are today…it’s an important film because it’s one of the first in england to hint at ‘the love that dare not speak its name’..if you know what i mean…. it’s called *the leather boys*