Ginger Baker’s daughter, Nettie’s, first experience of the Roundhouse was at a Cream gig when she was just 6 years old. Some years later, in her punk incarnation, she was to return time and time again…
Not many people can remember the first decade of their life, but I turned 6 during the year Cream began their meteoric rise, so its a vivid time for me.
Cream was formed by drummer Ginger Baker (my dad), bassist/singer Jack Bruce and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton and they were taking the UK by storm in 1966. Their final gig of the year was on 30 December at the Double Giant Freak-Out Ball, The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm in London.
I remember a vast, cold space (it must have seemed even bigger because I was so small) filled with hippies riding the crest of the cultural wave.
I was a punk in the 1980s and so Camden became my natural home – a place where I felt I belonged – and the Roundhouse was an iconic building in the area’s landscape. Camden was where you went to see and be seen. It was where I went to get my piercings done, where I bought my spiked collar from, where I found my anarchy badges. We clanked around in our studs & chains like Frankenstein’s monster and shaved our heads with bic razors (we had proper mohicans – not just for the weekend!).
I’m a bit disappointed in Camden now – I feel it has become too commercialised and has become a tourist attraction in itself rather than being about the lifestyle. However, even in the mid 80’s we were photographed by Japanese tourists! And my daughter Zara, 24, regularly hangs out in the area, because she gets stares elsewhere, even though her look would have been considered tame by us in the 80s, so perhaps there is still an element of old Camden that remains.
But it was great to go back to the Roundhouse in 2015 to see Rubella Ballet (The Iconic band of Zillah Minx and Sid Truelove, makers of the underground hit movie ‘She’s a Punk Rocker UK’) support the Damned. And then I was back again later that year to see my dad play at the Jack Bruce memorial show. It didn’t seem like 50 years had passed.
To find out more about the life and work of Ginger Baker visit the Baker family’s extensive archive