When the Square in Harlow closed down in January this year it left a massive hole in the music and culture scene.
I had the privilege of talking to Tim Atkinson, a professional Bass guitarist, who was just 14 years of age when he first performed at the nationally recognised Square. He has since worked with musicians from Motorhead and played the bass guitar with Lemmy of Motorhead on a Motorhead track.
Tim first performed at the Square with a band called Swarf who were older by five to six years. This gig would only be his second ever gig and he told me that he felt like ‘a kid amongst men’.
He told me how he was sick in the toilets moments before going on stage, and added, ‘I wore two pairs of jeans to make me look bigger and more the age of my fellow band mates.’
I asked Tim whether his family approved of him performing whilst a young teenager. He told me his father was a vicar, who was very supportive of his dream but wasn’t pleased that Tim was hanging around with 20-year-olds; they wanted him to go down a different career path.
Tim became very good friends with Wurzel of Motorhead, which was like ‘a dream come true’ for him as he had been ‘a fan since the age of nine.’
The Square had a huge legacy and is leaving a massive hole in the music industry. Tim called it ‘a proper venue, where you felt the nostalgia’. He recalled the time he went to see his friend’s band and there were Sony executives watching them. The Square was very respected, with a decent size audience and a good size venue.
Tim added that if you went to the Square you were guaranteed to have a really good night. The Square taught the next generation and he said it was particularly sad that the venue had closed because there were not many live music gigs any more. ‘The Square really was “One of a kind”‘ he said.
Tim runs the Fairycroft Arts and Media Centre in Saffron Walden. The centre aims to help the next generation of musicians in the same way that the Square helped him. However he says nothing could compare with the Square.
John Starr, who was an Essex County Council youth worker in the area when The Square was council-owned, said ‘It is tragic that the Square has closed down’, A bass player, John was 20 years old when he first performed at the Square and played with three different bands at the venue.he fortunate