Handel and Hendrix museum opens in Mayfair
From 4th July 1968 until 13th March 1969 Jimi Hendrix and then-girlfriend Kathy Etchingham rented a one-bedroom flat at 23 Brook Street in Mayfair. The flat was generally unremarkable, particularly in relation to the success Hendricks was enjoying at the time, and decidedly unexpected for a rock star. Yet it gave him the opportunity to enjoy some down time, to be free and live a casual existence in bohemian London, if only for a short period.
Perhaps the only notable thing about the space is that it is located next to the flat of baroque classical composer George Frideric Handel. This beautiful musical juxtaposition is explored by the Handel and Hendrix in London experience. The museum has worked diligently over the last two years to recreate both homes with key items from both musicians’ lives. They stand in stark contrast with one another, both in period and style, yet the two composers share subtle hints of their dedication to music and their parity as true artists.
The museum here hosts an exhibition of Hendrix’s time in London over those brief months, which were anything but dull. His movements during the period are thoroughly documented in a timeline accounting for his whereabouts on almost every day. He managed to settle into the community of the area with ease and built a life in London, frequenting local record shops and nightlife.
The guitarist’s bedroom has been painstakingly recreated using the conveniences of modern technology such as eBay, as well as good old-fashioned sleuthing through car-boot sales across the country in order to find similar pieces. The room itself is relatively plain, but what stands out is that music is a key focus and there is little else to distract. There is a record player and stands for his guitars, some of which are displayed, as well as an example of some of his writing by the bedside table. Ultimately, this could not be any other way as many of his greatest compositions occurred while in bed, where he could be relaxed yet focused.
Hendrix was certainly aware of the great musical talent whose walls he shared, albeit 200 years later, and it is thought that there was some influence there. Perhaps it may not be present directly in his style, but it can be seen in his understanding of what true musical genius was – a title often bestowed on him, which he bore with great reverence.
Handel & Hendrix in London opens at 23-25 Brook Street, London W1K 4HB on 10th February 2016, for further information visit here.