Bombed Out!, The Rich Kids and Ghosts of Princes in Towers.
Above Photo: One Down, One (Refuses) To Go. (Photo: James Maloney)
I was amused to see the botched demolition job done a while back on two blocks of flats in Seaforth, Liverpool, which became a viral news item worldwide on account of a video showing the explosions failing to topple one of them (see below).
My interest in this episode was because both blocks of flats receive a mention in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, as well as their own New Wave music chapter heading, referencing a track by former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock’s band, The Rich Kids.
These two tower blocks were always in sight when I went on my late-night, usually introspective walks along the Back Field (now more poshly-named Rimrose Valley Country park) and along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The giant cranes at Seaforth Container Docks were also a memorable part of that silhouetted night-time panorama.
The two 1960s buildings were stoically named Churchill House and Montgomery House, although some local residents had nicknamed them the Heroin Towers by the time they were demolished. They were supposed to be demolished by simple controlled explosions, but resisted the first attempt.
Churchill House finally collapsed on the second explosions, but Montgomery House resisted three attempts to blow it up, and was eventually torn down by the biggest excavator in Europe.
Needless to say, nearby local residents initially evacuated for a couple of hours and unable to return to their homes for days, were less than impressed with this bungled demolition (see video below).
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
Immediately below is a live version of the Rich Kids’ Ghosts of Princes in Towers, with Ultravox’s Midge Ure singing – this is the best thing I’ve ever seen him perform on, as he later went on to destroy one of my all-time favourite bands, Ultravox by commercialising them to death, and I’ve never really forgiven him. (Petty, me; I know….)
This You Tube video shows the demolition and failed demolition from different angles: