If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to man the merch stand at a gig, you’ll know it’s a thankless task. Standing over stacks of CDs and waving band T-shirts at perspiring fans like a defeated music matador is nobody’s idea of fun. This might explain why Blondie have ventured beyond the merch table to launch a full pop-up shop in Camden Market ahead of their (sold out) ‘Pollinator’ show at the Roundhouse on May 3.
But it’s not just about flogging badges, there will also be an exhibition of Chris Stein’s candid photos of the ’70s and ’80s New York rock scene, many of which feature a fierce Debbie Harry shooting the lens a withering look. Blondie posters designed by not-so-street-anymore street artist Shepard Fairey will be on sale along with bags, clothes and 1,000 copies of an unreleased 7” vinyl track ‘Tonight’, co-written by Charli XCX.
Debbie Harry has been vocal about the need for musicians to be compensated for their work. As she pointed out last year in a Guardian column, ‘Heart of Glass’ had more than 49 million hits on YouTube (it now has 79 million and counting), but no members of Blondie will ever receive fair royalties for those views. Could a pop-up shop be a clever way to help make art pay? Who knows. But Blondie have been going strong for almost 43 years, and if anyone knows how to make a changing music climate work in their favour, it’s Debbie Harry.
The Camden Market pop-up shop and Chris Stein photography exhibition will run Apr 29-May 3 from 11am-7pm at Provender Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AH.
Not a Blondie fan? Try these London pop-up events instead.