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Tiles was a nightclub in Oxford Street, London, in the mid-1960s, whose audience consisted of teenage Mods [1].

Pop & Show Below (1966)

Pop & Show Below (1966)

Opened in February 1966 as "the underground city for the new generation", the premises also included a shopping arcade with record and clothes shops, a "coke bar" and a "budget beauty bar", and Kenny Everett was advertised as "Tiles' own Deejay" [2]. Later, the regular DJ was Jeff Dexter, who, like Peel, subsequently worked at Middle Earth in Covent Garden. Dexter recalled the club's atmosphere as very different from those exclusive London clubs which attracted fashionable people and were featured in the quality Sunday newspapers:

The only Sunday supplements Tiles featured in were for drug raids. Tiles was raided regularly on its all night sessions. Hundreds of police would come, because it was supposed to be a drug den....kids always took pills to dance on....They came up to London to have a good time, so there were always plenty of pills....the audience was mainly tight-arse, pill-chewing Mod kids..[3]

Peel played at Tiles just once, on 1967-09-24 for the first of a proposed regular Perfumed Garden slot on Sunday evenings. In the event, it turned out to be the club's last night.[1]

In his next Perfumed Garden column for International Times (IT 19, 1967-10-05, p13), the DJ wrote:

The incredible sadness of a Sunday evening at Tiles. Flushed with mini-successes at the Marquee and the Saville, I readily thought it would work. Many friends were threatened by a howling mob of destructors. Such cruel and unreasoning things really bring it home just how small a minority we are. Moving around and loving people who are sympathetic it is so easy to forget the intolerance and envy of the vast majority of the population. Anyway, following this debacle, I'm returning to the gentle safety of the Middle Earth.

In a 1999 interview for the DJ History site, Peel described the venue as "a notorious club on Oxford Street" and went into a little more detail:

It was certainly not the kind of place where they wanted to hear what I was doing. And there were waves of irate customers coming up over the footlights to try and persuade me to play whatever it was they wanted me to play. Which certainly wasn't the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe and the Fish or whatever I was playing. They didn't like me at all. Then there was another club somewhere, where I played the closing down night. For a while there, I seemed to feel that where my future lay was in finishing places off [laughter]. Administering the coup de grace.

During his show on 06 December 2001, the long-before night at Tiles may have been in the back of Peel's mind when he commented on an upcoming gig in Newcastle for Bulletproof at Rockshots: “Last night at that venue. Not quite sure why they chose me to do that. Actually, I’ve got a pretty good idea.”

Notes

  1. The Marmalade Skies site provides the following listing: "John Peel brings his Perfumed Garden to Tiles Club with a proposed weekly Sunday spot beginning on the 24th, however the club closes down following a meeting of its creditors on Tuesday 26th." See also Gigography 1967.
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