After the stellar selection of tracks from Praesepe’s Nick Harding, Playdium Picks spoke to Simon Thomas, Chief Executive at The Hippodrome Casino, about the music that shaped him and one song in particular which definitely hasn’t been played just once in his life.
Simon Thomas is the seventh generation of his family to work in the leisure industry. President of bacta, he was also Managing Director of Thomas Estates Ltd which operated venues including the Beacon Bingo club in Cricklewood, the largest bingo venue in Europe.
Instrumental in the transformation of the Grade 2 listed Victorian theatre into the Hippodrome Casino, Simon was involved in everything to do with the transformation of the building into an incredible West End venue, from the licences, local and national gaming policies, to the wallpaper and light fittings.
First song you remember hearing?
For Once in my Life by Stevie Wonder. Later in my life, in one of those ‘circle of life’ moments, the great Stevie Wonder performed at The Hippodrome during its legendary Talk Of The Town days.
Song that reminds you of your teenage years?
J’aime les filles by Jacque Dutronc. I had some lovely summers in the South of France with a French girlfriend and this song makes me think of her, as does the scent of the perfume Coco. The joys of a first romance.
First single ever bought?
The first ever record I bought was the very same one I first remember hearing, Stevie Wonder’s For Once in my Life. So that song keeps cropping up in my life, and it’s not the last time it will come up in this list.
First album ever bought?
I don’t have a clue and it seems like such a long time ago. They might not have been the first, but two formative albums that I listened to over and over were, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.
First band you ever saw live?
Simply Red at the Brixton Academy. It was just before they became really famous and it scared the pants off me going to Brixton, as I had no idea what it was like, but the place and the show were brilliant.
Song you can no longer stand?
In another circle-of-life moment, bizarrely the song which I first remember hearing is the very same one I can’t stand. Stevie Wonder strikes again!
Song that is a guilty pleasure?
It has to be Donna Summer’s Love to Love You Baby. I can only describe this song as a 16-minute long orgasm.
Song that makes you want to get up and dance?
Chris Rea’s Road to Hell. It has the most fantastic beat to dance Ceroc to, fast enough to have fun, but steady enough not to kill yourself. My amazing wife Fiona is an incredible dancer and for me that type of dance is a vertical expression of horizontal desire, intimate, rhythmical and sensual.
Song you want played at your funeral?
Pachabel’s Canon in D. It is simply beautiful. It starts off calm and steady and then blossoms into the most uplifting piece of music I have ever heard.
Last song you heard before this moment?
Winter into Spring by George Winston.A fantastic piece of piano playing that is the perfect morning music.
What was the first song you paid to hear on a jukebox?
Theme from Harry’s Game by Clannad, one of my favourites. I first heard it in the Beacon Bingo Cricklewood, the afternoon before we opened in 1995. Hearing the eerie piece put me in a trance thinking “I hope the customers come when we finally open the doors”. Thankfully they did.
You can buy the Playdium – the UK’s top earning jukebox – for just £14.50 per week. Benefit from a 2 year warranty, no fixed music fees from day 1 and your jukebox delivered within a week. For more information and to arrange a demo, call Toby Hoyte on 07970 229124 or email [email protected]