Spot the London Location: Madonna Edition!

By Greg Last edited 149 months ago
Spot the London Location: Madonna Edition!

You, our faithful Londonist readers, did so well with the previous installments of this little game, in which we have asked you to identify the London location of videos featuring Kylie, Coldplay, and the Chemical Brothers, that we thought we'd give you a bit more of a challenge. (As always, post answers or other reactions in the comments.)

Madonna, Madonna, Madonna! We don't even need to make a joke. You can come up with your own. And we don't even feeling like being mean to her right now, since her new video, for "Hung Up" the first single off her new album, very clearly imparts an important lesson to the youth of the world about the importance of leaving California and coming to London to dance in a basement, a message Londonist firmly endorses.

So the video opens, and these kids are in the greater Los Angeles area, vexed by the heat of the sun, futilely dancing in front of a bus stop. Clearly, a change of scene is required. So they get in a taxicab, and... SHAZZAM! The taxicab they were in has magically transformed itself into a London Black Cab, and has magically crossed all of North America and the Atlantic Ocean, and they are in London! And they get out of the cab and are all lookin' around acting confused, saying to themselves "Holy shit! We just took a cab from LA to London!"

But where, dear readers, do they alight from the cab?


A brief crane shot might be a bit more revealing:


Then Madge herself (who has, meanwhile, been assiduously practicing her Olivia Newton-John-style dance routine by herself in a dance studio wearing the most hideous leotard in history) (Oh sorry we're being nice to her right now) steps out on the streets of London herself. But where is she strolling?


Then the kids from LA, presumably having spent all of their money on their intercontinental cab ride, are forced to take the tube. We see an establishing shot of a nondescript rail bridge:


And then we see a phenomenon that will be all too familiar to every Londoner: the sassy dance-off on the tube. We've lost count of the times that rival gangs of urban youth on the tube train attempt to top each other with their funky moves, only to be put in their place by an even funkier zaftig woman in sequins. Note that the LED display announcing the next stop has been turned off, and all the ads have been removed. The upholstery and layout clearly identifies this as a Jubbly line train of the 1996 type (notice the "perch seats"), but how did they get the yellow handrails replaced with chrome ones?


This raises interesting questions about where exactly the underground dance-party that they are travelling towards actually is. Could in be in some undiscovered back-alley in Canary Wharf? Or are they headed north, towards some unexpectedly debauched corner of Neasden, perhaps?

Finally they get off the train and walk... somewhere?


The rest of the video is all filthy basements, making out in the corner, shirtless boys flipping themselves upside down, and Dancing Stage Fusion. Basically, our typical Tuesday night out, then...

Update! It has been brought to our attention that there is also a nice City skyline shot at the very beginning of the video, with a prominant Gherkin:


And that this building, on which some parkour happens, is probably in London somewhere. Do you recognise it? Help us out!



Last Updated 01 November 2005


I thought that I was the only one who danced off the tube. Hmm.


If the DJ plays Hung Up, I challenge anyone to a dance off. You will be SERVED.

PS, I suck at dancing, so please suck too or it won't be as funny.


Maybe instead of a straightforward raffle we could have a dance off to determine who wins the birthday goody bag?


It's in the bag. I'll unleash my 'caterpillar' on your collective ass.


Ohhhhh... so it's going to be like that is it?

Then that goody bag is mine. You don't know what dancing is till you've seen me let loose The Eye of the Tiger.


With a name like Hazel, it's got to be good.


Oh WILL be good. Even better though is that Mike has promised to come dressed in the same leotard that Madge wears in the video.

He's got better thighs.


Oh I'm pretty sure I'll be playing it. Have no fear!


That last shot looks like it could be one of the tower blocks at the Elephant and Castle - if you believe, that is, that an international crew risked their kit by filming there.


Oh and shots 3 (possibly 1&2) are apparently somewhere in Stratford (explains the Jubbly line) - and the train shot (4) is on Great Guildford Street in Southwark (again, on the Jubbly Line). Elephant & Castle is just down the road too...


THANK YOU Nick for getting us back on topic!

alan p

Nick is correct. The bottom shot is either the Heygate Estate, Elephan & Castle (where I was brought up), or its close cousin, the Aylesbury which is further down the Walworth Road. Plus, I think the railway bridge is near Borough Market, loads of things are filmed there.


Alan and Nick, you win. Come to our party and I'll buy you a drink.

Based my limited experience, those first few images don't exactly fit my mental image of Stratford... Could you explain why you think so, Nick.

However, if they are, we must ask the question: is Stratford the new new Hoxton? It is too late to move our party there.

Sean Brady

I can confirm that's the Jubbly line in the Madonna video as I work for London Buses and it was posted on our intranet site a few weeks ago.


The cruddy building they are dancing around is without a shadow of a doubt on the Aylesbury Estate just south of Elephant & Castle which, thankfully, is heading for demolition rather soon. I'm just suprised they got off the estate with any of their equipment..


Hiya! About the shots 1&2,i've been there , and when i saw it for first time i knew it was somewhere not far from teh London Dungeon, if you have a walk along the river in tht area you'll see it, in fact, it's Elephant & Castle


The tube scene was filmed on an LUL carriage on/from the old jubilee line platforms at charing cross station- a stretch of track that has, since 1999, been unused as the line was diverted/extended to Westminster and onwards. Am also puzzled by the chrome rails - yellow obviously not bling enough.


Yep, all mobile phones. It's quite sad that one of London's icons, the red phone box, is now almost redundant. You can see my photo project on that subject here


I am not sure (yet) which group I find more irritating, the texters with their habit of walking into you or the ones making phone calls, invariably with a loud voice and regardless of the location.

Not healthy, not healthy at all: witness the texters frantically checking every few minutes if there is a text for them and the talkers pacing up and down like a tiger in a cage whilst they sort out their mundane lives.

For some (of my) 'evidence' go here on Flickr: "Techno-ZOMBIE-fication"

My personal favourite:


@Mel quote: "A private, soundproof space away from the noise and bustle of a crowded city..."

An ideal place for me to make my mobile calls fromĀ  ;-)