Following the revoking of Fabrics Licence on the 7th of September, is the capitals underground clubbing scene under greater attack than ever? Fabric was one of the last major super clubs in London that regularly hosted Drum & Bass and Dubstep nights along with Techno and House.
We are in a tragic state of affairs when the chair of the committee reviewing Fabric’s licence suggested banning faster BPM (Beats Per Minute) music in order to make the club safer. As if inferring that there is a direct coloration between the speed of music played and drug deaths. This gives us an idea of the kind of people deciding the fate of London’s nightlife, have we really got to an age where the council discusses the possibility of policing the speed of music? Of course though, 180 BPM Drum & Bass is just too much to handle for the new clientele filling luxury flats that were once a stuffy room of a nightclub. The closing of Fabric is only a small part of Islington Councils greater plan for the gentrification of the area.
On the other hand the clubbing scene in London is far from dead. Corsica Studios, Electroworks and Brixton Electric are just a few of the clubs that consistently host underground dance music nights and artists, many that you would never see on the bill at fabric. However where fabric differs from the rest is that it was one of the last major high capacity clubs that purely focused on the foremost names in electronic dance music. There are very few clubs in London left now that have this legacy, many venues/clubs will also host bands and a diversity of different music.
Another club that is yet again facing closure is Club 414 in Brixton, which caters for London’s hard techno and trance scene and has been alive for thirty years. This place, like Fabric, has a strong dedicated community that are hugely passionate about the club and the music. This is one of the friendliest clubs in the capital and is facing closure due to a planning application to replace the club with flats. There is no other club in London that purely focuses on hard dance and is another sign of the ‘cull of faster dance music venues in London’.
The closure or threat of closure of clubs in London is intrinsically linked to gentrification and the backwards drug policy of our government. Fabric had one of the toughest and most invasive searches of any club you will ever go to. By closing a club or bringing in stricter control will not stop people taking drugs. In order to prevent tragic deaths induced by drugs we need to have better welfare and safe spaces in clubs where people feel comfortable to get help or advice. Secret Garden Party this year was one of the first UK festivals to introduce drug-testing facilities, this is an example of how the UK could change its stance on drugs and could be emulated in large clubs in the UK.
In all it’s looking like a pretty sad state of affairs for London’s party scene, with clubs closing their doors by the day, just as the introduction of the twenty-four hour tubes and it being ever more difficult to put on warehouse parties, we must fight to end this cull. Bristol still boasts multiple large underground club like Lakota, Black Swan and Motion, hosting everything from Drum & Bass to Hard Tek DJs, showing that this a massive gentrification drive from the Government in London. We must not be silent; the change starts on the street.