With the bewildering closure of Fabric still fresh in the public psyche we can see objections and debates raging on the handling of licences, police, governmental drugs policy, even the role of nightclubs in our society itself. The 17 year old London institution closure has deeply shocked and stirred up hornets’ nest within our clubbing community, the UK’s public, to its credit, have called bullshit on the decision and has seen a petition reaching over 50,000 signatures looking to have the infamous clubs doors open again, but, as with most petitions, doesn’t really have the teeth to get much done.
The new mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, ran on a platform of protecting the cities nightlife and we are seeing now just how the campaign rhetoric is playing out. The labour politician also had the idea of mimicking cities like Sydney by appointing a “Night Mayor” to help solve any issues with live music and club premises while Sadiq is in his kip. If you have images of the “Night Mayor” being a WWE type villain with the patter to match you’re not alone. The name itself is ripe for parody and ridicule, it seems the office of “Night Mayor” has the sway and power or a 1950’s vacuum cleaner with the ability to both suck and blow at the same time. Fortunately this keeps physicists happy with Schrodinger’s concept of one thing existing in two states simultaneously.
The closure of the club is in response to two drug related deaths. It’s absolutely important not to overlook this issue because it is a tragedy and a real problem. We have still to see the direct evidence that the chosen buildings where people go to dance are the defining factor in these deaths. It’s a more plausible assumption the drugs consumed were illegally created and contained chemicals that have an adverse reaction to the human body, sadly resulting in death. If this is the case then it would probably be more apt to change drugs policy, by allowing testing stations to be placed in areas that were seen as high probability of drug use such George Osborne’s house.
It seems to be the old story of prohibition at work, throughout history prohibition has been a story of failure. Alan Watts says “the only thing we learn from history, is that we learn nothing from history”. The subject of illegal drugs has left most people rightfully confused on the facts of the matter. Even when the government commissioned its own independent study on additive substances in 2009 it found that drugs like cannabis and ecstasy were not very additive or harmful to the user or others. These conclusions were tested under scientific conditions by extremely qualified professionals. The study was led by Dr David Nutt, a much respected scientist who’s credentials in the field are extensive, Dr Nutt passed on his findings to the government, no doubt with the expectation of them to adhere to the science and data he and his team had been commissioned to discover. Only to find, to his surprise, that the government wanted his resignation in light of the results. It’s a startling glimpse of the refusal of facts in order to prop up the opinions and misguided moral guardianship of the ruling class’s unsubstantiated opinions on the matter. To put it bluntly the results didn’t fit with the paradigm Westminster had in mind and was outright rejected by the establishment even though it was their own independent study that proved that their drugs policy was in need of change. You can read all the gory details of the scandal in Dr David Nutt’s seminal book on the issue. “Drugs without the Hot Air”
London has seen over 50% of its club spaces lost in the last 10 years according to the guardian. If that is the case, and it continues under the pretense of keeping the public safe from drugs, the government really have no legs to stand on (ironically leaving them legless), as their own study tells them. It begs the question, what is really at play here? and what is to be gained by the closures and attack on the club scene? For a start the amount that the government taxes alcohol and the resulting money they receive via the club industry must be staggering especially in London (you know what I mean if you have ever went on a night out in the city) and with Fabric, in particular, being a huge UK success story, from a cultural and business stand point, the continued attack on the scene in London is quite baffling. Perhaps club goers are an easy target, if they are branded as criminals and drug addicts it makes it easy to decimate the culture. Whatever the reason our scene in the UK is under attack by misinformation and empty promises of elected leaders. The establishment body needs to get over the fact that they cannot stop people putting illegal drugs into their bodies if they chose to do so, and together start to create legislation that will actually protect people from criminal enterprises who don’t give two fucks of a dead pig if their product kills.
The history of prohibition evidently seems to push everything underground. If this is allowed to happen to the club scene, on a national level, you can expect to see a sharp rise in illegal events where people won’t enjoy the blanket of health and safety and the laws that protect people. It will attract criminal enterprise to the fore front of our club culture and force music and dance lovers into the hands of irresponsible people who don’t have their interest or safety at heart, just as is painfully evident with the current war on drugs. In the end, we hope for logic and rationality to return to the issue and stop the attack on the boogie.
Everyone at The Club Paisley HQ stands in solidarity with all the Fabric Staff, fight the good fight and don’t let the bastards grind you down!
Words: Ryan Townley