So for the second time this year, I get to congratulate the Metropolitan Police on their victory over fabric.
First they managed by hook and by crook to close down fabric, resulting in the loss of nearly 3 months’ takings and the redundancy of over 200 loyal staff members.
Now having come under intense media pressure, with representations from fabric to the House Of Lords, support to fabric from all corners, politics, media – even ex-Metropolitan Police chiefs, they have somehow managed to persuade fabric to agree to the most draconian licensing system outside of Saudi Arabia in exchange for paying Islington Council’s legal fees.
Hmmm. Not sure Donald Trump would approve of that deal.
Whilst many of the licensing conditions are draconian, some are just utterly pointless, like having a welfare team inside the club, to “engage in intervention and outreach inside the club”. Which on the face of it, is a great idea. However, when faced with a lifetime ban from the nightclub that the potential welfare recipient may adore over any other, he or she would surely pretend everything is fine and their possibly problematic drug-use is non-existant.
The main issue I have is the lifetime ban for being in possession of drugs, or even attempting to buy drugs.
fabric isn’t any old nightclub, as the Metropolitan police have discovered. People arguably care about it more than any other large club in this country. A lifetime ban would be particularly upsetting for most fabric members, most of those that feel a part of the family.
Whilst this should mean that the new anti-drugs message may well be followed by regular patrons, others will not be able to help themselves. I fear it will mean people taking all their drugs in the queue in a similarly harmful way that employing sniffer dogs would have done.
If people don’t take drugs, and I’m sure this condition will reduce drug-taking within fabric, then what will replace it? A dancefloor full of sober people having just come from their latest vegan yoga humming session? Or is it going to be full of drunk people, perhaps slightly aggressive with the odd fight as people drunkenly step on each others toes?
What happens if someone takes something and falls ill, yet doesn’t want a lifetime ban? Are they going to spurn the medical treatment and leave the club so they don’t lose their membership?
Maybe if someone takes a dislike to you, they could even put a pill in your back pocket and report you to the security.
And what happens if tragedy strikes again? Are fabric going to be closed down yet again?
One aspect that I do agree with is ID scanners. I am not entirely sure why fabric did not use them previously – there are a handful of nutters in this city and I’d prefer the knowledge that they are not able to get into fabric.
Are the Metropolitan Police now going to take their own responsibilities seriously towards those in their care and custody? Are they going to help fabric in future if fabric receive a bomb threat?
I am disappointed that fabric are not going to appeal the decision and try to overthrown the appalling licensing structure that allowed this disgraceful decision to close fabric to be implemented in the first place. But I totally understand why they would prioritise the guaranteed re-opening of their club, their pride and joy, over a good chance of winning the appeal.
I sound ungrateful. Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely delighted that I can go back onto that dancefloor again. That sound-system and that space. Craig and Terry in their home. Ricardo where he has twisted so many minds and influenced so many.
I am delighted for the owners who brought us this amazing nightclub in the first place. And especially the staff who at almost every interaction I’ve had in 15 years have been unerringly polite and downright happy to sell me a beer.
However I worry about this particular clause about a lifetime ban. As fabric will have to ban some people for life to keep the police happy (maybe some of the 84 dealers that fabric handed to the police that were not prosecuted).
Having room 1 back but with these draconian conditions is like having democracy but with Donald Trump. I dearly love and highly value democracy, as I do room 1. If I have to cope with Donald Trump and draconian measures for a few years, so be it.
But neither feel like a victory.
The authoritarian nature does actually sit quite well with 2016’s politics, doesn’t it? Ahhh freedom. It was good whilst it lasted.
Like most, I cannot wait to get back on that dancefloor. I just cannot help thinking that things will never be the same again. And I will end up muttering those fucking words, “it was better in my day”.
Welcome back, fabbers.