I, like many of you, awoke yesterday morning to the utterly disgraceful decision to permanently revoke the license of fabric, our dearly beloved nightclub.
A maddening, saddening moment, reinforcing the disconnect between the young in this country, and the authorities – particularly the police for whom I hold in complete contempt.
A seemingly predetermined outcome, one can easily imagine in how 5 years, those buildings on Charterhouse Street will be luxury flats. I read somewhere that the Labour-dominated Islington council have something like £37 million in developers contributions, which are likely a vital source of funding to increasingly cash-strapped local authorities.
No amount of evidence, statements, witnesses, etc was going to overturn the police and licensing authorities desire to close one of the world’s greatest nightclubs. The police have clearly had it in for fabric for several years now.
Though it is interesting that in the period that fabric has been open, 6 people have died in the club. 108 people have died in Metropolitan police custody.
Are we arguing for police stations to be closed?
Some of you reading may be wondering why there is such a fuss over a nightclub being closed down – most nightclubs don’t make it past 5 years. Fabric was the first nightclub that I attended where it truly was focused around the music. Prior to that, for every nightclub I had been to, it was about getting trashed, or about DJ worshipping. Now it was about the music. Fabric changed clubbing. Fabric changed clubbers. Fabric changed music – I would go so far in to say that it was a major part of making London such a culturally successful city in the 2000’s, increasing tourism, attracting people to the city, encouraging the creativity that went behind an explosion in the UK music scene (just look at how many artists cite fabric as an influence), not to mention other areas of the arts – and likely may have even had an indirect contribution to the burgeoning tech start-up scene in London.
Closing fabric is the equivalent to closing the Nation Art Gallery, or the Tate, or the Southbank Centre, or the Barbican. fabric was at the very centre of the cultural output of not only London, but the UK at a whole – and a major influence across the world.
The small-minded decision from 3 local councillors following fabricated police evidence is nothing short of a disgrace. It almost reminds me of the police lies and manipulation after Hillsborough – though clearly not on as serious a scale.
It is nothing to do with the tragic deaths of two young people. If so, there would be few major festivals that gained a license. Motorways would be closed. Beaches would be closed. Hotels would be closed. Alcohol would be banned. Hospitals would be closed. The Metropolitan police would be closed.
It is nothing to do with drugs either. Just look at how endemic drugs are in jails. People take drugs in all pubs and clubs, in restaurants, in cinemas, in banks, in police custody, on aeroplanes, on TV, in sport…the list goes on.
Those are just convenient excuses.
I don’t know what the real reason is. Maybe there will be luxury flats/hotels built on the site – it is after all, prime development land. However, Islington Council rejected a plan to build flats on the land opposite so that is quite contradictory.
Maybe it is to do with a lack of funding for the police.
Or maybe it is a total lack of understanding – or more pertinently, a total lack of respect, for our culture.
So what now?
I believe that fabric have 21 days to appeal. It isn’t clear how likely this would be to succeed but I’d like to think this is the minimum that would happen. Decisions do get overturned occasionally – and this predetermined decision stinks.
Personally I will be writing to my local MP to try to get the decision discussed at Prime Minister’s Questions. Unlikely given the volume of questions that people want asking but it is worth a try.
I will respectfully write to those that have made the decision to point out the state of mourning that clubland is in, and the incredible amount of damage that they have done.
I do feel like I want to protest – there is one planned for 8th October which at first I thought was far to far in the distance but may time nicely if there is an appeal.
I am going to pop by tonight and pay my respects too.
It would be further saddening if fabric gave up, but one can imagine the disillusionment that would cause that decision. The ethos of fabric will live on without it, however there are opportunities away from Islington, as proven by their recent ventures into running nights at Village Underground and their tent at the Lovebox festival. Maybe some other location would be willing to house them. Maybe there could be a country-wide or even world-wide tours. Maybe they could have residencies across the world in some of the highest-rated clubs.
Clearly little consolation for losing a home, and no consolation for the employees who would lose their job.
But there is more to fabric than the actual club in Islington, not only in terms of the record label and events potential – but the intangible magic that has drawn so many people into their family.
If this is the end of that wonderful chapter at Charterhouse Street – please let it not be the end of fabric.