Club Closures

Walking along Charing Cross Road last night I was met with the gloomy sight of bulldozers and metal cordons, momentarily frozen into inaction by the February snow, it sadly hasn’t been enough to stop them altogether. As soon as the thaw begins so too will the destruction of a large part of Soho to make way for the new Cross rail extension on Tottenham Court Road Station.
It’s easy to be nostalgic about the area when we consider the list of losses but why shouldn’t we be? Clubland will move on and new venues will open but with the closure of the Metro, the Astoria and the Astoria 2 London has lost a large part of its rock history.
When the Astoria’s shutting was announced early last year Ken Livingstone suggested the Astoria “wasn’t at the cutting edge of modern comfort.” It’s unlikely anyone will deny that is true, but he completely missed the point. Anyone that has jumped, dived or surfed at gigs will know that it’s as much about getting hot and sweaty as it is about enjoying the music. People don’t really want nor need a modern, comfortable venue; venues should be a bit dirty and have their story etched into the walls.
It’s not just the Cross rail casualties that London has lost, other famous clubs to succumb to the pound of the developer in the last twelve include Turnmills, China White, The Hammersmith Palais, Canvas, The Key, The Cross, Spitz and the one that’s likely to be most missed, The End.
These aren’t small, new, struggling venues, they are well established and successful, the like of which will not be replaced quickly – it took Layo and Mr C almost a year of hard work to see any kind of success with The End.
We’ve lost some treasures and with rumours of The Vaults being under threat there’s a very real chance we’ll lose more. It’s unlikely anything will ever really replace the charm and atmosphere of places like The End but these closures give a chance to new promoters and force people to think of new ideas.
New venues are scheduled to open in the next few months - look out for Cable near London Bridge - but with licences ever more difficult to come by promoters are more likely to move in to existing venues. More and more pubs are hosting nights and there has been a steady increase in the number of warehouse and car park parties across town. Familiar club nights have already relocated – Push is now at Bar Rumba, Bugged Out is hosting nights at Matter and bands are playing under the arches of Heaven. Notoriously pop and urban venues like Punk and Movida have also opened their doors to the alternative masses.
Talk of the recession hitting takings seems to be far fetched, history tells us that when times are tough people party hard. London’s nightlife isn’t lost, it’s still around and as always it’s moving to its own beat, it’s adapting and heading out of the centre of town. With the much publicised Westminster rent hikes it’s not really surprising that cheaper boroughs with good transport connections like Vauxhall have suddenly become popular.
What can’t be replaced is all the history that had been demolished by the closure of the Astoria, Astoria 2 and even the Metro and it’s unlikely that we’ll find other venues like them; the Astoria was perfect, just small enough for new emerging bands, yet big enough for intimate gigs for more established artists.
For now we’ve got the prospect of a new replacement venue somewhere within the Cross rail development to look forward to and in the meantime we can hope that those new, young promoters start taking over bars in our part of town.
CE For 3E News

No comments:

Post a Comment