– We, at London In Stereo, have been so concerned about the spate of recent venue closures, and attitude towards London’s nightlife, that we felt we had to do something to raise more awareness of the issues. Therefore we’ve invited Alan Miller of the The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) to contribute a monthly column, celebrating London’s nightlife and highlighting the struggles it faces –
INTO THE NIGHT The trailer for the latest This is England series on Channel Four captures the moment that Britain turns from the late 1980s Thatcherite Britain to a world where acid house parties and dance music changed the landscape forever. Whether Manchester or the Midlands, London or Brighton, it was the moment that changed what it had previously meant to go out Up until then, the majority of areas saw particular kinds of nightclubs and pubs with football and postcode rivalries and proper punch-ups all being very much part of the normality of every weekend. Then, the magic moment where a fusion of the gay disco club scenes of New York, Chicago and Detroit converged with the Balearic sounds and the now oh-so-famous story of those DJs from England that brought that mash-up back from Ibiza to UK clubs – along with the momentous turning point that was The Hacienda – meant that Britain would never be the same again. I say all of this, not so much as a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but rather to reflect for a moment on who we are and where we have come from. It seems that just at the point where young people go out, have fun, meet and become inspired by the exchange with their contemporaries, so it is that some in authority want to demonise the phenomenally successful cultural and economic arena that is London’s bar and clubland. Nightclubs are the places we fall in (and sometimes out) of love in, we make friendships and bonds that can last a lifetime, get inspired and let ourselves imagine something different for a moment. It is impossible to imagine an Ian Schrager without Studio 54, and all that it meant. So too with Alexander McQueen or any of the most recent young fashion designers without nightclubs. Mods, Rockers, Punks, Ska, Reggae, Soul Boys, B-Girls, Hip Hop, Casuals and Ravers. all of these of course were born on the dance floor.
More than fashion though. most of the tapestry of city life that is so exciting is directly influenced – and intertwined – with our buoyant nightlife. In Brick Lane where I was involved in co-founding The Old Truman Brewery – dedicated to creative industries – it was anchored around bars and night time events that heralded new possibilities that gradually filled up with design, tech, media and innovation companies. So too with Hoxton Square and later Deptford, Peckham, Dalston and beyond. This is equally true of Liverpool, where The Baa Bar and Cream were so important in regenerating the town centre, as well as in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. The Arches, in Glasgow, will always be with us – slaughtered on the altar of ‘crime stats’ and punished for diligently operating professionally. The gravitational pull of London for international businesses and travellers has much to do with the excitement of our nightlife, the diversity and interest in our innovative food offerings, restaurants, theatres, bars, cocktails events, popups and of course our nightclubs. All of this, we should be aware, can easily be extinguished. As The Specials sung of Coventry all those years ago “This town…is coming like a ghost town”. However, like in Hackney, where local residents and businesses got together and had over 4000 sign-ups – double the amount of many of the top ranking local councillors – for the We Love Hackney Campaign (welovehackney.org) our voices, when co-ordinated can, and do, make a difference. So have your voice heard with us. This is London. It is all of ours. Join the NTIA and tweet and tell your friends and associates about us. In the end, we only have ourselves to hold accountable if we do not change the way it is. Alan D Miller ntia.co.uk // @wearethentia // facebook.com/wearethentia
Published on Aug 28, 2015
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