Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, Sadiq Kahn, has expressed a desire to protect London’s nightlife, in a conversation with Dazed.
London’s clubbing culture has seen heavier and heavier restrictions over past years, with some of the city’s best and most iconic electronic music venues disappearing; clubs like Plastic People and Cable have gone, and more recently Dance Tunnel announced its impending closure due to the ‘licencing climate’ of Hackney. It seems that venues are often forced to close since they can’t properly soundproof themselves to fit with new residential developments.
The Labour candidate has acknowledged the reality that young English people are being turned away from the city because of these limitations, saying –“I don’t want young and creative Londoners abandoning our city to head to Amsterdam, to Berlin, to Prague where clubs are supported and allowed to flourish.” This restriction on British clubbing culture that Khan refers to has been occurring nation-wide for years, but its extremity in the country’s capital really epitomises the crisis.
London is home to the UK’s most notable electronic music genres; garage, grime, dubstep; which have all gone on to become internationally recognised and respected. But despite the strong presence of musical creativity in the city, it is now extremely limited in terms of where these home-grown sounds can be heard, particularly on pumping, quality sound systems. Even the legendary Fabric, one of the most influential electronic music establishments globally, recently had its future questioned, and has only managed to survive following long negotiations about heavier and more invasive security measures.
Khan says that he wants to make London nightlife a priority by placing the burden of soundproofing venues on residential developers and not the venues themselves, and also by ensuring the night tube becomes a reality. The Labour candidate gone up against conservative Zac Goldsmith in Thursday’s (May 5th) elections. If Kahn gains office, only time will tell us if he will actually honour his sentiments towards London clubs, or if we will continue to see the harsh closure of clubs and the gradual dismemberment of the London clubbing scene.
Lest we forget previous claims that Boris Johnson was committed to ending the slaughter of the London clubbing scene, which FACT reported on back in March last year. These promises were never made good on, and the closure of venues continues to plague the city. However, whatever the outcome of this election it’s encouraging to see the issue bought into the wider political conversation.