This Tuesday, the impending fate of the future UK club scene has been highlighted, due to Islington Council forcing the door shut on the iconic Fabric London nightclub. A petition, which has gained shy of 150,000 signatures, was wafted away, and instead the LDN cultural honeypot of talent has been closed after seventeen years of service. The Night Tube may be up and running, but we have never felt more disconnected from the culture of our capital. How did it start? Where did it end? Where is the safety in the clubbing world? We explore why we should #SaveFabric.
Situated on Charterhouse Street, in the southern boundary of the London Borough of Islington, lay the 2500-capacity club, Fabric. Opening in the October of 1999 by Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie, the club has played host to a polysexual event on a Sunday, which has seen Ben Llock and Dave DK play, as well as regular Saturday night showdowns from Techno giant Seth Troxler, Laura Jones and Adam Beyer to name a few.
The compelling club itself was genreless – it wasn’t afraid to play deep-house against electro, followed by hip-hop and dub-techno. Fabric evolved and revolutionised, and that is what made it so special. It was named the number one club in the world in 2007 and 2008; it showcased the freshest DJ’s and gave the underground scene a platform of exposure. It was everything a nightclub had to be – ever-changing, dynamic and –overall – fun. So, why has Fabric’s licence been revoked?
The club has permanently lost its licence due to two drug-related deaths of teens on the premises. Ryan Browne and Jack Crossley were both 18, and fell ill in and outside of Fabric this summer. The deaths have been tragic, and outlined as definitely drug related.
Following these events, Leslie rightly stated that “drugs are a major challenge for our industry and there is always more we can learn.”
“We’ve suggested some significant changes in terms of how we work… We want to go beyond this and create a new gold standard in clubbing safety”.
This ‘”gold standard” of safety will not be put to the test. Fabric was asked to voluntarily close after the two deaths this summer. It will now remain closed, due to the decision made by Islington Council and Scotland Yard. The licence revoking will also mean that 250 staff will lose their jobs, upcoming events must be cancelled, tickets must be refunded and, most importantly, the rest of the UK’s clubs and festival’s are now at risk of joining Fabric and its closure.
“Now the party’s over…you can come home” was the Crosby Homes strapline, when they took over and demolished the iconic Haçienda night club in Manchester. Now, you can live inside the swanky apartment block and smell the history… If that isn’t one of the saddest things to happen to a club, owned by the pioneering Factory Records, who brought Joy Division, New Order and Acid House to the world, and made Manchester ‘Mad Fer It’, then I honestly don’t know what is. Is this a foreshadowing of Fabric’s bleak future, an over-priced apartment block?
Liverpool’s The Kazimier closed it’s doors on New Years Day this year after seven years of parties, gigs, and club nights. Manchester’s Roadhouse, Liverpool’s Cream (Or Med as you may know it)… The list goes on, and on, and the latest casualty to join the rankings of closed-down independent UK venues is Fabric.
The owners of Fabric, the DJ’s who have adored the club, the 150,000 party goers and Fabric fans who have signed the Change.org article are appealing, looking for answers and are not going down without a fight. To close Fabric officially begins the closure and crackdown on night clubs. Don’t romanticise your Oktoberfest, your Pornstar Martini or your bottle of peach schnapps at pre-drinks if you’re not willing to fight for the right for everybody to enjoy their night out, whatever your substance, at a place which is special to you. Whether it be Digital in Newcastle, Factory in Manchester or Fabric in London, we need to stand up and save our night clubs.
Fabric should not have closed!! Fabric is an important cultural landmark in our city!!!
— Lucy Moon (@meowitslucy) September 7, 2016
Glad they closed down #fabriclondon, now everyone will go to the opera, say no to drugs, and spend their Saturday evenings playing Badminton
— Andy Vale (@AndyVale) September 7, 2016
FUCK EVERYTHING. https://t.co/IaG4peOSNn
— The Black Madonna (@blackmadonnachi) September 7, 2016
This is heartbreaking 😦 sign of a very dark time ahead of us in UK music & club culture. Thoughts with all the team https://t.co/MnaiV2PfL5
— Ben Pearce (@BenPearceDJ) September 7, 2016