Independent music venues in the UK face tough times. While some thrive, like The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, a significant number struggles to survive due to rising rents, council license restrictions and redevelopment plans. In a time of financial uncertainty and global political division, we need their DIY-culture and punk spirit more than ever. Not least of all the audience.
As I read the book following our interview, I learnt of Neil's work in nightclubs, busting dealers that were pushing drugs to revellers. It's work that I'm sure he'd freely admit did nothing to dent the 'war on drugs'. So when London nightclub Fabric closed, it got me thinking. What will this mean for the city, and it's criminals? I called Neil to get his thoughts.
f you also involved the Local Government Association and the sympathetic chief constables that do exist, this could fund more drug workers on the ground, roll out more drug testing, pay for targeted and credible social marketing campaigns and so on. This is not about condoning drug use, it's about trying to reduce harm and save lives and it has to be better to give it a whirl than imagine you can deal with drug incidents simply by shutting the door.
For us, it was everything. It was our weekend. It was amazing music. It was amazing atmospheres. It was amazing dancing. It was letting your hair down. It was having fun with your mates. It was forgetting your world and escaping. It was getting dressed up. It was getting drunk. It was meeting new boyfriends and girlfriends. It was feeling free.
To jump to the conclusion that it's all down to market forces - that young people just don't want to go to clubs anymore - is ill-informed and misleading. Legendary London venues such as Turnmills, The Cross, Cable, The End and more all closed due to the effects of gentrification and the siren call of property developers - not lack of demand.
Inherently, nightlife and where to find a good party has always been a priority of students. The happiness one can achieve from standing in a room listening to FatBoy Slim's successor, whilst having others sweat hit them in the face like the satchel of a londoner running for the tube, is dubious if anything.