It's great news that Fabric has got it's licence back and hopefully this will lead the way for other clubs to renegotiate their licensing deals but there is still a gaping hole in the cultural nightlife of the UK.
Where did all the clubs go? One minute there is a vibrant underground club scene and the next, seemingly, it's vanished, in what felt like seconds. Take London as an example. Every district had it's very own club legends and legendary clubs, from the West End to Walthamstow. Mainstream clubs, hip clubs, young clubs, genre specific clubs, club nights, all-dayers and all-nighters. They came and went and came again. And then they stopped.
There has been a huge polarisation in club world and it's been gathering pace over the last decade in truth. The mainstream have been bought by the bar chains, seduced by drink deals and pre-booked spaces across the land, in every bar and late night space. Free to all those who can be bothered to plan their BNO weeks in advance. This has seen an end to many, if not most traditional format nightclubs. Now don't get me wrong, most of these places were rancid pots of social gunk that deserve their fatality and in many cases deserved their timely demise. I understand and in many ways, celebrate this change. Believing that this sector will regroup and the mainstream massive will again, at some point break free of the bar mafia and make a break for some clubbing heaven.
But the endangerment of mainstream clubs is not the cause of my concern and sadness, it is the death of the clubbing cognoscenti, the cool and underground clubs, where music mattered and was made, where fashions were cut and shapes thrown like never before. The clubs that made GB great and from where our street cultures grew and developed. These clubs were the incubators of style, of trends and of movements. Places to forget your woes and celebrate life. Lose yourself in the riff of a tune, a drum loop.
But it seems, no more. Clubs have shrunk. In numbers, in social importance and in ambition. They still exist, of course, but I fear don't have the influence and infectious appeal of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Truth is, we all went to clubs for three main reasons.
1. To listen to music we just couldn't listen to anywhere else.
2. To project a 'different' or 'better' us, an exaggerated version of ourselves
3. To connect to like-minders
Have they lost the war against social change? Have they not moved with the new social habits? Each and everyone of us can get do all of these things online now. Easily, privately, any time of day or night, wherever in the world I happen to be. This is the simple reason why the clubbing underground is on it's knees, pleading for it's life to be spared.
But it's time to look forward.
Change is good, no matter how awkward and wrong it may feel, it forces us to adapt and innovate. Change is future's fuel and it is what is going to re-invent the clubbing genre for the millennials, those oh so sophisticated creatures that are looking at cheesy old school clubs and running a mile.
These millennials have been largely bought up in an environment of unparalleled luxury. They have the world at there fingertips, literally. They can access information from across the globe and they can fly to most of it for under a hundred quid. But here's the rub, all this knowledge and sophistication means they lack grit and edge.
Clubs are all about defining yourself in the dark, amidst your generation on a sweaty dance floor. Clubbing isn't sophisticated. It's primitive.
Lets create clubs that burn bright in memories forever. Create experiences, visual and visceral that stay with the clubber forever. Spaces and places that have energy and the balls to be different. That belong to the user for life
There are six simple words here that have to be included when you're looking to create change: Edge, Daring, Vigour, Energy, Challenge and Disruption.
Funny, the very same words used to describe any great club...