My name is Nikki Gordon (yes spelled the girl way). I oversee the talent and marketing for the world famous Ministry of Sound club in London's Elephant and Castle. I first started putting on little raves about eighteen years ago and haven't looked back.
I have been very lucky to experience and be involved in some of the most shit hot events in the best venues London has ever seen, and that this generation has never seen; because they're now defunct.
In the last 10 years we have seen a shameful amount of closures of London club venues. In a recent report from The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents venues, it says in 2005 there were 3,144 clubs and this is now down to just 1,733. The ALMR warns that the closures will leave the UK worse off "culturally, socially and economically". They are absolutely correct.
Club venues are always stuck in a vicious circle; promoters start club nights in run down areas of London as it's usually cheaper to put on a night and folk don't really care too much if they're having fun. Then after a while the cool kids move into the area, raising its kudos and attracting even more hipsters. The area then sees a property revival and becomes "the place to live". Professionals move to the area, then complain about the noise levels coming from the clubs that brought the interest to the area in the first place, eventually shutting them down and the cycle begins again.
A rapid rate of redevelopment combined with huge changes to London's transport infrastructure mean that of late there has been a much larger cull of our cultural hotspots, the beating heart of the capital.
Just look at places Notting Hill and Shoreditch, Brixton and Kings Cross. I spent much of my career working in Kings Cross, promoting the legendary venues The Key and The Cross which were based in The Goods Yard off York Way. The Goods Yard was home to some of the biggest venues of that generation, many of which had been going for over fifteen years. The Cross was a six-arch club with a garden which had palm trees and seats made from fairground waltzers, and in the summer all the clubs in The Goods Yard would join together and throw big festivals. The venue was so epic, The Rolling Stones, Madonna and Prince all came to join the party.
If you're wondering where to find this thriving piece of London's cultural history, it shut its doors in 2008 to make way for the Kings Cross redevelopment. Sure, the "druggies" and "prozzies" have gone, but so has the culture, self-expression and the individuality that makes London great. That's why people prefer to party in places like Dalston than Canary Wharf. Billions are spent on redevelopment to make areas in London nice and shiny, only for everyone to leave in search of somewhere more authentic.
London, being the centre of the universe (unofficially) and one of the world's largest players in the Electronic Music scene hosts a plethora of parties to cater to virtually any taste in Electronic music, virtually any night of the week. It attracts thousands of visitors a year from all over the planet. Aside from the cultural implications the UK nightlife industry is currently valued at over £2bn and is pivotal to the economy.
Ministry of Sound turns 25 next year, and we're extremely lucky to still be here. The famous Coronet in Elephant & Castle, just up the road from us, is one such London venue which is steeped in history and due to close next year. It first opened its doors in 1879 and has played host to numerous artists ranging from Charlie Chaplin to Oasis. It is absolutely scandalous that after 138 years of musical history it's now being developed into yet another soulless shopping centre.
This is why appointing a 'Night Mayor' is quite simply a must for London. Venues need a valid and respected voice to fight their corner when it comes to dealing with the aggressive tactics of developers. What kind of London do you want to live in?
People I think would make a great Night Mayor:
The bloke in the Scream Mask
The girl from The Exorcist
This winter season, Ministry of Sound has played host to the likes of Judge Jules, Roger Sanchez's dancefloor alias, S-Man and Laidback Luke with dates upcoming for Benny Benassi (presented by The Gallery) and Defected in the House's New Year's Eve with Tensnake and Andrea Oliva, all info and tickets here