As London’s night life slowly decays, removing a large part of the capital’s culture, questions arise on how this can be prevented.
Why appoint a night mayor, if there is no longer any venues to protect? Joining Plastic People, Madame Jojo’s and many other of the city’s famous night life locations, Dalston’s Dance Tunnel has announced their closure for early August 16.
Declaring their closure via a Facebook post earlier this month the Dance Tunnel’s news left many clubbers disheartened. Sincerely apologising to the Tunnel Dancers, the owners of the basement club: Dan Beaumont, Matt Tucker and Dan Pope gave thanks to everyone who made the venue such a“special place”over the past three years.
“It is a venue that provided that intimate environment for people to experience music and new visual talent” expressed Rami Dare, manger of Fabric London. As the stage was home to many acts ranging from Disclosure to Tama Sumo, Skream to the Box Crew, Dance Tunnel provided a night life culture which enabled you to dance till the early hours of the morning with no care in the world. However, with a capacity of just 220 Rami reassure us that “the Dance Tunnel closing is a kind of evolution, people will move on and settle in new venues”.
But will there be any clubs left to replace this hidden treasure? While the city’s night life will never fully die, the past ten years has seen a rapid increase of closures around London with half of it’s venues being shut down and many more under threat.
Admitting that they value Hackney’s vibrant and exciting nightlife, and are proud of the borough’s reputation as a night-time destination. Tara Buxton, chief executive director of Hackney Council explained that: “Dance Tunnel has a premises license to operate until 3am. They have not applied to extend their opening hours for over two years. We need to balance the needs of businesses against the rights of our residents to a good night’s sleep, and as both our population and night time economy grow, that is becoming increasingly hard to do.”
So what is the resolution, if there is one at all? Rami suggests that the council should implement a sound protection for the local residences, following in the footsteps of our neighbouring night life capital, Berlin. Preserving their infamous night life, trademark Berlin along with Amsterdam have appointed a night-mayor to help ensure that long lasting club venues are protected. Fortunately for London, it’s newly elected mayor, Sadiq Khan, is on board with this idea. Proposing to protect bars and clubs from closures, Kahn puts forward the idea of a ‘Night Czar’, in an attempt to avoid the young fresh minded creatives of London in abandoning their city.
On behalf of the Mayor of London, Chandri Peris explained how: “the Mayor has made supporting culture one of his top priorities. London’s cultural offer is the reason four out of every five tourists give for visiting the city, also giving the capital its unique character, making it a place that people want to live and work. “
Immediately after the Dance Tunnel announced their closure, the Night Time Industries Association showed their support and took action creating the #nightlifematters campaign. Dedicated to promote the unique contribution of Britain’s night time industry, Tom Van Berckel revealed that “less than 5% of counsellors in the UK are under the age of 35, and these are the people we need to speak out.” The NTIA’s six part manifesto aims to save London’s night life and will not stop until they achieve just that.
Labelled as a city that never sleeps, nightclubs and bars are essential part of London’s trademark. These unique and quirky places, such as the Dalston Dance Tunnel, allow a mixture of communities to integrate and connect over music in order to express themselves in any way they want. “Night life culture has become an art” says Rami. So why not help protect London’s art and help stop your favourite venue from being the next target.
Sign up @ http://nightlifematters.com/.
Image found on the Evening Standard