Those welcoming the reopening of the Fabric London nightclub will not include the relatives and friends of the two young men who died there last year from drug-related causes. Nor do they include those of us who are not persuaded, despite all the protestations from those who make money from nightclubs, that these enterprises are world-class nightlife vital to London’s survival as a 24-hour major player on the world stage, rather than just dying, drug-friendly places where some of the young and foolish can hear music, dance and do their substance of choice.
For, though it may not suit London mayor and big club supporter Sadiq Khan, who wanted Fabric kept open despite the drug deaths, the London club scene is rapidly shrinking, with more than 50% of its nightclubs and 40% of its live music venues closed over the last eight years, and the big question is why. Why the declining demand?
According to one veteran of the nightclub business, it’s because the venue owners are too greedy. Mark Fuller, 52, who ran the Embassy Club in Mayfair in the 1980’s and who now runs the Sanctum Soho Hotel, claims that many clubs have a greedy £500 minimum spend to secure tables in the VIP areas, and others give free drinks all night and even money to attractive women who visit, in a bid to attract high-spending footballers, and rich city types. Also, he says, more people are using the internet to find dates and are less reliant on pick-ups in clubs.
Something for Khan to ponder then, along with the fact that if there are any more drug tragedies at London’s clubs, his support for them, along with that of all the others who haven’t thought it through, will move from looking just silly and ill-advised to dangerously stupid.