In early July, a few of Londons nightlife spaces slowly began to creak open. The Glory, a queer performance pub in Haggerston, has opened its doors following a new set of unusual, but necessary, coronavirus guidelines set out by the government. Around England, table service is mandatory (unless its not possible), serving assistants are clad in face masks and surfaces are anti-bacced to an inch of their inanimate lives. Despite the quiet music, lack of bar service and the fact that punters arent able to sit near each other or dance, the pub experience is surprisingly more personal, and revelers (like myself) have appreciated the intimacy of sitting down. While pubs and bars have received the green light to reopen, nightclubs have not received the same amount of attention from officials. It is far more difficult to maintain social distancing on a dance floor, so for now, these spaces are closed for the foreseeable future.
Even aside from the challenges of reopening in the midst of a pandemic, Londons nightlife has a mountain to climb. Today, the hospitality industry has to face rising costs (rent, overheads, events, supplies) and a growing generation of punters that seem less interested in clubs. In 2015, the BBC reported that nearly half of the U.K.s nightclubs had shut their doors in the previous 10 years. Jonny Woo, a co-owner of The Glory, reminds us of that reality: Nightlife thrives on its underground scene and as clubs are forced to have ever more present security and prices for drinks go up because the overheads are so high; the wild, hedonistic nature of clubbing gets strangled.
There are other issues to consider, too. In 2016, Fabric one of Londons best-known and most beloved techno clubs was forced to close its doors following two drug-related deaths (although it has since reopened thanks to a petition appeal that attracted over 160,000 signatures). Its hard to avoid the feeling that the nightlife industry might just be having its last dance.
Such petitions show how important and powerful community spirit is to many pubs, bars and nightclubs. Josh Caffe, a seasoned member of the underground house and techno scene known for his nights with Love Child LDN, reminisces on nightlife not too long ago. Despite all the challenges and closures London nightlife was experiencing, people were out in full force to support the ones that were pushing on.
When the line-ups are more mixed the crowds are too, because if you look up and see someone on stage from a DJ to a dancer who looks like you, it lets you know its a place for you.
Woo also noted another critical component of the future of nightlife: the threat of gentrification. He says, Clubs are already at risk due to lack of space in central London, the proliferation of flat building which is turning non-residential areas into areas with high-density accommodation and rent prices going up. Clubs will be the last to open, and I worry that the spaces that are left may be in danger if they remain closed for too long.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Londons nightlife especially in the LGBTQ+ scene was thriving. I think the queer scene in London is the best its been since I moved to London 15 years ago, says Steven Braines, co-founder of the international house and techno event series HE.SHE.THEY., a place without prejudice for people to be people. There is a camaraderie between nights that didnt exist when I first hit the scene. It was a lot more competitive than collaborative. There are a lot of people using their nights as agents for change within the queer community, they added in reference to collectives like BBZ, Pxssy Palace and Sink the Pink.
Pioneering collectives such as HE.SHE.THEY. and pubs like The Glory strive to provide a safe space, and showcase talent and creativity. Through this, they create a sense of community within LGBTQ+ culture as well as for other marginalized groups. HE.SHE.THEY. literally exists to break up the straight, white male-monopoly of most big clubs Even queer clubs are often gay, white male-dominated spaces. When the line-ups are more mixed the crowds are too, because if you look up and see someone on stage from a DJ to a dancer who looks like you, it lets you know its a place for you; that youre represented and welcomed in the space. Its very simple, say Braines and HE.SHE.THEY. co-founder Sophia Kearney.
All venues are a place for people to come together. In todays coronavirus climate, bringing people together takes place on Zoom, where the act has taken on a new form. Whereas nightclubs and pubs serve as a place for hedonism, Instagram Live streams and Google Hangouts have become the venues way of keeping its community feeling loved. This has been successful for many, such as Love Child LDN and its TALKS series that has truly helped its community.
Community is at the forefront of a good night. At a time when were arguably more connected than ever before thanks to social media, the likes of HE.SHE.THEY. are using platforms not just to reach out to people but for positive change. We like to amplify different voices, suggest people who are interesting to be followed, shed light on causes, protests, charities we like. Its a watershed moment for change with Black Lives Matter, the continuing transformative power of #MeToo and a push back against the erosion of LGBTQIA+ rights, especially for the trans community. Our community is a broad church and what we do is intrinsically political as it is ideological. House and techno are political at their roots, say Braines and Kearney.
FOLD, a venue built with artists and audiences at the forefront of everything, also has community at its core. FOLDs nights are compelling enough to make you come out [of their venue] with another view on things. David Conde, head of marketing and communications at FOLD, thinks the community is not just what is keeping venues afloat but will see them thrive hereafter. He says, We have a very strong community at FOLD, we have thankfully been able to stay connected through technology. Social media has allowed our community to stay united and active, through our live streams, releasing online content and spotlighting local talent. Streaming and online contact is crucial to keeping connected and providing for the communities we support until we can open back up and celebrate under one roof again.
Since the lockdown, the world has experienced an uprising in the Black and POC communities.Social uprising and recent events have encouraged people to educate themselves. Venues can, and are, doing the same. Speaking on behalf of FOLD, Conde says, Since its inception, FOLD has been built on fundamental policies and taken measures to ensure that POC, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as other minority groups, feel represented and safe whilst attending events. This message of inclusivity is exercised through training in inclusion and awareness. This is also maintained by FOLD being active members of the communities it represents. These are our people, adds Conde.
If theres one thing that weve learned from closures, its that once these venues go, they dont come back.
The pandemic might act as a reset for many venues. This is a moment for organizers to rethink their approach, or to regenerate an underground scene that goes against the bourgeoisie. Or, as Conde says, it could give people time to think about what is necessary and what isnt. FOLD, The Glory, Sink the Pink, HE.SHE.THEY. and more are intrinsic in queer culture (and arguably society as a whole, albeit for different reasons). Nightlife is necessary, so much of the magic and beauty of nightlife comes from being under one roof, sharing the space, and we cant wait to have that back, adds Conde. The time off has allowed those like Conde and FOLD to further connect with their audiences, expand upon its sense of community, and for many, realize the importance it plays in many peoples lives. The cultural and social importance of these places is invaluable, despite what developers and accountants say, says Caffe.
Josh Caffe By Matt Hass Photography
The so-called reset is what could save Londons nightlife. Nightlife venues alone cant address the fact that queer people of color feel pushed out of many spaces; theres more that everyone can do. In a recent HYPEBEAST article, many queer people of color, and other members of the LGBTQ+ scene, spoke about people being pushed out of a lot of venues queer-centric or not.
As venues reopen, they need to look at how their internal policies can better support everyone in the community that has in turn supported them. I think there needs to be more LGBTQ+ POC inclusion on line ups. It gets exhausting and frustrating still seeing all-white lineups especially for nights or clubs that center their music around house and techno, says Caffe. While venues like those listed above are positively promoting inclusivity, the same cannot be said for all clubs across the country.
The overarching theme in order to save Londons nightlife is community, inclusivity and awareness. In the same vein, many people also just want a traditional local pub to go to. We talk a lot about losing queer venues, but no one talks about the community pub thats been there for years and becomes a hipster pub or a gastropub. [It] presents in such a way and has price points too high, so they feel very unwelcoming to the long-term local residents, says Woo. Such places thrived off community, and as Caffe reminds us all, If theres one thing that weve learned from closures, its that once these venues go, they dont come back.
While London definitely isnt the night-time mecca it used to be, many believe there is a future after COVID-19. Despite Woos realistic attitude, hes confident that there will always be individuals and small groups who want to do things their way, and they will find spaces to do it in. And these places thrive off of community. Theyre just like FOLD, The Glory, HE.SHE.THEY. and more. Its about the people that are keeping not just these venues open, but spirits alive. As Conde says, Everyone coming together to show their support proves there is a future for independent nightlife spaces and, in fact, with backing, we will flourish.
Here is the original post:
- Behind the Hedonist Persona of Francis Bacon - The Nation - June 10th, 2021
- Petition To Make Nelly Furtados 2004 Fora The Official Song Of Every Euro - The18 - June 10th, 2021
- The White Horse in Mayfair's Shepherd Market is Hedonism Wine's first wine-led pub - Hot Dinners - June 10th, 2021
- From My Fair Lady to Grease 2: Guardian writers on their favourite movie musicals - The Guardian - June 10th, 2021
- How the attempted assassination of Andy Warhol sparked an iconic Midnight Cowboy scene - Far Out Magazine - June 10th, 2021
- Oak Ridge Boy William Lee Golden tells his story in Behind the Beard - AL.com - June 10th, 2021
- DRIVE 2020: DRIVE: Buff pickups from hell to get your through it - Dallas Voice - November 7th, 2020
- Earth911 Podcast: Thinking Through Post-Growth Living With Philosopher Kate Soper | Earth 911 - Earth911.com - November 7th, 2020
- 12 Classic Songs That Happened By Accident Kerrang! - Kerrang! - November 7th, 2020
- 10 Warhammer 40,000 Factions That Still Need Proper Armies - TheGamer - November 7th, 2020
- Partying Like Its 1925 as Londons Theaters Go Dark (Again) - The New York Times - November 7th, 2020
- A psychologist explains how Trump's own words reveal the traits that make him unfit for office - AlterNet - November 7th, 2020
- Stream These 15 Titles Before They Leave Netflix in November - The New York Times - November 7th, 2020
- If any institution can inspire the Maltese nation to do good, it's Serkin. In a divided nation, the pastizz unites all - MaltaToday - November 7th, 2020
- Why Trump is so obsessed with 'Y.M.C.A.' - SFGate - November 7th, 2020
- Good use of that Christmas party budget - RollOnFriday - October 19th, 2020
- Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business - Shanken News Daily - October 19th, 2020
- October Surprise! US psychiatrists convince the media to reveal the extent of Trump's mental instability - NationofChange - October 19th, 2020
- In search of the real Ma Anand Sheela - Livemint - October 19th, 2020
- Not even seats and social distancing can stop Working Men's Club from bringing the hedonism to London's Oslo - DIY Magazine - October 10th, 2020
- Features | Tome On The Range | Under The Skin: Skunk Anansie At Glastonbury, 1999 - The Quietus - October 10th, 2020
- Bartenders Tell Us The Best-Tasting Whiskies They've Ever Tried Wonderfully Curated News - Register - October 10th, 2020
- Satire | October Horoscopes - University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News - October 10th, 2020
- Track by Track: International Teachers of Pop on the bombastic Pop Gossip | Gigwise - Gigwise - September 4th, 2020
- Class Action Park Review: Thanks for the Injuries - The New York Times - September 4th, 2020
- Junk Explained: Why Recessions Hit Young People The Hardest - Junkee - September 4th, 2020
- I May Destroy You: The HBO series about consent we should all be watching (Trigger Warning-sexual assault, rape) - The Observer - September 4th, 2020
- Remembering the time David Bowie and John Cale got wasted and jammed, 1978 - Far Out Magazine - September 4th, 2020
- Blue sky thinking with the A-list's favourite shrink - MSN UK - September 4th, 2020
- Liverpool are ready for another Jrgen Klopp journey, but this one carries biggest warning yet - Liverpool.com - September 4th, 2020
- Op-Ed: To My Fellow Students, Please, Just Follow the Rules - The Tower - September 4th, 2020
- Welcome to Nashville, Where Were Just Realizing Theres a Pandemic - Rolling Stone - August 10th, 2020
- What the new Sky drama series Little Birds is all about and what inspired it - iNews - August 10th, 2020
- How this year's freshers are feeling about picking the wrong year to start university - iNews - August 10th, 2020
- Opinion: Robert McNeil: All the lonely people: are they taking the bliss? - HeraldScotland - August 10th, 2020
- 9 Perfect Scotches To Sip In The Summertime - The Manual - August 10th, 2020
- Living in Clerkenwell:the Zone 1 neighbourhood with house prices on the up and Crossrail on the horizon - Homes and Property - August 10th, 2020
- The reason why the BBC banned A Day In The Life by The Beatles - Far Out Magazine - August 10th, 2020
- Hedonism II | Top Clothing Optional Resorts In Negril, Jamaica - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism - Wikipedia - August 7th, 2020
- A Safe Spot for Gay Travelers at Jamaica's Hedonism II ... - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism II Returning in July With Party Safely ... - August 7th, 2020
- hedonism | Philosophy & Definition | Britannica - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism III to rebrand as a more conservative resort ... - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism III: Naked truths about 'resort casual': Travel ... - August 7th, 2020
- Taking Time to Enjoy the Pleasures of Life Brings Happiness - PsychCentral.com - August 7th, 2020
- The Other Columbus: National Beer Float Light Cat Pin Zuke Day - Columbus Alive - August 7th, 2020
- Two Dances: The Women of Fellini and Beardsley - Varsity Online - August 7th, 2020
- The Dandy Warhols Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia: Why It Mattered - Happy - August 7th, 2020
- The South Got Something To Say: A Celebration Of Southern Rap (1995-1999) - NPR - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism can be a good thing - Cosmos - August 5th, 2020
- Why researchers are encouraging us to embrace hedonism - TimesLIVE - August 5th, 2020
- Ill always feel in my element at this neon-lit rave in the Nevada desert - Telegraph.co.uk - August 5th, 2020
- From Cancun to Jamaica, Adults-Only Resorts That Are Open Right Now - Caribbean Journal - August 5th, 2020
- Finding Home Away From Home In The City of Rovinj, Croatia - vmagazine.com - August 5th, 2020
- Feel the need to be on the go all the time? Here's permission to relax - The Star Online - August 5th, 2020
- Where are the religious Zionists in defense of Netanyahu? - Haaretz.com - August 5th, 2020
- The Bologna Massacre, the 'Strategy of Tension' and Operation Gladio - CounterPunch - August 5th, 2020
- 'The Matrix Has You...' - The Good Men Project - August 5th, 2020
- Sea level rise: three visions of a future summer holiday at the coast - The Conversation UK - August 5th, 2020
- How we met: 'He spoke to me in a French accent, and I went weak at the knees' - The Guardian - August 5th, 2020
- Review: 'Beastie Boys Story' on Apple TV+ examines the growth of the iconic band - The Oakland Press - August 4th, 2020
- Soft white wines that pack a punch - The Guardian - July 31st, 2020
- Giving in to occasional temptation leads to a happier life - Brinkwire - July 31st, 2020
- Experts Have Found The Key To Happiness | WOMX - RADIO.COM - July 31st, 2020
- Closer to success: scientists surprised by unexpected statement Hedonists - The Saxon - July 31st, 2020
- Netflix, Amazon, Stan, Foxtel, Binge and more: Everything new to streaming in August | Australia - NEWS.com.au - July 31st, 2020
- Multifaceted approach necessary to overcome domestic violence in Turkey | Daily Sabah - Daily Sabah - July 31st, 2020
- COMMENTARY || Tough-on-crime anti-drug moralizing does a disservice to Canadians - Folio - University of Alberta - July 31st, 2020
- 1920: The Year Broadway Learned To Syncopate | The Syncopated Times - The Syncopated Times - July 30th, 2020
- Keep the dist-dance - techtoday19 - July 29th, 2020
- 5 extraordinary submerged sites that will make you believe Atlantis is real - BreakingNews.ie - July 28th, 2020
- Kylie Minogue Fans Have Broken The Internet At "Say Something" - Wonderland Magazine - July 28th, 2020
- Purdue prof attracts cult following as expert on 'The Black Death' - Purdue Exponent - July 28th, 2020
- Is The West Repeating India's Mistakes? Interview (Part II) - Eurasia Review - July 28th, 2020
- Revelations Of Heist And Hedonism Of Youngsters - The Nigerian Voice - July 27th, 2020
- An epic year of misbehaviour, hedonism and havoc behind the scenes of 'Ryan's Daughter' - Independent.ie - July 25th, 2020
- Tough-on-crime anti-drug moralizing does a disservice to Canadians - The Globe and Mail - July 25th, 2020
- Turning 40 Gives the Gift of Perspective - PsychCentral.com - July 25th, 2020
- Rebel with a Cause: The Saint and the values that inspire Drew Pavlou - The Catholic Weekly - July 25th, 2020