It’ll be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I find the decision to revoke Fabric’s license deeply distressing. As a lover of dance music, I understand as well as anyone just how vital these sorts of venues are to the scene, and the importance of Fabric in particular, held up by many as the best nightclub in the country.
In my view, people with very little understanding of the problem at hand have made this decision, highlighted by the suggestion that perhaps a ban on music genres utilising a higher bpm would go some way to alleviating the perceived problem, presumably assuming that faster tempos somehow fuel more drug consumption / involve the consumption of more harmful substances. As someone whose primary dance music interest is Drum & Bass (~175bpm), and also someone who struggles even with the idea of taking paracetamol when they have a headache, I know this not only to be untrue, but quite frankly nonsense.
In many ways this is just another example of a growing culture within the UK in which, rather than continued work towards solutions that are to the benefit of everyone, a heavy handed approach is taken leading to the banning/closing down of anything that appears like it might be at all difficult. This combination of lack of understanding and heavy handedness now leaves the police and the Labour-led borough council in a dangerous position, as many Fabric-goers may now feel the need to turn to illegal raves in order to satisfy their passion for dance music. Such events are by nature likely to cause far more headaches for the police than the likes of Fabric ever did, as their complete lack of regulation will lead to a far less safe, and indeed a more drug fuelled, environment.
Of course it would be naïve to argue that Fabric is in no way at fault for what has happened, certainly if the undercover police reports are to be believed, and it’s also important not to lose sight of the fact that it is people’s deaths that have lead to this moment. There is always more that can be done to improve the safety of customers at any venue, but it is my opinion that it should have been the prerogative of the police and council to continue to work with Fabric to meet these aims, rather than seemingly work for its demise through the likes of “Operation Lenor”. It’s disappointing to see London embrace the idea of a night time economy on the one hand with the idea of the night tube, but to work against it with the other by shutting down one of the city’s primary night time hotspots. Perhaps had those whose decision it was to revoke the license had a greater understanding of just how many people flock to Fabric from all over the country, and indeed the world, they’d have been less inclined to see the venue shut down.
My main concern now is that the situation of Fabric will set a precedent to other councils around the country, and before too long we will see similar scenarios play out with other venues, such as Motion in Bristol or Rainbow in Birmingham. This will only further play into the hands of the criminal gangs who are behind illegal raves, using such events to sell their drugs with even greater ease, as dance music enthusiasts are left with no other option. Councils and police forces around the country should see the likes of Fabric, Motion, Rainbow and others as allies rather than enemies, or else face up to even greater problems.
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