Why Fabric's Reopening Is A Pyrrhic Victory & The War Is Not Won
While the reopening of fabric brings joy to music fans across the world, it may come at a cost. Christian Eede explores the cost of open doors.This article originally appeared on The Quietus
The rumours began last week: fabric, Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police were close to reaching a deal that would see the club reopen just over three months after it was forced to close following the drug-related deaths of two 18-year-old men.
The appeal hearing had been due to be held at Highbury Magistrates Court from 28th November, but it didn’t quite come to that, as yesterday, a week before it was due to begin, the news began to trickle through that fabric had indeed been saved after a joint agreement was reached between the club, the council and the police.
The tidings were naturally met with elation. In numerous fundraising efforts DJs, fellow club promoters and industry figures have given up their time and waived fees to help the club’s appeal against the revoking of its licence. Thousands of people donated money to the fundraising efforts under the ‘#saveourculture’ banner, supporting not only a beacon of electronic music in London, but also to stand against the kind of precedent that fabric’s closure might set for other clubs in London. Much to celebrate, surely?
Perhaps. For many though, the joy at yesterday's news was swiftly tempered by the stringent new licensing conditions that have been forced onto the club. That initial sense of victory quickly began to feel much more like a setback against the conservative, puritanical strain of thinking that is killing culture, both club and otherwise, in London and beyond.
Among those new licensing conditions are: "The use of a new I.D. scanning system on entry to the club"; “enhanced searching procedures and controls”; “covert surveillance within the club”; “life-time bans for anyone found in possession of drugs, whether on entry or within the club”; “physical changes to the club, including improved lighting and additional CCTV provision”; and the measure that no persons under the age of 19 be permitted to enter the club during a “Core Club Night”.
There’s no doubt that fabric’s reopening is great news in itself - the 250 people that the club employed before it initially closed its doors in August can hopefully now return to their jobs, and fabric can continue to do the work it did before of putting on some of the finest, established names in electronic music, across various sub-genres, and vitally giving a leg-up to some excellent, less prominent talent in those fields. As Daniel Avery told me last month in an interview about his recent mix compilation, fabric afforded him warm-up slots for his heroes early in his career as well as other career highlights and they “would do that with not just me but loads of people - booking DJs early on and then continuing to give them gigs as they got bigger and more developed. How exciting is that for a club that doesn’t have to do that?”