When Fabric needed an advocate, Labour were missing in action, writes Theo Freedman
Fabric, until now seemingly as much a part of London as sullen glares on the Northern line, the resonating chime of Big Ben, and fearless pigeons in Trafalgar Square, has closed its gigantic sweat-stained glass doors for the final time. This has come as a result, according to Islington Council, of drug related deaths in the venue and thus a reported lack of scrupulousness on the part of Fabric security.
That analysis of the Fabric bouncers is very much at odds with my personal experience with their large, busy hands frisking and staring me dead in the eye with a ‘If you have any naughty powder we are going to rugby tackle you’ look. But what we can safely say is that that the tragic deaths in the premises were the fault of the dealer-importer production line whose scant disregard of human safety led to PMA tainted pills.
The impact won’t be felt only by the bouncers, or the owners, or the DJs, or any of their innumerable people being affected by this outrageous action. We must speak in clear and certain terms: this closure was a political move deeply rooted in ideological tropes spawned by the same right-wing press that maligned Mods and Rockers, Acid House, and countless other youth subcultures, vocalised and perpetuated by a government so out-of-touch, deluded, and incompetent and led by a cultural troglodyte in Theresa May. And the policy was finally put into practice by a police force responsible for horrifying racism, oppression of young people, and a seemingly passionate hatred of fun.
How did we let this happen? Our nation is known across the globe for dance music, from the hallowed archways of the Hacienda to the rattling, hypnotic system of Leeds West Indian Centre. Nobody knows how to nail the Friday night sweatbox fuelled by reece bass lines and bone-jangling hi-hats like the British.
In order to understand why Fabric shut, we have to examine the authorities that led the onslaught against one of our finest institutions. In 2016, the Labour party’s public image gets inconceivably worse by the day. From media smears against its leader to backbench scandal and Mayoral flip-flopping. This debacle will surely cause its name to plummet further, especially amongst the very demographic it purports to represent most ardently.
Sadiq Khan’s early plea to Londoners to put faith in him as he promised to deliver a rejuvenated nightlife and provide more platforms for young people definitely won him votes. His bare-faced fickleness and mercurial manner are not new, but this catastrophic display of political-chameleon-imitation is especially notable, as was his absence from the council hearing — rather Khan was photographed at a Champagne-laden awards ceremony in honour of GQ.
It’s ironic that a Mayor representing an apparently Socilaist party was rubbing shoulders with business elites on the very night he should have been fighting tooth and nail to save a building which has been home to decades of working-class culture. Grime, jungle, garage — the ‘hardcore continuum’ — is not just musically thematic, it intertwines a rich socio-economic history charting disenfranchised men and women of colour in our capital.
As the Labour Party haplessly tries to recover from its myriad disasters it must now confront the fact that a majority Labour council (47/48) ignored the cultural impact of socio-economic groups it is supposed to represent on the same day that their Mayor is seen quaffing bubbly with some of capitalism’s most vocal proponents.
Whilst there is still some remnant of faith in the parliamentary political system, we demand that our representatives represent us, we demand careful consideration of clubbing’s cultural impact, and we reject the Labour Party’s pandering to pseudo-scientific evaluations of drug use and Brass Eye-esque media coverage. We expect all this from the Tories, but Labour need to do better unless they want to be warming the shadow benches for the next decade.