Nostalgia is making Fabric seem better than it was. But Nostalgia is also why Fabric and clubs like it are needed. They are not just a part of the mystique of the formerly glorious London and UK clubbing scene. They were the places that built, shaped and developed character and life experiences. Turning, many wide-eyed students like myself into adults ready to eventually lead boring lives.
Nightclubs used to be venues where people met other people; long before the days of Tinder. They were places where mates danced, got drunk, had fun and generally grew as individuals and together as friends. They were the places of firsts: the first time becoming drunk, the first time dancing with a stranger, the first time getting rejected by a stranger, the first time ‘pulling’ a stranger, the first time being sick on yourself, the first time being sick on your friend, the first time being sick on a stranger and the first of many times simply having fun. They were the places where for one night a shy person could let themselves go and explore the person they secretly wanted to be; then, wake up in the morning with a hangover and go back into their shell. whilst being, safe in the knowledge that, that one night was stored away in the back of their mind, to remind them of the fun they once had.
For hardcore ravers, tourists, clubbers and London students, Fabric was one of those places that you ticked off your ‘been there, done that’ list. Was it exceptionally amazing? Not particular. However, it is a fairly large venue by London standards and had headline DJs. The brand name DJs someone could impress their friends back home with when telling them stories of their new exciting London life.
However, like too many London clubs it was badly run and generally a sh*thole. But it was our sh*thole, it was rough and ready and symbolic of ‘the London life’ many visitors to the capital and former students like myself had envisioned. Fabric was dirty, seedy, badly ran and most of all fun! It was a far cry from the pretentious West-End members only clubs that routinely ruin people’s nights by turning away ‘normies’ ie non-models.
Yet, my experience of Fabric was not at all positive. I could quite easily be one of the voices celebrating its closure. However, I am not.
Fabric is the only club I have ever been thrown out of. Why? I saw a bouncer slap a girl in the face. I then complained to the head bouncer, who then randomly decided to attack me. So I ended up in a WWE style brawl at the top of the stairs. This ended in me being placed in some Eric Garner style chokehold. Luckily, I was able to hobble away from this encounter. Despite having to make a complaint against a police officer who was a prime example of Institutional racism.
Even with this experience, I would not support Fabric being closed! Why? The one visit to Fabric was life its self. It was a negative and positive experience that shaped me. It was an experience that gave me a valuable life lessons. It was an experience that gave me the knowledge and wisdom to be my wary in future incidents with overzealous bouncers, unhelpful police officers and the pros and cons of helping random strangers. FYI the girl did not even want to press charges. So I got thrown out for nothing! Which taught me, all you can do is try to help people; but only they can help themselves.
Am I sad fabric has closed? Well, it is similar to when you leave your hometown, go back and find that the ‘green’ [common land, with enough grass to play a makeshift game of football, with bags for goals] has been turned into High-end flats. You feel that a sense of nostalgia has been robbed from you. Despite, you no longer owning football boots and your bags are far too expensive to be thrown on the ground. You think to yourself, but what if one day I do want to play football with my mates? But, the real sadness is admitting a part of your youth has been firmly placed in history. You can’t rekindle your youth during a midlife crisis and your children won’t come home with stories of that time they went to Fabric.
So am I sad about Fabric? I am more saddened by how Fabric’s closure is indicative of the state of the nightclub scene in general.
BBC’s reported in 2005 there were 3,144 night clubs in the UK, according to the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR). Yet, in 2015, there were just 1,733.
In Northampton, my old clubbing spot is now a gym. I like gyms! But I also liked being able to go to the gym and then to Time and Envy; a completely separate venue to show off my mediocre gains from the gym.
Superclubs disappearing and nightclubs being turned into Gyms and family restaurants is commonplace across Britain. This will sadly mean that the next generation will be limited in the place they will be able to express, find and explore themselves. At least they have social media and tinder…
Much like Carnival, it seems we are judging the enjoyment of the many by the negative actions of the few. Fabric like most clubs needed better management rather than closure. All events follow my simple equation
Music + Drink + People = Good Times – a small amount of public disorder
Councils should be helping and supporting clubs owners to control this small amount of public disorder. Rather than robbing the majority of people the chance to break free from the 9-5 of life.
As a society, we learn from negative and positive experiences. Nightclubs like Fabric are places to find these experiences. Robbing people of this journey of self-discover is not protecting people but merely sheltering them from the human experience.
For many, Fabric’s closure is indicative of Britain and London simply becoming boring. Boring just like we have become in old age. We are not the fun students we once were. But we would like our memories to live on through the future generations now robbed of the chance to party and have life experiences in one of London’s now lost iconic venues.
Let us know your thoughts.
Do you think too many nightclubs are being closed down?
Have you got any experiences in a nightclub that shaped the person you are today?
Please comment below and challenge someone to think a little deeper