Shutting down a legendary institution like Fabric would be another predictably draconian approach to far more complex issues that society and governments ought to be discussing.
Fabric is a world revered bastion of UK & global underground electronic music. It has been pioneering and cultivating a swathe of genres over many years. People travel to London globe-over to experience the blazon of venue, visual and audio ascendancy that lies deep below ground at 77 Charterhouse Street, Farringdon. Fabric’s pulse is entirely unique and irreplaceable. Let’s not forget this venue has been voted the best nightclub on the planet twice in recent years and has a body-sonic dance floor. The concept was“conceived by people that go to clubs, for people that go to clubs”. It has executed that purpose with nothing but greatness since it’s doors opened in 1999. A late-night jewel in the midst of our incandescent capital city.
In recent times however, the tide in clubland has changed it’s course. Licensing regulations are now increasingly stringent. Mainly because greedy property developers are incessantly cramming more and more housing developments into locations that were previously free of whinging neighbours. As a result we now have an undeniable closure crisis on our hands. Sadiq has promised to fix this. Good luck Sadiq…
In Fabric’s case, it’s the drugs. Regardless of their efforts to police the doors & search club goers more throughly, deaths keep occurring. Tragically two eighteen year olds passed away there recently having reacted badly with MDMA. As long as clubs have doors, drugs will find their way in. It is the venue’s responsibility to try and keep this to as close to a minimum as possible. Fabric have ramped up the pressure considerably in recent times, this was noticeable when I was there a few months ago. The fear is now, however, that these searches on the door are so strict, younger people with less experience are bottling it and taking all of their substances in the queue before they go in. This is not a safe or sensible solution. If a more nuanced and less arbitrary approach was taken, such as on-site drug testing & advice facilities, or the legalisation of MDMA in its full entirety - these deaths, and a string of others prior could perhaps have been avoided.
We are now at a cross-roads as a society. Consumption of MDMA has never been greater, and it’s potency has never been higher. Were it legalised, just like buying a bottle of alcohol, people would be made aware of the strength of what they were planning on taking. Given some current ecstasy pills have been found to contain 250mg of MDMA, more than double the average quantity found in pills during the late 90s, the safety benefits are obvious. With legalisation would come a much needed bout of regulation - less adulteries polluting the substance and more informative packaging indicating potency and providing dose guidance. It would be taxable - this money could be used to boost funding of treatment for addictive and socially corruptive substances like heroin and crack cocaine. It would diminish the illegal drug dealing industry, meaning safer streets & clubs as well as safer MDMA.
The War on Drugs, as we can bear witness forty five years later, has been a total and abject failure . To continue in the same vein with MDMA, a non-addictive & almost harmless drug (far less so than alcohol) will only result in more tragedies. World over popular music culture is embracing dance-music more than ever before. A vast increase in MDMA consumption has been a somewhat inevitable byproduct of this. The response therefore ought to be a change in mindset, and responsible forward thinking government/local council policies that reflect the current climate. Closing a nation-loved institution like Fabric would be a step in entirely the opposite direction. As history has clearly demonstrated, people are not going to stop taking narcotics. Given this is the case, it might be prudent to cease blaming the clubs and focus on the real issue - we can’t stop them doing it so how do we make doing it safer. Not rocket science…
Let’s not decimate one of our most esteemed venues into the ashes of time. It would be a travesty of the worst kind. Inflicted predictably by bureaucrats who fail to appreciate Fabric’s essential contribution to London & British music culture, as well as the importance of a long overdue re-think on drug policies in the 21st century. I urge you, if anything in this article appealed to your senses, to sign the petition below.
Words by Chris