London is expensive. Scary expensive. It’s the home to more foreign billionaires than any other city on the planet and the stampede to snap up property has forced real estate prices, way, way up. This is not a good thing for musicians who tend to be, shall we say, slightly further down the income scale than the average Russian oligarch. And if musicians can’t find a place to live in London, what does bode for the city’s music scene? Vice/Noisey takes a look.
At a panel late last year titled “Is London Too Rich to be Interesting?” Saatchi-approved sculpture pioneer Gavin Turk, now 48-years old, was asked a simple question by an audience member: “If you had your time again, from now, in this London—with no grant, and no time to spend swimming around for patrons—how would you do it? Would you still be here? Would you stay?” Prior to that, he’d indulged the audience with stories about how a glorious and multi-faceted London of times past had given him the opportunities, freedom and inspiration he needed to explore his art and self, and become who he is, but he can’t help stutter on this question for some time, before coming to a long winded conclusion which I’ll simplify here: No, probably not actually.
Things have never been easy for creative types in the city, that’s kind of the point. But they’ve also never been this bad until very recently. Only in the late 90s into early 2000s, the city was fostering multiple vibrant music scenes, each one representative of the young people that fuelled it: from grime in Bow, to indie in Camden, to dubstep in Croydon, to artrock in New Cross. To have that many young people all maintaining so many seperate, vibrant and concurrent scenes in London now seems impossible.