Going out to a club tonight? Have you noticed any difference in the size of the crowds? They have in Britain. In fact, they’re in the midst of what’s being called a serious nightlife crisis. From The Guardian.
On Monday, Radio 1 cleared out its normal news schedule for a series of special reports – the sort they normally reserve for a rock-star death or a general election. The breaking news story they were covering? The death of the British nightclub. “These clubbers have nowhere left to go,” said the host in the grim tones of a Comic Relief appeal, before going to a reporter in Peterborough wandering around shut clubs as if Hurricane Killjoy had just torn Britain’s city centres asunder.
How can Britain possibly be going through a nightlife crisis? Our popular culture has never been more focused on dance music and getting smashed. Local news is overrun with bacchanalian images of wild town centres and police struggling to contain punch-drunk revellers. House music, once a counterculture heard only in raves and on pirate radio, has long been the sound of the British high street. Music festivals have become as ingrained in our culture as Christmas, an annual trip to a field to take drugs and watch Chemical Brothers now a rite of passage on a par with leaving a glass of milk out for Santa. Just two months ago, a report described the booming health of Britain’s night-time economy, claiming the sector was worth £66bn. Six per cent of the UK’s domestic product is generated by night-time businesses, which employ around 1.3 million people, up by 500,000 from 2002.
Which is why some people were shocked this week when the report released to Radio 1 – from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), the group that represents venues – revealed that more than half of UK nightclubs have closed in the past 10 years. ALMR’s chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said that, in some towns, “they are gone for good and we’re never going to get them back”. To those who have been trying to go clubbing in Britain, it will not come as a surprise.
Keep reading. Meanwhile, I’d be interested to hear from Toronto clubbers. The city has been cracking down on clubs in the Entertainment District for years, forcing them out in favour of new condo developments. Could Toronto be heading in the same direction?