London last week elected a new mayor – former human rights lawyer and Labour candidate Sadiq Khan. Already looking set to become a real G after Shuns Donald Trump and confirming the new £1.50 ‘hopper’ Bus ticket, Khan has been a vocal advocate for London’s cultural rejuvenation.
This is good news for club goers. Khan has already supported the recently installed ‘agent of change’ measure, which requires developers to acknowledge the existence of clubs prior to seeking permits to build residencies in neighbourhoods with active nightlife (and in some cases foot the bill for soundproofing). In addition, he backed the appointment of a ‘night-time commissioner’ to act on behalf of clubs and bars and has spoken out about the conservation of London's nightlife, which has in recent times faced the squeeze from urban developers.
The jury is out - following the closure of seminal venues like Plastic People and Madame Jojo’s (and further back still Bagleys, The Cross, The End and Turnmills) is our club scene still iconic? A generation of clubbers now spend the ‘best years of their lives’ attending over priced, over produced shows, pumped up arena tours or dumbed down, after-the-office / pre-watershed mode shindigs complete with food stalls (who can even eat at a real party!) – see proposed Changes to licensing laws policies in Hackney, for example.
Yet it appears improvements aren’t beyond the realms of possibility. Khan tells Dazed – “London is famous for its diverse and varied offering of music venues, gay bars and historic pubs. A third of London’s small music venues have closed since 2007, damaging our city’s cultural offering and having a negative effect on jobs and the economy. I will make it more difficult for redevelopment to result in the closure of heritage and cultural venues by strengthening the London Plan.”
On top of pledging to keep our favourite venues open, he has asserted that the tube should be running 24 hours a day: “We have waited too long for the promises made by the previous Mayor to become a reality, but ensuring it is up and running as quickly as possible once I am in City Hall will be invaluable in helping to save London’s night life.”
No pressure Sadiq, no pressure.