Hackney is a great night out, sure, but it’s also the central hub of London’s creative community making a name for itself as the epicentre for much of the city’s fashion, photography, film, food and music. New proposals from the council suggest that bars and clubs in the area shut at 11 on weekdays and at midnight on weekends, a move some have suggested represents an attempt to sanitise youth culture in the area. With the launch of 24-hour tubes only a couple of months away and London’s artists up in arms we spoke to resident musicians and venue owners to get their thoughts on the issue.
Fay Milton, The Savages: “As I walk from my house to Dalston Junction station, there is a section where the pavement has been pushed aside to make way for luxury flats – there are so many people trying to get past each other, women with pushchairs, children and toddlers, elderly people, people waiting for the bus – everyone being pushed off the pavement into the road to make way for super-rich property developers. This is such an obvious symbol of what is happening all over london and especially in the Hackney area. Losing our nightlife scene is much bigger than just losing the chance to party all night, it is losing our community, losing our identity and our sense of belonging. We need to keep hold of each other and our creative spirit, and that means saying NO to these proposals.”
Phil Hutcheon, DICE: “Hackney is one of the most vibrant cultural hubs in the UK. Its nightlife has given birth to a wealth of creatives, musicians and artists. The proposals the council have put forward are draconian. They don’t account for the interests of the people who live and work here; people who have been drawn to the area precisely because of it’s unique nightlife. It’s not just license holders that will be affected, there’ll be a knock on impact on other industries too. Companies like DICE wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the borough’s thriving music scene.”
Lucy Rose: “Hackney has been a great home for up and coming music for all 8 years I’ve been living in London. It’s an instrumental place for young artists playing gigs and getting their music out there as well as the best place to make great friends. I would hate to see such an inspirational and creative place get restricted especially when it comes to live music.”
Steve Ball, The Coloumbo Group (XOYO, The Nest, Cat & Mutton, The Blues Kitchen): “Thousands of local Hackney residents are coming together to defend the borough we know and love. In a place as vibrant and creative as Dalston it is absurd and offensive for the council to say that music venues are ‘not considered appropriate’, and to expect everyone to be tucked up at home in bed by 11pm. Those who hate new bars and clubs are always quick to say so. Everyone who agrees that Hackney’s nightlife has made it a better, more exciting, more creative place to live must also now speak out.”
Dan Beaumont, Voodoo Ray’s, Dalston Superstore, Dance Tunnel: “These proposals are really an attack on young people. It’s really sad that London’s most creative borough can’t take a more progressive approach to these issues. Trying to regulate the night time economy this way won’t solve any of the problems and will just deny future opportunities to the people who need them most. It’s a real missed opportunity.”
Words: Tom Curry