Fabric lives – but what’s changed?

Claudia Knight /
Jan 11, 2017 / Opinion

Guys, it’s happened. Somehow, the rave gods above have shone down on our glowing, slightly sweaty faces and blessed us with another chance to two-step again. Yes, Fabric has reopened and it is glorious.

On the 6th of September, the dreaded closure of the iconic nightclub caused uproar in the UK nightlife and music scene. Thousands flocked to twitter and other social media to express their disgust at Islington Council’s decision and some even showed respect for anti-closure warrior, Sadiq Khan. The council’s case behind the closure? Two individual deaths at the club on separate occasions as result of drugs. Sad? Extremely. Justified? Hardly. Newly released council documents have shown that the rave cave’s closure was in fact a pre-planned event schemed by a skint council, using the police as pawns.

Travesties aside, five months have passed since that fateful night and it looks like it’s only onwards and upwards (or side to side) for Fabric. Opening night saw scores of avid fans reclaim the dancefloor, eager to get back in the thick of it. Hung above their bopping heads in Room 1 was a banner bearing a beaming face and the eternally grateful words: “You Saved Fabric.” Feeling kind of emotional yet? I am.

However, will the future be bright for the club? It’s hard to say. Online, reviews of the opening weekend’s antics have been brimming with relief and praise. But, it’s obvious that there is also a sense of trepidation towards how things will be from now on. To sway the courts and police, the club’s owners promised a “gold standard” of operations if their heavenly doors were allowed to reopen. In total, 41 witness statements backed their appeal, including that from a leading national expert in drug welfare and medical provision in clubs. It seemed that it wasn’t just the youth of the UK that wanted Fabric to rise from the ashes but all those who valued and respected our country’s iconic music scene.

Thankfully, a review of the electric evening posted by Mixmag’s Patrick Hinton claimed that, instead of an overbearing sense of suspicion from security, there seemed to be a “mission of care”. The shutting down of the club as a drug hot spot was never going to solve the issue revolving around drug taking. Instead, it outraged an immensely passionate group of people and offended those who had made memories within the club’s many walls.

By the sounds of things, Fabric will be a safer place; a place where preventing drug usage is not paramount – harm reduction is. From my point of view, this can only be something positive. Clubbers may now think twice about passing the guy ‘darking out’ in the stairwell or the girl obviously overheating in the queue for the loos. No one wants Fabric to fade away ever again and they’ll do everything in their power to stand in any obstacle’s way.

Not being a Londoner myself, I can’t exactly pinpoint how it must have felt to see one of your most beloved stomping grounds tarnished and defeated. What I do know is that some have said how the reopening has been a hefty middle finger to the shameless gentrification in the area. Others have argued that the city’s nightlife has been under constant attack from the government for quite some time, with drugs simply being used as a scapegoat.

Either way, it feels as if a sturdy yet comforting blanket has been thrown around the shoulders of all those who make up the UK’s nightlife and music scene. Fabric’s reopening has proven that, deep down, it’s all about sharing a mutual appreciation and undying passion for music, atmosphere and culture. The club’s inception in 1999 brought with it a whole new definition of clubbing and I am wholeheartedly thrilled see what the next twenty years has in store for this strobe-lit gem.

Like this? Check out Volume #16.

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Words by Claudia Knight

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