Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Vauxhall: Fucked?

And so the shrinking of Vauxhall’s scene picks up a pace. Orange, who own Fire and Area (noting Covert/ No. 65 has already had its license withdrawn) have announced Area’s to close. They say Network Rail and Lambeth Council aren’t letting the club their license as they want to turn the Albert Embankment into a “vibrant high street”. The politics of this news is complex but we do wonder if it’s because Orange has found it has too many venues to fill.

Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt things are changing in Vauxhall and not rosy for the scene. We’ve already lost Hidden, the Coloseum and the old Renaissance Rooms days are numbered. Four groups are involved: the local community, the emergency services, Lambeth Council, commercial interests and Orange Group.

The local communities long ago grew tired of what the scene brings. Cars parking outside your house, 24/7 noise including screaming, shouting, ambulances, police and the rest.

The Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance are the involved emergency services and have to deal with it all – though St Thomas’ down the road have also had enough. Scene casualties and the associated crime have raised alarm bells. It’s hard work and horrible to those in the caring professions. Examples? A man died being restrained outside Covert recently, ambulances position themselves from 6am to run a shuttle service to St Thomas’, a man died trolleyed falling under a train last year, muggings and homophobic assaults are up.

Enter commercial interest. The property boom and gentrification. Enormously powerful developers are building a huge amount of luxury skyscrapers in Vauxhall for the foreign market – China, Russia and other developing nations who don’t want to see or go out to gay venues. Developers need to pitch a cool and vibrant area and are giving millions to the local council when they need most. Money talks and the neighbourhoods on the up so no wonder Network Rail recognise there’s more cash from regular less troublesome tenants. M&S, Waitrose and others have already checked out every Albert Embankment venue – the sauna included...

Interesting article on DiscoDamaged.

Vauxhall's like another country to me now, but DD are usually reliable on such things.

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