London Authorities Close Madame JoJos
Westminster Council ordered seminal Soho underground club Madame Jojos to shut down this week, 5 weeks after bouncers were caught on camera battering a bottle-throwing attacker with baseball bats.
The council’s decision to close the legendary queer, alternative, burlesque institution came despite the club sacking the security staff and manager and replacing them with a new team, prompting outrage from London promoters including White Heat promoter Marcus Harris.
“On Thursday the council decided to revoke the venue’s licence rendering us homeless and its staff, our friends, out of a job.” he said on Facebook. “We’ve been forced to cancel all of our foreseeable shows at the venue.”
“In my opinion, it seems that the council just used the incident as a good excuse to take away the license,” he added in a follow-up interview with the Guardian, “They want to make Soho about families – shopping, going out to eat, going to the theatre. The bars shut at 11 and you’re home by midnight.”
London house legend Danny Rampling agreed, urging clubbers to sign a petition protesting against the council’s move.
“How many more iconic London nightlife venues are we going to lose,” he asked, “We do not need more swanky glass designed unaffordable apartments for overseas buyers to invest into. I’ve signed, please share and sign,” he added.
The petition itself summarized neatly the significance of the basement club which hosted countless queer, alternative and wildly eclectic events throughout its five decade history.
“Madame JoJo’s has been the jewel in the crown of Soho’s vibrant, quirky night-life for more than half a century. By revoking it’s licence you will irrevocably diminish the unique character of this area: an area which has already seen a wave of devastating blandification,” the petition points out.
For over 400 years Soho has been the place where the poor artists, musicians and idealists of east London met the rich and glittering residents of the west. It’s the beating heart of London, it’s where artists are inspired, where dreams are realised, a mecca for young pioneers, romantics and bohemians.
Now, all of this is a risk as we see once proud centres of subculture be turned into identikit high end boutiques, chain restaurants and residential developments.”