Rich Ruining London Club Scene
Wag Club founder Chris Sullivan chatted to Vice’s EDM spin-off Thump magazine this week about the parlous state of London’s current nightlife scene and blamed greedy officials and club owners for driving out regular people from both clubs and his beloved Soho.
“The people actually given licenses are rich magnates who don’t know anything about working class people,” he complained.
“All they know is posh kids for whom a £10 drink is nothing. And that’s who they aim the clubs at. Hence the five grand (£5,000) tables.” (Thump)
The Wag closed in 2001, prompting an eerily prescient obituary from then leading cultural commentator/ journalist/ Wag regular Alix Sharkey.
“Since it opened in April 1981, it has been a focus for clubland innovation, a catalyst for racial integration, and a temple to unremitting hedonism.” he recalled.
“The news that the Wag lease has been sold, and that this legendary Soho club will soon become an Irish theme pub, marks the end of an era in British nightlife.” (Guardian )
Thump’s fresh article on the Wag appeared just days before the New Statesman Magazine singled out the same financial factors for playing a role in the recent demise of Glasgow’s The Arches in which Arches former music programme manager Scott Forrest declared ‘London used to be the king of clubbing. Now it’s Berlin’.
“High rents and strict licensing laws are making it far harder for entrepreneurs to break into the business,” the new Statesman also noted going on to quote Night Time Industries Association chairperson Alan Miller.
“Nightclub owners can often make more money by selling their premises to developers than by operating them as a club,” he said.(New Statesman )