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This Westminster council report is pretty grim reading
We're you not at the Labyrinth Ear album launch? That was a White Heat night.
Think the last time I was there was for Chromatics
There was always a queue outside even though doors were open for around 30 minutes together with rude, mean bouncers added with the cramped toilets with an overly friendly toilet attendant always made for a good evening. No sarcasm. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Veronica Falls, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Big Deal and A History Of Apple Pie to name but a few were brilliant nights there. Shame it's over. More business for The Lexington I presume.
Chromatics? If not, it was a regular from here.
That was a good night.
I've seen some great bands there over the years (Liars being a particular highlight), as well as having some great evenings at Keb Darge's soul nights.
Hopefully another venue will be able to step in.
He's been venue manager (or whatever his role is) at the Lexington for several years. Imagine it might move there for a bit, and then find a new Soho home.
about the incident in question. While the attack is obviously pretty horrific, and can't be condoned, it does sound like this was a criminal gang who had been targeting punters in the queues at various venues over a significant length of time:
"Slight confusion in your reporting there, the door staff were involved in an altercation with a member of an opportunist gang that have plagued the area for some time now, involved in drug dealing, fake drug dealing, pick pocketing, phonesnatching, hugger mugging and constant nightly taunts of 'you're a dead man' 'I will kill you' towards security staff in the area. The gang member was harassing club customers on the pavement between the two clubs and refused to respond to requests by the staff to move away from the clubs' customers or to respond to the physical presence of the security staff. The security staff, having been involved in an altercation with the same or a similar gang some months previous to this, which resulted in one of the staff being attacked and injured by a knife, reacted in a manner contrary to their training and good judgement."
Given how frequently bouncers overstep the mark, outside numerous venues up and down the country, I do wonder whether Madame JoJo's have been specifically targeted by the council here, especially given that all staff involved lost their jobs after the incident.
which city did you say this was in again?
Think this article's added 2 + 2 and got 5. From what I've heard, Madame JoJos has been a problem for Westminster Council for a while because of a troublesome relationship between them and the people who run it and this has stretched back a number of years. In other words, I don't think this incident has happened in a vacuum.
The decision to close it seems like `the last straw` between the Council and the management from what I've heard, so I'm not sure why the Guardian are peddling the whole gentrification argument. Seems pretty inaccurate here.
Think the bouncers and security staff here have `overstepped the mark` to a greater extent than most examples of it. Although there've also been reports that there was a lot of taunting from outside of the transgender patrons on the night of the incident so... fuck knows what's actually happened.
All a bit of a mess. But ultimately not one reducible to the Council's desire to gentrify the area I reckon.
Pretty sure we've had this discussion on here before - Soho's an example of somewhere which has been perhaps more resilient in the face of gentrifying forces than almost anywhere else in London I can think of.
who run White Heat.
Also, from what's been said there and elsewhere, the venue hasn't had significant issues with police or security, or the licensing committees before this.
Re. the gentrification thing: I'm not sure that it's 'gentrification' as such, more a puritanism that sees wholesome restaurants and eateries for hetrosexual couples, rather than sex shops and clubs, as the best way to attract tourist money and income. There are already proposals to redevelop that block on which Madame JoJo's sits, and Westminster have made several statements over the past couple of years stating their intention to reduce the number of late-night venues in the area.
There have been long battles between the Raymond estate and the council over the years - it's one of the main reasons why Raymond bought up the land in the first place, but it seems like the handlers of the estate are now moving in the same direction.
a level of discord between Westminster Council and Madame JoJos for some time so... not sure what level that was on. But ultimately I think that Madame JoJos was at risk as a venue owing to the long-term redevelopment of Walker's Court so... maybe Westminster put the kibosh on knowing this. Who knows.
Another thing to bare in mind is that the police are likely to be more influential in the drive to redevelop that part of Soho than the owners of the properties are. There've been a couple of (possibly heavy handed) raids there over the last few years owing to suspicions of drug dealing and people trafficking, which is probably the strongest influence in redeveloping the area. Difficult to disagree with when put like that, although it firmly sits within the puritanical bent you describe.
Think we're probably largely on the same page with it all, my point of umbrage is with the article (which admittedly you weren't linking to) and the subsequent reaction which seems to imply an overly simplistic cause-and-effect narrative. In this case, it really isn't that straightforward.
it's seems like the police officer they'd been dealing with thought that the venue had done enough to not lose the licence. I dunno.
I do know that Madame JoJo's and Escape had compained several times to the Met and to the Council about the criminal activity happening in the streets around the venues and the lack of policing in the past couple of years, which obviously didn't help the relationship.
This article suggests that some of the promoters hadn't been too happy with the venues' security, but that complaints had been kept internal: http://londonist.com/2014/11/closure-of-madame-jojos-could-play-into-developers-hands.php
I know you were specifically referring to one part of it, but it seems that last article appears to get its wires crossed a bit. There's an irony at the centre of all of this too in that the criminal activity in that areas which appears to have caused problems for Madame JoJos security and patrons is, in my understanding, the biggest driver in the Walkers Court redevelopment. That said the police's actions (as I've mentioned upthread) with regards to their raids and evictions appear to have been remarkably heavy-handed: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/09/soho-sex-workers-protest-eviction