Archive for December 25, 2011
As the capitals clubbing scene finds itself staring at a landscape that looks quite different to twelve months ago, ahead of his usual yearly round-up, Disco Matt shares his views & opinions on how the scene has changed during 2011 and what he would like to see evolve in the forthcoming year.
There is no doubt that the last twelve months in Disco Matt land have been pretty momentous, as on this very day in 2010, we found ourselves on tour with Alex Erfan & the Lovechild crew for the Christmas Day party at Red & Blue in Antwerp, while back home the scene was also finding itself in the grip of one of the coldest December’s in recent times, a blowing wind of change beckoning on the capital’s clubbing circuit horizon, 2011 proving to be a considerable step change for a whole host of bars, clubs, events, promoters & scene figures. Yet, amidst this atmosphere of change, we can also reflect on a scene that still represents one of the most dynamically diverse of any in the world, plenty of international clubbing brands, D.J.’s, performers & promoters looking to London not just as a lead for their own adventures, but as a prolific playground to flaunt their wares, WE Party just one example of a score or more that will be sure to feature in that year end round-up that we have deluded to.
However, while the London scenescape may continue to look promising from afar, you would need to be wearing rose tinted glasses to see the same picture from within, competition crushing, promoters plummeting, clubs closing & bars bowing out, very much dominating this last year, all meaning that the clubbing circuit we find ourselves within today, is quite different to twelve months ago. So, with this beguiling backdrop, we couldn’t let the moment pass without giving you our own personal reflection on the last months gone and where we would hope to see the next twelve months go, those hopes & wishes for a brighter future wrapped up in our version of the traditional Queen’s speech, one we have called our Queen Scene Speech. And while many people around the world may still be surrounded by bountiful gifts on this Christmas Day, our message, our speech, our summary is simple, “All I Want For Christmas” being our vision of what 2012 could & should mean to the capitals clubbing circuit . But in stating our case, there will be no naming & shaming, we will not henceforth pinpoint individuals or organisations (although we suspect you will make your own references), rather paint a picture of that bright future we hope for, having given our version of events that have found us needing to speak out as we are.
So let’s look into the mirror that is our general reflection on 2011, the only clubbing constant in our lives being that phenomenal award winning afterhours that continued to ride on a wave crest that has still yet to come into shore, while it pretty much left every other contender to its crown & our affections in its wonderful wake. With the year commencing with one of the scene’s busiest & most prolific promoters continuing as he left off in 2010, a hearty handful of brands bolstering his expeditions across into Europe, as the year progressed, with in-house wrangles causing a breakaway from his base, 2011 is ending with hardly a whisper from the man that was clearly at the top of his game at the beginning. Then there was another promoter who continued to struggle after the debacle of his final showing in 2010, that crushing competition we deluded to, continuing to suppress any attempts for him to offer the scene that much needed alternative to the same old same old, a certain Spanish brand the protagonist for another’s decline & now seeming demise here in London, while the second Spanish superclub under his wing didn’t even get out of the event starting blocks in 2011, that after a less than inspiring switch twelve months before. But these two promoters aside, 2011 has also seen one of the capitals favourite bar brands go to pot, losing its seat in Soho & going off the rails under its remaining arches, our favourite social soiree of the time a victim of this tide change, while its successor didn’t get past its second gin soaked week. And this was during a year that saw the rise & rise of the social soiree, a superb service paving the way for a brace of others to grab a piece of its awesome action, although the year ends with one having gone monthly & its replacement struggling to match its nemeses’ popularity, another example of the harsh reality of the cruelly competitive clubbing circuit we find ourselves within.
But what of that crushing competition and what has it left the scene with at the end of what is undoubtedly been a year of austerity in clubland to match that of the prevailing economy? Well, with a bevy of brands dropping below the radar, some which had been forced to switch homes, that same old same old situation seemed to take hold, even special anniversary celebrations & birthday bashes seeing only a small handful reap the rewards that many always used to bring. But with the capital’s clubbing circuit colossus of a district being thrown into its own turmoil in just the last two months, the temporary closure of an iconic venue clearly having a knock on effect, the peace & harmony that we seemed to find ourselves within a year, two or even three years ago, has all but evaporated as one conglomerate looks to dominate the dancefloors of the our superb scene. Yes, we can still count ourselves fortunate to have a rich & diverse choice of delectations in any given week or weekend at our disposal, Soho, Vauxhall & Shoreditch leading the way for others to follow, but the undercurrent of inter promoter rivalry, the constraints of budgets seeing the influx of international D.J.’s, performers & events disintegrate before our eyes and other issues, both personal & professional, affecting our ability to review & report on the scene we love so much in the way we did twelve months previously, our demoralisation caused by the monotone monopoly that is now all too apparent, is, perhaps, the same mirror reflection many others are seeing and why we find ourselves feeling a tad lacklustre to the love in our lives, the capitals clubbing community.
Now that was our (to coin one of our phrases) bite size look at 2011 from our own perspective, but what are we wishing for in 2012?, and why is our title “All I Want For Christmas” so relevant? Well, while our wish list could easily extend into double figures & match the length of our weekly shopping receipt, we can pretty much narrow it down to just one word, that being reconciliation. For too long in the last year, the conflict between clubs, their owners & promoters, have risked imploding what had always been seen as one of the world’s most spectacular scenes. The strength of the capitals clubbing circuit was always the rich diversity it displayed, pretty much offering something for everyone and on all scales of the spectrum to savour, so we very much hope that old scores will be settled, minds will once again marry together and that the peace & harmony that we have been praying for returns. Through the power of reconciliation, we look forward to a 2012 that embraces everyone, that sees those who have been forced underground, re-sprouting like the flowers of spring, but in doing so work with & not against the conglomerate that currently stands dominant over the capitals clubbing scene.
Furthermore, we want to see the wealth of talent we have at our fingertips given a chance to shine in the spotlight that is this superb scene here in the capital, but in doing so, share rather than steal that spotlight. We want to see that influx of international influences return, those that made reviewing & reporting on the scene all the more exciting, we all perhaps taking rather than following the lead that the London 2012 Olympics will surely do in thrusting this wonderful city into its own sparkling spotlight as well as bringing people together. Moreover, wouldn’t it be just amazing if the selfishness, the jealously & short sightedness that has been ever present both across the scene (something we have all too often encountered in our own lives for the last twelve months) gives way to one simple word that would make the future a brighter place, reconciliation. No doubt during 2012, we will continue to feel the effects of the wonderful rollercoaster rides that we have found ourselves on in 2011 and for the brilliant bits of those, long may they continue, we surely spilling plenty more tears of joy, while nibble size tweeting our way through all our experiences. And we hope that the scores of friendly & familiar faces that make a point of saying hi when they see us on the scene, continue to do so, that along with the continuance of the close bonds we have developed with a handful of individuals in 2011. However, what is just as important for us is that we end this forthcoming year, 2012, with a sense that the hope of reconciliation we are looking for has been achieved, that the dynamism of this diverse scene has been restored, that the resentment that exists right now is banished for good and that the whole scene, its figure heads, its followers & its prolific players, all pull together to herald a new sense of clubbing community that has been sadly lacking of late, all meaning that if it does happen as we hope, then we will end 2012 much more clubbing circuit contented than we look like ending 2011. Plus, on a personal note, while we have cemented many friendships, made some exciting new ones & welcomed a small handful into our own close community, there are others that we too want to reconcile & reconnect with, both near & far, so that will be our aim in 2012, of course along with returning to the level of reviewing & reporting we were reaping in 2010.
So in summary, as a very close & dear friend put it, 2011 has been a “Bitch Lady” of a year, the highs, the lows, the smiles, the tears, the excitement & the trauma making it an unforgettably rollercoaster ride of a year, but we look forward to the calm, the peace, the harmony & that reconciliation in 2012 that signifies our Queen Scene Speech message, “All I Want For Christmas” (DISCO MATT)