Big Trouble In Big Clubland // Feature piece for The Sun
With over 300,000 fans, spread across 100 countries, Cable’s online, radio and TV channels played host to thousands of today’s most prolific electronic artists.
As a proving ground for young talent, incubating emerging brands, artists and sounds, Cable sat at the centre of London club culture, bringing dance legends like Nero, Diplo, Goldie, Derrick May and more to the capital.
But on May 1st – things came crashing down, as Network Rail took possession of the club to further develop London Bridge Station, changing London’s club heritage overnight. With it they took over 70 jobs, a massive reputation and a global brand on the cusp of development.
As the biggest small business landlord in the UK, Network Rail issued Cable out of the premises with a compulsory purchase notice, supplied to a day after licensing meeting, called by Southwark Council, and attended by Network Rail bosses, who were later seen talking directly to police officers away from the city hall. Ryan Ashmore, Cable’s Managing Director, said, “Network Rail’s contracts seem worthless. We are devastated. We have repeatedly questioned Network Rail about their reasons for needing to destroy the club when their plans clearly show alternative proposals, but they were not interested in having meaningful discussions.”
After being originally approached by Network Rail six years ago, Euan Johnson, director of Cable, was sold the premises on the basis it would not form part of London Bridge’s development plan. Two years later, after million of pounds worth of investment, they went back on their word, issuing Cable with a notice that they’d have to leave the premises.
“They have recently claimed through a spokesperson that Network Rail have had discussions with us about alternative sties, but this is simply not true.”
Following the closure, thousands of messages of support, from DJ’s and fans alike, have flooded social networks. A video of the day’s events has surfaced online a number of days later – it now has over 50,000 views, as users watch angle grinders take to the doors of the club.
Loadstar, Stanton Warriors, Plasticican, A Skillz, Krafty Kutz and more all joined in sharing their memories of the club. Danny Rampling, who recently held his 25th anniversary ‘Shoom’ celebrations at the venue, added his own comment, saying “Network Rail once again ripping the culture out of London! Cable’s closure is a huge loss to the London club scene.”
Elijah, the founder of Butterz records, who had his own popular night at the club, called the events ‘the end’ of London clubbing. In a piecewritten on his blog, about his own discomfort for the state of London’s club landscape, Elijah said:
“Options are shrinking, club line ups are taking less risks, and when there nights in ‘Warehouse Spaces’ there is no guarantee of your safety, a good time or the night even happening.”
“We are encouraged to create jobs for ourselves then they strip away our meeting points and cultural hubs and replace them with Costas, Subways and more retail units and housing nobody that works in those shops can afforad.”
Alongside Cable, many other London clubs have been fighting closures. Ministry Of Sound’s on-going battle with property developer, Oakmaine, has been well documented. While others, such as Ewer Street Car Park, also in Southwark, have also been issued with notices.
As electronic music spreads its wings the world over, London is the location people are looking to for breaking new music, sounds and DJ talent. But with a huge part of its history diminishing, we’re facing the danger of loosing 30 years of house heritage.
Cable’s closure is a further blow to London club culture, as it joins the likes of Turnmills, The End and The Cross, as clubs all closed over the last few years. With London now so short of top-quality underground clubs, and electronic music exploding all over the world, the capital is falling behind in catering to a surge for tourists coming specifically for London’s music. With visitor numbers in cities such as Berlin and Zurich surging due to the demand for dance music, the UK authorities seem content on letting an important part of British culture be resigned to the history books.
Check out the video of what happened on when Network Rail closed cable via their youtube page – youtube.com/cableofficial – and show your support for the club via their facebook page – facebook.com/cableofficial