Music journalism is notoriously given to hyperbole but it’s no exaggeration to say that the decision to permanently close fabric nightclub marks the end of one of the world’s most respected electronic music institutions. On Tuesday September 6, a sultry evening at the summer’s end, Islington Borough Council, in the face of overwhelming evidence in the club’s favour, took six hours to revoke fabric’s license, intimating, in the wake of two drug-related deaths, that security was simply not tight enough.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and local MP Emily Thornbury had both made statements in fabric’s favour but it was not enough to save it, and now dance music social media reverberates with disbelief and stunned shock. A slow realisation is dawning that if they can close fabric, which had stringent security and safety measures, then no nightclub in London or, indeed, the whole country is safe. Most especially if it’s situated in an area that property developers have their eye on.
fabric (always a small ‘f’) was a uniquely single-minded institution from the start. It was opened in 1999, during the millennial superclub explosion, in a Victorian building that had once been a butchers’ market and storage space. The men behind it were rave-mad London entrepreneurs Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie, who’d been trying to get it off the ground for years. Unlike contemporaneous clubs, notably the much-hyped, short-lived, and overly glitzy Home in Leicester Square, its focus was always on the best underground dance music. It famously boasted an extraordinary soundsystem, constantly tweaked and improved as the years passed.