The closing of Fabric is tragic. Two young people lost their lives there earlier this summer and now 250 staff face redundancy after its licence was revoked. The doors of a venue that has become a site of major cultural significance over its 17-year history are shut. This is all very clear – so what does it mean for UK clubbing?
Drugs education and testing need to become the norm. Ecstasy is stronger than ever before, meaning that young, inexperienced clubbers are in potential danger of overdosing. They need to be educated about the risks of recreational drug use and about what exactly they are ingesting. This needs to start at school, college or within their local community. It’s also why Mixmag has started the Don’t Be Daft, Start With A Half campaign, informing users that it's safer to take small doses. Clubs like Fabric should not take the blame for recreational drug use that’s going to happen whether the police like it or not. Instead, on-site drug testing and harm-prevention initiatives should be encouraged, such as The Loop, which operates at Secret Garden Party and The Warehouse Project. An honest conversation about drug use between venues, clubbers and local government and police should be encouraged. As The Loop demonstrates, there’s now an example of this in the UK (something which the Metropolitan police failed to note of during their dealings with Fabric).
No security measures on the door will
completely cease drugs being smuggled into clubs; as Mixmag Editor Duncan Dick
remarked in the Guardian earlier this week “[The
government] can’t even keep drugs out of a prison,” a place of significantly
tighter security. Drug education and a more progressive approach to drug taking, such as the
implementation of warnings sent out when dangerous drugs are in circulation à
la Amsterdam’s system, is the way forward and a progressive way of combatting
drug deaths. Fabric’s closure is indicative of a subculture being scapegoated
and blamed for the failings of institutions of power.