The worst nightmare for any nightclub owner? Deaths on the premises connected to illegal drugs – and whatever the truth, mud sticks at licence renewal time…

Since I started this blog just a few short months ago, I’ve been surprised at how many people are willing to open up and talk to me. I’m very much a fan of speaking to people who know about things – there are aspects about dance music I know well, there are others I don’t know so well. So the fact nightclub owners are amongst the people willing to speak to me in quite forthright terms is very humbling.

And one thing I’ve learnt is that a nightclub owner’s worst nightmare is someone dying after taking illegal drugs on their premises. Which is why I feel desperately sorry for the owners, management and staff at The Cause in Tottenham right now. Over the weekend, a 21-year old man died and two people were hospitalised after falling unwell at the venue.

Now, I am not going to prejudge a police investigation – not least because that would be an incredibly stupid and irresponsible thing to do – but things like this can cause problems later. Allow me to explain.

These owners whom I referred to earlier have been unanimous that the UK is a pretty hostile environment for nightclubs. Back in 2016, Islington Council revoked the licence of Fabric London after two teenagers died in the space of a few months at the club. It took an expensive legal appeal – rumoured to have cost some £200,000 – to get it open again under some strict new conditions.

Acquiring a licence to run a nightclub is extremely difficult as it is. Keeping that licence is just as much work and licence renewal time seems to involve spending a lot of time, in the words of one owner, “talking a lot to people who basically don’t have a f***ing clue what you do and trying to persuade them to let you keep doing it”.

If anything good happens at the club, rest assured they won’t know about it – but anything bad? It’ll be all over the local papers. It’ll be on social media. And once it’s up there, it stays there. And a politician using a right-wing crusade to gain popularity is never that far away these days…