Every evening from around 10pm, the front pages of the following day’s newspapers start to come in. I occasionally have a look at them, and whilst taking a peep last night, I caught the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph. It featured the eye-catching headline of “Vaccine passports could push people to pubs”.
And it’s quite a good story, as it happens. Their journalist has seen a confidential document going around within government talking about the “economic and social impact of Covid certification”. The report in question has a revealing section in it, discussing one of the risks with the vaccine passport policy. This document relates to England – Scotland already has such a policy in place, and Wales has a policy of requesting a negative test or vaccine status.
The document reads “A core concern is that certification could displace activity and business away from music venues to, say, pubs with music and late alcohol licences… if certification displaces some fans from structured and well-ventilated sports stadia, this could lead to the, attending unstructured and poorly ventilated pubs instead where they will have access to more alcohol than if they were in the stadia.”.
In other words, people who are being turned away from nightclubs because they can’t prove their vaccine status or haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 are likely to go to pubs instead – because no proof will be requested there. And they’re going to get drunk, start putting their arms around everyone – and then start showing symptoms of Covid a week later. Or so the message appears to be here.
It’s also a problem for the pub trade. If contact tracers start reporting more and more cases are originating from pubs, the Government will eventually take notice. No one quite knows how they’d respond – and with enough uncertainty at the moment, more won’t help.
If vaccines stopped you from catching Covid and transmiting it, vaccine passports might be something I’d be prepared to tolerate. But as it stands, this has got to be one of the worst ideas that any modern government has ever pushed through…
I started secondary school back in 1996. The structure here was very different to primary school – lessons now were delivered at set times each day and different teachers did different subjects. Hence why I met a lot of new teachers very quickly.
One that always sticks in my mind is my Information Technology teacher. A man who waxed lyrical about the potential of video calling and the internet. Remember, this was a very different world to the one we’re in now. No Twitter, no Facebook, and some ISPs still charged you per minute to go online.
But this man had an answer for everything. If you told him video calling equipment was rubbish, he’d simply tell you the technology hadn’t caught up with the idea yet. If you told him the internet was too slow, he’d give you the same answer. As much as I wanted to believe he was right, this voice in my mind doubted him.
And it turns out he was absolutely right. We now make video calls with our phones, and it doesn’t even cost us a penny. I just wonder what he’d make of the news Electric Daisy Carnival held a virtual event on the giant gaming platform that is Roblox – probably the next logical step.
Perhaps there’s a lesson here for other genres. Like the newly reinvigorated garage house movement, for example. The original UK scene came about thanks to those innovative Sunday parties in London around 1997 – before this, no one had thought to hold regular parties on a Sunday.
The Roblox audience is absolutely colossal. By holding a virtual party on Roblox, you could expose a new, potentially massive audience to the genre – and they might well like it. Before you know it, you’ve got people showing an interest in attending the in-person events – which there potentially have to be more of to accommodate the new demand.
And there’s a big difference this time around. In the late 90s, you had to be in London or the south east of England to properly get involved. Not anymore. The audience these days is global. The old barriers are gone – and any genre clever enough to take advantage of new innovations could thrive.
Your audience can’t support you if they don’t even know you exist…
Who in the right mind would want to set up a nightclub in London these days? The authorities give the distinct impression of not wanting you there. The London mayor only takes an interest when there’s votes from young people to be had. And you have Amy Lamé, the Night Czar who is as much of a lame duck as her name implies.
And once you’ve got your venue, you have no end of unscrupulous types who could bring the whole thing crashing down. Including property developers who seem to want to buy the whole of central London and turn it into one enormous office – the increase in the number of people working from home is obviously not something they’ve yet noticed.
Which is why I always found the arrangements of Printworks to be very odd. The land is owned by British Land and they gave events company Broadwick Live permission to run a nightclub there. How long did this permission last? And what happened if a dispute occurred between the two?
Whilst I’m confident solicitors would have resolved these questions beforehand, there was always the possibility British Land might want to do something else with the site. And it turns out they do, as part of the Canada Water Masterplan.
“We have explored a range of future uses for The Printworks and as part of this have taken forward a workspace-led design, for which we’re preparing a Reserved Matters Application. Nonetheless we believe that culture will play an important role as part of a new urban centre at Canada Water, and remain in discussions with Broadwick Live as a key collaborator and tenant, following their success in the Printworks over the last five years.”
Nowhere do words to the effect of “Printworks will remain open after the development” appear. Hardly reassuring…
Oh what a difference just a few years can make. Around three or four years ago, the garage house sound started to emerge from London and quickly spread. The best of the genre paid homage to the house and garage of days gone by, yet wasn’t afraid to push the envelope with new ideas.
Around two years back, a campaign started to get Traxsource to give garage house its own category. It didn’t happen. According to a source who’s closely associated with Traxsource, the campaign failed because the scene came across as disjointed and the music was poorly defined.
The garage house crew didn’t give up. They regrouped and went back to the drawing board. And this week, Danny J Lewis started a new campaign to get garage house recognised in its own right as a category on Traxsource. I reported on the campaign on Tuesday afternoon.
A little over 48 hours later, I’m very pleased to report – well, see for yourself!
And what a glorious sight it is indeed. The compromise appears to have been to call the category “garage” instead. As long-time producer Grant Nelson said on Tuesday, “it could service everything from garage house to speed garage and other new school 4×4 UK garage and also what is classed as classic garage from back in the day”.
Posting on the renamed Traxsource Garage group on Facebook, Danny J Lewis celebrated the news saying “This is truly a chance for our scene to grow and an opportunity for so many of you to develop your sound in a safe place. I encourage all of you to push your capabilities, support your peers and turn this thing into something massive for us all. There are so many people who have contributed in both big and small ways but each have made a difference. Let’s make this a landmark moment and totally maximise on the opportunity.”.
Credit too, of course, must go to Marc Cotterell – the boss at Plastik People. His Essential Garage weekly chart, published every Monday, started giving the scene the attention it deserved and frankly, needed in order to develop and grow.
There are, of course, many other names worthy of a mention. Expect a longer article about this over the weekend…
A while ago, I had a few complaints from regular readers that this blog had been placed in an adult category by a few web shields – and it took a while to contact these various tech companies to get this resolved So I have to watch my words with this post – but a quick Google search will bring up details for the more perspicacious of you.
As we all know, German club Berghain is primarily about gay culture. And that culture can be expressed in a, shall we say, very direct way sometimes. I make no judgement on this – I’m simply stating that almost anything goes at the club. And yes, for some people, this also includes what I shall simply call horizontal refreshment.
It’s safe to say many of the activities – horizontal and otherwise – involve dispensing with the finer details of social distancing. And whilst some of them may indeed involve masks, these are typically not the sort you might normally wear in polite company.
So I wasn’t terribly surprised, with all that in mind, to discover through the German media that 19 cases of Covid have been linked to the club. According to the Berliner Morgenpost, some 2,500 people had to be contacted. They were advised to do lateral flow tests – or PCR tests if they showed symptoms.
Berghain declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper. Which was a somewhat more dignified response than a certain nameless nightclub had when this blog approached them…
The British government might well be pretending that the pandemic is over. But here in the real world, most of us know otherwise. Over 43,000 new cases were confirmed across the UK yesterday. And like many, I find myself asking where all these cases are coming from.
Well, one nightclub in the UK – I’m afraid I can be no more precise than that – is wondering the same thing. They held an event a few weeks ago – as most nightclubs do – and all went well. There was no trouble on the night, a good time was had by all and the bar did a roaring trade. Management patted themselves on the back – until a phone call came in around ten days later.
It was from the public health authorities, claiming they had identified a large coronavirus cluster in the area – and information supplied by test and trace teams suggested it originated from this particular nightclub. As I understand, the owners of this particular club are known in the area for being rabid anti-vaxxers – so they didn’t take the allegation particularly seriously.
As far as I can see, this particular story hasn’t been reported anywhere previously. So this blog decided to send them an email to ask if they had any comment. Shortly afterwards, I heard back from their solicitors – threatening me with libel proceedings if I was to publish the story.
Which was terribly nice of them. But what was the one thing this threat didn’t contain within it? A denial of the allegations being made. A source with connections to the club informed me the owners are also threatening legal action against the health authorities over the matter…
For legal reasons, comments are unavailable on this story.
So when someone turned up at the doors of Manchester’s Warehouse Project, which Lord owns, with a so-called lifetime pass, it caused much scratching of heads at the venue. The black card states “This pass grants the holder lifetime access to Warehouse Project events and Parklife” – which is Lord’s big festival that takes place each year.
A new one last night.
Someone tried to get in, by making themselves a “Lifetime Access Pass to WHP and Parklife.”
There was just one problem. No one working at the door had seen one of these cards before. Much like the Nando’s High Five black cards, no one knew for many years whether they even existed. Lifetime passes to Warehouse Project, on the other hand, do exist – they gave two away in a competition last year.
Lord’s tweet does not elaborate on whether he actually got into the venue, except to describe the attempt as “impressive”. And he confirms in another tweet that he contacted the person in question later to give them lifetime access for real.
Here’s hoping his staff can correctly identify the genuine passes. Otherwise, it’s going to be the equivalent of using a rake to get rid of water…
The beauty of blogging is you never quite know who might be reading it. I know for a fact some of the people whom I’ve written about have been along to read it – and this isn’t something I think twice about. If you’re in the public eye, don’t be surprised when the public occasionally comment on your activities.
Back in April, I published an article about how Fatboy Slim’s forthcoming tour of the UK excluded one of the four countries in it – namely, Northern Ireland. What I didn’t know at the time was a date had, in fact, been scheduled for Belfast. He was meant to appear on October 23rd at the Belfast Telegraph’s old headquarters to help celebrate Shine’s 25th birthday.
However, ongoing lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland – where nightclubs can only reopen from October 31st – mean the date has been pushed back to Friday 17th December. And sorry to disappoint if you’re now hoping to buy tickets to the event, but it sold out a while ago…
And speaking of Fatboy Slim – real name Norman Cook – there was an interesting story in the Belfast-based Sunday Life newspaper yesterday. Apparently, the man himself is due to make a cameo appearance in the next series of Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls. Their insider reveals his scenes are likely to be filmed in December – due to him being in Northern Ireland for the aforementioned gig – but no details have been revealed as to what role he’ll actually play. We shall see…