For many Djs, timing is everything. Their craft consists of keeping the party alive with mechanical precision. For DJ Aman Bhambra, 21, veteran of popular dance and grime music, the timing of his next gig to perform at one of London’s iconic nightclubs couldn’t have come at a worst time.
As of September 7th 2016, Islington borough council temporarily revoked Fabric’s venue licence, conducting an end to what had been one London’s best nightclubs profound for its dance music culture and student nights. One of the biggest factors that caused the closure of the Islington nightclub was the use of drugs on site, it was a contentious issue that had seen Fabric temporarily close due to a series of drug deaths. Fabric nightclub, Islington was first founded in 1999 but was forced to close in September after Islington Council believed it had a culture of drug use which staff were incapable of controlling.
Fabric had previously clashed with Islington council in 2014, after following drug-related deaths to the establishment. Metropolitan Police and Islington council decided to take matters into their own hands by imposing stringent security measures at the venue, including drug-sniffing dogs, which was a crucial requirement for the nightclub to keep its licence. The beginning of the end approached earlier this year, after the two drug-related deaths of two 18-year-old students, in two different occasions, triggered the temporary closure of the club.
The death of Ryan Browne,18 who fell ill at the 2,500 capacity nightclub and Jack Crossley also aged 18 who collapsed outside the club on August 6 was the trigger for Islington Council to shut down the well-known night club as over the past five years the club has had over six casualties whom have died from drug overdose.
Although Fabric repealed and was victorious against the closure in November, the drastic change in conditions is the main reason Fabric was allowed to reopen, these include anyone under the age of 19 will not be allowed in and anyone found in possessions of drugs will be ‘banned for life’. DJ Aman Bhambra, 21 says he ‘understands why the new policies are in place’ as he reveals that he received no training when handling drug users, hence his decision to ‘turn a blind eye, to prevent trouble’. Bhambra had been a DJ at the Islington nightclub before its closure and was ‘gutted’ to see it close due to the death of two teenage boys earlier this year.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan,46 also supported a petition via social media and said ‘Fabric was an essential part of London’s nightlife. Thousands will lose out’ The Islington nightclub did not go down without a fight as they resulted in an alternative crowdfunding campaign to help their appeal, #saveourculture. A spokesman from the nightclub released a statement stating that “Fabric is extremely disappointed with Islington Council’s decision to revoke our license,” the statement reads. The statement later goes on and mentions that “closing fabric is not the answer to the drug-related problems clubs like ours are working to prevent, and sets a troubling precedent for the future of London’s night time economy.”
Bartender John Briones, 20 agrees with the statement issued by the spokesman of Fabric nightclub as “changing the policies to not allow anyone under the age of 19 is not going to work, as the majority of drug users are not addicts but they are social users no matter what age they are.” Briones later mentions that having ID scanners at the entrance is a good idea as “many other clubs that I have worked at/ visited (PRYZM Birmingham) have these scanners, although it makes it longer for the punters it is worth the precaution”
“It is a bit upsetting that people under the age of eighteen are not permitted to enter the club, when I turned eighteen I could not wait to paint the town red, these eighteen year olds who live in Islington cannot enjoy the atmosphere of Fabric”. He says.
Student Arun Pillai, 19 disagrees with the reopening of the Islington nightclub, “how many lives have to be lost for it (Fabric) to close down for good.” He says. “There are many other nightclubs in London that shun the idea of drugs and would not even dare to have them on site, what’s so good about Fabric.”