Thursday 26 November 2015

Why I started the Save London Music campaign

The seeds of the campaign were sown when I was organising the Mill Hill Music Festival earlier this year. I realised that in Mill Hill alone, we've lost seven venues where the festival has held gigs since I became involved in 2001 (Mill Hill Sports Club (School), St Josephs College, The Rose and Crown, The Mill, Holcombe House (all Flats), The Bell, The Jolly Badger (Restaurants). I then had a look at the list of venues I've performed with my band at, and this was an even longer and far sadder list with some great London venues disappearing. Some such as The Moonlight Club in West Hampstead and The Purple Turtle were well established venues with important musical histories.  I wasn't the only one to notice, with a cottage industry sprining up detailing lost venues. Another disturbing trend is the number of rehearsal and recording studios closing. In North London, we've lost two excellent studios (Blues and Station Studios) in Southgate. These were long established and well run establishments.

Rog T's gig records
FYI - Here's a list of London Music Venues that I've gigged at with the False Dots that have closed (taken from my scrapbook records)

Gooners at The Copper, Tower Bridge Road
The Ad Lib Club, Kensington
Tunnel Club, East Greenwich
The Moonlight club, West Hampstead
The Prince Albert, Golders Green
The Bald Faced Stag, Burnt Oak
The Pinder of Wakefield, Kings Cross
The Cricklewood Hotel, Crickelwood
St Josephs College, Mill Hill
The Red Lion, Colindale
The Mill Hill Sports Club, Mill Hill
The Purple Turtle, Camden Town

Some people have said to me that the reason music venues are in decline is because the world has changed and there is no demand. I don't believe a word of this. During this years Mill Hill Music Festival, we saw record crowds at venues. Our final night party at The Three Hammers with Joe Angel saw the Hammers more packed than I've ever seen it in 35 years going to the pub. All of the events were well attended. We've also seen The Chandos Arms in Colindale transformed by new owenrs who have turned it into an award winning establishment, with music being a key feature in their package.  It is clear to me that if you put the right music on and make the effort to promote it, you will develop a good business. Sadly the economics of London put no value on the benefits to the economy of music and creative industries. Instead the way it works in London is that you get rich by asset stripping and destruction of anything of cultural value. That is why we need a Save London Music campaign. That way our important venues will have a future we'll have a better standard of life and the economy will continue to benefit from the huge contribution from creative industries.

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