Sunday, January 24, 2016

Message for Club Owners and Managers

I wasn't going to write this piece, but after reflection if I don't and a club closes because of a consultation that take place in the future I would feel guilty about the whole issue. I have noticed that the talk has shifted from should they close clubs to how many. Which the antis can answer none but everyone else's answers is split! The lesson the anti's learned from Leeds is split how people respond and you can close clubs, in the future we could see a new consultation from Leeds intending to cut more but we will watch for that.

So this blog entry is aimed at the group of people I don't normally talk to or about or for. Club owners/managers this is aimed at you more than anyone else, normally as a customer I would be all about the dancers or all about the customers, after all the clubs can look after themselves? Well that was my thought but having seeing a couple of consultations and knowing that more are to come I feel that to ensure that the clubs are not shafted they need to approach these consultations very seriously. And the clubs need to approach the consultations in an unusual way!

The fact is when the consultations come out they ask how many clubs should be allowed Zero (always put first) and then up to the number of existing clubs. They may add one more than the existing number and they include there should be no limits. And what happens is the antis have their zero and everyone else is split over how many. Now I am sure the clubs will feel okay keep it as is, which is great for a club if it stops more competition but there comes the issue of just what happens if the public are split over how many? The council can use the split to limit/close or block clubs even though the majority are for the clubs.

Lets say there is only one club and 40% want no clubs and 30% want it as just 1 whilst 30% want as many as the market can bear. The council COULD claim that the majority want the clubs closed, I would not ever say a council would be awkward about the truth about how clubs are dealt with after a consultation but better safe than sorry in my opinion. Now the clubs have hundreds of people passing through each week, yet the consultations seem to hang on a handful of people making the effort. So clubs here is the point of this piece, when you find out about a consultation then you need to engage with your customers and dancers to get involved.

And by involved I would suggest that we get everyone to go the same way and push for no limit. There will always be those who will want the market to decide how many so rather than split opinions lets mobilise and push for no limit on every consultation from now on. The York consultation I was busy with trying to get more people involved but club owners you have so much more in the way of reach than me as a blog. I would ask customers/dancers/staff to point out this to club managers, I would hope that people would e-mail me with the contact details of the chair of any SEV licensing committee that is going to consultation, I want to be able to pick up and follow what is going on. We are still waiting on York to publish their results and I have no idea if the people I approached made any effort to complete the consultation.

So for once this is not about anything other than club owners please mobilise your customers and if possible I would like to get involved in terms writing to councils and publishing pieces about what is going on. My e-mail address is the one at the bottom, that is the one I will respond to fastest. And I know you may not want any more competition but given that or no club well you need to have a think about it!

TonyN (

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bournemouth No Moral Judgement (of course)

Well time to head off to the sunny South Coast and join the Cherries down in Bournemouth, now I haven't been down that way for a while and it has taken a bit of brushing up to figure out exactly what is going on. The talk is that Poole and Bournemouth are possibly going to form a super council which means people are trying to make their names. And by claiming the whole raft of issues are nothing to do with morals while creating an image of a moral councillor lining up his next role the clubs are going to face some challenges.
Looks more like a B n B would anyone really know?
First up Wiggle has asked to create an outdoor area behind a gate and wall for people to drink and smoke. Which considering the number of bars, pubs and food venues with outside seating does not seem in the least unreasonable. From reading local online papers the majority don't even notice the bars and they are far less of a nuisance than the "normal" bars and club. Given that Bournemouth has a reputation for stag and hen do's SEVs appear to be part of the key for attracting night time economy. But of course we have Brute's favourite issue "What about the Kiddies?" so a venue that looks like any other bar from the outside that kids can't get into. So what is the issue? Seems certain people are worried about how to explain the venue to their children. Now forgive me for being an awful guide to parents but explain it how you explain a bar or pub. Most kiddies wont ask the questions these misguided "parents" are so worried about just a cause of parents trying to impose their moral values on their kids before the kids are even able to form an opinion.

Now of course this is not the end of the story, it seems the councillor most in the news about all this is Cllr Andrew Morgan who has been involved in a discussion about moving all the clubs out to a sex industrial estate. Now forgive me but that sounds very much like the sort of thing a  cllr making a moral judgement might want. Given the history of Bournemouth and the fact it took 35 years just to show Monty Python's Life of Brian you do get the impression that the council has some right wing Christians in the midst of the council, Andrew Morgan did say to the BBC is was high time but you would think anyone saying any different in 2015 would have looked a fool (Here). There was even time to joke that moving the clubs to Poole might be a solution. A solution it seems to a problem that doesn't exist, but don't let facts like the police have no issues and people walk past the venues without noticing (in line with the research by Phil Hubbard). And was interesting to see the reaction of a Poole councillor.
I wouldn't be sitting outside in this weather
So now we move onto the future, Bournemouth Council is planning on a SEV Consultation and given the comments by Councillor Morgan we can expect something similar to Leeds/York rather than Hackney. It will be interesting to see if it is only for residents or it is also for tourists who use the town for holidays. Certainly if they open it to non residents then we hope that our readers will take part. If it is only for residents then please reach out to people in that local community to take part. So we can expect yet another moral driven agenda hidden behind a what about the kiddies storyline that no one of sound mind can possibly see as valid. If the child is old enough to know what happens at Spearmint Rhino chances are (s)he knows more than his/her parents. So we face the usual situation of councillors trying to be crowd pleasers by following others but just using the same tired rhetoric. Just for once I would love to read about a councillor who has taking the whole thing seriously and read the research!

I will be keeping an eye on this but welcome to 2016.

TonyN (