Saturday, July 30, 2016

So Farewell Then...

As I write this post, it's almost 10.00am and The White Horse is gearing up for it's last day of trading. I have to say that I never imagined that I would open a blog post with that line, but here we are....

The Horse has been a cornerstone of the Shoreditch strip scene for 38 years and as I must have mentioned before, it was the very first strip venue that I visited. Can't remember the year, but it was in the early 90s and pubs were still closing a 3.00 til 5.00. Throughout this time, the place has remained consistently one of best run venues that I have ever visited. But it was also far more than a strip venue, it was meeting place for an interesting bunch of regulars from all walks of life that got together and discussed the issues of the day or anything else that crossed their minds.

Regulars are what a makes a pub and they come and go, some return after a few months, some never come back at all, but for the current bunch, well... some will move to Browns or The Horns but for some others, the closure of this pub means a change too far and they will seen no more.

We also have to consider those most directly affected by the closure, that is the dancers and the bar staff and we wish them the very best of luck in their search for a new place to work.

The reason for the closure is the same that faces many leaseholders in Shoreditch. Freeholders are squeezing their tenants with vast rent increases with a view to making as much as they can out of the floorspace they own and this is what happened here. The White Horse was hit with a 400% rent increase and the owner, Sue Bristow made a business like decision. But most importantly Sue made sure everyone knew well in advance of the last day of trading.

So on this last day we have about 30 dancers performing from about 1.00pm onwards and the roster includes many that have worked their in the past and it promises to be quite a party. The final dance will be performed by one of their most popular and long standing girls and will take place early Sunday morning and then, after a few last rounds, The White Horse will be no more...

What will become of the place? I have heard loads of rumours, but the most credible is that it is going to turned into some kind of pizza restaurant, which will be amazing and I look forward to what it will be next year and how it will change the year after that.

I did my last visit yesterday afternoon, I wanted to be there on the last regular day and I had a good time, said goodbye to the bar staff and some of the regulars and for me, that is enough. I read somewhere that rather than be sad that something has passed, it is better to glad that it existed and that sums up how I feel.

So, to Sue, the bar staff and the dancers, I wish you the best of luck and thank you for 25 years of great times and good memories that will never fade.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

York and The Numbers are finally In (plus a little bit more)

Before I start just to say the reason why I haven't written more is there wasn't anything that really needed to be highlighted. Just so happens that I got a google alert, a reply to a FoI request and saw something on my facebook wall all within the same 24 hours so it sort of inspired me to write. I have seen a couple of online paper reports of licenses being granted even though 4 people and a dog have complained and the council received one valid objection (okay maybe not the dog). So here we go with my first for a while and more will depend on the google alerts outstanding FoIs and some research.

So this is a three piece article. Firstly I want to talk about the situation at York, as we know we had a consultation that hasn't been put in front of the committee and from my last piece we know that the view was more in favour of the clubs than against. I have now received answers to my follow up questions and want to highlight a couple of points.

So 78 people objected using such language that it was on moral grounds. So 25% of people are objecting on moral grounds which as we know would not be acceptable if the language was used in objections to a license application or renewal. I certainly see many people would want to discount these answers on the grounds morals should not come into the discussion. Secondly just under 10% of respondents objected to the structure of the consultation which does highlight the fact the language and structure need to be looked at for any consultations. We have seen the situation where Leeds used a structure and this appears to have been copied on more than one occasion now.

I found a google alert in my inbox about an application for a new SEV in Sheffield that would be called Villa Mercedes. Standard blah blah in the local on line paper which reads like it has been copy and pasted and only the names have been changed. However one thing caught my eye is a group called ZeroOption4Sheffield who are campaigning for no clubs in Sheffield which would mean the closing of Spearmint Rhino along with blocking the SEV application. As per usual the thinking for your readers with a template letter is on their blog and they do try to link clubs with child sexual exploitation from the macho culture. This is from no actual research just the belief of a senior policeman who is being quoted. Sort of reminds me of another Policeman saying things about clubs without any facts, unfortunately I cannot think of a way of proving or disproving these beliefs so when challenging that sort of comment I would just try to make people aware it is not a fact just a personal belief.

I have noted on twitter that ZO4S as I will call them have reached out to a few people and the template has probably drawn from other older templates. I find it amazing any group can feel they have the right to attack others in their work because of their moral system. Still the consultation for Villa Mercedes is open till August 2nd and if you want to comment I would suggest you write to and anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know the various arguments. And of course there is the implication that Spearmint Rhino scares women and changes their behaviour. How true this is I am not sure but given the research of Professor Phil Hubbard I doubt the truth of the claim. So I would ask anyone who Lives, Works or may do business in the area to write in... I would say it a third time but think my audience is savvy another to only need two nudges

Finally there is a new video from channel 4 featuring the East London Strippers Collective and you sort of wonder why the groups against clubs don't speak to dancers first but just make moral judgements. Anyway if you want to watch it click here this web episode is well worth a watch especially those campaigners who are against clubs and claim to speak for the dancers. Now go speak to the people whose lives you are trying to ruin (NSFW probably unless you own the company).