Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saving London Venues: the Half Moon and the Foundry

Campaigns are currently being waged to save two iconic London venues.

The Half Moon in Putney (South West London) has been hosting live music regularly since 1963. Since that time it has seen performances by, among others, The Rolling Stones, U2, The Small Faces, Ralph McTell, Badly Drawn Boy, Richard Thompson, Kate Bush, Kasabian, The Wombats, Newton Faulkner and Mr Hudson. The current tenant has been ordered by the brewery (Youngs) to quit the pub by the end of January 2010 and there are fears that the venue could be turned into a gastro pub. Following a public campaign, Youngs are now saying they are sympathetic to music remaining in the pub but it seems that the new tenant could decide otherwise. See Save the Half Moon on Facebook for latest news.

The Foundry in Shoreditch is a relative newcomer and a different kind of venue. Not so much a music pub like the Half Moon , more of a bar with art/performance/music and various other parties and happenings. It has a squat bar ambience of the kind found in places like Berlin or Rome but rarely in London, although it is not actually squatted. Anyway it is facing demolition and replacement by a hotel - almost a text book case in the urban regeneration cycle whereby hipsters take over run down properties for low or no rent, make an area trendy, and then are displaced by corporate operators cashing in on the value they have added. The Save the Foundry campaign is urging people to comment on the planning application for the hotel - the deadline is 4th January.


Anonymous said...

Good to see both campaigns.

Re: your text book case of urban regeneration, it was Zen philosopher Alan Watts who observed back in the 60s that hipsters/hippies act as kind of 'cultural manure' in regenerating areas, and that far from discouraging them, Govts/Local Authorities should relax regulations to encourage hipsters to move in and regenerate areas better than Govt. programmes.

He himself lived on a houseboat in Sausalito in an area that has now gone through exactly the same text book pattern: from squatted boats for hipsters to expensive luxury houseboats for Google executives and other wealthy professionals.

Transpontine said...

Thanks, I didn't know about Sausalito, I guess the same process has happened in New York's Lower East Side. Of course local working class people often complain about bars and pubs being taken over by 'hipsters', who then complain in turn about being turfed out by the next level up the property chain. Even then you can get the middle class property owners who displace the hipsters complaining when they in turn are priced out of the housing market by higher paid middle class/upper class people (e.g. teachers and public sector professionals get displaced by people from the financial sector).