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‘ he Right To Party’. This was the cover line of the February issue of the style Bible The Face, back in 1990. The magazine was urging a campaign against the government over their Entertainments
(Increased Penalties) Bill, which aimed to
stamp out the menace of young people
enjoying themselves, aka raves. Fighting for properly licensed. legal all-night clubbing. they depicted Glasgow as a haven, telling an envious UK, ‘Glasgow has this already.’
No more. The heady days of 5am licenses
during the Year Of Culture are well and
truly over. The tin lid was firmly put on the hedonistic memory of it all when
Glasgow’s licensing board brought in draconian
measures last month, imposing a midnight curfew
on entry to clubs and cutting licenses from 3am to 23m.
They were met with some resistance from club owners, taxi-drivers, bar staff and clubbers in what quickly became characterised as a battle between the generations; the middle-aged councillors, anxious about late night crime, versus the trendy young things, glowering at demos outside the City Chambers and clutching banners which sarcastically declared ‘Glasgow’s Alive . . . Until Midnight’.
Despite the‘protests, orchestrated by Glasgow’s Disco Operators’ Association and a very vocal Ron McCulloch (The Tunnel and The Volcano), the restrictions were imposed, with licenses carved up between 8—25 June. When taxi drivers complained about the late night dying trade, the licensing board chair Councillor Jim Coleman retorted, ‘l’d rather see the city centre dying than see someone dying in the city centre.’
Pressure from the police on what they claimed was a rise in late night city centre incidents undoubtedly led to the decision but many club owners are aggrieved that the blame for this was laid at their doors. Most operate a strict door policy and some had co-operated extensively with the police’s Operation Blade, increasing security and setting up metal detectors to flush out the knife carriers.
Many feel that cheap drink promos in city centre bars, enticing teenagers in from the outlying districts, are more likely the cause for any disturbances. Superintendent Carmichael of Glagow’s city centre ‘A’ Division disagrees, insisting that their statistics showed a surge of activity during club hours, between 2—3am.
Dave Clark, a head honcho of the Slam gang, is highly dubious. ‘l’ve talked to some of the boys on the beat and they say that the trouble was
happening between midnight—lam, ie when the pubs spilled out.’
The Slam clubs, with their dedicated dance- trancers, are holding up well so far, in the race of an initial shocked reaction from the night birds. The first Friday at their Club Loco gig at the Arches they circumvented their new license and stayed open until 3.30am — by serving only soft drinks.
‘The crowds seemed pretty happy about that,’ notes Lori Frater, general manager at The Arches. The venue has been hit hard by the new measures as revenue from Club and Cafe Loco at the weekend is pretty essential to the Arches theatrical operations. They had hoped the board would make an exception in their case due to their tight turn-around; getting a theatre show out and the club nights set up.
‘lt’s made things very difficult at Cafe Loco,’ notes Frater. ‘Getting people in isn’t a problem as we always reached capacity by midnight but it’s meant we have to start the entertainment earlier. Bands used to come on between 12.15—12.30am, now we have to get them on at 1 1.30pm. The cabaret entertainment has to start at 10pm instead of llpm, at a time when most people are still sitting in pubs.’
The battle between pubs and clubs is heating up, with some pubs setting up late night ‘happy hours’ to keep the punters in the bars and stop them heading out to beat the curfew.
‘We were dealt a double whammy with the Jazz Festival,’ points out Stephen Falconer, manager of Reds. ‘The bars were open until lam and 2am and people weren’t getting out in time.’
Like Dave Clark he is confident Reds will survive but he is concerned about loss of business. ‘People are still coming out on Fridays and Saturdays but they’re reluctant to come out on weekdays now.’
With seven years previous experience as a doorman Falconer says he noticed more trouble on the streets six years ago but insists he is concerned about police fears. ‘l’m not one for demos. I appreciate that only 6 per cent of Glaswegians go nightclubbing. We are in a minority but most club owners are responsible and would be happy to impose self-policing measures.’
He suggests a strictly monitored lam curfew with a 3am close. This would be similar to Edinburgh, where late night disturbances have recently led to city centre club curfews of 1.30am and 3am closures being imposed.
‘The people I feel sorriest for are the city’s bar staff,’ says Tony Gough, manager at Fury
THE ATY’S OVI
Glasgow clubbers' smiley grins are looking a little glummer of late with a council directive forcing them to be in city centre clubs by midnight and on their way home at 2am. Sara Villiers reports.
Murry’s. ‘lt’s killed their social life; they can’tJ
8 The List 16—29 July I993