The Demise of matter - Just Another Nail in London’s Super Club Scene

Words by: Polly Lavin
Posted: 19/5/10 16:42

The Demise of MatterWith unconfirmed rumours circulating across online boards of bankruptcy, short term closure or a possible re-structuring and big name DJs such as Sasha and Christian Smith tweeting sentimentally in unison, the suggested closure of the 2600 capacity venue matter will come as a tough blow to a capital whose clubbing scene in recent years witnessed the disappearance of a number of big clubs such as Turnmills, The Cross and The End. Even the most sanctimonious of stalwarts Ministry of Sound has been under threat from property developers and for many, matter represented a shining beacon for both clubbing and for the salivating super DJs an opportunity to continue trouncing club promoters and clubbers with fee driven appearances.

So, where did it all go wrong? Unfortunately, perhaps it's that salivating and notion of ‘bigger is better' that has added to its suggested demise. Modelled on Womb in Tokyo and opened in September 2008 to much fanfare as the UK super-club of super-clubs it was hailed as being the venue that would fill the void left in London's club scene. Promoters Cameron Leslie and Keith Reilly founders of the original Fabric initially declined the advances of AEG, the US sports and leisure conglomerate which owns the 02 citing that ‘All they knew about the Dome at that point was the failed casino bid.', but it was the tempting proposition to design their own club that would house several unique visual installations, a sound system of over 200 speakers and the now famous vibrating 'Body Kinetic' floor which added to the attraction and manifested itself into the whopping £14 million price tag its creation entailed.

Its nights ran in succession from the start and included big name artists such as AIR, Laurent Garnier, Sasha, James Zabiela's Positronic night and Circo Loco nights and big nights such as Hospitality, Bedrock and Cocoon were on the pulse of the scene to pull in the numbers but in the early part of this year cancellations and deferrals of artists such as Fischerspooner, Dubfire and Denis Ferrer started to appear in its roster of events leading to suggestions in inner music circles that Matter was not cracking the numbers. Though, comments that are leaking out are stating it is only closing for the summer due to "Transport Issues" others are stating on online boards it is more indefinite "I work for Matter London. It has closed for the indefinite future. They say it may open at the end of the summer, but how likely of this we are unsure"

Perhaps, until we get an official press statement we can look at a hypothesised precursor and explanation? matter flying head first in the words of Jean Claude Trichet "The worst economic crisis since the First World War", a reduction of available liquid capital in consumer pockets, the ensuing credit crunch and onset of a recession that has translated into the highest recorded job losses in the UK in 15 years with some parts of London recording a 15% increase in the jobless. Couple this with the difficulty of getting there due to the problems with Jubilee line closures and out of the Greenwich peninsula again at 4am, which they at least tried to alleviate with shuttle buses to and from the venue, the arduous airport style struggle to get into the O2 dome by having to join long queues, metal detector security searches and then join another queue to get into Matter and then once in for some nights the issue of £20 entry fees. The spirit of the O2 being commercial and owned by a US conglomerate is an issue that some clubbers also felt conveyed a spirit that was not what dance music and alternative clubbing scenes represented.

It all suggests Matter was needed but has been overly ambitious and badly timed economically. Ironically, a relaxing of the licensing laws in 2006 was supposed to alleviate the notion of the government's attitude being negative towards 24 hours clubbing but even in the face of this Matter still closed at 4am. The harsh reality is super clubs may be taking the brunt of it in London but guerrilla style underground nights are taking off at clubs such as Corsica Studios and Mulletover/Secretsundaze promoters continue to sell out their nights that are taking over of East and South East London. Smaller nights are keeping the scene alight in the city and are the clubs that are running on until 7am and onwards and politely suggest that a section of London clubbers want it to return back to the underground. The real question now is whether Fabric will be affected by Matters demise? |


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