Save our nightlife

It’s the way it makes you feel.

When writing, like many, I find it helpful to listen to music. What I listen to can depend on the subject matter on which I am working. Something more taxing may require a Groove Armada playlist, or if I’m feeling a bit jaded, the G-Funk comes out. I’m particularly enjoying a bit of Loyle Carner at the moment; he helps me get a writing rhythm. Whatever it is, listening helps.

Music and memories

And I sincerely love music. The less said about Gabba, the better in my view, but otherwise, I appreciate the craft and can usually find something I like, giving me an eclectic place from which to draw. But I love music, not just for the sound. Music is unique for the feeling it gives you, unconditionally. When a song or piece of music comes on, it can transport you to a myriad of places, good and bad, but it serves a purpose. Holidays, ex’s, weddings, grief – the places it can take your mind to transport you out of the reality of every day, even if for just under 2 minutes. Daft Punk ‘Around the World’ and ‘Da Funk’ led me to a lifetime love of dance music; the Homework album changed me. The dulcet tones of Snoop’s ‘Tha Dog Pound,’ while not the feminist’s choice perhaps, actually just makes me smile and want to move, reminisce. I grew up with The Beach Boys – Help Me, Rhonda, In My Room, Little Surfer Girl – The Beastie Boys, Stone Roses, NWA, The Eurythmics, and George Michael, while carving out my taste in music, and I love them all still.

We are so fortunate that creative minds and advanced technologies have meant that the rest of us have a feast of music and creative arts at our fingertips. We are ready to curate our playlists to accompany us wherever we go. The Defected Instagram feed has been giving me life these last few months, and for that, I am so grateful! (give it a follow!)

But what about live music in 2020?

This year has been a catastrophe for an endless list of reasons, and those are for another day. Something I have been thinking about recently, though, as I listen to the radio every night, are the changes that lie ahead for those younger than me. What for my children, who have not yet experienced live music, nightclubs, and festivals.

I honeymooned in Ibiza, raved in Australia, had a rare, parents only date on Metallica’s last tour. I’m blessed to have seen the Prodigy live, James Brown support the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and screamed at the Foo Fighters. I’ve danced outside until noon at Space on Sundays terrace (showing my age a touch), praised Timo Mass in DC10 at the air hanger, and wandered around Manumission. I’ve had my mind blown at the beautiful cacophony, people, and happiness that was ticking along around me. I met my best friend of 15 years and counting on a rave bus to Bristol. My local IKEA was Slammin’ Vinyl at Sanctuary. Creamfields, Glastonbury, XOYO, Sankey’s, Custard Factory, MK Bowl, and The Roadmender – all these places and more, making me ‘feel’ – all with varying degrees of size and status. But this is not a brag, more of a feeling of gratefulness and sometimes, more recently, sadness. Sadness that I might start to forget how these places and experiences felt. That my children might not get to experience the same things I have.

There is light for the music industry…

Before Covid, live music, and clubbing, in particular, were taking a hit. But the virus and its trappings have had the most disastrous effect so far, literally ripping the heart out of the live music community, whatever genre. But there is light.

Streaming live music events and more digital platforms and channels, such as the Radio 1 Dance 24hr streaming service, have emerged.

‘There are slithers of light in the darkness…’ says Jeff Bacon, Head of Partnerships at Family in Music, ‘…live streaming is not meant to replace the live experience, it’s meant to be a different experience…like going to the theatre versus watching television’. The arrival of a new experience such as Mixcloud’s live-stream events with virtual ticketing and the Defected Records WE DANCE AS ONE live stream events are just the kind of theatre we need right now. Even better still, many of these events support charities, particularly in mental health, which we know goes hand in hand with music and our current situation.


Show support and turn up.

I hope that the industry will get the support it needs and will be enabled to adapt. As a result, it will be able to get back on its feet.

Until then, I will help in the ways that I can (govt.Let Us Dance petition). We, not just in our singular musical communities but music fans as a whole, must keep showing our support – buying records, live streaming, and engaging with the content musicians, labels, and promoters, and more are working so hard to deliver to us.

These are my personal thoughts and feelings, and there is so much more to be said and done. In the meantime and the future, I will show my children what the arts can do for them and be sure to enjoy my music even more while I’m working.