Is London dead? as the developers move in are they killing all that we love?Is London dead

Earls Court, the 12Bar, the Buffalo Bar and now Camden Market- London is dying as the developers get their own way over and over again. Greed rules and the creative underground is getting bullied and battered by a strange collection of developers whose ego and greed seems to be more important than thousands of other people.
It’s the age old story.

A city becomes a powerhouse of creativity with an international reputation. It has a magnetic draw on people from all over the world (mainly there for its energy and not the dusty old German family known as the Royals), it has a few years of cutting edge brilliance and the the rich and tasteless move in and kill it all dead.

It would be fair to say right now that London is feeling the pinch with many key grass roots venues and interesting spaces under the cosh. We have already detailed the upcoming closure of the 12Bar because its roots rock n roll face does not fit in the ugly, new, polished world of corporate culture. The fact that the surrounding Denmark Street is also about to be turned into one of those faceless areas with a thin veneer of pretend culture slapped on top is fooling no-one apart from the developer who is imposing his own personal vision on the area- a bit like when he moved the Marquee and destroyed a much loved venue.
Earls Court is being turned into luxury flats and the Buffalo bar is going from being a key venue into a store room for a pub and now there is talk of Camden market being turned into some hideous posh flat/pricey shop/designer, CONcrete crap ghetto at the whim and hand of another dodgy looking developer whose CV wouldn’t get him a job in the real world.

What is it about out modern society that these whims of the rich can get their own way over decades of creativity and we see the destruction of so much that is cherished and important just so a clutch of people can drink and shop in chain prisons ?

What kind of vision is this from the top? where does Boris Johnson fit into all of this? is there any kind of leadership or vision? that cuddly man of the people thing was always a bit of a joke really as he turns the city into a playground for the rich with no questions asked. This could be the mayor that killed the golden goose with a short sited greed.

George Orwell’s vision of the future was a boot stamping on the face of humanity for ever now it now seems to have morphed into a chain coffee bar grinding not only coffee but itself into the face of humanity for ever…


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  1. Great piece John. So sorry to not get to the gig. The lack vocal chords still, you understand. I am now calling for musicians to write and release songs about the street following on from The Bermondsey Joyriders’ 12 Bar Beat song. Songs For Tin Pan Alley please. Thanks

  2. You’re absolutely right. It’s very depressing and I have to say these plans seem quite short-sighted to me as I question whether many people will still want to come to London when there are no quirky, interesting places left to discover, just chains, big name brand shops and the new plague of pretentious cafes and restaurants which have springing up in and around Soho like mushrooms. Still, at least The Ape and Bird “public house” didn’t last long!

  3. It seems that nowhere is sacred anymore they are seeking and searching for every last remaining decent area that has proper character and removing the soul that keeps the fabric of sanity intact in the real people, it’s so sad to see these places all slowly going, OK move the 12 Bar, it would not be the same, It’s not one of the man’s chains it evolved from its area and the people that frequent it, I don’t want to sip coffee whilst surfing the net not talking to the person next to me, I want a good time where I can sit in a place where I feel comfortable and listening to good live bands, Greed how much do they need…

  4. Great piece, and another example of how the system we struggle within always, in the end, puts the profits of a tiny minority of owners first, not the needs or wishes of the rest of us. The same thing happened a few weeks ago over in Soho, as Madam JoJos is about to be bulldozered to make way for a hideous shopping mall of coffee shops, clothes shops and the nightmare of Soho-“themed” restaurants – a flat-white and frappucino dystopia, to generate more millions for investors who wouldn’t be seen dead there.

  5. “Go to London! I guarantee you’ll either be mugged or not appreciated. Catch the train to London, stopping at Rejection, Disappointment, Backstabbing Central and Shattered Dreams Parkway.” – Alan Partridge

  6. The so-called developers should be stopped by petitions and demonstrations, the problem of preservation London’s historical places must be raised in City Council..


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