So I went down to one of my favourite places on Saturday night, the London club that’s never let me down and without doubt has been the setting for my most enjoyable nights out in the capital. The place is, of course, Plastic People and it’s a club that I know many people share a similar affection with, not only has the vibe always been right, the people involved, the bar staff, the amazing DJ’s, THE SOUND! – it has always combined to make it my favourite place to dance to proper music.
So, it’s with great sadness that I say after heading down to see Jamie xx and Floating Points on Saturday night, all those elements have seemingly gone and it’s very odd to say, but I don’t see myself going back. Some friends had warned me that it had changed for the worse but due to loyalty I chose to largely ignore them, blindly believing that it couldn’t be true. But they were right.
Unfortunately the world-famous sound system, ALWAYS the most important part of Plastic People has not only left the building, they’ve bizarrely swapped it with a truly shoddy replacement, something I find so hard to fathom knowing how seriously the owners take the subject of sound. To hear the music so quiet, but still so stretched was heart-wrenching and that’s the problem, they had created something so impressive and simple for so many years that to lose it, they may as well have closed the club, as it’s not the same. They will of course argue that they had to do all these things to appease the law-makers and local residents, but I always got the impression that the soul and the sound were the most important factors to them, not sacrificing them just to keep the venue going.
This is, of course, putting aside the facts that they’ve moved the DJ booth, built a big wall in the middle of the club, removed the locks on the toilet cubicles, hired some really unfriendly bar staff and decided to stop selling drinks at 1:50am (it closes at 4am), got so invasive on the door that they spent 15 minutes going through every belonging in my wife’s bag as if she had some previous track record (none of us had anything illegal on us). The fact that it was full of students snogging each other and gropey guys touching up my wife and her friend on the ridiculously dark dancefloor – in fact it’s almost like every great aspect of the club has been completely reversed. BUT even then, I think I could actually put up with all that shit if it still sounded good, I wouldn’t be happy of course, but at least the essence of what it was all about would be intact – unfortunately I can’t see any reason as it is to go back now, which is a very sad feeling.
So there it is, that’s my rant on Plastic People (some words I never thought i’d say), unfortunately I wish I could be more positive but it’s just the way I feel. What was amazing though was Room 1 at Fabric on Saturday night. After coming all the way out from the other side of town, we were craving a proper dance so we all jumped in a cab at 2ish (when the bar shut) and headed straight to the dancefloor for Âme (Plastic People regulars) – and they didn’t disappoint… also, funnily enough, i’ve never heard the sound system sound better in there.