Before the shock closure of one of my haunts, the historic Black Cap last weeked this might have seemed a little premature, but as with the demise of Madame JoJos, large parts of Soho and other important parts of London’s nightlife and LGBTQ community are fast disappearing to New York style gentrification. Even with an Asset of Community Value, the Cap was closed, probably to destroy it’s worth as a pub so the dreaded plans for housing can go ahead (and that plan was actually rejected by the council in February). And The Yard is under threat.
So given the change in status for the RVT, the ‘new plans’ for an upstairs wine bar and doubts of what the current owner’s intentions are for downstairs, a whole host of Duckie regulars and past performers have gotten together to make sure that the Tavern is not next. They already have ACV, but the next stop is listing the building…amazingly but not surprisingly that would be the first building listed for the LGBTQ community.
Think of all the places that are now gone – unlike poncey architecture or rich people, our history just gets demolished and erased, again and again. Time to stop that, and let London have a few spaces for the queer community that have history, and not shoved out of the way when some developer wants to make some cash. Remember Brief Encounter? Remember The Empire (my partner does, I came on the scene just after it closed)? The Stag? Joiner’s Arms? Candy Bar? Even 79CX7R which became Manbar which died of endless noise complaints, even Ku Bar next door has moved or gone long before that. The Ghetto/Tube? Substation South? The Fort? Coleherne? Joiners Arms? There are many more I’ve missed, all gone and nearly all within the last decade and a half I’ve lived in London, most often demolished and never coming back.
So check out the RVT Future site, join the mailing list and support protecting the RVT and any of the threatened bars – because soon we won’t have anything except maybe sanitised corporate chain bars left…certainly none of the artistic performance and vitality of something like Duckie. Also Save Soho which has support from many well known names, and Joiners Lives On. Together we can fight this!