Fabric London

So after weeks of utter fuckwittery by the Met, it’s been decided that because the Met can’t control the drug trade in London that Britain’s most iconic dance music club has closed it’s doors for the final time. After losing The End, Turnmills, The Quays and more over the last 10 or so years, it seems that dance music is being pushed into more and more illegal raves.

I spent many of my formative years in Fabric, the place is utterly brilliant and can never be replaced, and today is a very sad day to anyone from the dance music culture.

Anyway, I have a message for the myopic Met…


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Shame. Had a few cracking nights at Fabric. Mate of mine got bottled there once and was so off his head he didn’t even notice.

Happy days.

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Only been a few times but all of them were brilliant nights

Fabric RIP :lou_sad:

The fun police strike again !!

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You need our Presidente Dutarte over there to sort it out for you by the sound of it.

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The speech from the co-founder of fabric from last nights hearing.

I am Cameron Leslie, a co-founder and director of fabric.

I hold a degree in International Hospitality Management and prior to starting fabric I worked in five-star hotels and then became a hospitality and leisure consultant with Deloitte.

As this is the first time a Director Of The Company has been able to address the committee can I express our profound sadness at the two deaths that occurred. We have publicly offered our condolences to the families and friends of those involved.

It shouldn’t be underestimated the profound effect something like this has upon our team and particularly our management team and onsite medics who were required to deal with those incidents, and are obviously deeply upset. I would like to publicly thank them for their professionalism in such difficult circumstances.

As I said this is the first time we have been able to address you the Licensing Committee and more so to defend ourselves against the Police statements which have been in the public and media gaze for the past 28 days.

I cannot contest strongly enough the notion that fabric is a “safe haven for dr0gs.”

Prior to us opening in 1999 I said to the Met Police, what sort of venue do you want us to be, do you want us to be like other venues at the time and go about the destruction of dr0gs by flushing them down the toilet if they even got that far and mete out their own justice on suspected dr0g dealers at the back of the club in a dark alleyway, or do you want us to be a progressive, open and honest venue, something you can be proud of. This is what the Met wanted of us and for the best part of 12 years we were their darling. Our joint procedures were showcased to other forces around the UK and to problem licensees within London.

Together we established a pioneering confiscation and audit procedure. We have these audit books dating back to our opening. We have never hid anything. We have accepted the supremely complex challenges of dealing with cash, people, dr0gs and alcohol head on at every level. If we find a suspected drug dealer we take them to a well-lit, CCTV monitored room we sit them down and we have them arrested. Then our team, at our expense, goes to court to seek a conviction.

The notion that we provide a safe haven for drugs is frankly insulting to the considerable efforts we have put in over the years. My co-founder Keith Reilly stood up to a significant organised crime organisation who wanted to run drugs in to this club just after we opened. He had to move his family out of their home and wear a bulletproof vest for nearly a month. So we know very well the real life challenges of running a clean venue in London.

For the past month myself and my fellow directors have had to defend ourselves from the heavy inference that we are ourselves dr0g dealers. Something I find utterly abhorrent give the stance we have taken against drugs for nearly two decades.

This year alone our team have given 40 days entirely at our own cost in going to court helping to press for convictions of suspected dealers, found by us in our venue. We take our responsibilities very seriously and the notion that we somehow shield this activity is shameful and I would go as far to say it is libellous.

I should like to point out that since 2012 we have had arrested in the region of 80 dr0g dealers identified at the front door; there has been only one prosecution. So perhaps if the police want to start levelling criticism of how these so-called safe havens exist they should start by looking at themselves and the CPS, because these individuals come back the following week laughing at us.

You only have to look at TripAdvisor or Google Review or the hundreds of emails of complaint I have printed here about the intrusive level of our search to know we take our responsibilities incredibly seriously. Contrary to what the police have written it is absolutely common knowledge we have without question the strictest search procedure of any venue in the UK.

The snapshot picture the Central Licensing Police team paint of us in their statements is not the venue we know, it is not the venue we see on a week-in, week-out basis. It is not picture reported to us by our multiple layers of overt and covert surveillance who report back to us on a weekly basis, nor the management, security and the 250-strong wider team we employ. Crucially, nor does it seem to match the near 1,000 letters of representation, including other operators, competitors, associations, patrons, neighbours, parents, artists and professionals, nor the near 150,000 signatories of the petition. Furthermore we have had an independent consultant, an ex-Police Licensing Inspector, whose reports do not paint the same picture.

fabric is not an unsafe club.

We wholeheartedly do not accept the police stance of endemic failure. We believe this to be grossly unfair and a misrepresentation of a team and evolving operation that has managed 6.75 million people this past 17 years and delivers the equivalent of two Glastonbury festivals in a Central London location each year. We have the highest annual security bill and the highest ratio of security guards to patrons of any venue in the UK. That scale of delivery should not be underestimated.

The fact that there is only one letter of opposition to our licence is surely testament in itself to the fact we do things well. Despite nearly seven million patrons we do not have a history of violence nor knife crime—surely in the modern world this is something that should be celebrated.

Dr0gs are an issue for all nightclubs. From our very first days we have worked cooperatively with the licensing authority and with the police to tackle this problem as best we can. We have always been open and transparent. Through working together with the police we have refined our search policies and I am delighted to say that the amount of drugs being brought into the club has been significantly reduced as a consequence. This is exhibited in our logs of seized drugs which the Police have access to.

We have commendations from Commander Richard Martin (formerly head of Central Licensing). In September 2013 when Commander Chisty, the Metropolitan Police lead officer on alcohol crime, visited the premises unannounced during Operation Condor, he stated that the club’s procedures were “an example of best practice.” I have commendations from DCI Hutchison who assessed our procedures in 2014, while former Borough Commander David Eyles held us up as best practice for the whole of his tenure.

District Judge Allison, who spent the week going over our operations and procedures in December last year, called us a “beacon of best practice” and commended our stance on tackling dr0gs. In as late as June this year Islington Police sent the management of another London venue who had suffered a fatality to us to see how we did it, citing our procedures as the best in the business.

Yet a matter of days later we are damned in a Central Licensing report.

How can this have been the first time in 17 years we have had any notification from the police on some of these issues given they have not only been the architect of many of them but also stress-tested them on many occasions in the past four years alone?

You have the three general managers fabric has had over its 17 years in this room. Each has been trained by his predecessor with the first trained by me. These are some of the best leaders in the night-time business and I question deeply this picture of endemic failure painted by the police. Are the police suggesting they have never conducted any other undercover operations in our 17 years? Because we have never had one bit of feedback.

So what has changed in our business that we are now damned as a venue of endemic failure by the police? We have been the unfortunate location of two more deaths and quite simply they have had enough. They no longer want to work with us and have decided to get the evidence together to get a summary review. If anyone thinks for a second that the sensitively named Operation Lenor, a fabric softner, that Central Licensing undertook and the entirely unprofessional conduct that their lead officer took that night in dealing with our management team tells us that this was an entirely premeditated exercise to find the evidence required to be able to serve a summary review. This team started from the end point and gathered evidence accordingly.

The representations made are not based on any scientific assessment of the club and we wouldn’t tolerate the kind of environment described in these statements:

• “You could tell by people’s body language and behaviour that well over 80% of the other people in the club appeared to be under the influence of drugs.”
• “5-6 out of 10 people being willing to sell dr0gs”
• Undercover police state they “notice a man twitching, talking very fast and gurning,” they then proceed to talk to him and commit his words as fact to a statement: “He said that he was considering asking one of the bouncers for some. When we probed this further he said that if you are found with drugs the bouncers take this from you and then give it to people that they know.”

These sorts of things are hugely damaging to our business and our reputation. We have spent much of the past month answering interviews having to defend ourselves from these erroneous slurs.

I feel I am somehow having to defend our organisation as being an obstructive operator, creating and protecting a dangerous environment. The only time we stood up to the police in 17 years was by refusing two conditions out of 53 they wanted to punish us with in 2014 and I might add were proven entirely correct by a District Judge that they did not support the licensing objectives.

We have always been immensely proud of the close working relationship we have enjoyed with both the Met Police and particularly Islington Council.

A quick snapshot of some of the initiatives we have launched together:
• A Police instigated youth outreach music program, getting seriously damaged kids from De Beauvoir Estate in to music programs at the Club
• Launched the Safer Travel in London initiative
• Date rape drug awareness initiative
• The Hollaback anti-harassment program
• We were pioneering in tackling the blight of mobile phone theft. Creating much of the assets and procedures used by other London venues
• Founder members of the City Of London police independent advisory group
• We host police dog training and tactical fire arms training
• Islington always include fabric in purple flag assessment
• Founders and ongoing chair of the EC1 Pub and Club watch

We have always been a first port of call as a partner to work with on any public initiative.

Drugs are a constantly evolving challenge for clubs like ours and given the circumstances we have of course voluntarily reviewed all our processes and as always we are eager to work with the police on anything else we can do to keep people safe. But venues are so far downstream on their ability to fight these challenges, trying to locate items as small as this one—a person wearing winter coat and bag, maybe up to 25 pockets per person, 2,500 people per night. That could be 62,500 pockets, and that’s before you get to the complexities of bras or underwear or things hidden in intimate places.

Dr0g-taking is endemic in British society and there’s not a shred of evidence anywhere to suggest closing nightclubs will somehow either lower drug harm or eliminate consumption. It’s a smokescreen for a drug policy that has consistently failed over a 50-year period. Short of performing a colonoscopy on every clubber, it’s impossible to eliminate all drug use in clubs and, indeed, anywhere else.

These are the challenges we face as a night-time operator.

It is a sad but unavoidable fact that it is not possible to remove all dr0gs from circulation within a nightclub. And even if it were, people would still attend the venue having taken drugs prior to their arrival. It is for this reason that fabric fights the battle with drug use on two fronts: prevention and harm mitigation.

It is of course entirely realistic to expect businesses to develop strong strategies to minimise harm and crime and fabric over the years has been proud of adopting best practice.

We believe we are presenting to you a series of compelling and cohesive points of improvement. We are constantly reinventing our operation, we have always tried to stay ahead of the game. I would like to reiterate my point that 35 of the 53 conditions Islington sought to impose upon us at the 2014 review were our own initiatives, business improvements we had introduced voluntarily. We want to work with police and the council to try and create a gold standard for clubbing safety. Implementing these strategies requires considerable business investment and you need professional and established operations like fabric to stay open.

We could be bold, like Amsterdam and Berlin, which regard nightlife not as a social disorder issue but a tourist attraction or we could be like New York, where neoliberal policies have all but destroyed what was once the most musically innovative and vital club scene in the world. We need the police to work with businesses like us to help them keep people safe, not to demonise us.

If we are going to take that finger-pointing approach, why have the police not stopped dr0gs from coming in to Britain or being on our streets? Has it become the sole responsibility of nightclubs and some bars to be the last line of defence?

In a climate where pills are circulating the UK with almost four times the dosage of MDM4 of most found during the late '90s, what is absolutely urgent in order to prevent more deaths is not the closure of one venue, but the systematic education of young people on the risks and repercussions of the drugs they are taking, up to date and accurate information on dangerously potent batches in the current market, education on recognising warning signs of overdose amongst friends and how to respond.


Never went, or at least, don’t remember going.

Sounds like they’ve been made an example of. Very interesting response from the proprietor.

All this despite the 150k signatures, widespread high profile support, the Mayor’s opposition and the amazing (if all true) statement above. I hope they appeal the shit out of this decision.

Ah, Louise Mensch. She already has a fallacy named after her. Leaving the UK has not diminished her ability to create turds of her own making before stepping on them. If anything, it has improved her.

One fears it’ll get to the point where people say “C’mon now. You can’t make fun of her. She’s Louise Mensch, FFS. She can’t help it”.


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I’m not familiar with the establishment but he puts forward a very plausible case for the licencing committee being a bunch of gullible twats.


What an utter knobhead

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In precis, it’s a London, and really, world institution. It is the biggest and best club in London and has consistently delivered good music, whether through it’s club, it’s Fabric CD’s or it’s FabricLive CD offering.

Think a proper credible Ministry of Sound.

It gets worse:

On a hot, drab night on Tuesday 7 September, London’s iconic Fabric nightclub was permanently closed. The trigger for Fabric’s suspension and subsequent closure was allegedly the deaths of two individuals as a result of drug taking on the premises on 25 June and 6 August.

However, documents obtained by The Independent via a Freedom of Information request show that Fabric’s closure was a long pre-planned event, orchestrated by a cash-strapped council, using the police as pawns.

Islington Council’s official statement regarding the closure lists 11 bullet points (below) justifying the decision. Two of these directly relate to the deaths of the two individuals. A further eight relate to an undercover police operation that took place in the venue in July 2016.

The undercover police operation found no hard evidence of drug taking inside the venue, relying instead on vague observations. These observations found their way into the council decision, including that individuals were “manifesting symptoms showing that they were (on drugs). This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space,” and also that “people in the smoking area enquiring about the purchase of drugs…I believe within earshot of the security officer”.


Islington Council’s statement

In fact, the original undercover police report itself also reported that “the general atmosphere of the club was friendly and non-threatening” and that “there was a diverse demographic in regards to race, [with people speaking] French, Italian and Chinese”. These findings did not make it into the Islington statement.

Undercover police in nightclubs is nothing new, but targeting the venue itself, as opposed to dealers, is. The undercover police report that was used as evidence for Islington Council’s decision was made all the more unusual by the fact it was named ‘Operation Lenor’, presumably after the supermarket fabric softener.


“Operation Lenor”

So why did the police feel the need to create such a perfunctory report?

The first bullet point of the Islington council decision contains not the recent drugs deaths, but instead mentions the 2014 review of Fabric’s licence. This is significant.

The 2014 review took place following four drug deaths over three and a half years from individuals visiting the premises (of which only one was from drugs supplied inside the venue). The review ruled that sniffer dogs were to be placed outside the venue on rotating shifts for at least 50% of the night:


That, in itself, is an odd move. Even airports and military bases don’t have dogs at the scanners for half of every working day. Moreover, the council and police dictated these dogs were to be from a private security firm, paid for by Fabric, but approved by the police. This was despite Paddy Whur, the club’s solicitor during the 2014 review, pointing out: “The vast majority of private sector dog providers are not trained to the level that police dogs are. So it’s been difficult finding one to meet the criteria police want.”

Perhaps then, the dogs were meant to be more of a discouragement to would-be drug users than an actual drug-busting mechanism. At any rate, the plan backfired. On 11 December 2015, the terms of Fabric’s operation - notably the use of sniffer dogs - were reversed. The report notes: “The Judge went further and found that the use of a drugs dog could undermine the licensing objectives in a number of unintended ways, including causing drugs to remain in circulation that would otherwise have been confiscated under Fabric’s thorough search procedures.”


Fabric counterstrike begins: ‘These places are where we fall in love’

Documents obtained by The Independent via an FOI request relating to the recent suspension of Fabric prior to its review revealed further clarity on the sniffer dog reversal.

Over the course of 918 pages of written letters requesting the club stay open, some 45 pages concern the use of sniffer dogs, noting their inefficiency at detecting drugs, but also frequent suggestions that “sniffer dogs force scared people into consuming all of their drugs before they enter the venue.”

The decision was overturned. Why then did the police feel the need to create “Operation Lenor”, despite the fact that that same police force had recently referred other London venues’ management to Fabric as a bastion of good practice?

Government cuts

Islington council has lost half its funding since 2010. A spending review in 2015 confirmed cuts of £70 million over the next four years. In 2016 alone it stands to lose £17 million. The Islington police, who are partly funded by the council, face similar cuts: anything up to 44% of the staff numbers - or 252 officers.

A paradox exists. Fabric, and the secondary economy around it: the bars, restaurants and late night takeaways that operate in the area, all pay a substantial amount of tax. Likely more than, say, a replacement block of flats or a boutique hotel would. Then there’s the fact that the nighttime economy in the area - including police, employs thousands of people. Why shut it down?

The government’s austerity measures have created cost-cutting across the board. Councils, police forces and other public services are being shunted off as overheads, whilst all the time new building projects and corporate investment appear. Fabric may have made money locally, yet that money never made it’s way back to the council and police in the area.

What’s perhaps most saddening of all is the short-view public reaction of all this. A police force that simply can’t afford to function as it wants to. A council laying off all its own, forced to shut down one if its borough’s treasured icons via a hopelessly half-hearted police report from an officer who noted how much fun the club was, yet social media becomes awash with criticism of both the police and the council.

Follow the documents, and follow the money trail. Look what happened to Manchester’s legendary Hacienda club, which is now 130 apartments. Fabric was always going to close, drugs deaths notwithstanding. It’s not the police. It’s not drug laws. It’s likely a government that continues to roll back public services and institutions in an ever more calculating attempt to attract foreign money. And no amount of well-meaning drug law debate is going to change that.


Some cunt will turn it in to flats and make a fortune.

Yeah, I bet. I’m hoping something like this with “out” some of the political corruption that takes place in our local councils.

Lets hope Fabric appeal.

Shit decision by shit people with shit for brains who dont give a shit about anything apart from their own shit agenda. Which is total shit.



I know where the authorities are coming from, but I think it’s an Own Goal. When dance music was only played in night clubs, you could keep it contained. Alright, it is wack music, there is no denying that, but in a night club, when ur mashed on MDMA, it’s relatively harmless. What they’ve done now, is driven it onto the streets. I’ve seen it myself, people driving around, listening to their mix tapes, pretending they can tell the difference between one DJ and Another. It’s disgusting.

Hopefully this decision gets overturned, but I don’t hold out much hope.

Let’s face it, proper raves should be illegal and outdoors.

Therefore this can only be a good thing.


Don’t “link” YouTube videos, JBoy. Lovely to see you back.

Confirmed apparently. Its being sold to property developers.

Can’t say I personally was too keen on Fabric as it cost a fortune and the staff there were utter wankers in my experience, but its certainly been a staple of London nightlife and I can imagine it’s a disappointment for a lot of people.

I was gutted when the London Soccer Dome was closed to be turned into flats so whilst this particular closure is no skin off my nose I do sympathise.