Last week I went to bid my adieus to the King’s Cross Good’s Yard, the post-industrial hinterland comprising clubs The Key, The Cross and Canvas, and final messy destination of many a Dollars To Pounds column. The three venues will all kick out for the last time on New Year’s morning in anticipation of being bulldozed to make way for unaffordable housing, offices, superstores and soulless chain pubs.
This is a shame because they were three of the best clubs in London. The Key especially, the cozier of the three, has hosted plenty of forward-thinking rave-ups over the last few years, being the first place I saw the likes of Tiefschwarz, M.A.N.D.Y, Cassy and Dinky. This year there have been all kinds of cool one-off parties in Canvas as well as Secretsundaze on the terrace but they’re all about to go down the dumper along with 20 years of clubbing history (the first Good’s Yard warehouse parties date back to pre-acid house days).
You can’t get too annoyed at this inevitable process of urban gentrification. It’s actually surprising how a tract of land so close to the centre of London has been allowed to remain a nocturnal playground for so long but the government was pretty keen that the first thing people didn’t see when pulling into the super-shiny new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras was saucer-eyed clubbers stumbling home. The clubs’ owner Billy Riley is apparently in talks about opening a new venue once the development’s new ‘entertainment quarter’ is built but no-one wants to go raving in a multiplex.
I haven’t been aware of any protests. Clubbers aren’t known for their activism, and the mainstream music media, which is still overwhelmingly rockist, couldn’t care less. The general assumption seems to be that London has plenty of other clubs, but there are very few mid-size clubs booking exciting DJs. Little parties are all very well but you don’t want to spend every Saturday queuing for the one toilet in a glorified Dalston squat while the music farts out of a tiny sound system.
On Saturday night, old muckers Kieren "Four Tet" Hebden and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip (more on them next week) turned up in a taxi together to perform a DJ face-off that generally involved Kieren playing a UK garage tune while Joe countered with a slice of Boratto-esque lumo-techno. It was fun, although old hand Trevor Jackson trumped them both with his surging minimal selections. The famous Key underlit dancefloor was broken, perhaps terminally, but this was still one the nicest club crowds in London and I will miss them.