It’s your typical British January and you’re standing in an enormous queue in the freezing cold. You reach the front and are vigorously searched by an army of men who are a bit too heavy handed for your liking, given you’ve been waiting for about two hours.
“ID please,” they bark, turning those away who fail to present the adequate credentials. You wonder what they’re going to do with the scans of your driving licence. Can they sell that? Wait… Why are they taking a photo of your face? “It’s just standard procedure,” they repeat. Next thing you know, you’re pushed into a loud room full of beady-eyed people that you’re quite convinced are spies, and there is CCTV absolutely everywhere. You wonder whether they have it in the toilet stalls. They probably do.
No – you’re not about enter the Arena in The Hunger Games and it’s not some kind of detention centre. It’s Fabric, under a new set of conditions agreed between the club and Islington Council (and I can’t help but think the settlement was far more in one party’s favour than the other.)
After two young people died at the club during the summer after taking drugs, Islington Council made the decision to revoke Fabric’s license, stating that there was a “culture of drugs that the management cannot control”.
Musicians, artists, party-goers and fun-lovers united to see that it didn’t go down without a fight, and the Save Fabric campaign was born. Yesterday, the campaign won its appeal and Fabric was given the chance to open its doors once more, providing the club can adhere to the new regulations negotiated on its license.
World's 10 most deadly street drugs
World's 10 most deadly street drugs
1/10 10. Purple Drank
One of the more unusual drugs around at the moment, purple drank was popularised in 90s hip hop culture, with the likes of Jay Z and Big Moe all mentioning it in their songs. It is a concoction of soda water, sweets and cold medicine, and is drunk due to cold medicines high codeine content, which gives the user a woozy feeling. However it can also cause respiratory issues and heart failure
2/10 9. Scopolamine
Scopolamine is a derivative from the nightshade plant found in the Northern Indian region of South America (Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela). It is generally found in a refined powder form, but can also be found as a tea. The drug is more often used by criminals due its high toxicity level (one gram is believed to be able to kill up to 20 people) making it a strong poison. However, it is also believed that the drug is blown into the faces of unexpecting victims, later causing them to lose all sense of self-control and becoming incapable of forming memories during the time they are under the influence of the drug. This tactic has reportedly been used by gangs in Colombia where there have been reports of people using scopolamine as way to convince victims to rob their own homes
3/10 8. Heroin
Founded in 1874 by C. R. Alder Wright, heroin is one of the world’s oldest drugs. Originally it was prescribed as a strong painkiller used to treat chronic pain and physical trauma. However in 1971 it was made illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Since then it has become one of the most destructive substances in the world, tearing apart communities and destroying families. The side effects of heroin include inflammation of the gums, cold sweats, a weak immune system, muscular weakness and insomnia. It can also damage blood vessels which can later cause gangrene if left untreated
4/10 7. Crack cocaine
Crack cocaine first came about in the 1980’s when cocaine became a widespread commodity within the drug trafficking world. Originally cocaine would have attracted a high price tag due to its rarity and difficulty to produce, but once it became more widespread the price dropped significantly. This resulted in drug dealers forming their cocaine into rock like shapes by using baking soda as a way of distilling the powder down into rock form. People were doing this because it allowed for them to sell cocaine at a lower quantity and to a higher number of people. The side effects of crack cocaine include liver, kidney and lung damage, as well as permanent damage to blood vessels, which can often lead to heart attacks, strokes, and ultimately death
5/10 6. Crystal meth
Not just famous because of a certain Walter H White, but also because it is one of the most destructive drugs in the world. First developed in 1887, it became widely used during the Second World War when both sides would give it to their troops to keep them awake. It is also believed that the Japanese gave it to their Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. After the war crystal meth was prescribed as a diet aid and remained legal until the 1970s. Since then it has fallen into the hands of Mexican gangs and has become a worldwide phenomenon, spreading throughout Europe and Asia. The effects of crystal meth are devastating. In the short-term users will become sleep depraved and anxious, and in the long-term it will cause their flesh to sink, as well as brain damage and damage of the blood vessels
6/10 5. AH-7921
AH-7921 is a synthetic opioid that was previously available to legally purchase online from vendors until it became a Class A in January 2015. The drug is believed to have 80% of the potency of morphine, and became known as the ‘legal heroin’. While there has only been one death related to AH-7921 in the UK, it is believed to be highly dangerous and capable of causing respiratory arrest and gangrene
7/10 4. Flakka
Flakka is a stimulant with a similar chemical make-up to the amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts. While the drug was originally marketed as a legal high alternative to ecstasy, the effects are significantly different. The user will feel an elevated heart rate, enhanced emotions, and, if enough is digested, strong hallucinations. The drug can cause permanent psychological damage due to it affecting the mood regulating neurons that keep the mind’s serotonin and dopamine in check, as well as possibly causing heart failure
8/10 3. Bath salts
Bath salts are a synthetic crystalline drug that is prevalent in the US. While they may sound harmless, they certainly aren’t the sort of salts you drop into a warm bath when having a relaxing night in, they are most similar to mephedrone, and have recently been featured throughout social media due to the ‘zombification’ of its. The name comes from the fact that the drug was originally sold online, and widely disguised as bath salts. The side effects include unusual psychiatric behaviour, psychosis, panic attacks and violent behaviour, as well as the possibility of a heart attack and an elevated body temperature
9/10 2. Whoonga
Whoonga is a combination of antiretroviral drugs, used to treat HIV, and various cutting agents such as detergents and poisons. The drug is widely available in South Africa due to South Africa’s high rate of HIV sufferers, and is believed to be popular due to how cheap it is when compared to prescribed antiretrovirals. The drug is highly addictive and can cause major health issues such as internal bleeding, stomach ulcers and ultimately death
10/10 1. Krokodil
Krokodil is Russia’s secret addiction. It is believed that over one million Russians are addicted to the drug. Users of krokodil are attracted to the drug due to its low price; it is sold at £20 a gram while heroin is sold for £60. However, krokodil is considered more dangerous than heroin because it is often homemade, with ingredients including painkillers, iodine, lighter fluid and industrial cleaning agents. This chemical make-up makes the drug highly dangerous and likely to cause gangrene, and eventually rotting of the flesh
These regulations include no entry to “core club nights” for people under 19, an ID scanning system, improved lighting – whatever that means – and additional CCTV and covert surveillance within the club.
There will also be a zero tolerance approach to drugs – meaning a lifetime ban if you’re caught dealing, buying, in possession of or taking drugs in or outside the premises.
And this is where the problem lies. Don’t get me wrong – I love Fabric and everything that it stands for. I think it’s one of the greatest London establishments and I’ll be back in there as quick as you can say Mandy –– but if the closure was really down to an uncontrollable drug issue, why hasn’t more been done to change the way the venue is allowed to deal with inevitable recreational drug users going forward?
This is a set of conditions that we’re expected to herald a victory, but in reality it only serves to keep the police sat in their cars eating doughnuts rather than fighting pilled-up 18-year-olds and the responsibility of controlling the drug problem off the council.
When Secret Garden Party became the first festival to offer a drug-testing service this summer, a quarter of the 200 people that used the service dropped their drugs in amnesty bins after learning that their ketamine was actually anti-malaria medication, or that their MDMA was actually ammonium sulphate.
It’s time we stopped underestimating recreational drug users, party-goers and all round good time guys, and focus on creating a lasting, progressive, forward-thinking drug policy that reduces harm for the people that do take drugs, and educates those who aren’t sure about them.
MyLondon photography project - In pictures
MyLondon photography project - In pictures
London calling by Hugh Gary: May 2017 in MyLondon calendar and in 2016 exhibition. “This is Mayfield Lavender. I was just out on a bike ride, and I thought ‘that looks pretty good, especially the phone box in the middle of a field’. There is no phone in the box – it’s just there to look pretty.” Hugh Gary is an ex-British Army serviceman and was helped into housing by the West London Mission’s Big House, a homeless hostel for ex-servicemen. “I went overseas to a few places: all over the Middle East, Australia, Canada.” In the army for 10 years, he left in 2013. “A lot of the homeless people in London are ex-service.” Hugh lives in a self-contained flat after progressing on from the Big House hostel seven months ago. “And then it’s into the big world after that. The flat is only temporary – it’s still part of the Big House. It’s so residents can get used to paying bills.” Hugh hopes to be in his current flat until he finishes a photography course with West London University.
Drivers Wanted by Richard Fletcher. He was walking past a taxi company on Old Street when he saw the red bus.
The Coffee Roaster by Leo Shaul. “This is George Constantinou in the Camden Coffee Shop, an independent coffee roaster in Delancy Street, Camden Town”, says Shaul, who decided to approach George when he got the contest camera.
St Paul's in Reflection by Christopher McTavis. The photographer says he purposefully put his foot, seen on the floor behind the glass, into the photo.
Peeking out by Jackie Cook: January 2017 in MyLondon calendar and in 2016 exhibition. This is Jackie Cook’s friend Mia Lyons leaving the Mansion House Underground Station on the day of the contest. “We liked the old bannisters and all the wrought iron… It was a spontaneous picture.” Mia and Jackie go to the same drama class and to Haringey Recovery Service, which is run in partnership with St Mungo’s, where Mia is a pottery teacher and Jackie does voluntary meditation teaching. “It’s important to share what people have given to you and never forget where you come from,” Jackie says. “Never ever look down on anybody unless you’re picking them up.” She says she is fortunate to have never had to sleep rough but she has “been on my knees… I ruined all my teeth with drugs, so today I stand on my feet and I smile with pride, I’m really happy with my life today. I don’t have any family - I was brought up in children’s homes. My friends are my family.”
Camden look by Saffron Saidi: In 2016 MyLondon exhibition. Saffron Saidi saw this woman wearing an old bus driver hat in Camden Town, near the markets and asked her to hold her dog Dotdot. Saffron moved to London from Falmouth in 1996 and lives in Brixton. “I’ve spent most of my life in care. I had a documentary made about me in the ‘90s called Who Cares Wins.” Saffron got accepted into University of Westminster photography course but had to pull out: “I was diagnosed with learning disabilities which made the academic writing on the course extremely difficult… but my talent as a photographer was never questioned as I had an unconditional offer.” She goes to Cooltan Arts, describing it as “a lifeline”. “It keeps me alive.”
Banksy's Dalmatian by Saffron Saidi: Cover of 2017 MyLondon calendar and in 2016 exhibition. “I was ecstatic, I couldn’t believe that I’d found another Banksy!” says Saffron Saidi. She asked the man who was working in the Hoxton bar near the Banksy mural of a policeman with a Poodle to hold the lead of her Dalmatian Dotdot: “Another Banksy in Southwark also has a dog with a lead. The barman said that apparently Banksy likes dogs.” Saffron moved to London from Falmouth in 1996 and lives in Brixton. “I’ve spent most of my life in care. I had a documentary made about me in the ‘90s called Who Cares Wins.” Saffron got accepted into University of Westminster photography course but had to pull out: “I was diagnosed with learning disabilities which made the academic writing on the course extremely difficult… but my talent as a photographer was never questioned as I had an unconditional offer.” She goes to Cooltan Arts, describing it as “a lifeline”. “It keeps me alive.”
What now? by Laz Ozerden. He took the shot close to Highbury & Islington Station. “For me this picture is like ‘I am nothing and I am everything.’”
Reflecting Sculpture by Hugh Gary. “It’s all reflections, all mirrors. It’s on the canal near Camden around the back of St Pancras. It’s a round a circular garden which is set inside an old gas tank frame. And then there’s new builds going on in the other frames as well. I just thought it would give nice illusions.” In the army for 10 years, he left in 2013. “A lot of the homeless people in London are ex service. And there isn’t really many places that support ex service when it comes to homelessness.” He is currently in his own self contained flat after progressing on from the Big House, a homeless hostel for ex service. “And then it’s into the big world after that. I left the hostel about seven months ago. The flat is only temporary – it’s still part of the Big House. It’s so residents can get used to paying bills and maintaining yourself and your accommodation.” Hugh hope’s to be in his current flat until he finishes a photography course with West London University.
St Paul's Cathedral by Michelle Goldberg: In 2016 MyLondon exhibition. Michelle Goldberg says she “snuck up to the roof” of a building to get this shot while attended a function in a building on Queen Victoria Street on the day the cameras were handed out. “It’s a lovely view - a rooftop shot of St Paul’s Cathedral, of the towers.” “I’m a Londoner. I was born here. My family have been here four generations, possibly five. My grandparents were in the markets.” Michelle has a long term medical condition and lives in temporary accommodation. “I’ve had four heart attacks, three strokes, a lung collapse.”
“It’s at the market in the morning, and that’s the place where I do shopping. It’s at the market next to Commercial Road”, says Goska Calik. “I was on the way to work and they just stopped in the middle and took out my camera. Last year Goska had the winning photo as chosen by the judges and joined the RPS photography mentoring group. She says she gains a lot from it, “especially for meeting people and taking photos.” She also enjoyed meeting people that share the same passion for photography. “Yesterday I went along with Frances to take photos. That is the most important thing to not just go home and be alone there.”
Out of The Blue by Beatrice. “It was a really hot day,” says Beatrice. “I liked the blue of the sky and the white of the wall. I looked around and saw the red watering can. Perfect! It was still not quite right though. I raised my hand and it cast a strong shadow on the wall, as if I was reaching for the watering can. I was finally pleased with this composition.”
Group stretch by Siliana. “It was the first day I collected the camera. I saw people starting to gather around in Trafalgar Square. The security guard said it was going to happen ‘any minute now’ but in the end I waited four hours just for the dance. A friend of mine was with me, she told me it’s something that happens every year. A dance where people enjoy, where people of all ages dance all together. This was their warm up when they were stretching.” Siliana squats in a church in south London, but it’s “under threat” and she’s unsure of the future. She says the squat had 30 to 40 people living in it but when they had the court papers given to them many people left. Siliana was in the calendar last year and is now active in the Café Art photography mentoring group run by volunteers from The Royal Photographic Society which meets up every two weeks to learn photography skills with digital cameras.
Arcadia by Keith Norris: August 2017 in MyLondon calendar and in 2016 exhibition. This photo is of a male mannequin in a shop window with Louise Danby, a fellow member from Crisis. It was taken in Hatton Garden, “which was kind of an Arcadia of gems and arts,” says Keith who says he has done quite a lot of photography over the years. Louise has had several winning photos in previous MyLondon contests, and she was the one who encouraged him to come and pick up a contest camera at St Paul’s Cathedral. He grew up in Canonbury, Islington in the 1960s when it was quieter than today, with a lot less traffic on the roads. After several years travelling in Europe he returned to London and was homeless for several years. “I was homeless from 1984 to 1992, sleeping rough on the unused railway bridge in Shoreditch. Now it’s the Overground, but in those days it had no rails and was almost impossible to get to. To get up there you had to be fighting fit.”
Give people a chance to make informed decisions for themselves and they will. This is not a subculture of pill-popping, dead-brained people who want to get out of their tree every weekend, and the sooner we recognise this, the sooner we can make a change.
There is no blame to be pinned on Fabric – their campaign to reopen their doors has been a war against an establishment that deems nightlife as something dirty and dangerous, favouring dinner parties, members’ club (where everyone still does coke in the toilets but nobody minds) and a night in with Strictly over “those ghastly nightclubs”, without seeing what the two have in common – a desire to spend your time how you wish, with your mates either round a table or in a circle on a dancefloor.
So here’s to Fabric, the club that has proved to the world how much we young people care about our nightlife.
I’ll see you at the opening night – have fun, if they let you.Reuse content