All posts by Save Soho

RESCUE PLAN FOR LONDON’S MUSIC VENUES

“This is what it looks like when we are winning”.

Bold words indeed, but entirely true to those of us fighting for London’s music sector.

These are the words spoken to me by Mark Davyd, head of The Music Venue Trust. And today, his hard work has paid off. And not just Mark’s work, but the work of all of you who signed this letter that I wrote to Boris Johnson almost exactly a year ago.

It’s often far too easy to forget accomplishment when it comes gradually. But if I picture myself a year ago, walking back from a funeral march we held after the closure of Madame Jojo’s, I remember feeling helpless, sad and without hope. We reached out with that letter, and the answer has, slowly but surely finally arrived. And that has happened with the help of many of YOU, as well as some pretty well known figures who support our concerns. You all signed the letter and what I was hoping for, has been turned into an action by the Mayor’s office today. It’s just the start, but it is real. And the finer details of this work has been carried out with unswerving passion by Mark Davyd, Beverley Whitrick of The Music Venue Trust and Paul Broadhurst – Head of Music for The Mayor of London.  For this they must be applauded.

You can read the full report of the RESCUE PLAN for London’s grassroots music venues here: http://london.gov.uk/…/acces…/mayors-music-venues-taskforce…

There is a full report in PDF form which is well worth reading and it will show you why today, a little bit of history has been made for the future of live music in London.

Point ‘1b’ of Reccomendation 1 on ‘Planning’ on Page 25 of the report is what will actually… Save Soho.

During the heyday of 90s Britpop, Central London was swarming with a healthy live music culture and community. It took decades to build that culture.   Since 2007, 35% of music venues have closed.

But as of 8.30am today in a tiny guitar shop on Denmark Street, we all gathered round to support the launch of this new report. And the foundations to begin again were laid down in stone. Certainly the most uplifting start to a week that I’ve encountered in a long time. The rescue plan won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Especially if we all continue to make our voices heard.  Together.

I doff my hat to everyone who did more than just moan about this issue over the last year. Power To The People folks.  Don’t stop now. And for every aspiring music artist in the UK,  Soho WILL continue to be a platform for you all, as it always has been.  Now let’s make London’s Music Future as rich as London’s Music Past!

Tim Arnold, Singer and Founder of Save Soho

Winning

Mary Davyd – Head of Music Venue Trust, Tim Arnold – Singer and Founder of Save Soho and Paul Broadhurst – Head of Music for The Mayor of London at Regent Sounds, Denmark St, Monday 19th October 2015.

Save Soho meets Sound Diplomacy

Sound Diplomacy logo

Grass roots music venues have been the primary focus for Save Soho since we began.  As luck would have it, our founder Tim Arnold met with Shain Shapiro, MD of Sound Diplomacy at Sheffield’s Sensoria Festival last week.  Shain and Sound Diplomacy provided some of the answers we have been looking for.  If you are in music, the music industry or just into music, click HERE, this article is essential reading.

Original article by Shain Shapiro published in Record Of The Day

Save The Curzon Soho

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The Curzon Cinema and CrossRail 2

On the 11th March this year Transport for London held a consultation meeting at St Patrick’s church about the proposed Crossrail 2 project. In attendance at this meeting were prominent members of the Soho community, The Soho Society and Save Soho. Managing director of CrossRail 2 Michelle Dix hosted the meeting.

After our protestations, Miss Dix assured us that contrary to earlier statements by TFL, the ‘green’ of Soho Square was no longer going to be used as a work depot (something that would have rendered the square unusable to the general public for 10-12 years). So far so good.

Miss Dix also stated that the plans for CrossRail 2 would potentially mean construction of an ‘access point’ at the Shaftesbury Avenue end of Frith and Dean Street, therefore resulting in the demolition of The Curzon Cinema and that the decision on this matter after the initial consulting process would be readdressed this autumn in a second consultation meeting.

At that first meeting, the plans had not been approved and the general consensus from Save Soho was that TFL should search for another location to be utilized as an access point. It was our view that it would be reasonable for TFL to find a location that did not mean the removal, closure or demolition of an affordable, culturally valuable destination like The Curzon Cinema.

In our efforts to protect the future of performing arts venues in London’s Soho, this is now a critical issue that Miss Dix and her team from TFL will be addressing with us and other members of the Soho community at 6.30pm on Tuesday 22nd September at The Bloomsbury Baptist Church at 235 Shaftesbury Avenue. This meeting is by invitation only.

In addition to it being a global destination and an important art house cinema where emerging film-makers are able to showcase their work (as well as established film makers such as Mike Leigh who holds regular screenings and Q & A sessions at the venue), The Curzon is also a local cinema for the residents and workers who make up the greater Soho community.

We ask for your support in making the decision of the TFL work for all parties. For those who recognize ‘growth’ in London and the need for more transport, as well as the need for keeping Soho’s performing arts venues thriving in the future, as they have done throughout Soho’s history.

How can you have YOUR say?

Sign the petition: SAVE LONDON’S CURZON SOHO CINEMA!

Follow on Twitter: @savesoho @CurzonSoho

Share this post with Hashtags: #savecurzonsoho #savesoho

Send your own letter to the TFL to info@savesoho.com and we will address any of your points at the next consultation meeting.

On behalf of lovers of film, community and Soho

Tim Arnold  – Founder of Save Soho

Stephen Fry – Chairman of Save Soho
Benedict Cumberbatch – Founder Member
Colin Vaines – Founder Member
Guy Hamilton – Founder Member

WHERE IS LONDON IF SOHO IS GONE?

WHERE IS LONDON IF SOHO IS GONE?
by Caitlin Moran, published in The Times – 21st March 2015

‘How much of historic, eccentric, transgressive London can you replace with apartments for foreign investors before people stop wanting to come here any more?’
All my life, I’ve been scared of sticking with skiffle. You know – those stories of people who, when rock’n’roll came along, said, “Ooh no, this isn’t as good as skiffle. A guitar, a washtub bass, a jug and a musical saw – that’s proper music. Not like this Little Richard fellow, or those Beatles. No, I’m going to stick with skiffle, thank you very much.”

So, no. I don’t want to be nostalgic for the sake of it. My default is always to be excited about the new thing – even if, sometimes, welcoming the new thing means discarding the older things, or letting them fade away. Sometimes, you have to burn up a little bit of the past to light up the future. I get that. That’s progress. I understand about change. I am not smashing the looms.
But there are times when things are about to change when you must say, “I think keeping this would be useful to us, actually. To change this would also be to change a million other, interconnected things. To change this is to take the heart out of something – the heart of something living – just to sell as meat. This thing needs to stay the same.”

And so, London. Yes, all the wankers live here. The very worst kind, the kind who actively ruin everything. But London is still also where you’ll end up in a room with the ten oddest, brightest, most on-fire people – half of whom will be furiously engaged in trying to stop the wankers previously mentioned – and think, “London still isn’t just a place; it’s an idea. Out of this room will come hundreds of small futures.”

But ideas need a place to happen, and they can only happen in certain kinds of places. If you look through the history of culture, you will see that ideas tend to come from attic flats, dingy boozers and nightclubs full of freaks. They come from areas with manky pigeons and tiny button shops, where all the misfits – women, gays, immigrants, shy boys, hot alcoholics, and people generally on a mission – can converge.

And this is why there is a campaign to save Soho at the moment (savesoho.com). For the Crossrail station is nearing completion and it seems the moment it opens its barriers, it will blow away those hundred tiny streets of Soho – the sticky basements, coffee houses, guitar shops and furtive corners; the boozers with gravy-brown tables, burnished by a million woozily sliding elbows – and replace them all with a new plan: executive flats and office space, rendered in uniform International Architecture.

That’s the plan: to monetise Soho. To take its name, known across the world, and use it to sell this new, gutless, hand-sanitiser wankers’ farm. To take the Soho out of Soho, and turn it into … Broho. Noho.
Where is London, if Soho is gone? Once they’ve seen Buckingham Palace and the Thames, what are the millions of tourists going to see, if the places are gone that the fleeing Huguenots built, that the Italians turned into cheap eating places, where Dylan Thomas drank and Bob Dylan played, where beatniks, strippers and drag queens rubbed shoulders? How much of historic, eccentric, transgressive London can you replace with well-appointed apartments for foreign investors before people stop wanting to come here any more?
For that’s the dangerous game being played with London’s “development” at the moment – that new, faceless skyline rising up by the Thames; Camden Market’s bland, chain-store ruination; the cherry-tree gardens of Hampstead being replaced with hulking, gravel-drived supermansions.

“I’m going to London.”
“Where is London?”
“I’ll be honest, it’s not there any more. But I can show you some pictures of what it used to look like.”
Where do you go, and what do you do, when you go to Paris, New York, Berlin or Dublin? You don’t just go to a place; you travel to see if you can see other times, too: you go to the old parts, to hunt echoes and ghosts. You look for the footsteps and fingerprints of Bowie, Dickens, Gainsbourg, Joyce – the thrill of being able to stand on a doorstep and say, “This is the doorstep they would have used. They came here for a reason and I have, too. This place is a matrix, a melody, a curation – a carefully constructed and unique thing – known across the world. To change too much of it is for it to cease to exist.”

London cannot be turned into one, uniform supertown – apartments and offices, all the same, from Heathrow to Stratford, from Walthamstow to Peckham. Cities need their villages, their tiny sheltered coves, among the otherwise sheer cliff faces of high-rise glass and steel. If Soho goes, then there is truly nothing left in this city that will not be sold. We have become cheap, shit-heel butchers, selling hearts for meat.

Caitlin Moran, 21st March 2015