Moxie, Tripod, Block T, Hangar, if I kept going the list of places sold off would make its own post and just bring a tear to the eye of all those who once enjoyed the cultural vibrancy of Dublin.
The other night I went to a talk entitled ‘Does Dublin Need a Night Mayor?’ hosted by Eventbrite in conjunction with Banter. Moderated by Jim Carroll of Banter, the panel was comprised of Niall Byrne, aka music blogger Nialler9, journalist Roisin McVeigh and Richard Guiney from DublinTown, a collective promoting the city centre as a destination for socialising, shopping and doing business in.
Now I’m going to start with a bit of a spoiler alert;
Yes, according to the panelists, we do need a night mayor.
They raise some very valid points including the need for a mediator between establishments and the government as well as the validation of those who work into the wee hours. Oh and of course the economic benefits and the need to keep up with the hip kids in Amsterdam and Sydney!
However, the real interesting points of the talk come about around the gentrification of our cultural hubs and the younger generations as a whole.
On the first point I’m reminded of the recent article by Una Mullally on the demise of Dublin’s clubbing scene, where did all the good venues go? A question from the floor gives a shout out to the Little Green gallery and venues of the sort wondering if there’s anywhere people can ‘just go a chill with friends and a few cans’. Unfortunately all those places have been bought and revamped into cafe chain stores, office buildings, gastro pubs or trendy apartment blocks to allow those inhabiting them to be part of the ‘creative quarter’. I pray for The Sugar Club, the Pallas Projects and the Chocolate Factory as it seems the old adage ‘where culture goes, commerce follows’ becomes more of a threat than a praise.
Maybe this has led to the rise of the house party? While there has always been the obligatory pre-drinks there seems to be a shift in the social scene of late to keeping it in the gaff. No exoberant drink prices, no need for heels and with everyone being a DJ these days there’ll always be tunes (although that’s a rant for another day). However this just highlights the gentrification issue of people being driven out of their cultural hubs to make do with something else. It was brought up that a possible night mayor could become a mediator to ensure gentrification does not eclipse the culture of an area but this is an issue far bigger than just our nightlife.
On the latter point, when examining the generational differences two interesting points were raised from the floor. Firstly, with the rate of immigration, there’s a whole lot less of us! So maybe the nightlife in Perth is doing just fine? Secondly, the way Gen Y interact is radically different to that of previous generations. We spend inordinate amounts of time on social media platforms from the comfort of our homes or on public transport and even in the company of others. Because of this we don’t feel the need to head out to be connected with others. Who needs to go out dancing when true love is just one tinder swipe away? Then even if we do venture out we end up spending half the time on our phones checking our Likes or Retweets. I’m not going to get preachy on this subject because I’m just as guilty as the rest of you but it is a bit of food for thought.
It’s thought that the combination of these two issues has already led to the closure of about 50% of London’s nightlife establishments. But sure, Dublin’ll be grand! Won’t it?
Article by: Gretel Downey