Capitalism fucks us over. Again. Goodbye to the 100 Club.

Latest victim of capitalism/Boris Johnson/the coalition (take your pick) is legendary London venue the 100 Club. For our generation the 100 Club is synonymous with the birth of punk – a movement Thee Faction were involved with but not part of (anarchy? Pah…). For other generations it brought them the earliest R&B, skiffle, jazz and so on. Slap bang in the heart of London was a proper venue that looked and felt like a working mens’ club sandwiched between the temples to consumerism of Oxford Street. It felt like a great big two fingered salute to the nonsense around it.

But the nonsense around it has had the last laugh. Cos the 100 Club is closing. According to Jeff Horton, director of the club:

“The writing has been on the wall, so to speak, since the rent increased by 45% in 2007. It was an increase that was unsustainable. Just as pertinent have been the increase year on year in Business Rates that have now reached a ludicrous level of  £1000 per week, and now the Government are increasing VAT to 20% from January. There have been over a dozen increases in duty on alcohol in the last two years or so as well, meaning that my supplier’s bills have increased some 40% in that period.

The bottom line is that the club has a liability to it’s landlords and HMRC that suck 80% of it’s income out of the business. How can that possibly be right?  The business rates, for instance, don’t include refuse collection.”

As we said, take your pick of the usual enemies. Landlords? London’s government? The Coalition government? They’ve all had a hand in it. Capitalism tends towards monopoly. Fact. The free market utopia of small scale producers and businesses trading happily with each other, using the market as the ideal medium of exchange to ensure the mutual spread of wealth, is 100% bollocks. If you’ve got Top Shop, Debenhams, HMV and the rest surrounding you, and a government committed to helping big business, the little guy is going to be shafted.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re no cheerleaders for the small businessman. But they’re way less scary than monopoly capitalism in league with government. As Horton says:

Darling Buds at the 100 Club this week

“when you have a law regarding commercial rents that stipulate they can only go up, what is to prevent another increase happening again in 2012 when the next Rent Review is due?? Is the increase going to be 45% for the third review in a row? These increases do not in any way reflect the social or economic climate at any given time.  It is purely a way of legally fleecing small, and in all probability, medium sized businesses, certainly in Central London.   It is a practice that needs to be stopped……and now.

In my opinion HMRC are using the same Corporate model in raising and accruing Tax.”

The 100 Club seemed to be an anomaly. Its face didn’t fit in the Oxford Street of the 21st Century (which looks just like an overgrown, overblown version of your local shopping centre). And now it’s going.

“The 100 Club, now the oldest live music and entertainment venue on the Planet, will shut its doors for the final time at the end of the year unless a sponsor, funding or a buyer can be found, after accruing losses of almost £100,000 a year for the last three years.”

Lovely though it would be to find such a saviour, it’s just so much pissing in the wind. Give it a decade and the only place you’ll be seeing live music is an identikit chain-venue – one in every city – with a centralised procurement policy, like books from Waterstones or records from HMV. You reckon such a venue-chain would put Thee Faction on? Or the next Sex Pistols or Clash or Dr Feelgood? Or Elvis?

The answer doesn’t lie in legislation, or individual benefactors, or tweaks to the tax system. The answer lies in the mass of the people standing up and making it clear that this isn’t what we want. The closure of the 100 Club is just a symptom. A depressing symptom. But let’s attack the root cause of all this, comrades.

Antonio Gramsci

Antonio Gramsci cautioned us to exercise pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will. A facebook group, or a benefit show, ain’t gonna save the 100 Club or solve the underlying problems of monopoly capitalism. But it will be a vital part of the overall war of position, and that’s what we’ve got to fight. So whatever fight is on to save the 100 Club, count us in. Jeff Horton: we’re on your side.

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2 comments

  1. Did anyone notice that Ed Miliband’s conference speech took on some of the themes we laid out in this blog post? That Labour is to help small businesses, and local shops and whathaveyou? Thee Faction is like a one-band policy institute. A Socialist R&B thinktank. But we expect no thanks.

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  2. _______________________________

    Our economy is slowly dying, your job, lifestyle are dominated by anxiety.

    The economy is kept alive artificially.

    No one is proposing a solution because no one has the slightest idea of why it is happening and many have vested interest in the present system.

    However an objective observation of the phenomenon can help us understand it and provide us with an innovative solution.

    Of course we can’t solve the problem with the tools that brought us there in the first place and we need a new ideology.

    _______________________________

    – Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?

    – Well, remember that what an ideology is, is a conceptual framework with the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one. You have to — to exist, you need an ideology. The question is whether it is accurate or not. And what I’m saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is, but I’ve been very distressed by that fact.

    – You found a flaw in the reality…(!!!???)

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    _______________________________

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    _______________________________

    Is the fulfilment of these ideas a visionary hope? Have they insufficient roots in the motives which govern the evolution of political society? Are the interests which they will thwart stronger and more obvious than those which they will serve?

    I do not attempt an answer in this place. It would need a volume of a different character from this one to indicate even in outline the practical measures in which they might be gradually clothed. But if the ideas are correct — an hypothesis on which the author himself must necessarily base what he writes — it would be a mistake, I predict, to dispute their potency over a period of time. At the present moment people are unusually expectant of a more fundamental diagnosis; more particularly ready to receive it; eager to try it out, if it should be even plausible.

    But apart from this contemporary mood, the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

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    Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

    _______________________________

    Credit Free Economy
    More Jobs, No Debt, No Fear.
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    _______________________________

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