In this fragile and depressed economy, I wouldn’t want to wish bad on any business. But there are times when it’s pretty obvious that a business is a serious blight to the community. Sometimes you aren’t aware of just how major a blight it’s been…
…until it’s gone.
I refer to the recent (and what appears to be major) fire at a popular nightclub on the local High Street: on the surface an unfortunate event, in reality a blessing – at least to us poor bastards who live within drunken shrieking distance of it. It happened early Sunday evening before it was due to open. I’d just arrived home from a Mitzi TV video shoot in Kensington (an arduous task, since there was engineering work on the rail line, necessitating a replacement bus service which increased my travel time by a good hour each way). I was attempting to chill out when I smelled a very nasty burning. And no, I wasn’t cooking!
My initial thought was, had Burning Man suddenly been relocated from the Nevada desert to a town located on the edge of London?
When I went to look out the window for any signs of new-age “radicals” singing “Koom-By-Ya”, I saw that the air was thick with smoke (slightly worrisome what toxins might have been IN that smoke), and it sounded as if every fire engine from every fire brigade in southeast England was heading my way. I was ready to grab Teddy and my laptop, and get the hell out.
Fortunately, such measures proved unnecessary; the smoke appeared to be slowly thinning. Just to make sure all was well and neither Burning Man nor Armageddon was taking place in the hood, I decided to find out for myself what was happening. However, no sooner did I reach the sidewalk when a neighbour called down to me from his balcony (Romeo, oh Romeo!), informing me that the entire High Street was closed off and the famous infamous nightclub had been charred. Satisfied with this explanation (he was cute, surely he wouldn’t lie to me?), I returned to the warmth and safety of my flat, where Teddy and I kicked back with some Swiss chocolate.
Well, that night was the first night in two years I heard nothing but blissful silence. No shouting, no yelling, no shrieking, no sirens – nothing but a gentle breeze and the occasional chirping of a bird (along with Ted’s occasional snore). Coincidence? When the same thing happened on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, I had to conclude that no, it was not a coincidence, but a direct result of the fire. Clearly, the vast majority of anti-social behaviourial problems and criminal activity taking place in my town stemmed from one main source: the nightclub.
No more nightclub, no more problems.
I can’t begin to tell you what a pleasure it’s been not to hear drunken sluts shouting and shrieking till all hours, along with their chavvy male equivalents who seem to think that being a “man” means to be so inebriated they can’t even walk. Oh, and of course swapping STDs with their drunken female counterparts in a toilet or alleyway.
In the immortal words of Alf the Cockney Devil from my short story “Hell is Where the Heart is” (Getting Even: Revenge Stories): “Put the spoiled little shits in the army, that’ll make men of ’em.” (And women, too, no doubt.) I should add that Alf’s idea of a real army was the Israeli version. Wish I could say these booze-soaked blights to modern civilisation were an anomaly. Alas, they’re more the rule than the exception in the cities and towns of Britain.
All I know is, I don’t want things to go back to how they were. In fact, I’m tempted to run for political office, if I thought I could keep this menace of a nightclub from re-opening and re-attracting the scummier residents from the less salubrious towns within commuting distance to mine. Just think what I could do if I was on the local council. We could have a Mitzi TV video featuring quirky councillors engaging in a singalong at their local pub!
Oh, yeah, I did that one already.
Okay, how about an egg and spoon race?