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Author Topic: London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture  (Read 4020 times)

Offline Chip (OP)

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source: http://theconversation.com/london-sees-nightclubs-as-drug-dens-berlin-considers-them-high-culture-65382

London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture

Nightclubs across London recently turned off their music and observed a moment of silence in protest against club closures. Since the the legendary London club Fabric closed earlier this month after having its licence revoked, concerns about the future of London’s nightlife are rife. On the very same day, a German court ruled that Berlin nightclub Berghain, infamous for its techno, is to pay a lower tax rate. The reason: what goes on in the former power plant is considered high culture.

How is it that these two cities have a nightlife policy that is so polarised?

Fabric’s licence was revoked because Islington Council felt that not enough was done by the club to prevent drug taking. For anybody who followed the the council’s hearing from the balcony or via live tweets, it was remarkable to see that the “culture of drugs” was almost exclusively cited as a reason to revoke the licence. It appears that nightclubs are held responsible for drug-related deaths in the UK, regardless of whether people are intoxicating themselves before they go out (which is evidenced by a recent study I conducted on club culture in Manchester) or not. One is reminded of the moral panics of the early 90s.


Flowers outside Fabric.

Switch over to a court hearing in Germany, and the focus is a bit different. Back in 2008, Berlin’s finance ministry ruled that nightclubs should be taxed regularly (they had previously received the same tax breaks as other cultural institutions). Berghain appealed, and its defence lawyer, Peter Raue, succeeded in convincing a fiscal court that the events at the club could indeed be compared to classical concerts or plays.

Raue argued that what happens at Berghain can be classed as high culture. Raue also spoke about intoxication, but of a different sort, comparing the intoxicating effect a DJ set could have to that of people immersing themselves in a performance of a Mahler symphony. Raue did not deny that many in attendance consume drinks and drugs in order to immerse themselves in music – far from it. His elision of drug or drink-fuelled intoxication with intoxication by performance was certainly intended.

The focus of discussion in Berlin was not centred on drug consumption, but the production of culture – be it high or low – while acknowledging that intoxication may have a part to play in this. Drugs or no, Berghain is seen to enrich Berlin’s cultural life, and is therefore something to be supported rather than fought. Fabric, on the other hand, is apparently considered a danger to London’s cultural life – due to drugs. In order to understand how these two infamous clubs have gone such separate ways, it is worth looking at the cultural differences between German and British society.

Culture – or drug culture?

There are poor people and rich people in Germany. And there are some people in the middle. Not so different from Britain, you’d say? Indeed, social classes exist in both countries. But the obsession with class in Britain is second to none. Neighbourhoods, schools, jobs, accents, or education are predominantly viewed through the lens of social class. And all too often, culture is also seen through this lens. This very clear distinction has led to club culture and electronic dance music culture being identified as low culture (essentially made for the working classes) or popular culture.

British headlines about Berghain’s new lower tax rate refer to that perceived contradiction of a techno nightclub providing high culture. And indeed, by allowing Berghain to pay a lower tax rate, the German court put the performances at Berghain on par with plays at theatres, or symphonies played in concert halls. But Berliners simply do not see this as a contradiction at all. And what’s more, Berliners know that Berghain has long become a versatile venue, hosting exhibitions, book readings, fashion shows and much more.


Berghain at night.

Left to the market

Gentrification is increasingly blamed for London’s changing club culture, particularly in the wake of Fabric’s closure. Many have accused Islington Council of sacrificing the club in order to benefit from the amped up real estate value of the Farringdon property. Another famous London club, Passing Clouds, also recently fell foul of increasing Dalston rents in east London.

But gentrification is changing neighbourhoods in Berlin too. And not all venues survive the process that results in increased rents or leases. The original Tresor nightclub and the art squat Tacheles, in Berlin’s Mitte district, fell victim to this process. But as a city, Berlin is doing more than London to counteract the cultural effects of gentrification.

The Senate of Berlin – the executive body governing the city – is regularly involved in negotiations about rental costs with developers and artists as a result of gentrification. For example, the senate had planned to build on the land that was previously Tempelhof Airport. But as a result of a referendum, it decided to turn the field into free space that can be used by all people. The Postgebaeude in the Friedrichshain dictrict is another case where the senate stepped in to mediate between artists and developers. And a new law restricts vacation rentals in Berlin, aiming to slow down gentrification and the related explosion of rental prices.

These examples show that the city of Berlin appears to be supportive of mainstream and fringe culture, and the success of Berghain’s appeal demonstrates above all else that the city treasures subcultures of all kinds. The city has become a haven for artists, and its cultural life is rich and diverse. London, in contrast, is much more prepared to have venues closed either if they do not fit the developers' ideas or because of worries about drug taking.

London prides itself on being Europe’s financial centre. Berlin, on the other hand is bankrupt – financially. But it is very solvent culturally. And in the years to come, we shall see which is more important – I know where my money is.

Note: visit the source webpage to see all the links.
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I do not condone or support any illegal activities. All information is for theoretical discussion and wonder.
All activities discussed are considered fictional and hypothetical. Information of all discussion has been derived from online research and in the spirit of personal Freedom.

Offline mickeyaye6989

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Re: London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2016, 02:35:47 PM »
It's quite interesting how differently cultures that seem quite similar often have quite varying and opposite stances on drugs and all things associated with them. A prime example is the pub culture/drinking culture in North America vs. Europe (for the most part). Alcohol is a perfect example because it is tolerated in almost all societies, but often the Western socieities have different views on when, how often, where, and how old is permissible for consuming alcohol.

Take the US for instance - the drinkign age is 21, but you can drive when 16 and give your life to join the military when you are 18. Let me restate that: you can fly down the road in a car holding the possibility that some kid on his cell phone snapchatting his girlfriend could plow into a family van carrying a mom and 3 kids, or you can carry an assault rifle and gun down "terrorists" or whomever we deem acceptable, but you can't order a fucking Coors in a bar. How fucked is that?

Moreover, while the US repealed prohobition long ago, still lingers partially in that realm, at least with regards to certain states (alcohol laws are a states rights issue) such as in Tennessee where all liquor stores are closed on Sunday, and you can only buy beer (and just recently, as in mid-2016, wine in some grocery stores). In much of the South, they have restrictions on which stores are allowed to sell alcohol or liquor, but you can go into a bar at any time and pay those prices to get drunk if you want to. Not to mention the fact that you can do ALL OF THIS WHILE CARRYING A GUN.

Additionally, do you ever see a pub or bar packed on a regular Monday night anywhere in the US? Week days are slow days for bar tenders, but in the UK and places where there's a much more ingrained pub culture, a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc... is just a regular night out at the pub. Not to mention the fact that they'll serve you as long as you can see over the bar to order, in most places.

The whole 21 as a drinking age issue really makes no fucking sense either. So you'd rather have your kid learn to drink and figure out what their limits are, and how to drink responsibly AFTER they already have a car? Why the fuck would you not rather get the "lets get shit faced!!!!" period of their life out of the way BEFORE they get behind the wheel. Moreover, the fact that kids in high school or college can't legally possess liquor means that when little Timmy gets that 1.75L of Heaven Hill whiskey for $5, he has to finish the whole thing that weekend so he doesn't get caught with it. This causes a feeling that it's necessary to binge drink so that you don't waste that precious liquid of the gods. A drinking age of 21 only serves to create and reinforce a culture of binge drinking.

The worst part is that many of the people telling you that alcohol is fine and socially acceptable are the same ones who would condemn marijuana as a drug that makes you crazed and stupid. It's this type of ignorance from the uninformed that creates roadblocks to proper legislation and sane governing. Any government that would prosecute a legal medical marijuana patient under federal law, while allowing a drug that has been shown in numerous studies to increase aggression, domestic violence, a cycle of jail and poverty, and is quite harmful to the body has no fucking clue what they're doing with drug policy.

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Offline Jega

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Re: London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2016, 07:54:29 PM »
+1^

Plus you can get your pilots license when you're 16. If you think driving in 2 dimensions is difficult when your a teenage try doing it in 3. Don't get me wrong, it's one of the top three things I've ever done in my life but there are moments where the ability to kill yourself with the slightest mistake is incredible. And you can get a semiautomatic Kalashnikov or AR-15 variant when you're 18. Cops in the UK don't even carry sidearms. I'm a second amendment person but the US need common sense gun reform and a reckoning with our drug laws and criminal justice system.
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Offline CARNi

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Re: London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2016, 11:52:40 PM »
Jega. Please humor,enlighten,show me your ideologies on a common sense gun reform. All while backing my second amendment that is....


'Merica   🗽  🔫
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46+2 are just ahead of me!

Offline Jega

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Re: London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2016, 12:14:54 AM »
I'm an NRA member and I believe in the second amendment. I don't hunt but I am a recreational shooter. I believe in everyone who has a lawful right to own a gun to be able to have a gun. But I live in Ohio. I don't believe I should be able to walk into a store and walk out with a handgun in less then 10 minutes. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is not perfect. In the 17 years NICS has been online, for all the focus on mental health, the bar for denying someone on psychiatric grounds is very high, leading to relatively few rejections: Only 21,000 applicants have been denied because they were declared mentally unfit by a judge. The BATFE says 72 hours is not long enough to process an FBI background check if the process goes to that.

What gun reforms would I like to see? Well first i'd like congress to actually confirm a new ATF director. Then give them a budget that intentionally stop the agency from hiring more agents to run more background checks. I think a national 72 hour mandated waiting period should be put into effect especially with handguns. I'd prefer a week but I can compromise. If someone needs a gun right now isn't that something we all should worry about?
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Offline CARNi

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Re: London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2016, 12:53:48 AM »
Thanks for your reply.
You have no idea how close your first three sentences are to me in a mirrored reflective scenario. I understand the laws regarding this topic and while a agree I still do not see any way to change without a huge backlash. I asked because I hold this close to me like I'd hold my children. Its one of the last things we are afforded as free people in the free world. So again I asked looking for  a solution not an issue of course. Your last sentence I just do not know how to a answer.

I do know that may God help us all come November 9th...
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46+2 are just ahead of me!

Offline Jega

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Re: London sees nightclubs as drug dens – Berlin considers them high culture
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2016, 01:59:18 AM »
I respect how you feel about this. While we share a common belief on the core values of the second amendment I suspect we may differ slightly on its application. I'm not a strict constitutionalist (most of the time, everyone has exceptions.) I believe the founders intended it to be a living document. They knew they were not perfect men and would not be succeeded by perfect men. That's why they allowed it to be changed, to be amended. That was brilliant.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

There are experts in constitutional law who say the commas change the meaning even more but let's not get into that.

This was written at a time where there was no organized police department. There were no street lights. In the Northeastern United States it can be dark for 17-18 hours a day in the winter. The perspective of the time the passage was written should be taken into account. As should the words "A well regulated Militia" being the first four words written. A strict constitutionalist could say that since the right to bear arms shall not be infringed, the BATFE has no right to control the amount of pentaerythritol or PETN I have. Those are used in arms, military/terrorist weapons but still, arms. I think we can all agree this would be a very bad thing. I believe it's a living document to have the founders intentions interpreted by each generation to suit best the times they live in for the good of everyone.

--

Also the United States is not Australia. We have a history, a proud pride of gun ownership since before the founding of the country. We have over 280 million guns in this country. There will be no national collection of weapons. No one is going to take your guns.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2016, 02:06:51 AM by Jega »
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