Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Another one bites the dust...just 4 more months of The Flapper
Well, the writing's been on the wall for a while now (and I don't just mean in the men's loos) but very sadly The Flapper's confirmed that it's closing in June to make way for yet more oh so vital apartments that some investor on the other side of the world will no doubt snap up and then leave empty for 20 years. Oh what a jolly wheeze eh? This shit's going on all over the place right now and I suspect that within the next 10 years most of the remaining small to medium sized independent music venues will have gone the same way.
I can't begin to count the number of great gigs I saw at The Flapper (and Firkin)...Add N to X, Bis, Editors, Catatonia, Idlewild (on the first night of their very first national tour...they rang Steve Lamacq live on Radio One from a payphone nearby...yes, it was THAT long ago), Acid Mothers Temple, Misty's Big Adventure (I first discovered them there...back in 2000?), Arab Strap, The Computers, Doll and the Kicks, Everything Everything, Miles Hunt, Dodgy, O Children, Off The Cuff Festivals...but the place has been hosting live music since 1969 so lord knows how many bands got their big break there too.
They say you can't halt progress but what kind of progress is this eh? Nowhere for new bands and artists to play live means, well, no more great new live bands. Welcome to the future people. A world where 'acts' are manufactured in a lab by HUGE corporations, fans sucked in and brainwashed via the internet and then the whole thing rolled straight out into MASSIVE venues owned by...oh yes... the HUGE corporations who'll charge you £75 for a seat...a fucking seat...at a fucking gig...half a mile from the stage.
And where are soundmen/women and new promoters supposed to cut their teeth eh? Budding gig photographers and reviewers? With an ever decreasing network of small to medium sized venues across the UK how many bands will be able to scrape a living together an afford to put on a tour? I could bang on and on about this but I'm guessing if you're reading this you're on the same age. For now though if you've ever been to The Flapper as a performer, punter or drinker let's celebrate what it meant and mourn the loss of yet another chunk of Brum's musical past, present and, perhaps most sadly of all, future.
PS: I picked the vid to accompany this piece partly because it was filmed in The Flapper, partly because I love Misty's and...well partly because if Birmingham City Council doesn't start doing some 'wising up' of its own all that will be left of the City's nightlife will be the bloody nightclubs of Broad Street. God help us all.