In This Episode
With the headlines dominated by Lucy Letby, the most prolific child killer in modern British history, Nish and Coco reflect on the proper role for politicians in cases like this. While we crave reassurance from figures in authority, should they resist the urge to wade in with an easy soundbite? Plus we also reflect on the other big story of the week, the women’s World Cup final, and ask why it’s always men in suits who have to spoil things?
With music venues and nightclubs shutting at an alarming rate, Nish and Coco talk to an agent and a DJ about whether the UK’s nightlife is in crisis. Do politicians place enough value in the night time economy? Can anything be done to reverse the trend, or is it as a result of our changing cultural habits?
Also, why ‘Insomnia’ should be Coco’s current club anthem of choice, and why newsrooms are enjoying the comeback of the August ‘silly season’. Plus we celebrate some world class swearing, and Nish has some ideas for the new Conservative Party general election slogan.
Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked Media.
Contact us via email: PSUK@reducedlistening.co.uk
WhatsApp: 07514 644572 (UK) or + 44 7514 644572
Save The Night event at Fabric in London (free daytime event to support the global nightlife community):
Ladies Music Club: Supporting women, non-binary and trans people in music
Power Up: supporting Black music creators and industry professionals
Hannah Shogbola, music agent at United Artists, and founder of creative consultancy Daju
Gaia Ahuja, DJ and member of Girls Don’t Sync
Sky Sports News
Nish Kumar Hi this is Pod Save the UK.
Coco Khan I’m Coco Khan.
Nish Kumar And I’m Nish Kumar.
Coco Khan And this week we’re taking you to the club. If we can find one open, that is.
Nish Kumar Yes, we’re looking at the state of Britain’s nightlife as clubs and music venues close at an alarming rate.
Coco Khan Is the nighttime economy a priority for our politicians?
Nish Kumar Plus, are the men in suits ruining women’s football? Spoiler alert. The answer, yes. Hi, Coco.
Coco Khan Hi, Nish. Welcome back.
Nish Kumar I’m back in the studio after my COVID exile.
Coco Khan I know it’s hard having a retro illness.
Nish Kumar Yeah, it is hard, I guess. Ot was really. It was like having consumption. Yeah. Yeah, I’m absolutely fine. I’m testing negative, so I’m safe to be in a soundproof bunker with you again.
Coco Khan That’s good, because I do like circulating air. You know what I mean? That’s important to me. It was really on my radar when I got this role. Air must circulate at all times.
Nish Kumar How’s your week?
Coco Khan You know? Well, you know, I came back off honeymoon, didn’t I, last week. And I am still finding it really hard to adapt. I’ve got terrible jetlag. I still wake up at four in the morning. Just me and the foxes, finding it quite hard to adjust back to London time.
Nish Kumar You’re still waking up at four in the morning every day? Oh my God.
Coco Khan It’s awful. You know, I don’t want to. I don’t want to oh, it’s so hard to wake up early, but at the same time, you know, it’s very quiet. There’s nothing going on at four in the morning. There’s nothing on the TV, I have to tiptoe around, because no one else is up. It’s a very lonely, lonely moment.
Nish Kumar Just you. It’s just you and the foxes. That’s it.
Coco Khan Me and the foxes. The only people around. Yeah. Yeah.
Nish Kumar Well, look, it’s feels like in terms of the week’s news, we’re back in, you know what’s normally called in the UK? The silly season in terms of political news. It used to be known as that in newsrooms, because traditionally through the summer when parliament is in recess, not much is happening. People are on holiday. But the last few years it’s been absolute chaos. It’s been absolute anarchy. On this day last year, soon to be Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak had ruled out taking a role in soon to be Prime Minister and also soon to be ex Prime Minister Liz Truss, his cabinet. Two years ago Boris Johnson was scrambling to evacuate Afghanistan, while in 2020 number ten was dealing with COVID whilst wrestling with the Brexit trade deal. So there’s always been some kind of shit show happening in August in the last few years, and this year things have gone quiet. Not because anything is improved. Things are still very bad for people living in this country, but it does seem as though politicians have thought, you know what? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if it is broke, still don’t bother fixing it and fuck off to Disneyland.
Coco Khan Are you familiar with the the very popular wellness program of journaling? Are you aware of that?
Nish Kumar Yes, I am aware of the concept of journaling, yes.
Coco Khan Okay. And keeping a gratitude diary.
Nish Kumar Yes. Yes.
Coco Khan I’m just saying, you know, like for our listeners, if you’re looking for something that it’s not last year or the year before, on this day, it’s maybe that’s some material.
Nish Kumar Are you suggesting that the Conservative Party is going to adapt to Tony Blair’s 1997 slogan, If things could only get better into things, could have been considerably worse. And also have been recently. Vote, Tory.
Coco Khan Listen, you know. Well, you’re joking now, but I guarantee you it’s going to end up you’re manifesting. Oh, my God, you’re doing it right now babe.
Nish Kumar What I’m manifesting.
Coco Khan Yeah. Yeah.
Nish Kumar The next Tory party slogan.
Coco Khan It’s all part of the process. You’re doing it. You’re doing it.
Nish Kumar It’s either that or at the moment seemingly based on some of the rhetoric coming out of the Conservative Party, the next Tory elections, like there’s going to be vote for us. Oh fuck off back to France.
Coco Khan And you know there’s going to be someone in an ad agency being like, Look, babe it’s evergreen. It could be 2023, it could be 1704, it could be 1066.
Nish Kumar We still want somebody still want a lot of people who live in this country to fuck off to a different country.
Coco Khan Take your lace making skills with you. Very obscure joke. But even though it’s a little bit quiet in Westminster, there’s no shortage of political drama. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Republican presidential candidates are holding their first debate on Wednesday. Donald Trump, of course, is skipping it. He’s expected to be arrested the following day on charges of attempting to overturn his 2020 election defeat in the state of Georgia. And if you want the best coverage on that, we have to recommend you to our sister podcast, Pod Save America.
Nish Kumar One name has dominated the news this week. Lucy Levy, the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history. The 33 year old neonatal nurse was convicted of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six more at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 16.
Coco Khan On Monday, she was sentenced to a whole life term, meaning she will never be released from prison. We may never know why she did it, but determining how she was able to commit such profoundly horrific crimes is now fundamental. We need answers for her victims and their families. Just ensure those lessons learned and hold those to account. Who could have stopped Lucy Levy sooner?
Nish Kumar So the political fallout of this deeply shocking case has centered on two specific issues. Let be refused to come to the court to be present for a sentencing. A final insult to a victim’s families as they read out victim impact statements intended for her ears back in December last year in response to other high profile cases, the then Justice secretary, Dominic Raab, promised to change the law to force convicted criminals to attend sentencing. But so far, nothing’s happened on that. Labour leader Keir Starmer has told the Government to stop dragging their heels over the law change and Rishi Sunak has now reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to do it.
Coco Khan The second issue is the inquiry. Starmer has also joined victims and medical experts in calling on the Government to upgrade the independent inquiry to a statutory one that would give a judge the power to compel witnesses to attend and for evidence to be produced. Under that public pressure, the Government is now saying a statutory inquiry is on the table.
Nish Kumar The problem here is I sometimes don’t know what we’re looking for. From our political leaders in this in this kind of moment. I just think with this, there isn’t really a value in just jumping in with an opinion. And listen, I know that we do a show that is all about us just offering up our opinions and in this specific instance. It feels like a strange thing to say, but actually I think people need to wait and let the inquiries do their work. The government has reassured the public that they have the capacity to upgrade that independent inquiry to a statutory one, which, as you say, would give the judge its power to compel witnesses to attend that evidence be produced, which is which is really important. The crucial thing here is we need to establish what people knew about what they said that we was doing, what concerns were raised and why those concerns weren’t acted upon much more quickly in a moment like this. It feels like what everybody desperately wants is a quick solution. Yes, but it’s the boring hard work and the detail and the investigation and then the holding of people responsible to be accountable for their actions or inactions that is really going to matter here. And so I just feel like this. There’s no value in soundbites.
Coco Khan Absolutely. And actually, like there’s I think there’s probably many examples where. People, politicians, sorry, are quick to give a response because they want to be part of the news agenda and they want to be seen to be saying something.
Nish Kumar This is an act so unfathomably evil that it sort of. It makes you afraid of being a human being, right? Because the capacity of somebody to do this, it makes you afraid of what we as people are capable of. And so I think there’s a part of this, certainly part of me that want somebody to say, don’t worry, we are going to make sure that nothing like this could ever happen again. Saying that you can’t just magic that and make it. You can’t just will it into existence by saying it. I understand the impulse of people to want a quick fix.
Coco Khan I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s it’s something like this. You know, in a way you can understand greed. You can you can understand like someone’s desire for power. You can understand these things. What on earth? This is why it’s it cuts you in a completely different way. So I understand that the leaders need to be seen to be doing something. But the question is, you know, is what they’re doing the right thing? Is it done in haste? And also, please don’t let it be the only thing you know. There’s got to be more. We hope to keep saying it and hopefully if other people can also keep saying things and then they will push our politicians to keep looking at this over the longer term.
Nish Kumar So this week should have been a fantastic one to celebrate women’s football. And the World Cup did throw up loads of potential heroes of the week, but it also threw up plenty of contenders for Villain of the Week because whilst the women were on the pitch delivering thrills and drama, they were let down by the men in suits. The biggest problem in football remains all of the men in suits that run football.
Coco Khan So it’s no surprise to hear that our villain of the week is Louis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation. He kissed Spanish player Jenny, her mouth so full on the lips as she lined up to receive her winner’s medal. Creepy or not, I didn’t like it, is what Hermoso said. She posted that on Instagram immediately afterwards. Spain’s Equalities Minister Irene Montero said it’s a form of sexual violence that women suffer on a daily basis.
Nish Kumar And then having done that, he even somehow managed to completely balls up apologizing. He firstly told a Spanish broadcaster that it was a kiss between two friends celebrating something, and that those who saw it differently were idiots and stupid people. And then he went on to add Let’s ignore them and enjoy the good things. After criticism on social media and from some Spanish politicians, he backtracked. By Monday, he said, I was completely wrong. I have to admit it.
Coco Khan So let’s hear him, shall we?
Clip *In Spanish*
Coco Khan Just to explain what’s going on there. He basically does that classic thing of apologizing, kind of not apologizing. There’s a lot of shrugging. He looks baffled by what he calls the commotion. He says it seemed normal to him and the player and says that if anyone has been damaged by this, I apologize. You know, I have to apologize.
Nish Kumar But there’s more. There’s also footage of him grabbing his genitals and thrusting his groin at the celebrations. And he is quite close to the queen of Spain and her teenage daughter at the time, which is obviously somehow make something already bad even worse.
Coco Khan I cannot believe that that celebration of grabbing one’s genitals is still around. But when I saw the clip of it. I’ve recently been rewatching The Office the British Way, and there’s a character, David Brent’s got a mate called Chris Finn. Yes, I’m talking about.
Nish Kumar Of course I know.
Coco Khan And the Chris Finch energy coming off.
Nish Kumar Pure Chris Finch energy. Chris Finch. For American listeners. Todd Packer Then the American version of the character was Todd Pocock. But it’s very much an absolute Finch Packer energy.
Coco Khan Yeah, Yeah. So, I mean, just to give you a bit more information about this clown, he’s a 45 year old former player. He’s had something of a journeyman career as a defender. He once played three games for Hamilton Academical in Scotland. His Wikipedia page says he was not known for being a very skilled player, but he was tenacious. His nickname was Pundit four, which means pride. He may need to think of a new nickname, although I’m thinking maybe Finchy might be the one we can stop.
Nish Kumar I mean, the men’s game at this point just sort of feels intrinsically and institutionally corrupted. And the Women’s World Cup was such a triumph for the sport. You know, the attendances at the games were sort of record highs, record numbers of people watch the games on television. You know, I’m an England football fan. It was a disappointing result. The lionesses had a great run in the tournament. So many great performances, a really strong winning team, really strong performance in the final. But again, people like Gianni Infantino, who I cannot believe, he still allowed me to vote. Like, I don’t understand. I don’t know what surgical procedure we need to extract this man from football. But he is the FIFA president and his relentless gaffe machine.
Coco Khan Right.
Nish Kumar He he doesn’t take me to qualify for Villain of the Week because his remarks happened last week. But we simply cannot let them pass. This is what he said.
Clip I say to all the women that you have the power to change. Pick the right battles. Pick the right fights. You have the power to change. You have the power to convince us men what we have to do and what you don’t have to do. You do it. Just do it with me. With FIFA, you will find open doors. Just push the doors. They are open.
Nish Kumar I mean.
Coco Khan Sorry. I shouldn’t be laughing at what was going on there. I mean. Oh, God. Is spittle for all the other feminists listening? Can you believe it? We just needed to ask. It turns out all those women women’s rights we have had to fight tooth and claw for. Oh, we just needed to ask. The doors were already open. Got it? We do. Thank you so much Gianni Infantino.
Nish Kumar Dana, you have to remember that this man is the Martin Luther King of talking absolute ballocks. Like he is right in terms of we should push the door. But I think we should be pushing the door to do is to grab him by the scruff of the neck and throw him back out of the door. He’s a man who works in professional football. Why is no one thought of slide tackling this motherfucker? Like, just go in hard on him. He’s. FIFA is institutionally one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. Like, it’s astonished. Anyway, he’s a deeply unpleasant man.
Coco Khan Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. It is funny how, like. Yeah. Women’s football. And here we are talking about all the stupid men.
Nish Kumar Yeah, Is is terrible. Which is a shame because there’s so many women to celebrate from the tournament as a whole, specifically in the final massive, massive shout out to Marriott. Yeah. For saving the penalty and providing one of the greatest pieces of televised swearing. Say what you will about this is every year. Every year they provide the euros. It was Jill Scott this time. The close up of Maria. So she screams fuck off. To sum up, we do not know. everyone.
Coco Khan I thought it was just to everyone even the audience.
Nish Kumar It’s not even clear. She saves a penalty, you know, as a goalkeeper, saving a penalty. The World Cup final is like. I mean, that’s pretty much that’s as good as it gets. That’s as big as it gets for a goalkeeper. And she had won the Golden Glove, supposed to be the tournament’s best. But, you know, she’s widely regarded as being the best goalkeeper. Mary, going to stop? Yeah, she saves the penalty. The camera. I mean, I can only assume because of where the final was held, it was an Australian camera crew who have a deep. Australia as a nation has a deep appreciation for the art of obscenity. And I can only assume it was an Australian television director who encouraged the camera person to punch on barrier barriers face as she detonated the mother of all F-bombs. Yeah, yeah, right into the camera. But yeah, she was. She was excellent and exceptional. Throw did keep England in the game. It gutting the lionesses didn’t win. But congratulations. Spain and England will come again. You know, there’s a huge amount of young talent in that team.
Coco Khan Well, on that note, coming up next, we’ll be saving the UK’s nightlife with guest club promoter Hannah Shogbola and DJ from Girls Don’t Think Gaia Ahuja.
Coco Khan Here on Pod Save the UK. We like to have a good time.
Nish Kumar Yes. And regularly still will know Coco to be one of the UK’s most prominent ravers.
Coco Khan By prominent he means aging. But anyway, I was very sad to hear that the number of nightclubs in the UK has slumped to a record low, with more than 100 closing in the last year alone, 54% of major towns and cities have seen a decline in their nightlife. Back in 2021, MPs warned the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, that we face an extinction event for nightlife. And I’m very sad to say it might well be here. It’s sad for any of us that had formative years in clubs, myself included. You know what even is coming of age if you’re not using a fake ID to go to a club, you’re really not allowed. We do not condone this behavior.
Nish Kumar None of this behavior is condoned.
Coco Khan You know, dancing like no one’s watching. Maybe you’ve met your life partner that I actually did meet my husband in the smoking area of a club night. So there we go. But nonetheless, music is important to the UK. It’s really important to marginalized communities to share together to community, and it’s also just really good vibes. So we’re a bit sad about it and today we’re going to solve it well.
Nish Kumar And also it’s a massive part of the British economy, like it actually has really meaningful impacts. It’s estimated that night time economy, which it covers everything that any businesses that are active between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.. I am technically a part of the nighttime economy as a standup comedian, which I don’t think anyone associates me with. Right. But I think that that’s like.
Coco Khan Yeah but you love live music.
Nish Kumar I love live music.
Coco Khan That’s all in the night.
Nish Kumar It’s a stand comedian. And also I’m a huge contribute to the late night kebab economy of the United Kingdom. I am a stalwart of the British kebab industry, so like it. But in monetary terms, it’s reckoned for every £10 that spend per seat inside a venue, another £17 is spent outside of it, and it’s estimated to be worth £93.7 billion to the British economy. And in a moment where our economy is not as strong as it once was, we don’t you know, we don’t manufacture anything apart from racism, but we don’t manufacture anything of value. It seems like a strange thing to not support something that has a real, genuine, meaningful economic impact in the country. The sector is struggling to recover from a combination of the pandemic, followed by the cost of living crisis, which has pushed up energy costs and also affected the amount people are actually able to go out and how much we spend when we do go out.
Coco Khan So, you know, as we were talking about earlier, it’s not just nightclubs that are closing their doors. It’s live gig venues, too. And listen, you know, I’m a little raver, but we’re talking about jazz as well. We’re talking about even classical music. All kinds of audio expression fall into nightlife, economy and the music venue Trust warn that 2023 will inevitably be the worst year for venue closures since the body was created in 2014. The Nighttime Industries Association has said that the government has failed to consider the threats to the nighttime economy and is calling for targeted help in the Autumn Statement. That includes VAT help, energy, Labour shortages and visas for live acts.
Nish Kumar Yeah, it’s a it’s a difficult and complicated picture. And, you know, there is political, social and economic value to considering the conversation about the nightlife. So in order to work out how much trouble clubs and venues are in and perhaps suggest some things we could do about it, we are thrilled to be joined by two guests. Today. We’re joined by Hannah Shogbola, one of the only female black agents in the UK, and a fixture of the club it says a fixture of the club circuit.
Hannah Shogbola Wow. I better live up to that then.
Coco Khan Yeah, exactly.
Nish Kumar And we’re joined by Gaia Ahuja from Girls Don’t Sync a female deejay collective. You play at some of the top clubs across the UK and Europe. Thank you both so much for joining us.
Gaia Ahuja Thank you for having us.
Hannah Shogbola Thank you.
Coco Khan So, guys, let’s just get straight in here. What’s happening in the nighttime economy? You know, we talked about venue closing there, but is that the full story? How hard is it to put on a club night, for example?
Hannah Shogbola I think like, you know, first and foremost, it is a tremendously difficult time currently for the nightlife culture. I think that we have had to face some hugely impactful changes since lockdown. I think the simplest, simplistic way to start this conversation is to look at the damaging impact that lockdown had, particularly on the live music space. You know, we couldn’t put on shows, we couldn’t go out to shows Even after the kind of restrictions happened after COVID, we were still put under tremendous pressure to, you know, not be able to put on even nightclubs in particular were hugely damaged. We couldn’t have more than I think it was like, don’t quote me on this, but 200 people inside a space, you know, you had to go through all the leaps and jumps of taking COVID tests, making sure that you were able to go inside a club. When you put all of those things into that situation. It’s just so damaging because particularly, you know, this these are spaces created for people to go to feel. Freed to not feel trapped. Just like you were saying about how you met your husband in smoking. I love that point. And so I just had to bring it back up because, you know, there’s particularly a nightclub environment in the electronic music space now. This also came from a black queer community. It’s like this is where we need to go to feel free. So the impacts that we had post-COVID were, for me, the first point of the kind of downfall. I think post that when we look at the current situation, you know, inflation, we’re all stripping back. I think it costs a lot of money to go out, you know, especially in London. And that has resulted in, you know, the economy and the money is flowing through being heavily damaged.
Gaia Ahuja So I think, yeah, you’re talking about like the stems and the foundations. But I think even if we look at now, like in the height of summer, like we’re in festival season and, you know, if I wasn’t working and DJ and I would be saving up to go into a festival. And I think particularly in my friendship group alone, they’re not, you know, they’re not really investing in going to the nightclub in London. And actually a lot of my friends are putting on their own nights, particularly in London. They’re really, really struggling because they’ve got a battle with festivals or holidays. And I think at the moment people are saving up and they’re prioritizing going to the festivals within like the height of summer rather than like, you know, supporting club nights or, you know, going to one off events here and there throughout the summer. And I just think it’s really, really hard, particularly like in this season, to put on an event, you know, to ensure that people come to sell the tickets. And I think in London as well, like you’ve just got such a melting pot of so many different nights, particularly like around this time this weekend alone, I can’t imagine how many events and competition that’s going to be like around big bank holidays and in summer in general. And I think, yeah, I think it’s really taking a hit on, you know, small independent venues and like club collectives and promoters as well.
Nish Kumar And that’s because people are being because of the pressures of cost of living. People are now it’s it’s a question of whittling down what you’re going to do and it starts to become instead of I’m going to do this and this, it’s I’m going to do this, all this. So I’m either going to go to four club nights in London or Manchester or Edinburgh or whatever, or I’m going to go to one massive strip of sound. So that’s a kind of that’s a consequence of the wider economic picture.
Gaia Ahuja Mm hmm.
Coco Khan The thing about culture is that, like, it’s a muscle, and if you don’t use it, then it can kind of wither away. And whether that’s like, you know, we’re talking about club nights and things like that, but it could also be going to art galleries. It could also be museums, theater, all of those things. Have you felt that the numbers, irrespective of the kind of cost of living aspect of it, I do appreciate that obviously helps it. But I’m just curious, you know, did people’s habits wither away when they couldn’t start going to clubs as they used to in the pandemic?
Hannah Shogbola Oh, 100%. We were just speaking about this before we came on and just talking about even our personal tastes when it comes to how we’re embracing nightlife culture post-pandemic. And I think what we found, particularly on the live booking side, is that people are out until seven or eight in the morning anymore as much as they were previously. There’s also become a habit of how people want to absorb live music, for example, or electronic deejays. With that, you can see, you know, people are impacting the before what’s it called like before Midnight Rave, which is obviously having a target audience, which is predominantly mothers, particularly people of her age. And that’s actually been really well-received because I don’t think people want to be out as much. We were also having this discussion actually in work about a year ago. I don’t really remember weirdly, like years and years ago. It’s like a punk era where actually a lot of that community in that kind of age group, they were quite straitlaced and they didn’t really want to go out. And so like, you know, Stupid O’clock And what we found is actually like the habits of even like, like consuming things like alcohol and so on and so forth at nightclubs isn’t actually as high depending on what genre of music they’re going out. But all of these things have resulted in us having to adapt the way that we put on shows. You know, for example, there was a point just after lockdown where I work with a lot of electronic deejays and actually a lot of them are crossing over into the food space and doing like supper clubs. But with music, because you can do that in a more reasonable hour of like seven, so tired and we can do that in spaces. Even I did one with like the star of the ICA, which previously would probably never think to do something that but we did because we knew that people were more likely to come out to that particular event than they would be. Maybe if we put on a club show now, you know, there is still communities that definitely are coming out later and still doing the things that we have done previously. But traditional habits just around it, I think, definitely have changed.
Coco Khan Changing tastes are great. And if we can adapt to a modern world where people are drinking less and they want to be out on the day and they want to get their hours sleep, all power to it. But it cannot just be that we just need to adapt the industry to survive because we are seeing clubs closing in their droves again, extinction events. So I guess one of the questions, one of the things we want to get to is, you know, what is the problems that, for example, politicians should be fixing. So all. I’ll kick it off. Noise. Noise. Complaints.
Hannah Shogbola Oh, loads. Oh, my gosh.
Coco Khan Have you felt this is become more of a problem then?
Hannah Shogbola 100%.
Gaia Ahuja Festivals have been have been actually pulled because of local complaints. Quite a few. Even just like smaller festivals as well that we’ve been. We’ve even been on the line ups of like they’ve been pulled for like, you know, noise complaints or local reasons. Even one of my local parks, like it just got pulled had to get pulled.
Hannah Shogbola The restrictions and the kind of conversation around licensing is is complex and it definitely has a huge impact on why there is a lack of not just festivals, but also nightclubs that are able to remain open. You know, I know for a fact actually. Well, I had loads of probably can’t even name clubs, but, you know, actually I had, you know, tremendous amount of problems with neighbors complaining. Same thing with fabric. And you look at these institutions and obviously I’m very biased with fabric because I used to work for them, but they had to go against like jump through hoops, so to speak, to remain open. And I just think there is a distinct lack of support from the government. Number one, like without a doubt, again, Mengi was speaking before. When you look at European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and particularly cities like Amsterdam and Berlin, that during the lockdown and post lockdown, they gave a tremendous amount of support to their communities, whether that be through money, whether that be through appointing nighttime mayors, which obviously I believe the UK did for a certain point. We did some work with that kind of work kind of did. And I just definitely feel it isn’t enough being done because also like we’re speaking about originally, like a lot of these a lot of nightlife culture, you know, it doesn’t just support marginalized communities, it supports everybody, but it also comes from a place quite often from outside communities. And I think like it just feels really disappointing that we’re not being supported enough.
Gaia Ahuja I agree as well. I think culture in terms of, you know, through our government’s lens, I think it’s now become attached to class and, you know, culture is going to the museum and going to the theater. And I know and there’s so much to support, you know, those institutions. And I just think what Joanna was saying as well, like when you look at the club and, you know, you know, from the again, from a government saying this is people drinking, it’s young people. I also want to like to say as well, like I really believe in going to that recent event I was talking about just before off air. I believe that club culture can transcend like like generations. My mum is begging me for assistance. I mean, I’ve just gone to an event recently that there were like grown like grown men there, young people there. And I think that, yeah, putting, putting a cap on it and like aiming at the younger generation I think is false because I really do believe that as cheap enough. But like, you know, there’s no age limit to having fun. You know if you want to like there isn’t.
You know, I have I’ve found it quite sad hearing you talk there when you were like, oh, you know, the government like, care more about museums then they care about us. I mean, I don’t think the government care about museums personally. I don’t think they care about the arts at all. I think they’re awful in these things. But this is what has happened. All of us who were interested in culture in some way, you start having this like this is what they do. This is their classic tactic. It’s like, let’s all fight over crumbs when there’s plenty of pie to be had. You know what I mean? I think it’s very sad.
Nish Kumar It’s a strange thing to not support. These are figures that come from an all party parliamentary group that was founded to investigate the sort of impacts of the night time economy and in 2021, and they found that it supports 1.3 million jobs in this country. So again, we are talking about an important employer, you know, something that makes a real economic contribution. And I do want to come back to solutions in a second, but I just briefly want to return to this idea about noise complaints and the root of that, because I also think that is something incredibly significant politically about what gentrification does to our cities. And the Night and Day cafe in Manchester is absolutely hugely significant, iconic music venue. Now that part of Manchester in the northern core has been subject to a huge amount of gentrification in the last decade. Like it’s changed so much in the years that I’ve just been going back and forth. I’ve done gigs around that, but it’s the it’s still in the process of dealing with a noise complaint from people that were living near the Night and Day cafe. Now the problem with these kind of areas is that they become fashionable and fabrics and are the classic example, the area around fabric and that sort of Farringdon clock. Malaria is an area that at points had been quite rundown. So obviously then artists, musicians, the sort of, you know, the night time people arrive, but it becomes like a because of the work that the nighttime people do, it becomes like a trendy area to be in.
Coco Khan I’m from Brixton. Growng up and telling people that I was from Brixton would be like, Oh, and now its like I’m going to go to Brixton. And it was like, It’s crazy like. And I think it’s yeah, it’s attaching, it’s attaching these like places and these things and like these nighttime people. And I think I agree with what you’re saying about the museums and the theaters. You know, not being it’s not that I don’t think that I do agree that they’re not supported, but I think they’re way more respected. Let you go to drama school. Right. Right. You know, it’s more of like an adjunct, like an educational route. So there’s more recognition and respect from the government, whereas the nighttime people are so not so respectable. It’s just it happens accidentally. And I think that’s probably why it’s not recognized.
Nish Kumar You’re right. It’s not recognized or respected yet, but then in a way, I would be happy if they left us in our own filth. I would genuinely be happy. Fine. If if we’re not coming from bits of the arts or culture that you respect, then leave us alone. But the problem is that you have a night and day cover. You have fabric. These areas become trendy and then they build luxury flats in them. And that that’s that’s where the noise complaints are coming from. In places like the northern call, that’s where noise complaints around fabric came from. They came from luxury property developments. They often build luxury flats in areas that have become desirable and airy. Basically, my message to all of this is if you’re a stockbroker, get the fuck out of Brixton.
Hannah Shogbola Agreed.
Coco Khan To just continuing on this, this this topic of noise complaints. What do you guys think could be a solution for this?
Hannah Shogbola My answer would be I think that there just needs to be way more protection for a lot of what I regard as institutions, Even if it is a small restaurant or it’s a nightclub. These are pillars within our communities that need to exist and they need to thrive. And I feel that when that us when there is so many issues surrounding, you know, big flat complexes coming in and being built up in these areas, we need to be protected, I think. And I don’t have the right language to put that in place because I’m not a lawyer, but I definitely I just feel like that is the biggest answer. MM Sounds simplistic, but, you know, that’s true because otherwise, you know, if you think from the other side, if people, if there’s only a certain amount of people that complain, it’s like, I don’t know. I just think that there needs to be protection.
Gaia Ahuja The people that complain are the stockbroker. Like because they like what you’re saying, They have the means and the language and the access to be able to do so.
Nish Kumar Germany’s actually declared nightclubs to be cultural institutions. So people Berlin, a club like Birkin, as the government voted in 2021 to give nightclubs the same status as museums.
Hannah Shogbola But, you know, this is so important because also let’s rewind to the facts what we’re talking about, how much money nightlife brings in. So it’s just such a backwards way of thinking when we’re having to go through all these restrictions and not being cared for, when this is something that puts so much money into our economy like what? It’s just backwards.
Nish Kumar Also invested £900,000 in soundproofing for Berlin, and that’s government money that’s going in because again, they recognized that the £900,000 investment, you know.
Hannah Shogbola They’ll earn it back in one night. Yeah, I’m not even joking. I paid for drinks there last week. And it’s cash only.
Gaia Ahuja It’s true though, like even when we play in Europe, like, it’s so plush. We just played in Belgium. I sent a video to my mum. Like what the how? It’s like it’s so developed, like from everything, even just from, like the structure of the festival, just to like the nature of the people. Everything is just so I don’t know how to explain it.
Coco Khan They’re being nurtured by their, you know, their, their culture. I mean, like we’ve had in the UK 12 culture secretaries in 13 years. I’m not sure any of them gave a shit about night life anyway. But I mean, even just that.
Nish Kumar You think Nadine Dorries didn’t care. Nadine Dorries the most Liverpool’s most famous daughter, doesn’t care about nightlife in Liverpool.
Hannah Shogbola No, but I think you’re right.
Nish Kumar If anybody has seen Nadine Dorries do email in the show, we were a bit worried about her whereabouts, so.
Hannah Shogbola No, but I think you’re right. This is about what you’re saying. It’s about how they are received within their country, how they are supported by their governments, by having that and enabling that removes the sort of like pitting against each other. You know, this stress that UK promoters are under is phenomenal. You know, often you have agents there against promoters, which is something that I strongly fight against. We all work together and it’s so important that we support our local promoters. Unfortunately, they have so much to jump through when it comes to delivering a safe, well organized event because, you know, even when you look at the hassles that we had post-COVID, which is still happening to this day, access to the right, even fencing. HARRIS Fencing at festivals was so limited because of how we can’t get it over here. You know, that goes hand in hand with security. You know, you can’t legally open an event unless you have access to police ambulance crews. That is something that we have to be acutely aware of because when you don’t have access to those things or local councils are restricting promoters from those things, that results in cancellation of shows or shows being done in a lot less. And no capacity is what you’re experiencing when you’re up. So that is, I think, one of the issues that we face within the live music sector particular.
Coco Khan One of the things I wanted to just mention to our listeners, you know, nightlife is a really broad category. It includes many things, like we said, restaurants and bars included. But just to give you a sense of the UK and how the UK looks, it doesn’t exactly follow rich, poor lines. It doesn’t exactly follow North-South lines. It might be why it’s sometimes quite hard to organize around it. So for example, you actually don’t have that many options in Birmingham, but you do in Halifax somewhere that’s really rich, like High Wickham. I mean, there’s no nightlife there, but it’s wealthy. It could have it if it wanted. London Technically.
Nish Kumar I’ve done stand up in High Wickham, but there’s no it’s not just nightlife. There’s no life.
Hannah Shogbola I’m going to agree with that.
Coco Khan In High Wickham you will not be welcome back there again.
Hannah Shogbola One of my clients is from High Wickham
Coco Khan You know like, okay, fine. It’s maybe not north, south, rich, poor, but I think like you were saying, you could definitely talk about it as a youth issue. Like most people that work in the nightlife industry tend to be on the younger side, but it does appeal to all. Michael Gove himself is a bit of a raver, but I wanted to just talk to you about specifically how you see the opportunities for playing live music.
Hannah Shogbola Okay, there’s two parts which I would answer that. First off, when you’re looking at territories that are easier to put on events, we also have to be aware again when we go back to councils, but also policing issues that we have with inside areas which can fall into many different categories. Like I come from a standpoint and, you know, have experience not being able to put on events, whether they be because it’s more of an event that’s aligned with black music or black culture. So there’s a tremendous another layer that we have to fight through, which is hugely frustrating. I can guarantee you if we went and put a license request in to put an event on in High Wycombe that was predominately black music, you’d probably get rejected, right? So I think that there’s things that we have to resolve to do with that to make it easier.
Coco Khan We have got Night Czars in Manchester. We’ve got one in London. You guys are actually at the front line. Does this position do anything or is this just window dressing?
Hannah Shogbola If you’re talking to two people that are fully immersed in this industry and we feel that we probably aren’t aware of those people enough, then there’s probably a problem somewhere along the line just to be as simplistic as they are. You know, that can come from both sides for most maybe, you know, I don’t know. I think there just needs to be more transparency, more evidence to show of the changes. Yeah, more support really.
Gaia Ahuja I think is I think it’s all I think it’s all about support. And that’s why I think that when we’ve had the experiences in in Europe, it feels supported because it’s just it’s almost like it’s a whole holistic thing of like how respected and recognized like these institutions are. Like you don’t really get people calling clubs and festivals like instant institutions and bios. Like that’s how they really received over there. And it’s just like it’s a whole, like free dimensional thing from like the people to the government and it’s a whole yeah, I think it’s a very there’s a, there’s a consciousness that worries. I don’t really feel that collective consciousness. And I think the North and the South, I think I do think that there’s a lot of differences as well, because living in Liverpool is why I would like. There’s been so many venues across the last few years that have been so close to shutting and the people that have ensured that these venues stay open all the other time. People, all the people, you know, it’s like we don’t have like even, like if things were happening in the club that I went to, I found it really hard to like, contact our local councilor or just like, reach out to like people that are supposed to be there within our community politically as well that could actually try and help us. And actually it was the people of our community that actually got together. And like I said, they march like, I don’t know how we went really about, I don’t know, sorting things out, like in the proper way, like, you know, because it wasn’t accessible. So we did it ourselves.
Coco Khan At the moment. Yeah, you can fight, but we’re still losing that. So basically, and that is why we need help and we need intervention and you need the government to get involved. Basically.
Nish Kumar I mean we’ve got to wrap up, so we got to let you guys go. But in terms of like, you know, practical solutions, we talked about things like, I mean, holding property developers to account when they haven’t noise proof houses that they’re building in these areas, you know, providing actual support and declaring them to be cultural institutions and putting money in as a government because the money that you put in, you get back in terms of the economic contribution of these organizations. But it for both of you, is there one specific message you would like to give to policy makers about protecting the nighttime economy?
Gaia Ahuja As a deejay, it’s just the the luxury of being able to say that my job is to make people dance and, you know, basically fill a room and fill a space and bring my sound and the music that motivates and excites me into so many different areas and countries and, you know, different communities as well is a luxury and it is brilliant. And I can see from the other side of the decks, particularly when I’m not how to drink and I’m completely sober because if I was on the other side, I probably wouldn’t be sober and and dancing along. So I have a real, I guess, like a way to observe from like a distance of just people really, really enjoying themselves. And from a deejay’s perspective, like, that’s that’s all you really want. And again, it sounds cheesy, but I can watch and see people letting their hair down and having a good time and being with their friends. And I think what that does to people’s self-esteem, their livelihood, like their identity is really, really important.
Coco Khan I can’t think of any other parallel experience like that where strangers go into a room and they enjoy something together, particularly in our very isolated times. Especially if you’re young now and so much of your life is behind a screen, I think it’s quite beautiful. I can’t think of anything else. Maybe. Maybe sports?
Hannah Shogbola No.
Nish Kumar Hannah anything that you’d like, a message that you want to get across to policy makers on this subject?
Hannah Shogbola I just think to everybody, I think it’s about really supporting and I think looking, you know, whether that be going out and buying a ticket to an independent venue, you know, do the research, do your due diligence, you know, support your communities, I think is hugely important. And I think that this is a very important topic that is ongoing. And this isn’t me sat here plugging away. I think, you know, we are doing an open town hall meeting, so to speak, in fabric on the 31st of August, which is bringing in everybody from all different parts of the industry to talk about this problem and how we tackle against it. You know, and just to kind of end on a more sentimental one, exactly like how you’re both saying, you know, a coming experience and electronic music and live music is integral to your wealth, your health, your upbringing, you know, everything about it is so important. I read this amazingly recently. Maybe Prince said it, but it’s like everybody is hurting. And I think like when you go into those spaces, there’s somewhat of a healing with it. And I think the fact that we are losing these spaces is hugely damaging and really sad. But there are ways that we can make a difference and come back. And I think by supporting an everywhere you can and that can be through local things like Ladies Music Pub, which is a collective that works in this space. It could be things like Power Up, which is part of a Paris initiative. It could be things like coming along to that meeting, that event which is free that you can come to. So yeah, that would be my $0.02.
Nish Kumar Thank you so much for joining us.
Hannah Shogbola Thank you
Nish Kumar We appreciate it. It was great.
Gaia Ahuja Cheers. Thanks, guys.
Coco Khan No, thank you.
Nish Kumar Geneva emailed in from Seattle to say, I’m a U.S. citizen and I found you through your bonus episode on PSA. And let’s just say your phrase, get banged. Spoke to my soul. It’ll say that no classic elevator pitch ever occurred. When I started listening, I got hooked not only on your consistent irreverence towards the various powers that be, but also, let’s be honest, the freedom with which you toss around the word vagina. It’s not every podcast that so casually references lady parts and I for one am here for end vaginal erasure.
Coco Khan Awwww. End vaginal erasure. Definitely. Also, it’s not just vaginas. It seems our chat about clean bums also has struck a chord. We spoke about that last week. Andy, one of our listeners from the States, has emailed in and says, Hello, I hope this is the strangest email you received today.
Nish Kumar Great start, big star, immediately a big star.
Coco Khan It’s a solution to the clean bum issue discussed on last week’s show. I happened to be in London during the 2017 Fatberg incident. Oh sorry, the Fatberg. I forgot about the Fatberg.
Nish Kumar For non- UK based Lister’s to be honest, probably for even some UK listeners who were not based in London in 2017. They found a huge Fatberg which was this sort of enormous kind of like like iceberg made of all of this toilet paper and stuff that gets and wipes that gets flushed down a toilet that managed to collect itself into one light super fatberg that was just clogging up the London sewage system.
Coco Khan And the reason they call it the Fatberg is because our sewers of Victorian they’re very old obviously, but our diets have changed since the Victorian and we consume more fat. So all this stuff, we put it down the toilet, the razors, the tampons, the tissues was getting congealed.
Nish Kumar With our.
Coco Khan With our human fat and nonetheless. So the email continues. When I returned home, I started thinking more about the products I was flushing. I found a product called Fohm. F-O-H-M, which is sold in the UK. It’s a foam dispenser that can be used with toilet paper to ensure a clean bob. I am not sponsored by or affiliated with this company. I am simply just a middle aged homosexual man who appreciates a clean bum. The show is amazing and a consistent highlight of my week. Thank you so much for saying that. He goes on to write. I feel I should apologize for waiting to pay the show’s team a compliment until I had some advice about cleaning one’s under bits.
Nish Kumar Well, you should. And you should know, based on listening to the show, that that is what we appreciate more than anything else. Waiting until somebody talks about wiping your ass to compliment the show is consistent with the spirit of the show.
Coco Khan We do actually cover serious topics too though on the show. It’s hard to believe.
Nish Kumar It’s not exclusively a genital based podcast.
Coco Khan At the Peter Mullins commented on YouTube about our chat with Grace Blakeley on whether it matters that our Prime Minister is richer than the king. Peter writes It doesn’t matter how wealthy a person is, but whether or not they can empathize, preferably through experience with the plight that many face days today, Rishi could never imagine the idea of not having or going without. The man has no idea about having the daily feeling of dread that each day can hold when you do not have enough money to feed or house yourself and those around you. I lived like that for 30 years, then married well, like our friend Rishi. And now I have to have opinions on Tory tax policy. But I will never forget what it’s like trying to make dry noodles last for several days by skipping meals. I don’t mind how much someone has as long as they are willing willing to lift everyone else with them. There needs to be better policy because everyone marry a rich person is not an effective means of social mobility.
Nish Kumar Thank you very much for writing in. Just before we round out the mailbag, and thanks to everybody for emailing and we really appreciate it. We love hearing from you. I just want to quickly draw attention to this message from an American listener whose handle is at TCHNFRQ. I don’t know what this person has against vowels, but they’ve got a they’ve just they’ve just abandoned them completely. I guess.
Coco Khan Is it Techno frack?
Nish Kumar I think it’s probably techno freak, right? Techno freak.
But anyway TCHNFRQ and they say, I consume so much British media I’m now convinced Britain is just cities filled with Greggs, Nandos and spoons. Somehow I still want to visit. I’m going to be honest with you Techno Freak, you’re not far wrong. Your absolutely not far wrong. Throw in a few betting shops and a payday loans company and you’ve got a pretty complete picture of this country. Listen, if you want to get in touch with us about serious issues raised in the show, you could get in touch with us by emailing PSUK at reduced listening dot co dot UK. We love your messages. We’d also love to hear your voices as well. So why not send us a voice note on WhatsApp? Our number is 07514644572. Internationally, that’s +447514644572. And if you’re new to the show, remember to hit follow on your app and you’ll get every new episode every week.
Coco Khan And just finally. I know I keep saying it. She’s a broken record, but the British Podcast Awards has a public vote. The listeners choice. If you’d like to vote for us, we would very much like it if you did. It’s free and easy to do. Just go to British podcast Awards dot com forward slash voting. Anyone can vote. So again just go to British podcast awards dot com forward slash voting. Okay It’ll take 5 minutes Just do it.
Nish Kumar All right. And finally, well, we’re begging you to do things if you live in the United Kingdom. I have a stand up comedy special that is available from Friday, the 25th of August called Your Power Your Control. It’s the film of my last tour that I did in the UK. So if you live in the United Kingdom or Ireland, I believe you have access to that special. It’s streaming on sky comedy and sky on Demand and now TV from Friday the 25th of August. It’s the day before my birthday. If you want to give me a little birthday present, please watch that stand up show.
Coco Khan Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production, but Crooked Media.
Nish Kumar Thanks to senior producer Musty Aziz and digital producer Alex Bishop. Additional production assistance was by Annie Keister.
Coco Khan Video editing was by David Koplovitz and the music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos.
Nish Kumar Thanks to our engineer David Dugahee.
Coco Khan The executive producers are Louise Cotton, Dan Jackson and Madeleine Heringer. And thanks to Crooked Media producer Ari Schwartz.
Nish Kumar Watch us on the Pod Save the World YouTube Channel. Follow us on Twitter and TikTok, where we’re at Pod Save the UK or Pod save the UK on Instagram.
Coco Khan That’s new you know.
Nish Kumar Yeah, we’ve got a new we’ve got our we’ve got our own Instagram now. Pod save the UK.
Coco Khan Yes. Be an early adopter. Get on it. I believe that would make you very cool. That’s how they speak in tech isn’t it. Subscribe for new shows on Thursdays on Spotify, Amazon or Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.