Widely regarded as the best small independent music venue in London, the Luminaire had it all: a booking policy of rare love and eccentricity, a beautiful performing space resplendent with mirrorball, and knowledgeable staff. Uniquely, it also had signs on the walls reminding punters that "no one paid to listen to you talking to your pals. If you want to talk to your pals when the bands are on, please leave the venue." This – along with outbreaks of shushing if anyone had the cheek to disobey the sign – allowed quieter, more delicate bands to thrive in a way simply not possible at other, more sticky-floored spaces.
The closure seemed to be part of a disturbing trend. In recent months London has also lost The Flowerpot, Barden's Boudoir, and The Cross Kings, with the 100 Club also struggling for survival. Sometimes all one wants is to go to a gig that isn't sponsored by a brand of lager or a mobile phone company. With the corporate takeover of indie music, small and proudly independent venues such as these felt increasingly like little beacons of charm in a sea of monochrome.Various possible reasons for the closure are being advanced, from increases in onerous licensing requirements (now where have I heard that before?) to it, unfortunately, being too far north-west, implying that London's live music map is becoming homogeneously centralised around the stereotypically hipsterish areas of Shoreditch and Dalston, with all outside that area being fit only for naff cover bands. I wonder whether this could be a symptom of a deeper polarisation of London, with creative expression being confined to an inverse ghetto of sorts in the East End, and the rest of London becoming less receptive to such things.
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