There is currently a minor war taking place between the owners of one of Liverpool’s oldest nightclubs, the Blue Angel, known to many as ‘The Raz’, and the occupants of the block of flats which back onto it.
The situation has been rumbling on since the apartments were put up several years ago, with the residents unhappy about the level of noise being generated by the club. But a Facebook group in the club’s favour has attracted 5,000 members, and nearly 900 people have signed a ‘Save The Raz’ online petition.
Things took another turn this January, when the nightclub’s decks were seized by the Council. With no sign of them being returned, the Blue Angel’s owners were forced to expensively reinvest in a new soundsystem. If moves like this continue to hamper the club’s operation, it could be forced to close, ending a nightclub presence on the site of nearly 50 years.
The club’s appeal against the council order started yesterday (May 12). Solicitors representing the club argued that levels of noise coming from the venue have not been measured in a scientific way and that it is impossible to distinguish between the establishment and others in the area, which as a whole is always very noisy.
But Jonathan Eaton, representing the city council, said: “Although we accept residents can’t expect a Liverpool of tranquility associated with Belgravia Square or the open countryside, we have produced enough evidence to show it is a significant noise and interrupts sleep patterns. On no basis should these people expect to put up with it.”
Fun, cheap, tatty and unpretentious, the Blue Angel is unmistakably part of Liverpool. And when nowt but a few arty types and squatters lived in the city centre, such a complaint would have been unheard of. But as down town becomes full of apartment blocks, this could become and increasing problem – as the young urbanites living in these flats find that they aren’t getting enough sleep to be able to cut their big deals in new media public relations and city centre rental marketing in the morning.
Thing is though, what seemingly attracts people to living in town is the easy availability of thrills and entertainment, the vibrancy, the buzz, the bright lights and excitement. Well, all of that is generated by people having a good time, hitting the town and letting their hair down. And the thing is, it ain’t pretty, and it certainly ain’t quiet. Especially in this city were not only do we really know how to party, but where often the harshness of life means we need to party.
Worst case scenario – could we see these residents getting all the clubs in town closed, or forced to be quiet. Where would we go out ofnthe tiles then? Set up discotheques in West Derby? Night spots in Tuebrook? Town is ultimately for mixing, be that to buy and sell goods and services, or to find your life partner. And anyone who wants to buy into city centre living should accept that, though they may officially be residents, the central area belongs to everyone in the city.
If you want peace, go and rent a house off Lark Lane and pretend that the world is full of wine bars, trees and birdsong. If you want the excitement of living in town, accept that its going to involve putting up with a lot of cheesy disco tunes and relationship arguments at 3am, and broken glass and vomit when you go out for a pint of milk in the morning.
You can’t have it both ways.