We’ve had a long response from Councillor Munby – sadly, the body of it is a standard letter he’s sent to other people. As you’d imagine, there are lots of statistics thrown up, and plenty of sound bites about Liverpool being ‘the Most Musical City in England’. For once though, it’s good to hear Cllr Munby talking about his love of music for a change, instead of ‘working with the police at a neighbourhood level to challenge anti-social behaviour’ or people enjoying ‘peace and quiet in their homes’. We print it in full, without further comment at this stage.

“Thank you for your reprinting my journalistic gems from the 70s. As for the rest, your comments consist of a mixture of personal abuse and generalised statements. It’s a bit difficult to disentangle the personal and specific from the policy, but here goes. A number of statements have been made on SevenStreets and elsewhere which are untrue. I try to deal with them in order.

1. Your correspondents claim that I am responsible for Static Gallery losing its music licence (it doesn’t – SS)

This is simply not true. Static Gallery have not lost their music licence. There is not even such a thing as a “music licence” these days: music is one of many activities that may be covered by a Premises Licence. Static have a Premises Licence that permits music.

2. Your correspondents claim that I am responsible for issuing a Noise Abatement Notice against Static Gallery as a result of which they have been forced to cancel their live music events. (it doesn’t – SS)

Again, this is simply not true. I have had no part in issuing a Noise Abatement Order against Static Gallery. I understand that following several complaints from local residents, Liverpool City Council issued a warning letter in October 2011 requiring the management of Static to take action, but no action was taken by the management to reduce the noise levels. The Council received more
complaints in November and as a result served a Section 80 Noise Abatement Notice.

The first I first knew about the Notice was when I was asked to take part in a debate at Static about noise and the city centre in February. My agreement to participate in this is perhaps where a lot of your correspondent’s confusion lies. Following the debate I asked Council officers to work with Static and residents to try to resolve the problem. I understand mediation meetings have taken place and discussions continue.

One thing your readers deserve to have clarified is that the Noise Abatement Notice does not prevent Static holding live music events: the claims attributed to the Gallery Director in this matter are very misleading, and baffling: do they have other reasons for cancelling the events yet find it convenient to blame the City Council and me? (there are no claims made by Static in our piece -SS)

3. It has been suggested that the City Council and I personally are responsible for the closure of live music venues and are not committed to promoting live music in the city.

Of course this is not true, and is of course so far from the truth that it’s almost silly. Liverpool is the most musical city in England (Arts Council England report, you may recall); we’re aiming to be a City of Music, and I and all my Council colleagues are highly aware, and very proud of, the enormous importance of music to Liverpool’s identity, culture, economy and future.

An average 68,000 live music attendances happen in the city centre every week of the year. I have dealt with the specific case of Static above but would add the following. The closure of the CUC and the Masque had absolutely nothing to do with the City Council. Venues are likely to close for a variety of reasons including the recession, trends, management choices and business failings. But while some venues close, new ones open or reopen, and we have a lot of venues including The Capstone, Eric’s and Leaf. I, and all of the City Cabinet, recognise the huge importance of music to Liverpool identity, culture and economy: there is a reason that the Arts Council’s research led to Liverpool being named as England’s most musical city in recent years – because it’s true!

In the last few weeks the Council has agreed that the newly re-opened Epstein Theatre (formerly the Neptune) will be licensed to Liverpool Sound City. A fortnight ago we became aware that Urban Strawberry Lunch based in St Luke’s aka the Bombed out Church and only a hundred yards from Static had lost their Arts Council grant.

We met them immediately and organised a rescue package to allow them to keep going. Despite the government imposing cuts of £91 million this year and £50 million next year Liverpool City Council continues to support a wide range of cultural events and activities, much of it based on music. On a personal level I find the comments untrue and offensive, not least as I am a regular gig-goer, helped secure the original funding for Africa Oye and have been a strong supporter of other new music events including the Liverpool Irish Festival and Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival. When Phil Collins tried to turn Parr Street Studios into ‘luxury flats’ I campaigned with my mate Tom Lang to keep them open.

In your comments about me you refer to this as follows: “back in 2005 he called for city centre flat developments to be halted. He saw the continuing rise of city centre apartments as a problem: potentially turning the city into a ‘ghost town’.” Of course you fail to give the context which would rather spoil your story (we don’t: we give a DIRECT LINK to the context- SS)

4. Your correspondent suggests that I and the City Council are pursuing policies that elevate the interests of city centre residents above all other considerations and threaten to undermine the growth of the city centre, the night-time economy and live music venues. In particular it is suggested that people moving to the city centre should know what the area they are moving to is like and accept that noise is part of the city centre environment.

And again, this is not true. As I indicated above in respect of Static the reverse is the case. Residents have lived in the vicinity for decades and Static has moved in recently. More to the point, if residents of Bold Place are the ‘moaning miseries’ implied in some blogs and correspondence why is it that I have never received any complaints about Urban Strawberry Lunch’s activities in the bombed out church opposite, which includes regular live music, film shows, etc? This suggests that the problem may be the venue, not the residents. In reality the attempt to put residents in one camp and venues or musicians in another is ridiculous. People come to live in the city centre because they like the hustle and bustle of urban life and they are some of the main customers for live music venues.

What most city centre residents I’ve spoken to expect is quite a bit of noise going on late at the weekend, but to be able to sleep earlier in the week. We expect restaurants to observe public health regulations and it’s reasonable that live music venues observe environmental health regulations relating to noise and public safety.

Nearly all of them do and where they experience problems we try to manage the process through mediation. We are trying this with Static but it appears that they prefer megaphones to mediation. At the heart of this is people learning to be good neighbours, whether residents, day-time or night-time businesses. If you can’t get on with the people around you it’s going to cause problems

5. The Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP) recently introduced by the Council covering parts of the city centre will prevent new venues opening. The CIP gives the Council’s Licensing Committee the right to consider the potential impact of a new premise receiving an alcohol licence. It can only do this where representations have been made by interested parties opposing the application.

It would still be necessary to show that the application would be likely to increase the risk of anti-social behaviour or crime and disorder. Its impact is likely to be limited and will almost certainly mainly prevent new larger ‘vertical drinking’ establishments opening. In particular smaller music venues would be able to show that they did not conflict with a CIP. It will not affect existing venues, which may well benefit.

Beneath the layers of what are frankly lies and abuse is a fairly obvious political agenda. At the Static debate I called some of the protagonists in the debate “Tea Party Republicans” i.e. a group which in the context of a recession bought on by a failure to regulate the banks blame regulators not the banks. This seems to me to be the position of David Lloyd and some of your bloggers. Liverpool is facing millions of pounds of cuts from the Con Dem government leading to the loss of thousands of jobs in the public sector.

The banking crisis and the failure to adequately regulate the financial sector has plunged us into recession. This inevitably affects the demand for businesses in the city centre including some venues. Who do you blame? Not the Tories, not the bankers but a local Labour Councillor, city centre residents and the Council’s Environmental Health Team.

David Lloyd asks “should we stay, or should we go”. Go and get some treatment mate would be my advice.

Councillor Steve Munby

SevenStreets will comment at a later date. But please feel free to add your comments to this story. Whether by ‘megaphone’ or other methods, we’d love to hear them.


pic: Thom Isom/ The Double Negative

  • janeagallagher

    @7streets That response has completely confused me, is he trying to distance himself or is he just a liar?

  • fifofum123

    It’s true: the council have not shut down the live music in Static gallery. Rather, the gallery has thrown all the toys out of its pram as it has been told to reduce their volume. Neither neighbours nor council asked static to close down the live music: this has been absolutely their choice. Munby’s response is therefore reasonable. I know that there is a lot of passion going into some of the posts and David argues his points eloquently, but I think people are getting carried away without looking into the various nuances and details. 

  • Daniel

     @fifofum123 To clarify, did you make a complaint yourself?

  • Peter Parker

     @fifofum123 Please don’t look at this ‘campaign’ as simply relating to Static, however much it may look to be a simple issue this is the ‘straw that broke the camels back’ regarding the support of independent arts in the city and the very nature of city-centre living itself.

  • Pavlina

    Not sure if SS/David Lloyd needs treatment but I wonder if they could do with checking facts? IF Lloyd’s reference to Mumby’s call for “city centre flat developments to be halted” was in fact his stand against the development of Parr St studios as luxury apartments, then this seriously undermines SS credibility. Could someone clarify?

  • Pavlina

    Not sure I’d go so far as to say David Lloyd needs treatment but I wonder if SS could do with checking facts? If the reference to Munby’s call for “city centre flat development to be halted” was in fact his stand against the development of Parr Street studios as luxury apartment, this unfortunately undermines the credibility of SS in this debate. Could someone clarify?

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com David Lloyd

    To be clear – I find the quote ‘he needs treatment’ abhorrent and in particularly poor taste. Treatment for what? Is Cllr Munby suggesting I have some kind of mental ailment? That’s not the sort of language I’d expect from a public servant. Or in fact from any decent person.

    And to be doubly clear I did put a link on the feature – specifically where I reference Munby’s stance on city centre flats. And, if you’d have taken the trouble to look before you’d commented, you’d see Munby wasn’t referencing Parr Street studios at all.

    David Lloyd

  • http://subwaycrowd.blogspot.com/ R Davies

    It is an interesting response which paints a significantly different picture from that which been presented, but sadly the Councillor falls into the same name calling as do the complainants. Having said that it seems that this Councillor is trying to secure compromise between parties and seeking to ensure that everyone wins, or at least has a fair share of the pie.
    If Static is to return to being an operating venue then it has to work within the regulatory frameworks and seek to manage the environmental impact of its operations. This is the responsibility of any business operator regardless of sector.
    It is essential that any debate regarding such issues is factual and not shaped by partisan misrepresentation. Static had been warned and appeared not to heed that warning. Failing to do so has led to this situation. The councillor appears to know more about the situation and the progression to the current state than many of the earlier commentators, and that would suggest he’s right. IT also may suggest that Static haven’t been wholly upfront with its supporters

  • http://twitter.com/stjackson Simon Jackson

    Steve Munby’s response is in fairness well balanced and the council have responded appropriately to complaints of disturbance due to noise emission from Static.

    This is not to say that the situation is fair.

    Static has a Premises Licence that permits music. However, in granting a premises licence or planning consent the licensing and planning departments of the council should, in consultation with environmental health, apply appropriate conditions.

    Conditions should have sought to ensure that, for example in Static’s case, putting a music venue next to an existing residence was not going to cause a problem. Historically, there may have been a shortfalling here, as when Static was granted a licence that permits music – perhaps more attention to noise issues could have averted this problem from the outset.

    It is Static’s responsibility, like it is mine or yours, not to cause disturbance to a neighbour. But after being given the apparent all clear to host amplified music events – it’s not surprising that it has been a shock to the music community for them to be told to turn it down (which effectively renders gigs unviable).

    David – I can see how Steve’s remark could be taken as offensive. As someone in the industry, I would read this as meaning ‘Get some [Acoustic] treatment, mate’.

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com Robin Brown

    Simon – do you really think that Steve Munby’s comment to David is intended to suggest that Static ‘gets some acoustic treatment’?

  • Colin

    It’s not that I cannot see the points that Seven Streets is making, but there is no denying that Cllr Munby has got some valid points too… To call him a liar is harsh.

    This exchange of ‘articles v. comments’ on some online comment board is a rather childish way of dealing with a topic that is very complex and certainly warrants personal – face-to-face – interaction.

    Nothing beats a personal exchange, and looking back: I’m sure people got more out of the Static Noise Debate – and the networking before and after the event between different stakeholders – than reading some of these exchanges…

    @ RB: I would have maybe chosen different remarks to close the response if I would have been Cllr Munby, but let’s not distract from some of the valid points he makes!

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com Robin Brown

    @Colin I’m grateful for Steve Munby’s comments but I think it’s disingenuous to suggest that’s not a rather nasty personal slur – and I don’t think it has any part in a response from a councillor.

  • Katie

    Personally I find Councillor Munby’s comments “to go and get some treatment” to Dave Lloyd very offensive. It’s unprofessional and unpleasant.
    Also, the need to mention “my mate Tom Lang”, no need.

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com David Lloyd

    Colin, I’ve asked for face to face interview time. Had no response. I think we need to pull away from the micro (ie Static – as I attempted to do in the feature) and look at the macro (ie the signals we’re getting about the city’s priorities). There is more to music than the Arabic Arts Fest, The Irish Fest and (the open air) Africa Oye. You can’t pick and choose which culture you give the green light to, otherwise you’re stuck in a feedback loop. Today’s Static showcase is tomorrow’s Beatles Festival (case in point last year, when Forest Swords played at static: now he’s touring all over Europe.) By their nature, up and coming acts gravitate to spaces where sound proofing and sponsorship (O2, Echo Arena) just aren’t an option. The uncomfortable fact is, we’re a skint city: we’d love to sound proof every pop up venue, but while we were doing that, our talent would be leaking out, and going elsewhere. Our point is that Static is a line in the sand. We’ve seen too many good venues (for a variety of reasons, yes) go down. We simply can not afford to lose any more. And Munby needs to change the record. Less ‘quiet life with families’ please, and a little more ‘let’s turn it up and see what happens’. That, basically, is all we’re after. Too much to ask?

  • Henry

    I am no fan of Councillor Munby, but I think he has presented a reasoned argument. I think however that the responseses from Mr Lloyd and Mr Brown make you look like little kids running to the teacher saying Missssss, he called me names. Get over yourselves for God’s sake and you may be able to look at this thing with a little more objectivity instead of deperately trying to ingratiate yourselves with the Static Gallery in an attempt to also present yourselves as victims.

  • FIFOFUM123

    Yes, I was one of the residents who complained. But no, I am not responsible for turning your city into a soulless suburbia. I am youngish, love the city centre of Liverpool, and contribute to your local economy. The reporting on Static has been skewed and biased from the start, in both Seven Streets and Bido Lito. Munby raises an interesting point here:

    More to the point, if residents of Bold Place are the ‘moaning miseries’ implied in some blogs and correspondence why is it that I have never received any complaints about Urban Strawberry Lunch’s activities in the bombed out church opposite, which includes regular live music, film shows, etc?

    Yes – Urban Strawberry Lunch are often louder than Static, but they are good neighbours – they even give their telephone number out to residents so that we can call them if they are too noisy. Static, in contrast, have been belligerent and childish. The general response has been ‘We were here before you’. Yes, and there were older residents here before Static, and the Romans were here before the Anglo Saxons etc. etc.

    Passion and eloquence make for a persuasive argument, but facts are facts.

  • FIFOFUM123

    David Lloyd: I agree with your point:

    I think we need to pull away from the micro (ie Static – as I attempted to do in the feature) and look at the macro (ie the signals we’re getting about the city’s priorities).

    Unfortunately, you have used the ‘micro’ – ie Static v residents – as the very fulcrum on which you have based your whole argument. I agree that the city’s priorities need to be addressed, but your coverage of Static has been mostly unfair, and has generated a populist and divisive witchhunt of the residents on this site.

    This has chimed with the reporting of the noise debate at Static which was held last month, whose tagline ‘Urban Metropolis or Suburban Hinterland’ was inherently biased (erm, wonder which one everyone is going to go for?).

    Please stop reporting black-and-white arguments with your megaphone.

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com Robin Brown

    @Henry I’m reasonably ambivalent in this argument so I’m not sure how you’ve identified me in this debate. All that I’ll say is that Steve Munby’s response is undermined by his parting shot – and that I’ve been around the Internet enough to spot a coordinated response when I see one. We’ve absolutely no reason to ingratiate ourselves with static – as far as I’m concerned they need us more than we need them – but I recognise static as a vital hub in Liverpool’s creative engine and it’s impossible to ignore council minutes that show a tiny amount of NIMBY residents driving an agenda that isn’t shared by the majority of people, pushed roughshod through the council by Cllr Munby. That makes this issue worthy of debate on the site – even if I’m personally undecided on the minutae of the case.

  • dave

    I’m opting to let abusive comments go unnoticed on this one, although it is rather depressing when the invectives begin . I’d rather save my energies for doing something positive. Thanks Henry for your enlightened contribution. We’re trying to encourage debate, and we’re coming from a standpoint of passion and belief in the potential of the city. That is all. We’re happy to give a platform to the other side of the argument, and have done so.- if you’d care to look. What’s so objectionable about having an opinion and sharing it honestly.

  • Pavlina

    David, apologies, I did miss your link back to that Echo article which perhaps proves Colin’s earlier point. You are fighting for a very valid cause. Raw, grassroots music should of course be given every chance to flourish rather than be quashed in its tracks. I think it’s a question of balance though. The great thing about Liverpool city centre is that there are so many different scenes and lifestyles coexisting. To preserve that diversity there will always need to be a willingness to compromise. Good luck.

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com David Lloyd

    Thanks. I really want to elevate this discussion above the personal (Munby) and the particular (Static). We exist to create and encourage dialogue – and we welcome all views, all sides. We are a site for passions.

  • john

    All seemed fairly reasonable until the last line –
    “David Lloyd asks “should we stay, or should we go”. Go and get some treatment mate would be my advice.”

  • Daniel

    In the response from Councillor Munby to Sevenstreets, which was on the most part the carefully worded rebuttal you would expect; it must be clear, that of the stated accusations he addresses, three were straw men and never actually made (at least not in these articles) and the fourth uses examples of support for live music projects, which are all either un-amplified and/or exist outside city centre, therefore not particularly relevant to the debate. Within the city, neither Erics, Epstein theatre, nor Urban Strawberry Lunch are comparable for a variety of reasons. (heritage focus, council owned, unamplified).

    I would love the public concerns to be unfounded, but it is difficult not to be skeptical when a city-wide CIS was the councillor’s apparent preference.

    The core issues have been misrepresented to a degree; the council is self-evidently not responsible for venue closure through economic factors, and was never accused of being, but they have a responsibility to facilitate, not hinder, the development of new spaces to replace them.

    The feared moratorium on new licenses has no immediate or longer-term economic benefit, especially given so much of the area is lying empty, and existing venues have been closing at an alarming rate, for a variety of reasons. Those developing circumstances should have surely influenced policy. At present the feeling is that if a premises isn’t already licensed in Ropewalks it doesn’t stand a chance of being so (Frenson has been scrambling to license all it’s appropriate sites before CIP hit). If that isn’t the case, we shall see, but confidence is low and people are on the most part looking at existing licensed sites which have previously not been economically viable.

    There’s only one way to find out. If the CIS is genuinely designed to restrict licenses for vertical drinking for the benefit of venues and spaces that enhance the area culturally, then there’ll be little disagreement. How this actually works in practice, when there is a seeming contradictory agenda against city centre noise is another matter. We’ll see soon enough.

    This weeks national live music legislation may ironically override what has happened to Static, though 7-11pm is not enough time realistically to soundcheck and run a show that is going to pay anybody, and that is what this is about: maintaining a grassroots music community’s ability to develop, earn a living, and contribute to the local economy. It should be clear that nobody is requesting council-funded live music here.

    Minority interests appear to be shaping council policy in Ropewalks; a handful of residents at association meetings or minimal engagement in council elections. If that isn’t the case we’re all ears, but following the Static debate where nobody in the room, including Cllr Munby, agreed with the noise abatement order placed on it, we find ourselves here, and something has to give. Both sides to a point are conflating the issues, but only one of them has access to city policy, and the debate should be in a public forum like this, with an audience of thousands, rather than in a self-appointed residents association with single figure attendance.

    The concerns expressed by a larger number of residents (and this site has articulated local feeling very well) should be listened to, taken seriously, and addressed by our elected officials, not dismissed. We all need to talk.

  • Jimmy

    fifofum, i notice you use the words, “for turning your city”

    is it not your city, too? surely “our city” would have been more appropriate, no?

  • Garry Haywood (@_garrilla)

    Daniel wrote: “We all need to talk.”

    While I think its important to talk, it should be notoed that Cllr Munby did attend the public meeting at Static and engaged with the discourse. I think he is willing to talk.

    There has recently been a shift in the council approach to the City Centre. In part this coincides with a change in the council administration – and there is room for more understanding about what the elected members want to achieve with their approach.

    In part it also comes as a slow down in the economy has changed both the pace of development but it has also changed the financial landscape of the night-time economy in the area.

    The change in pace of development has probably also changed the developers focus too, from looking for opportunity to extend their portfolio to protecting their existing developments. This may reflect a change in their concerns.

    We all know what is happening in the economy and this is passing through changing patterns of going-out and ultimately effecting trading conditions of some venues. This, has many have observed, has lead to some closures. Other closures may have other motives.

    So, there is much to talk about. How do we do this?

    There is the existing ‘Stakeholders’ group that I beleive includes FACT, who chair the group, and then some businesses including local licences and developers. But as far as I’m aware it doesn’t include ‘city centre users’ who are also stakeholders to the city centre. But this is one of those meetings that meets ever so frequently and is probably not the best place for a wider discussion anyway. I’m not sure that an occasional meeting would help much anyway.

    In the past I have proposed that there could be some on-line group that tried to be inclusive of all stakeholders and gave various groups a chance to show the city centre from their perspective. And to be fair, that’s what is contestable here – a set of different perspectives about the (multi) purpose of the city.

    Such a group wont work if it becomes a forum(I don’t mean a peice of software) for moaning, and to make it work will require people to engage constructively with the discussions.

    If anyone would like to explore this avenue as an option for talking about the city center you can email me at garry at so dash mo dot co and we at least consider the mission and values of such as approach.

  • Karen Ross

    To all of the people above who, understandably, argue that Cllr Munby sounds sensible and reasonable, it’s worth remembering one salient fact. The man is a professional politician: do not judge him on his words, but on his actions. Pushed into a corner, and challenged by an opposing world iew to his own, we are starting to see Cllr Munby’s true militant and interventionist modus operandii. And to take an alternative view of a free Liverpool is, to him, to be a Tea Party Republican? What arrogant nonsense.
    Nick Clegg sounded the very model of reason during the TV debates, but he omitted to talk about his 180 volte face on student fees and the NHS. No, Cllr Munby is a man who should be judged on his record, and his record only. And, from my position as a Ropewalks resident living not too far away from Static, I’d have to say the area has never been more vibrant in the 20 years I’ve been living here. Yes it does get bloody noisy at times, but it’s my choice to live here, and my choice to leave when the neighbourhood does not suit my lifestyle. I would never, ever, consider it my right to expect the neighbourhood to change to accommodate me. Mature neighbourhoods, like the great urbanist Jane Jacobs said, eschew ‘the pseudoscience of planning’ and allow cities to grow organically.
    ‘There must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings or in projects. City centres must always be public spaces first, if they are to live. If you intervene, they will die, and no one will notice until their corpse begins to smell. Dull, inert cities, it is true, do contain the seeds of their own destruction and little else. But lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.’ Jane Jacobs.
    Befriend councillors meddling with the natural growth of city centres at your peril. And be sucked into Cllr Munby’s interventionist approach with great and present danger.

  • http://N/A Robert Kurac

    Am (I wrong in thinking that most of the gigs at Static were not promoted by Paul Sullivan / Static gallery, but by harvest Sun, Liverpool Music Week, Lazy Genius, Sound City, et al ? If so, how many performances by particlar artists have been lost by this, as opposed to relocated to other venues? Certainly Harvest Sun seem to have been able to relocate some of the gigs they had scheduled for Static to other, seemingly decent, venues. If no performances are lost, merely relocated, doens’t this suggest that the venue situation is not as bad as is being suggested here, and that perhaps either Static, or Seven Streets, have another agenda?

  • Daniel

    @Robert – 5 Ropewalks music venues; Masque, Mojo, Jacaranda, Binary Cell and Static have closed or ended their live music programme in quick succession during the last 4 months or so. The point is that as a result of increasingly difficult licensing & the threat of more noise abatement orders it is very difficult to foresee the emergence of new venues in their place, and having lived through the 90s here, less is definitely not more. There are still venues, of course, but the number just halved.

  • Ellis

    @Robert, the aim for the majority of promoters in the city is to put on the best acts in the best and most applicable spaces. Thought many can be relocated it’s the more left-field events and the multi-media activities that will fall by the wayside due to a lack of available suitable spaces. Any space that has a stage is not necessarily a useable venue for any given performance. Some shows have been relocated and none-lost (though some may say moved to a less-suitable venue) at this point but there will be shows in the future that simply do not come to the city because Static is not available. If only the the rich or well-connected can open a live music space in the future we’re all going to be much worse off.

  • http://N/A Robert Kurac

    Ellis and Daniel, thanks for replies, and I get your point. But I’m still very far from convinced that any of these closures derive primarily from local government policy. For all the Mojo, Masque, Jac, etc examples of closures, surely these are more readjustments of audience size and spending power in the recession, and audience choice and behaviour, as the new venues such as the Kaz, Studio 2 and the Shipping Forecast seem to be doing OK, and I’ve seen a couple of gigs at the Black-E recently too, another reopened space in close proximity. From the coverage I read, some of your examples appeared to choose to stop presenting music as it was the better business decision for them: so if the promoters have failing business models, how is this the fault of local authority policy?! I don’t see anyone participating in this debate who wants there to be a collapse of music in the city. I wonder if anger/frustration/concern is leading to a loss of perspective, and a tendency to find a scapegoat rather than face up to a failing business model. Static does seem to be the odd one out here, but if it’s true that the venue was given notice to improve its soundproofing and simply did nothing about it then, unless the live music was not making business sense to Static too, then surely that’s just stupid, no?

    Incidently, does anyone know what happened to the Dome at Grand Central that was being hyped as the greatest new venue on earth in full-page spreads in the local rags not that many months ago? A lot of hype and then a lot of very little …

  • dave

    It is, Robert, council policy to introduce a CIP in a city centre, and it was Munby’s express wish to introduce one across THE ENTIRE CITY. That is unusual, draconian and counter productive in my view. It has only been done, city centre wise, in Westminster. And that particular city doesn’t quite rely on night time economy as much as Liverpool does. Does this strike you as a reasonable response to a nuanced argument, or a futile attempt to break a butterfly on a wheel? I agree there are severe and specific economic issues at play: but that’s exactly why we should be doing all we can to help, not hinder, the vibrancy of our (small, but universally popular) city centre. As I say, blunt edged orders and policies can never be the solution. Static’s case is under review, as we know, which is why we can’t go into it in detail for fear of jeopardising the outcome of further talks. But there is an issue here that is far, far from resolved – and a statement of intent we all need to sign up to. The renaissance of this city will not be found in Harvey Nicks, marvellous though that might be to some, it will be found in the places that make noise. That might sound simplistic, but if you know your history, you must know that it rings true. I am a huge Jane Jacobs fan, and appreciate Karen’s quotes above. Hear hear.

  • Bud

    If its too loud why are you living in the city centre? There is plenty of space in the city centre that is not amongst music venues. I have lived in the city centre for 5 years and have learnt to deal with the noise. A good pair of ear plugs is all you need.

  • Michael Myers

    @Robin Brown of Sevenstreet: “Static – as far as I’m concerned they need us more than we need them”

    Sounds more than a wee bit arrogant wouldn’t you say? Not to mention deluded.

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com Robin Brown

    Michael – way to take a comment out of context. I was responding to accusations that we have some sort of vested interest in Static. We don’t. I also go on to say that I recognise the immense value to the city that Static represents. But websites don’t need venues – and, at the moment, Static needs help from the city’s media. I fail to see what’s deluded about that self-evident truth.

  • NT

    I actually read it as ‘we’ being ‘all of us’, as in Static needs all of us in the city. That certainly is true. It also needs these types of websites, newspapers, magazines, etc to get behind it.

  • Terry

    I hear this council coined phrase “UK’s most musical city” bandied about a lot recently and I just have to say ITS NOT BLOODY TRUE! I can count the music venues left standing on one hand. All you have to do is step over to Manchester for an evening and this theory is blown out of the water..

    Our largest and most celebrated musical event is essentially a dated pub rock / tribute band festival. Liverpools music scene is a shambles compared to other cities. Accept it and make moves to better it.

    It doesn’t help that the city seems more keen on raping the dead carcass of a band that were famous 60 years ago than investing in putting Liverpool back on the map musically. No wonder every major musical export from Liverpool in the last 10 years has sounded exactly like the bloody Beatles.

    Most jaded, self-aggrandising, and deluded city, yes. Most musical city? Not by a million miles.

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  • Ellis

    “Accept it and make moves to better it.”

    Terry, if you could ask the council to give us a hand that would be much appreciated, there’s a lot of us trying to make things better that are far removed from that retrogressive Merseybeat bullshit.

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