For the first time in a long time, there is no Popstarz at Scala tonight leaving London's indie gay & lesbian boys and girls without their Friday night home to dance in.
Popstarz promoter, Simon Hobart, was found dead on Sunday morning having suffered from a fatal head injury. Like many of us, Simon fled to London as a refuge from the narrowness and isolation of provincial suburban life.
Starting club promotion when he was just 16, Simon founded nights such as infamous West London goth hangout Kit Cat Club, Bedrock at the Marquee and drum and bass night Fusion. In 1995, he decided that the gay scene needed to move away from the pill-popping, muscle filled dancefloors that were omnipresent, and opened alternative night Popstarz. With Popstarz, Simon threw open the doors to those who didn't fit or indeed want to fit the G-A-Y mould, and started the indie gay scene in London and far beyond. He wanted to provide something different that didn't produce “factory-farms stereotyped, mindless, blinkered gay people”. It wasn't about the cruising, more about the boozing. He wanted nothing more than for people to have a dance, feel comfortable, drink red stripe, snog people and just have fun without worrying about their image. Three years ago, he took over the Tube Nightclub on Falconberg Court, Soho, and reopened it as Ghetto, providing a range of alternative nights, including the inspirational Nag Nag Nag, and last year, Trash Palace, a bar on Wardour Street was added to the Hobart empire.
But whilst being a successful business man, Simon Hobart cared more about his customers than he did the cashflow. He proved that it is possible to be kind, generous, and welcoming, while still living in the darkness of club promotion. As anyone who ever went to his nights will know, he was always keen to meet and greet customers, spending nearly all his time at the door of his venues welcoming people, getting to know them, and becoming their friends.
Popstarz recently celebrated it's tenth birthday and Trash Palace is due to celebrate it's first in a fortnight. It is simply no exaggeration to say that he changed thousands of people's lives.
At only 41, it is indeed tragic that such an inspiration to others has been taken away, and Londonist conveys it's deepest sympathy to his family, his friends and everyone lucky enough to have been touched by him in some way or another.
Ghetto and Trash Palace reopen tonight. Popstarz is closed tonight but will reopen next week (4th Nov) with a night to celebrate Simon's life with all proceeds going to his favourite charity, Macmillan Cancer Relief. We'll bring you more details on the night when we have them.