28 March 2017 | 16 °C

Goodbye To Tin Pan Alley's 12 Bar Club

By Stuart Black Last edited 16 months ago
Goodbye To Tin Pan Alley's 12 Bar Club

With the bulldozers getting closer to Soho’s Denmark Street every day, hope is practically gone for those who've tried to save the legendary music spot known as Tin Pan Alley. Basically all that’s left to do now is make a few last records for posterity of what was once a raw and vibrant music and cultural hub.

Filmmaker Tali Clarke has made A Riot Of Our Own, documenting the final days of the iconic 12 Bar Club, which has seen everyone from Jeff Buckley to the The Libertines play there over the years. Clarke’s film captures the gloriously grimy atmosphere of the venue and the unique community spirit that saw the fight against developers continue right up to a last stand by the Occupy Democracy movement, until they too were kicked out in February 2015.

Tali Clarke told Londonist: “In documenting the 12 Bar I also aim to help highlight the plight of similar places all across the city; small independent businesses are being closed down in their droves, and each one has a story and a completely alive community attached. It's not a case of nostalgia or standing in the way of progress, it’s very much a beating heart that's being ripped out. The idea that it’s just a bar, or a club or any old place that can be removed or replaced is not correct, these places hold great cultural importance and in fact it’s more akin to community displacement. There's also a real need to preserve cultural heritage in all areas, not just certain types of buildings and the type of British culture that's a bit more squeaky clean and commercially marketable."

"The practice of re-packaging cultures and trends that were originally of the people for the people, and selling them back to us is not new, but now more than ever we need to embrace the uniqueness and importance of each others' communities and fight to keep them as our own."

"The 12 Bar was a place of music for passionate people, so that is what we see in this film.  It was famous for live performances of non-commercially famous bands, as well as a whole host of now iconic artists so the music you see performed and the people there to experience it are also an integral part of the film — and the spirit of the place.”

Read more on Clarke's website and join others trying to preserve the under-threat heritage of the area at Save Soho.

Last Updated 28 November 2015

IfThomIsAnAngel

Great. I played there once - As a recognised gig spot in central London it was amazing to be given a chance to support other bands and just play without the pressure of "bringing at least 20 punters" or having to sell the venue just to play. The sound was pretty great no matter who played there! Friendly place where you could drop in for a beer and be compelled to hang around for the gigs. I will be missing the 12 Bar Club in it's present state.

Ian

Denmark Street is not in Soho. It's the wrong side of Charing Cross Road and is in the borough of Camden.