Lost London Clubs: Cable

The recent closure of renowned nightclub Cable by Network Rail saw London lose one of its best loved venues, and set a worrying precedent for the capital's club culture.
Publish date:
Updated on


Electronic music is growing exponentially the world over. While the EDM scene is reaching breaking point over the Atlantic, the UK has always been at the forefront of dance music culture, giving birth and life to some of the most renowned worldwide sounds. From dubstep to drum & bass, these cultures live and die by the nights that embody them; from the dirty underground raves of FWD>> to Fabio’s groundbreaking Swerve, these nights were the go to place for DJ’s and consumers alike to hear the freshest dancefloor bombs. Yet what is all too often forgotten, when thinking about these events, is the venues themselves: from the dark basement sounds of The End, to the superclubs like Fabric or Matter. Yet it seems that, even though these are (arguably) some of the most culturally defining locations in the country, these places are slowly being shut down. Only one of those three clubs that I just listed still exists in its current form, and even that was in question a year ago. Cable is a yet another corpse to add to the bloated graveyard of London nightlife.

When I moved to London about 5 years ago, I was relatively new to the whole ‘clubbing’ thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’d done my time in enough dirty student bars and Walkabouts, but I mean proper clubbing, where people are there to wile out to crazy music rather than just get shit-faced on cut-price watered down Jagerbombs and mack off with the nearest member of the opposite sex. I came to London with a newfound love for electronic music in its purest forms, and needed a place to express that, by flailing my limbs wildly til 6am. Cable was one of those places.

Located under an arch near London Bridge, it was a strange entrance; a very unexpected location tucked away in a corner, unassuming to the naked eye if it weren’t for the shaking foundations. Once inside, it opened out into a wide dancefloor, replete with raised DJ booth, stage and various rooms. It was grimey enough to encapsulate the raw basslines that it was so often spewing out, yet also efficient enough to remove it from the all-too- shambolic ‘warehouse’ style spaces that seem to be getting ever more popular. It was a location with it’s own personality that was reflected as much in the music as it was the regular patrons. With it’s immediate closure from National Rail, it has not only put 70 hard working, passionate people out of a job, but it has further ruined the chances of any growing events.


Dancefloors Against Ketamine

1986: Clubbing In Chicago With Frankie Knuckles

What does this mean for the London landscape then, in terms of nightlife? Well, firstly, London has lost one of it’s best venues to a set of emergency stairs. It has also further damaged London’s once-risk-taking club culture, one that would take leftfield chances with line ups of all genres in a bid to throw some of the best parties found in the country. Instead, it is homogenizing a once radical electronic movement. Promoters will take less chances, inviting the same big names to the same dull, soulless venues. Alongside this, some of the most talented, young individuals will not be able to get the exposure or the venues to perform what they love doing. Elijah, one of the head honchos from the excellent label Butterz and avid supporter of Cable, hit the nail on the head when he said that ‘We have young people up and down the country sitting in music, arts and fashion classes hoping to come to London one day to grow, but where are the opportunities at the moment? Not enough places to display, to perform, to practice to share ideas.’ How are we going to recuperate from a loss like this?

Perhaps I’m being too hyperbolic. Perhaps this loss is just another blip on the nightlife radar, and that there will be more venues, more events and more innovative people putting their ideas to the fore, as there always has been over the years. Go back to Britain’s pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again attitude. Yet certainly at the moment, the prognosis doesn’t look good, with the job losses and the brutal way in which National Rail pulled the rug from underneath this venue is a disgusting, and a worrying state of affairs for any other potential venue owner or promoter that could fall on the wrong side of the train tracks.

I have many fond memories of Cable. The time that a friend and I blagged our way into the DJ booth to jam out with Caspa before getting caught by a bouncer. The time I met Joe Goddard (of Hot Chip fame) after a spectacular DJ set, and him being just as nice and loveable as you would imagine him to be. Watching Junior Boys live at 2am with sweat dripping off the walls. Any of the insane Butterz nights, especially with JME going straight into the crowd in a onesie. The readily available bacon sandwiches from Borough Market on the long walk home at 6am. There were many nights that I missed there, and there will be countless events that will never take place because of what has happened. It truly is a sad loss.