Words: Alex Caslano
It’s been a testing week for Sub Club. The Glasgow institution has faced criticism in a public arena which can be very unforgiving. However, the Sub Club’s reaction to those who challenged its tweet claiming to be a ‘safe space' and the subsequent A Thousand Flowers article which detailed the experience some woman have had at the club, was arguably mishandled and naïve.
Posting a Facebook status at the height of the controversy (which has since been removed), the Sub Club referred to the recent atrocity in Orlando and the tragic murder of MP Jo Cox, while also using ambiguous language at a time when everyone was waiting for an official response and for some, an apology about the way they'd responded to concerns. This added fuel to the fire, but now that the fire is burning, the Sub Club has an opportunity to be the catalyst for change.
The article posted by local blog, A Thousand Flowers, addressed the Sub Club in a highly critical manner and deserves to be taken seriously and at face value. Similarly, the Sub Club’s apology which was posted last night also deserves to be taken at face value.
It’s rare for a local institution which is so widely respected to be confronted and that has of course sparked a heated debate which has seen punters, promoters and opinion peddlers wade in. The fact that this debate has played out on social media, however, has been divisive and not particularly constructive.
There has been rational commentary from both sides, but how can a reasonable conversation about a subject so important be had on a platform ruled by keyboard warriors and ‘likes’? Facebook may be a modern and convenient way of communicating, but when it comes to shaping dancefloor etiquette and understanding concerns at a local level, while also addressing social issues at a much wider level, it certainly doesn’t substitute talking face to face.
Over the past five years or so Glasgow club culture has enjoyed an ascending status that has attracted attention from mainstream media and found continued and growing respect from its dance music peers.
Now that all eyes are firmly focused on the city, it’s time to lead by example. Members of Glasgow’s clubbing community have raised real concerns and they need to be listened to. The world is changing, attitudes are changing and it is possible to turn a negative into a positive.
Perhaps it’s time that the pillars of Glasgow’s club scene and those who feel let down by it enter a real conversation. The channel for change is open, let’s use it properly.