Although there have been several new openings announced recently (including Hackney's Moth Club and Brixton club Phonox), it's still a sadly regular occurrence to hear about London music and nightlife venues shutting down. Joining that depressing list is long-standing Brixton boozer the Canterbury Arms. It's no secret that the pub has been facing closure for several years, but the news has now been confirmed – the Canterbury Arms will shut for good on September 5, before being demolished to make way for – stop us if you've heard this before – new, swanky-looking flats.
A refreshingly rough-around-the-edges pub that's much-loved by regulars, the Canterbury Arms hosted numerous gigs and nightlife happenings, including indie cub night How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, which has been running at the CA (as well as other venues) since 2003.
Here's part of an open letter posted on the Canterbury Arms's Facebook page by the pub's owners:
'This closure reflects the insatiable appetite of property developers for backstreet corner sites that will be developed into flats for tenants who live in far off lands, and these developers call it progress which maybe so… But where do local people who want to be part of a community and their friends and relatives go to socialise. Over the years the Canterbury has celebrated weddings, christenings, birthdays, funerals and anniversaries from all cultures. There have been many club and music nights over the years, too many to mention, which have reflected the diverse communities which makes up the melting pot that Brixton personifies.'
During its run at the Canterbury Arms, the popular How Does It Feel To Be Loved? night featured appearances from Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners, David Gedge of indie troupe The Wedding Present, members of The Wave Pictures, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and many more. Speaking to Time Out, HDIF founder Ian Watson said: 'I've lived in Brixton since 1993 and the Canterbury Arms closing feels a huge part of the old Brixton being wiped away for good. You don't find the warmth, spirit, community, eccentricity and sheer joy of pubs like this in a pop-up – these things, as Morrissey rightly said, take time!'
Watson has organised one final edition of HDIF at the Canterbury Arms as a farewell. It takes place this Friday, August 7, and you can read more about it here. Go and dance your twee indie socks off one final time.
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