Once upon a time, London – indeed, the whole of the UK – was dotted with pubs and working men’s clubs that would play host – either regularly or occasionally – to striptease shows. Such places are now a distinctly endangered species. First, they were put under pressure by the rise of the more upmarket table dancing club, and more recently they have fallen foul of new laws designed to shut said table dancing clubs – local councils can now demand exorbitant ‘sex entertainment venue’ licence fees, or simply refuse to grant licences for the most trivial of reasons (officially, moral objections are not supposed to be sufficient reason to refuse a licence, but the law also allows a council to decide how many SEVs can exist in its locale – and that figure can be, and often is, zero). With an unholy alliance of radical feminists and old-school religious moralisers pressuring councils to not only refuse new licenses but also shut down existing venues, the striptease world that has been a part of London since the 1950s has never been under more threat.
Last year, the deliciously grotty Flying Scotsman in Kings Cross finally buckled under continual pressure from moralising politicians (it’s since been converted into a hipster bar, because God knows, London doesn’t have enough of those). Now, it’s the turn of The White Horse in Shoreditch – hipster central itself – which has been in business for 38 years, but which will now close it doors on July 30th. We dread to think what it will end up as.
At least they plan to go out with a bang. Right now, assorted White Horse legends like Ima Doll and Edie Lamort are returning for guest shifts, leading to a final night party that sees the final chapter in the East End’s long history of striptease. It’s guest list priority – if you are not on the list, you’ll have to take your chances on admission. In the great tradition of pub striptease, you’ll need to bring lots of pound coins to drop into the dancers’ pint pots after each dance, but entry is free. How exactly you get on the guest list isn’t exactly clear – contact the pub to find out, I guess: http://www.thewhitehorsepub.biz/
Perhaps we will see you there…