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international news _ 15th February, 2007

New York Nightlife Assassin Runs For President

Text by Katrin Richter & Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani entered America's Presidency contest this week, applying to become the Republican nominee for next year's election.

The notoriously puritanical anti-club zealot declared "I'm in this to win" in an interview with Fox News and stressed his conservative credentials on the right wing TV network.

His candidacy could have dire implications for American club culture, given the devastating impact he had on New York nightlife during his Mayoral reign between 1993 and 2001.

Veteran club promoter/ DJ and label chief Andrew Price relocated his Satamile Records to San Francisco last year after 20 years in the City and directly blamed Giuliani for destroying its once great alternative music scene.

"New York City is dead, Mayor Giuliani killed it and 9/11 buried it. Giuliani came up with the 'Cabaret Law' idea, making it illegal to dance in clubs unless you have a special license, which cost a fortune and many famous clubs were shut down because of this law," Andrew told Skrufff contributor Katrin Richter.

"The Giuliani administration closed down the underground institutions and systems that educated and cultivated knowledge about new music. This is part of the erosion of culture that the politics of New York have played a large part in".

As well as running Satamile, Andrew promoted over 400 events in Manhattan, presenting acts including Adult, Auteche and Luke Slater, though predicted such acts are unlikely to be welcomed ever again.

"What killed New York were the conservative politics that Giuliani used to 'Clean up the city'; their idea of cleaning up," he said.

"They don't want creative cultural pools of music and art, the want money, and real estate development. All the large alternative parties that go off get shut down, promoters are threatened with arrest or arrested. Basically the cultivating grounds for new and different things musically or for the arts have been shut down or have become too expensive to use," he added.

New York legend Frankie Knuckles, who made his name DJing in the late 70s at the notoriously hedonistic gay sex club the Continental Baths, told Skrufff last year he'd 'never felt more disconnected from New York City' though was less willing to put the blame entirely on the Mayor.

"It's not just Giuliani that made it disappear, the club scene pretty much killed itself," the house pioneer suggested.

"When things go to the extreme in these places and there are drugs around as well it just puts a death on everything. It makes it impossible for anything that could be great to really succeed because sooner or later it will catch up with itself. That's exactly what happened. When Giuliani tried to set the wheels in motion to restrict anything that had to do with vice or nightclubs and clubs, the scene faded out," Frankie added.

"It's now either gone or it's been shut down so far underground that unless you know who's doing what you'll never know how to find it."

Giulian'ís zero tolerance policies saw a 50 fold jump in cannabis arrests from 720 a year in 1992, to 33,471 a year by the end of his tenure, though also reduced street crime, as Arthur Baker recognized chatting to Skrufff last year.

"Put it this way; if you had money, or a family or more of a middle-class lifestyle then you loved Giuliani because he succeeded in cleaning up the city. But if you were living in The Village (Greenwich Village) and you wanted to go out and party then you hated him," the electro icon pointed out.

"I don't live in New York anymore but when I go back it seems like a nicer safer environment," he added, "Even before September 11."

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