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Troops mobilise to save The Raz

Online petition and thousands join groups after music equipment seizure by council

Published on April 1st 2008.

Troops mobilise to save The Raz

THERE'S a new website dedicated to saving it, an online petition too, and there are is at least one 5,000-strong Facebook group up in arms about it. So what can it be that has got everybody going online right now?

The Raz, actually – and, more importantly, the threat that it could close.

For why? Residents of newbuild apartments nearby, that's for why, up in arms about the “unacceptable level of noise” emanating from what is oft described by its fans as a dank, dingy toilet and otherwise known as The Blue Angel.

It's a palaver that's been going on for some time, since the properties were built about six years ago. There have been court hearings and, since last November, an abatement notice about the noise (appeal pending in May) which also means that smoking punters cannot now use the beer garden and have to puff in the street. Something that the police can't be happy about.

Things came to a head last month when he sound system was suddenly unplugged and removed by environmental officials from the city council. Fans are lamenting the moment as “The Day That Music Died”.

The Blue Angel isn't going quietly though, in any sense. It has bought a new sound system, but clubgoers fear it can only be a matter of time before that goes up the Swanee too and that this sort of game could quickly lead to the club's bankruptcy.

All sobering stuff for lovers of the cheapest booze in town, but now a movement to save it is gathering pace in a new way: online.

Kevin, a tekkie type, set up the savetheraz site and petition (link at end, we haven't finished yet) at the behest of students who have kept the Seel Street venue afloat for years.

Although opened by Allan Williams in the middle of the last century, and where The Beatles, of course, played, it is fondly seen by recent generations as a place where life partners have been met, boyfriends binned and brain cells lost. And all by people with footwear stuck fast to the carpets.

Kevin says: “We feel it's outrageous that the council should do this. I started the website the day after the DJ's equipment was seized and we have 600 signatures as of today.”

Raz Manager Mike Kearon, who has been at the club for 18 relatively trouble-free years, says: “Liverpool City Council allowed flats to be built just feet away from the venue and, since then, residents have been complaining about the noise. They should have been built with forced air ventilation and triple glazing and this should have been enforced.”

So where will it all end? Will the residents finally get a good night's kip? Is it a case of buyer beware when you decide to live in a flat in the heart of clubland? Should the council have allowed them in the first place? Or would you be be glad to see the back of the Raz once and for all? Leave your thoughts below. www.savetheraz.co.uk

"Sign" picture by Clive Andrews

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

TerryMarch 11th 2008.

I vaguely remember the march to save Eric's. Imagine if there had been an online facility to rally the people back then? Conversely, do you think the Raz customers will take to the streets? To councillor Turner's office. Eek! It wasn't my idea...

Larry NeildMarch 11th 2008.

My very final column in the Daily Post on March 3 addressed the very issue of The Blue Angel and the need to adopt a Live and Let Live attitude in our city. For those who like a quiet life the gatehouse next to Toxteth Cemetery is on the market, probably going 'dead' cheap.....

AnonymousMarch 11th 2008.

it would be quite hypocritacle for a liverpool council in the capital of culture year to close down a venue with so much culture....the blame lands firmly at the feet of the council for giving planning permission to the flats, the developers for making them out of biscuits and the residence for moving into a flat next to a club and thinking that the essate agent was telling the truth when he said "you can hardly hear the raz at night"

AnonymousMarch 11th 2008.

the problem is the people who live in the city centre do not have scouse accents. the centre has been taken over by rich kids and southern hoorays n money...the city centre has always been noisy it was relatively quiet once but only on a sunday meanwhile everywhere was closed and in the 60s and 70s everything was bulldozed and communities moved to skelmerdale ,wirral and told to get on their bicycle in the past everything closed at 10.30 or two....who are the complainers...what are they complaining about...if they cannot stand noise move out to the burbs..where they would be the noisiest revellers... its not quiet in the countryside with noise tractors animals and god forbid smells....these people would complain wherever they lived....go buy some tickets on the next shuttle and try living on a space station or the moon....no doubt they couldn't hack it and still complain. or maybe just f.o. & d.

Sefton ParkMarch 11th 2008.

Terrible? How can you call it terrible. It's a fantastic club and I think it's wonderful that it's causing these idiots so many sleepless nights.

Lesley RMarch 11th 2008.

Now in my 50s I spent many of my most memorable formative years in the Raz. It was the most friendly unpretentious place in Liverpool as was that other beacon nearby - the wonderful Cabin Club- don't get mixed up, it was the Cabin which was famous for the sticky carpets!Anyway, I digress. I have not been clubbing in Liverpool for many a long year, but we still need friendly dives, where you don't have to spend a fortune on clothes before you go in and a fortune in drink when you get there. And judging by the previous comments, the Raz is still just such a place.So don't let the killjoys see off one of our institutions.

Secret SquirrelMarch 11th 2008.

Surely there must be some hot shot Property Lawyer out there who spent their student years in the Raz willing to give some advice?

WappingMarch 11th 2008.

If the problem is the suicide club outsdie (can't you tell I'm an ex-smoker?) why was the sound equipment taken from inside? Also does anyone know how many individuals actually complained?

jayMarch 11th 2008.

I heard a representitive from both sides on Radio Merseyside a couple of weeks ago and the problem boiled down to the noise coming from the smoking area in the back. Can people not go out of the front door to smoke on the street like many other venues?

Secret SquirrelMarch 11th 2008.

I agree - a Liverpool institution! Surely the developers would have had the intelligence to carry out an acoustic survey report when/before they completed the apartments? So they would have known the noise levels they would have had on a typical day and night of each week. Especially given that the Raz is a not a new thing and had alway been there how could they have overlooked this? The developer should have taken this into account and it would have perhaps cost a little more to build with acoustic trickle vents so the tenants dont have to open their windows. The correct type of glazing and the correct partitioning to include sound insulation. I have have worked on a number of schemes and it has not been the licensees responsibility but the developers to compensate for this!

CarolynMarch 11th 2008.

They don't have any toilet paper in the ladies either, should Councillor Bernie Turner find herself "cut short" after one or two many shandies.

AnonymousMarch 11th 2008.

I can remember nothing about the Raz, which is probably no bad thing. It's shameful that this situation has reached this point. The city centre should never have been allowed to become a series of nasty tacky little boxes and anyone who wants to live in one needs their head testing. Remember what happened to The Flying Picket. A pox on you all!

Rusty SpikeMarch 11th 2008.

Hey...not only did Allan Williams own and run the Blue Angel in its Sixties heyday, it is famous because he threw out Judy Garland and her husband for being a pain in the ass, insulted Tom Jones (which is surely a reason alone for keeping it open) and allegedly turned away Bob Dylan 'cause he was a scruffy git. The club is a Liverpool institution - on every level - and it is an utter disgrace that modern day kill-joys, who probably watch endless reality TV shows on their 52 inch plasma screens in their bijou loft apartments, are putting the skids under Liverpool's cultural legacy, skanky or nay. Why don't they all go and live in Frodsham or somewhere where they can buy organic fritters...

Paul PaulsMarch 11th 2008.

It's indeed like when the Picket closed (although that was just taken by the developers). I have actually never been to the Raz but feel that it is part of the fabric of the city, unlike the flats that have sprung up. I have a bit of sympathy for the residents but what did they think they were buying into?

P-e-t-eMarch 11th 2008.

This kind of argument also nearly closed down the Night & Day in Manchester. The Raz is a terrible, terrible club, but it's ridiculous people moving into City Centre flats next to long-established clubs and venues and then whining about the noise! The DJ equipment in there should be confiscated anyway, but for crimes against music! I'll stand up for their right to play it though.

Colquitt StreetMarch 11th 2008.

It is plainly the fault and responsibility of the Council for giving planning permission to the greedy developers in the first place. Surely there are environmental regulations in European law (i.e., not so easily bought off) regulating the speculative building of flats and houses?

Still in LiverpoolMarch 11th 2008.

I met the wife in the Raz. Forewarned is forearmed. Close the place.

Stanley StreetMarch 11th 2008.

The Cabin was nowhere near as good as The Razz! A man needed a letter from God and about fifteen women with him to get through the door (unless he was a copper). In the Razz as long as he wasn't obviously jellied and had his admission money ready, a bloke had no problem getting in. In the Cabin the d.j. wore stone-washed denim and played Status Quo all the bloody time. I last went there about ten years ago with a nostalgic friend. It had become *even* worse! Everyone had to drink from bottles because the place had NO glasses whatsoever, not even for the ladies! So no wine or spirits to drink, just overpriced, bottled lager. I thought they had a nerve to charge admission.

CagsMarch 11th 2008.

I suggest that anyone serious about saving The Raz should email Councillor Bernie Turner. She might change her mind and give them the gear back. You never know.

rossiMarch 11th 2008.

The Raz leaves so many fond memories, i love the city and visiting it is one of the reasons i come back! if Liverpool is to be a 24 hour city city centre residents must put up with 24 hour noise, i lived abouve Ted Baker on button street as a student! the noise was bad at weekends but it was what i expected these low life city yuppies should shut up or move out!i would happily live there! Long live the Raz!

MazMarch 11th 2008.

The Raz is indeed an institution and it is totally wrong that it is under threat. It was there a long time before the flats and frankly the residents should get over themselves!I can't even believe that the council are considering closing the Raz. It really worries me that Liverpool is loosing it's culture in this way. As has been said a 100 times before, Liverpool council need to look at what makes liverpool liverpool and it certainly isn't flashy new build flats!I have signed the petition, more people need to and Liverpool should not take this, removal of another part of their culure, lying down! This is not about a small club, this is about the history of a great city (cheesy but very true!). More people need to get passionate about this one!!

A. E. ScousemanMarch 11th 2008.

It’s a disgrace that this part of Liverpool culture is being persecuted. I have heard that when Allan Williams ran ‘The Blue Angel’ in olden days, it was frequently visited by big international stars after they’d finished their performances at The Empire Theatre, most notably Judy Garland who reputedly sang an impromptu set for the people in the club. It was as ‘The Razzamataz Club’ that I discovered it in 1981 and we went there because all the dishy usherettes from the Everyman Theatre went there! The D.J. thought he was Eddie Shoestring and was always pretending to be on the telephone – in all that racket he wouldn’t have been able to hear himself scream! By the time the name reverted to ‘The Blue Angel’ again, the place was affectionately known as ‘The Raz’ to all those who had ever sweated in there buut it had become a student dive. I haven’t been in there for years and I wasn’t happy about the eviction of the Henry Bohn bookshop, but the notion that the place should be closed down because some incomers have been mug enough to buy some cheaply-built cardboard flats is outrageous. If the principle is upheld, what next? ‘Pogue Mahone’ (formerly the historic ‘Doctor Duncan’) to be closed? Once this ridiculous precedent is set, what is to stop some moneyed oaf from the South buying a flat next to the cathedral then demanding that the bells be silent?

JoeMarch 11th 2008.

I don't live near the Raz, nor do I frequent it very often, but I'd still be sad to see it go

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