NEW INSTITUTE BOSSES "MUST LISTEN TO LOCAL TASTES"
The promoter who saved Birmingham’s Institute nightclub from being pulled down and turned into a car park has called on its new owners to keep its ear to the ground in the West Midlands - and not just dictate music policy from London.
John Mostyn who worked with Fine Young Cannibals and The Beat was responding to the news that the MAMA music and media group – who also own Hammersmith Apollo – have bought the venue’s lease.
“I wish them well,” said Mostyn.
“But I hope they give the people what they want by listening to what’s going on in Birmingham. It won’t work if it’s all down a phone line from Piccadilly”.
There’s no one better placed than Mostyn to assess the future of the venue.
In 1986, he persuaded Richard Branson to save it from demolition and keep alive one of Brum’s few mid-scale touring venues.
“When we got involved the plan was to turn it into a car park” he recalls.
“They would have kept the frontage, but that was all. But I always thought it could be a great medium size gig venue.”
Mostyn’s dream of creating a long-term success there were scuppered by the bizarre attitudes of the city’s licensing magistrates of the time who insisted that there should be a restaurant on each of the five floors before giving their consent – which ensured costs ballooned from £1m to £3million.
They also demanded that there should be 16 air changes per hour, which as Mostyn says, “made it feel like you were standing in a gale.”
He wasn’t helped by the departure of his business partner Richard Branson, either, who quit because being associated with night clubs hindered his ambitions to own an airline.
All the same, Mostyn deserves enormous respect for ensuring that this architecturally distinguished and rather splendid gig venue was saved for future generations.
Which acts or clubs nights or political meetings have you seen at The Institute? Leave a comment on the Message Board.
©2007 The Stirrer