A Eulogy

In the early hours of the twelfth of November, Edwards No. 8 was consumed in a blaze that appears to have gutted much of the building. Everyone inside was apparently evacuated safely, with ten people treated for minor injuries such as smoke inhalation. The fire started in a cubicle in one of the gents’ toilets and consumed the club in an inferno that apparently wasn’t fully extinguished until 9 a.m.

This probably doesn’t mean a fat lot to you. Most news reports just reported a fire at ‘a Birmingham city centre nightclub’, and many of Birmingham’s clubbing population neither knew nor cared that the place existed. It was a rock club that lay off the beaten track, tucked away in a part of the city that had, up until about three months ago, missed out on every redevelopment of the city for the past century. The area was probably well-to-do once, housing gorgeous Victorian architecture and one of the first cinemas to open in the UK. The rest of Birmingham moved on around this area, leaving it to fall into obscurity. Yet, located as it was, Eddie’s was a spiritual home to myself and many others; its demise feels like the end of an era. This was the last dedicated goth and rock club in Birmingham; the alternative nightclubs that remain standing cater to either the student indie market or the teenage emo market. There’s nowhere left for a metal-head to go on a Saturday night.

Worse still, many of us have great memories of the place. I wouldn’t be what I am today without Eddie’s and I wouldn’t have made half the friends I have without it. Bizarre conversations, drunken nights dancing to my favourite songs and all manner of amiable stupidity took place in there and I miss it all already. A part of my life has been blown away in a fireball.

Some suspect foul play. Recently, some of the surrounding buildings have been pulled down to make way for fashionable new flats. The fire did start in an odd place, and a perfect one from the point of view of evacuation. Maybe someone wanted the awkward listed building out of the way. It would be horrendous if the club did end up becoming another faceless block of flats.

The club’s website claims that Eddie’s could return in some form or other in the near future. It may be a different venue in a different part of the city or it may be in the original building but, hopefully, it will be a new home for a scene that’s never died in Birmingham. Even if it does all go to pot, I have no doubt that someone will fly the flag for rock somewhere in the West Midlands. The question remains as to where the hell I’m going to fuel my alcoholism in the meantime…

BBC News report

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~ by Scary Rob on 22 November, 2006.

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