Burnley’s nightlife is dead and buried.
That is according to legendary Retro DJ Paul Taylor who says witnessing the decline of the town’s once thriving club scene has left him feeling depressed.
Walkabout, Barcode and Lava and Ignite have all shut down in recent months and Paul, whose name is synonymous with the iconic Angels nightclub, fears Burnley may never recover.
“I really feel for the town,” said Paul. “I’ve lived there since I was 14. I never thought I would say it but I think Burnley has had it. It’s gone like Blackburn. It’s absolutely dead and I can’t see it recovering.
“I was talking to a couple of lads who were looking at opening the old Graffiti Club next to M&S. They were talking to me as a kind of consultant but they’ve ditched the idea because everywhere is shutting. I think Burnley has had it. I never thought I would ever say that but it’s gone like Blackburn and I don’t think it’s going to recover.”
Only a few weeks ago, Mick Cookson, owner of The Rum Jungle, spoke with the Express about how he felt 24-hour licensing was killing off trade in the town centre. And Paul is in agreement.
“The Government has killed club world with these licensing laws from about eight years ago when they gave all-night licences to pubs and bars. Bars have turned into clubs, pubs have turned into bars and it’s just not working.
“Where have all the people gone? Where has the scene gone? When I first started DJing in 1976 I was DJing five nights a week in Angels and it was busy most nights. We used to have ‘Wednesday Funky Night’ and we’d have 1,200 people in there. What has happened to the club scene? I mean, the charts are full of club records but there’s nobody into clubs. They’re going into bars where it’s 2-4-1 drinks and all that and it really upsets me. It does more than that, it depresses me.
“Burnley’s dead now and it’s never going to happen again. Not unless somebody invests a lot of money but of course when you invest you have to get your money back and there aren’t enough people in Burnley now wanting to come out and enjoy themselves.”
Paul has enjoyed many a memorable night in Burnley with Retro but now fears the brand will never return to the town where it was born.
“Retro could pull 1,600 people into Burnley and that shows the power of it. All the time I’m getting ‘Come back to Burnley’ or ‘Why aren’t you doing anything in Burnley?’. I need the right size club. If those lads had have set up Graffiti, it was looking like a 700 capacity club, then that would have been absolutely perfect. But unfortunately the guys have been put off by the closures in the town.
“I think it is a sad testament as to how Burnley Council has treated the town. They’ve given all these late-night licences to everybody and I would stand up in court and damn them for it. They’ve killed the town dead. I went into town a few weeks ago and I couldn’t believe how bad and how sad it was. Burnley has been left behind me and it really is depressing.”
Do you agree with Paul? Can Burnley make a comeback or has the decline gone too far? Have your say ...