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Save the 100 Club

100 Club Sign
100 Club Sign

ITS stage has seen the West End debuts of Oasis, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Buzzcocks, while Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Paul Weller can still sometimes be glimpsed in the audience.

Yet the 100 Club in Oxford Street – described by Aerosmith‘s Joe Perry as “the finest rock’n'roll club in the world” – could close within a few months because of soaring overheads unless it can find a buyer. Its rates bill has hit £4,000 a month and landlord Lazari Investments now charges rent, with VAT, of £166,000 a year.

The cellar club’s owner, Jeff Horton, said: “It makes me so angry. The Government, Westminster council and even some of the commercial landlords say they want to help small businesses, they say they want to preserve London‘s uniqueness, they want to help multi-cultural venues.

“Yet we’re all that and all these organisations have all dumped on us from a great height.” His father started running the venue in 1964, but it opened in 1942 as a jazz club.

Mr Horton sees few alternatives to closure after Lazari raised the rent by 45 per cent. “In 1985, when I took over, the rent was barely £11,000 In the US the rents are frozen at certain venues that have a bit of heritage. Here it’s a total free-for-all.”

He added: “What the 100 Club needs is a buyer or major sponsor to step forward. Barring that, we’re closing at Christmas despite being as popular as ever. It really is insane.”

Phil Strongman
22.09.10

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