(OR HOW GENTRIFICATION CLOSED THE PAY AND SPRAY SEX CINEMAS OF KINGS CROSS)
The onslaught of gentrification continues and it is all complete in Kings Cross in the London Borough of Islington. Kings Cross used to have a reputation as being a seedy Red light district, and I never really visited it in 20 years of living in London. The council started to clean the area up in the 1990s. There was a need to move the drug dealers and prostitutes out of the area, but like most vices they just moved elsewhere.
The gentrification of the area came to a head with the closure of the last three sex cinemas in the area this year. What has this got to do with gentrification ? Well it all starts in the 70s, when most porn cinemas were unlicensed. There were a few incidents when people were thrown out of porn cinemas and returned and torched the place. The London councils decided to grant licences so that they would have to adhere to fire regulations, and so the places would be safe. The end of 2014 saw the licences for Oscars a gay cinema and Abcat in City Road as well as fantasy video all revoked. The revocation of these licences were after undercover visits by council officials, who witnessed “Goings On”. I am not sure what they expected in a porn cinema .
They were given the choice to appeal the decision, but the legal costs were going to be in the thousands. The three cinemas all closed down within 6 months of each other. Fantasy video has now moved to New Cross. There are still a few cinemas in Soho, but as Soho is changing, their days are numbered. See my article sexless Soho. It could be said with today’s internet you can watch porn in your own home, but the fact that they closed all three cinemas in a short period of time, suggests a wider agenda. Oscars cinema was the only gay cinema to be closed , and it’s over the road from a Central Station a very important pub in the gay scene. This is where The Gay Times newspaper had an office upstairs when it first started. The pub hosts various fetish nights, and as part of the new Puritanism could be in the sights of the council.