French techno legend Laurent Garnier has made an emotional and dramatic appeal to the French Ministry of Culture.
Although he did not describe himself as a great expert in politics, he was nonetheless extremely concerned about the current situation of the club and event sector in France, which had received little attention from recent political measures. Garnier refers above all to the gigantic “France 2” aid program, which, according to the government, should or should not also benefit the “performing arts” sector. In this respect, the DJ and producer legend wonders whether nightlife would also fall under this heading, after all, he considers himself a performing artist due to his activities behind the turntables.
Garnier recalls: “So, to be sure, I asked a colleague of mine whether our industry also belongs to the performing arts. He started laughing and replied: “No, Laurent, we are now part of the dead entertainment sector”.
At first he thought his friend’s answer was a joke, but then Garnier realized that he was right. However, the 54-year-old did not show understanding: “Our music and cultural scene has done so much for the country of France. But apparently we are still not appreciated enough”.
“Cinemas, theaters, concert halls. Restaurants and cafés. They all suffer from the ongoing pandemic. But in the end they were able to reopen, albeit under severe restrictions. This is not true for the nightlife sector. The club scene has now been at a complete standstill for eight months. For us the party is over,” continues Garnier.
He continues to speak of “blatant imbalances” in the distribution of financial aid and complains that the nightlife has been completely ignored. “The ruthlessness and ignorance shown by your ministry towards the night and club sector is interpreted by many of us as an unmistakable form of contempt,” says the world-famous producer.
Translated from Laurent Garnier:
It’s strange, but at the end of your speech on France 2 on October 22nd, I had the unfortunate impression that I was not concerned by your announcements.
Not being a great expert in political language either, I naively asked my wife after your speech if she thought that “the world of the night” could be included in what you called “the performing arts sector”. After all, when I’m on stage, behind turntables, like an actor, musician or dancer, I feel like I’m delivering live performances myself. But the dubious pout I got as an answer did not really allay my fears. So, in order to have the heart of it, I called a friend (of the trade) to ask him this simple question: “Reassure me V, when our minister speaks about the sector of the living spectacle, she speaks well about us too anyway…”.
At first my question made him laugh (which did not augur well), before giving me his answer: “Ah no Laurent, we are now part of the dead entertainment sector … Roselyne has announced many times, the world of the night does not depend on her but the Ministry of the Interior!
At the beginning I thought it was a little joke (V can turn out to be quite joking !) but I quickly understood that behind her cynically funny answer, V was not telling me about carabistouilles.
It’s strange because as an Officer of Arts and Letters, Knight of the Legion of Honor (awarded by a former Minister of Culture who has long since seized the eminent place of the night in the vast space of culture and creation) and globetrotting DJ (like other artists in our country), I’ve been indirectly promoting France abroad for more than 30 years) I stupidly thought that things had evolved and that with my little platinum-playing comrades we had earned our status and our ticket to the “world of culture” with dignity. But I have to admit that apparently this is still not the case.
During your speech you spoke of the great suffering of the cinema and the world of the performing arts. Indeed, these sectors have been suffering terribly (like many others) since the beginning of the health crisis. But fortunately for them, cinemas, theaters and some concert halls have still been able to reopen despite a complicated health protocol.
Today we hear a lot of talk about the anger of restaurant and café owners due to the curfew. But here again, even if it is dramatic to note that they all slow down, and in an extremely constrained way, they still had, somehow or another, some possibilities to reopen.
On the other hand, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that, since the beginning of March, the “night and clubs” sector (of which I am an intrinsic part) has been completely at a standstill. For us the party is over, and has been for eight long months now.
As you know, like theaters, cinemas and concert halls, clubs (apart from the artists and DJs who perform there) employ the same diverse and varied staff as the rest of the cultural landscape. Whether it is at the bar, in the auditorium, at the cash desk, at the checkroom, at the cleaning, but also the stage managers, security, intermittent staff, technical staff, sound engineers, VJs, promoters, bookeurs, labels, graphic designers, printers…. Without forgetting the indirect economic impact (suppliers, restaurants, hotels, transport, etc…). The list is long, but above all very similar to that of the performing arts.
On France 2, you have announced figures for aid to the various sectors of the film and live performance industry. I won’t go back over the distribution of these means, which, as always, assume flagrant imbalances between today’s heritage and culture, between Paris and the regions, between classical culture and emergence, between the “big houses of the capital” and the territorial network of independents… But one thing is certain: once again, and for too many months now, the cultural space of the night has been totally ignored.
The flagrant lack of consideration, the ignorance emanating from your ministry towards the night and club sector is clearly interpreted by many of us as a form of incomprehensible contempt. For whether you like it or not, the clubs and places of this night culture were (when they were open) places bubbling with creation, imagination and sharing.
I was, Madam Minister, sincerely attentive and benevolent when you took office, impatient but certain to see you represent us in the same way as other artists, and affirm the minimum consideration due to our sector. But I confess that today, not knowing very well if I am a “dead performing artist”, an “inside artist”, or “not an artist at all”, I am beginning to have serious doubts.