Sadly this is an old article because The Arches is officially no more. 

With the recent news that the Arches had survived a Police Scotland attempt at indefinite closure, there are far more pressing matters needing to be addressed.

The immediate reaction to close the premises screams of a failure to actually look at the larger problems facing society.

We abhor drugs at GlasgowLiving, they destroy lives and they destroy people, but attempting to slam shut a premises where a very small minority of the mass population who frequent this multi purpose art space, abused alcohol and drugs, is not the answer to society’s problems.

Verging on 25 years in existence, the Arches first opened in 1990 following Glasgow being awarded the accolade of 1990 European Capital of Culture, which in turn helped completely transform the fortunes of the city. The Arches now welcomes more than 250,000 people across its threshold annually.

A considerable amount of the profit received by the Arches is poured straight back into funding art projects that almost certainly wouldn’t secure the money needed for their creation. Damaging Glasgow’s long-term reputation as a hub of artistic freedom known throughout the free world.


One of the problems reported at the weekend consisted of a woman allegedly collapsing in the Arches. We ask, how was she able to consume alcohol to such an extent she was unable to walk unaided? Was she drinking prior to the event, and if so, to what amount?

Problem two, multiple people being arrested for drug offences. We are in agreement this is a major problem, however it’s a problem scarring society as a whole. From the well earning politician who allegedly snorts cocaine in the Houses of Parliament trickling all the way down to the homeless person, destitute on the street, injecting heroin. Who do we blame?

Society will blame the politician for inhaling the drugs, because of an immoral choice they have made. but what of the homeless person’s drug addiction? Whom can they blame? A spouse responsible for a failed marriage? A rough life? Quite possibly a bereavement the person in question has failed to recover from?

No, society blames the controlling powers, for failing in their democratically appointed social responsibility we have each entailed them with. A social responsibility they are supposed to offer each person living in this country.

As it turns out Police Scotland were seeking complete closure of the Arches for failing to adhere to Section 97 citing “crowd violence” or “riots”, but who do governments, councils and parts of the media blame for this social unrest?

Parents? Governments? Councils? No they blame a club night at an arts venue. A particular venue that is regularly voted as one of the top in the world. OK, instead let’s blame the Glasgow crowd. Sorry, it’s regularly voted the greatest in the world.


Will that solve society’s underlying problems? Of course not but it will keep the angry masses subdued.

Surely by blaming a premises and club night for faltering in their social responsibility, when the people pointing the fingers have also failed in their social responsibility. Our appointed social guardians, nevertheless, smacks of downright hypocrisy.

“Quick blame the club, blame the premises,” they yell in the corridors of power. “People will jump on that bandwagon,” Each hoping to quietly climb back under the political parapet.

“What about the unwanted attention from the media?” They ask, fearing the answer.

“Don’t worry.” Comes the reply, “we’ll divert people’s attention away from us, and blame the club.”

The powers, all breathe a collective sigh of relief, and relax high above, in their comfortable ivory towers.

Before our social guardians shake their fists angrily and look outward for blame, perhaps they should look inward and try to understand the problem. Then and only then, can they possibly hope to find a solution.

21st century society is bleeding. Threatening a club night and arts venue with closure, will not heal the gaping wound.

Written by Gregg J Kelly