"We are a music and culture venue, and that's what we are promoting and pushing. The headlines are suggesting we are banning staring.”
The media is out again trying to make a really positive thing a negative thing, slamming Club 77's safety policy.
Earlier this month the venue updated their Safety And Harassment Policy which included a range of rules to ensure that every member in the space feels safe and comfortable. Club dance floors are deeply political and important spaces, so the necessity for them to be safe and inclusive is a top priority for any venue.
Club 77 has deemed that, "staring at someone from afar. If the attention you are giving someone is unwarranted, that is considered harassment."
The media has begun to push this without an inch of common sense. Karl Stefanovic on the today show was shocked at the statement and tried to pull a funny face, while his co-host Allison Langdon stared at him.
"Picture this you're out on a Saturday night... and a good looking girl or lad catches your eye." He then suggests that if that happens you get kicked out. Karl also suggested that nightclubs were a "hunting ground."
Common sense says that sometimes, dead staring someone simply trying to have a good time on a dance floor for a prolonged period of time is an extremely uncomfortable, awkward and weird situation. It kills the escapist energy on a dance floor and I can guarantee that prolonged non-consensual extended scaring will definitely kill a vibe.
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The Today Show continued to ridicule the rule suggesting ways to gain consent for staring. It's pretty simple, anything that is uncomfortable, non-consensual and straight out weird should be outlawed. While the interview finished on a positive note stating that the Club was doing the right thing trying to protect people. You can watch the interview HERE.
The news also landed on the front page of the Daily Telegraph who took a similar approach, suggesting that people might get kicked out for a simple glance.
They interviewed Clinical Psychotherapist Melissa Ferrari, who suggested that making eye contact with someone is one of the most important steps in meeting a romantic partner. “Realistically we fall in love through the eyes, when a whole lot of conditions are put on that it puts a lot of restrictions on how we meet somebody,” she said.
“It is always a more lovely story, when it is a more organic in person story of looking at someone across the bar, that is a much nicer story than meeting someone online.”
Having been on multiple dance floors in my personal life, it's a very rapid process of understanding whether a glance across the dance floor is accepted and that is the line that Club 77 is attempting to rule out.
Club 77 is a small beacon of representation of the global dance scene in Sydney. The venue is one of the only standalone venues who is solely dedicated to uplifting the country's electronic music community and artistry. The venue has an emphasis is on club music and the community it embraces, one that forms on the dance floor. Dance floor's are the most critical part of undergrounds dance music's history and its position in the wider music sphere, it is a melting pot of culture, politics and people, a space for anyone to engage in escapism. Club 77 ensuring that their space is safe is a critical part of developing this culture and any criticism of that is unnecessary and misunderstood.
This morning we spoke to the club's co-director Dane Gorrel in response to the media outcry against the safety policy.
“People are reading the headlines and clickbait headlines and making judgements. Realistically when you come into a venue you want to feel safe. Any unwanted attention or unwanted situation should be prevented. Whether it's a glance from across the room, if it makes people uncomfortable it's not on. The people that come into the venue need to act in a respectful way. We are a music and culture venue, and that's what we are promoting and pushing. The headlines are suggesting we are banning staring.”
“What we are about is making people feel safe in the venue. Under no circumstances should someone come into the venue and not feel safe. We’re all about making sure that any patron that enters the venue that they feel safe while they are inside. Any unwanted attention will be dealt with straight away.”
“We aren’t mucking around with this. We are trying to make the venue as safe as possible. I’m the licensee of the venue so everything falls on me personally. I have my own personal morals and values that are instilled into the business.”
“The meat behind the story is just us trying to provide a safe space.”
“At the end of the day, getting the right people in the club is the most important part of making the operation work.”
“Getting the right people in the venue, no matter how busy it is, on a Monday or a Friday night there’s no difference in our policy. Even if there’s three people there on a Monday and you get one wrong person there it can upset the entire balance for the night of those three people. We take the exact same stance.”
“We are a small venue that really focuses on electronic music and culture. Having a safe space is one of the big reasons that makes everyone enjoy themselves and have fun. Going to so many different venues around the world and seeing how different environments work we’ve spoken to a whole bunch of people in our community and industry as well as people outside of our industry about this stuff. It’s really important that Club 77 is a space for the electronic music community and for anyone that wants to come in and enjoy the environment.”
“I personally take this very seriously as an individual with my own personal values and as licensee of the venue. My values are entrenched in consent and safe spaces and providing a platform and venue for the wider community to come in and feel safe. There are a lot of young people coming into the venue that have never gone to a club before because of a range of external factors. It’s our job to educate and show these people what it’s like to be in a nightclub and how you should be acting. Not telling people what to do, but trying to provide education on being safe in a venue and taking care of your friends and not making anyone feel uncomfortable.
“We are music focussed we are culture focussed, we are not a venue where you want to come and pick up.”
“Tim and I spent a lot of time writing [our Safety Policy] up and even getting someone to copy write it and make sure it's succinct and in the right context. There was a lot of time and energy put into the policy and it's something we are going to back pretty hard.”