Sunday, February 18, 2007

An open letter to Kenny G

Dear Mr G
I am writing to you as a major shareholder in Starbucks.
You may be aware of the current situation of the old Vortex building in Stoke Newington Church Street and the possibility that it could become the first outpost of the Starbucks chain in this part of North London, despite denials to the contrary. If you allow this to happen then Starbucks is an accomplice with Mr Richard Midda, the building's owner, in the demise of what was an important location for jazz in London during the 1990s. Mr Midda, from the time that he bought the building, did many things to squeeze the club out. Moving into the building and operating as just another branch of the chain gives a financial vindication and would be a blinkered move. You also prove that your commitment to jazz is illusory.
I therefore request that (a) either Starbucks definitively confirms that it will NEVER open a branch there in deference to the building's history or (b) that it will only do so on condition that the jazz club is revived. Starbucks already sponsors a number of jazz festivals in the UK. It is ironic if it also helps puts nails in the coffin of an iconic building for music.
The move of the Vortex to Dalston was forced on it by the intransigent position of Mr Midda. That it is thriving there has been at a great expense of time and money of the many involved. To have been able to stay in Stoke Newington Church Street would have been desirable.
Yours sincerely,
Oliver Weindling
Director, New Vortex Jazz Club Limited

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