Posts Tagged ‘Boy George’

Club Vada

Iconic DJ, producer and true legend of the East London scene Hannah Holland has joined forces with prolific photographer, videographer and DJ Cathal O’Brien to create a new club night which is sure to send ripples through the gay clubbing scene. Having seen through thirteen years of parties together, the friends and artistic collaborators are no stranger to putting on innovative club nights, and their latest project is Club Vada. They caught up to chat about early club experiences, their history, and the inspiration for Club Vada!

Hannah: When it came to the inspiration for my own parties, the club that really blew my mind was Nag Nag Nag, at (former) The Ghetto. That’s where you would meet some very interesting club kids –  I guess it was the era’s Taboo club.  There was also Bodyrockers at Cynthia’s Robot Bar, with a music fusion of Detroit electro, techno, house and punk. Metalheadz at The Blue Note, was next level, pure energy and bass, with a proper mixed bag of London music lovers. 

nag nag nag

Nag Nag Nag

metalheadz

Metalheadz

Cathal:  I loved Nag Nag Nag and other infamous London club nights with strict  door whores and strong looks – I remember you had to get past Cormac on the door in his Air force Pilot jumpsuit first  –  I remember thinking it  was like the scene filmed at Danceteria  from Desperately Seeking Susan. 

Hannah: Boys AND girls mixed, with a common motive for the music, the vibe and the people. It was very creative. One thing that I find sad now is many gay clubs are 90% men, obviously there’s a desire/need for that in gay clubland, but Dalston Superstore is a great space for both to unite. Thats definitely something that’s always been very important to me – at clubs I’ve been involved in, people come from all different walks of life and genders, with the right attitude.

Cathal: Characters you mention like Steve Strange, Leigh Bowery, Jeffery Hinton, Marilyn, Princess Julia showed us it is possible to have this life, to have a story, to have a community to contribute to and maintain. And they look great! This amazing history needs to be fostered – there are stories that need to be passed down and heard! I think that’s something we both want to facilitate right?

img-ozp-legendofleighbowery-hero

HannahAbsolutely. They are important moments in underground London, and I love the fact that it’s a talented artist like yourself recording, often it’s only the press version that gets told. 

Cathal: My heroes are artists who also ran there own club spaces and were involved with nightlife, Basquiat with his band Gray at Area, John Sex, Kenny Scharf and  Keith Haring at Club 57 – all peddling their own flyers and fanzines, transforming the spaces, getting their work seen immediately by an audience. I’ve really enjoyed pulling the artwork together for Club Vada.  –  its a no brainer to run a night where you have your work/ films playing on the walls, branding the night, designing flyers –  its all curation to me. Hannah, what made you start doing parties ?

After a few years of being resident of the infamous TRAILER TRASH (co-promoted by Superstore owner Matt Tucker, one of the clubs that kickstarted the Shoreditch scene mid 2000s), I met Mama, and joined forces to start Batty Bass along with Alex Noble. We really went to town with our imaginations. Mama came from a punk background, Alex’s art and my eclectic music focusing on bass, we mixed live vocals (and instruments sometimes) with DJ sets, Alex’s visual universe and built a loyal following. The party lasted about seven years, outgrew its spiritual home and went into warehouses. By that time we started to move out of London and back and we called it a day. It was still some of the most amazing times I’ve had as a promoter and DJ. 

Cathal: Its your Batty Bass label’s ten year anniversary – how are you celebrating it? 

Hannah: Yeah, the club started in 2006 and the record label soon after, we’re releasing music again after a little break and celebrating by getting the family back together in sound – Josh Caffe, Mama, The Carry Nation, Alex Noble and more.

Cathal: Wicked ! 
              
Hannah: Has your work always been inspired by people you’ve met in these places?

Cathal:  I primarily make portraits, photographically and in short film – I love the challenge of getting someone down on film in a way that they want to be seen and how I see them in that moment. I really returned to this thinking with the party i run with Bica, Clam Jam. Every week I took pictures of an amazing new breed of queer women – I’m archiving it all now. I want to make a book. I don’t think its evident how important this group of women are just yet, it’s a really exciting time and I felt a responsibility to record a part of it. I’m going to be taking photographs at Club Vada as well of course! I don’t want to miss it. I wanna see strong looks!

 Hannah: One of my favourite places in the early 2000s was Sundays at The George and Dragon, with Jonjo Jury on the decks. He would expertly move through the very best of queer heritage. Can’t wait to have him work his magic upstairs for Vada. Also Elles is one of my favourite East End DJs right now, she has amazing taste and a great vibe.
 
Cathal: I can’t wait to have that ‘Lovely Jonjo’  element upstairs for the first Vada. I’ve always loved what Jonjo plays – from when he played at Trash to when I remember him playing Saint Etienne at the pre-refurbished Red Lion pub round the back of Hoxton Square. 

Your tracks have consistently sampled gay icons who all made a big difference to the nightlife of their time. You’re releasing a new track – who have you sampled this time ? Does it have a name yet ?

Hannah: My new track is called Diva Bern and samples the diva legend that is Sandra Bernhard. I know we both love a bit of Sandra, I can get lost in her interviews on youtube for hours.
 


Cathal: Club Vada will be our London residency for both of us – our base – you’ve been playing a lot around Europe –  You played at the now legendary ongoing club space Berghain – was that a goal from when you lived out there? How did you find it ?

Hannah: It was always my greatest dream to play there.  I did face up to myself years ago, when I lived there, that it was never going to happen, and I was ok with that! Then… came the phone call. Put it this way, I’ve never been so excited or nervous in my life – for a good two month lead up. Couldn’t have asked for the gig to go better. Dear friends were there, we had an opening of the shutters moment… It was very intense. I also got to play in the garden with Cormac, another East End diamond, on another occasion, that was so much fun.

Cathal: So we’ve gone all Polari with the name of the night, I’ll let you explain how that came about Hannah.

Hannah: Vada comes from the gay London slang language Polari, I first heard it in a track by the The Weebles ft. Princess Julia called Moist Womanly Needs – “Vada girl, Vada”

Cathal: When you start looking into it you realise many of the slang words have trickled down into mainstream vernacular.

Hannah: Then Lavinia Co-op introduced me to it first though a really amazing show.

Cathal: I had heard about Lavinia originally related to New York and I have many questions myself, stories I want to hear – Lavinia has given me some prose which mixes Polari and cockney slang which I will put into in the fanzine we’re making to hand out – it all relates to the talk she is giving on the night.

lavinia-co-op

Lavinia Co-op

Hannah: Lavinia has been through seventies gay liberation and been part of the fight to make it possible to have these nights and freedoms we all enjoy today. 

She was around the time that gay people had their own language, not because of shows like Ru Pauls Drag Race, but because they had to!  A secret code, Polari is a fascinating underground private slang, cockney rhyming for the queens. We’re honoured to have Lavinia do her show and have a chat with Max Allen before the party kicks off! Max will then be hosting the evening, and we will be screening the short film shot by Cathal that he stars in.

Club Vada will be all about lost in the music moments, we’ve got some quality DJs lined up for the rest of the year and next. For our launch I’ll be getting into the wormholes of house techno and beyond for a 5hr set.


Catch Hannah Holland and Cathal at the debut of Club Vada on Saturday 24 September from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore! Lavinia Co-op show and panel downstairs from 9pm.

Kris Di Angelis: Dear Diary…

London’s hardest working DJ Kris Di Angelis shares a page from his diary from last weekend with us ahead of Tramp on Saturday night…

How am I supposed to write up this weekend just gone? Most of the good stuff is unprintable, surely the sign of a good one though eh? I managed to create a weekend diary of five DJ gigs over 32 hours in London via Brighton, plus my club night WAR was talking place at the Summer Rites Festival without me able to be there. This was always going to be a heavy one, so in a sense I knew the gloves were off before it began….

Man who carried Kris's bag

I started my Saturday night by playing a private party in Kettners for a doctor celebrating his 60th birthday. I wouldn’t normally write about a private party except for the fact that this was quite possibly the campest entrance of any 60 year old professional I’ve ever seen. Carried in on a stretcher by half the cast of Priscilla, when his head popped out to lip-sync it was clear ‘He’ was more of a ‘She’ tonight. Turns out the next 15 minutes were choreographed, rehearsed and performed to a Gloria Estefan dance megamix from the very early ‘90s (how now!), even with a bit of classic ‘Quick-Change’ action thrown in. Speechless I was!

On the midnight train to Brighton I got my head together, popped open a bottle of bubbles, mixed it with Red Bull, and got told to “For God’s sake, relax!”. I always get a bit edgy when I play somewhere new. I get unavoidably pensive. Which wasn’t massively helped by the state of post-Pride Brighton. As far as I could see Brighton had lost its shoes, was covered in bruises/sick, and I was in the hands of stewards completely unable to speak English, never mind direct me to the club I was playing in. I asked a landlord in a pub for directions to the Honey Club and got told by a disgruntled bar fly that “I know where the station is… where you can fuck off on a train back to where you came from cunt”. He looked like someone who sort of used to be good looking, so I just kind of smiled, said “Good luck with that” and paid for his pint. Having first discovered there are both Oceana and Hed Kandi clubs in Brighton too (very Brighton Uncovered, as in, I actually saw a girl lick the pavement) I eventually located Wildfruit. And look, it has half of London there! Greeted at the door by Jonny Woo and Chrissy Darling, and hanging inside with Sam DMS, Munroe Bergdorf and Johnny M made it all feel instantly familiar. Wildfruit appears to be the big after party for Pride there so it’s heaving and sweaty (I love this) and everything you’d expect from a big gay super club. VERY different from playing in East London, but that’s the point. I managed to play much cooler records there than I thought I’d get away with too, always a pleasant surprise!

Munroe Bergdorf in Brighton

The next day I decided at the last minute that it might be better to get to London on time for Summer Rites, so I skipped playing Audio and got myself back to Shoreditch as the trains were looking seriously delayed. During the journey I started receiving messages from people in the park as word was starting to spread about my WAR gogo boys. “Bitch, have you really booked dwarf gogo boys?” “There’s a disabled dwarf in the park, please tell me you didn’t….” Well I didn’t go as far as that, but I DID manage to find two handsome dwarves to serve as soldier gogo’s for the WAR slot in the East Bloc tent. THEY WERE AMAZING! I’ve never wanted to get to a park so fast as when I got sent pictures of them half naked throwing themselves around our stage! To top that off I had a whole load of my mates playing together on the stage for the entire set, including Bryony Masters, James Pople, Adam Turner, Joshyou Are and Ariel. No bad can come from a group of DJs having a hilarious time playing together, so it’s safe to say WAR delivered everything I wanted it to. I sped over to finish up the Room Service tent, caught a bit of Boy George’s set (HE SANG VIDEO GAMES!!!), got carried around on somebody’s shoulders, dealt with a million ex’s (why are festivals always like that?) and hurried home to get ready for the Room Service Vs WAR after party.

Gogo dancers at WAR 

This is when my laptop died.

As you may know, I am a laptop DJ. However, having just recently received my entire CD collection out of storage, I decided now was the time to give this archaic medium a run for its money. I packed a case full of music and made my way nervously over to Bar Music Hall. Kim Ann Foxman was playing an absolutely blinding set, I really don’t know if it gets much cooler than her. She’s got excellent taste, so when some gay tapped me on the shoulder and said “Can I ask her to play some proper dance music like Rihanna?” I replied, “If you even think about it, I will kill you”. He then seemingly ignored me and was already prodding her for attention. By the time she turned round though the gravity of what I’d said sunk in, he smiled at her and said “I think you’re amazing”, winked at me and danced his way to the bar. Smoooooth! I then began to play my first ever set on CD, and was struck by how easy it is. A bloody kid could do it! It’s so dumbfoundingly easy to mix on CD’s that I really don’t know where some DJs get their arrogance from. The years I’ve spent getting grief from moronic dinosaurs about being on a laptop! If anything I just found it a bit limiting, but put it this way, I’m SO playing on CDs this Saturday at Tramp! Once the party was FINALLY over I made my way home to have a giggle with the Harsh and a few others. As is always the way when you get that many gays working together, there was a lot of hardcore gossip generated on the day that we had to process. Seemed like everyone went back to Amanda Le Pore’s hotel suite for an after party, but my bed was definitely more attractive than even the world’s No. 1 transsexual.

Jodie Harsh at Summer Rites

All in all it was great, Brighton was great, Summer Rites was great, the after party was great, and having my bag carried for some of the journey was awesome. The only question I have, is that if Severino really was playing absolutely everywhere, how the bloody hell did I miss him?!

Kris Di Angelis plays at his night Tramp this Saturday 8th September with super secret special legendary guests from 9pm – 3am here at Dalston Superstore.

Summer Rites

We’ve very pleased to be joining our friends Gutterslut, East Bloc, Vogue Fabrics and more at this year’s Summer Rites festival! Taking place in Shoreditch park on Sunday 2nd September, the main stage features the talents and delights of Jonny Woo’s Gay Bingo, Bright Light Bright Light, Feral Is Kinky, Mutya and…. BOY GEORGE! 

Rest assured that even though we’ll be nursing our hangovers from Paris’ Acid Ball here at Superstore the night before, we’ll be out in full force hosting a kick-ass, pumpin’ tent with some of our favourite DJs playing all day, including the incredible KIM ANN FOXMAN!!

Joining her will be Grizzle (John Sizzle and A Man To Pet) DJ Squeaky, Rokk, Mikki Most, Dan Beaumont, The Lovely Jonjo Hannah Holland and Severino.

Summer Rites logo

Tickets are £25 from the Summer Rites website or come into Superstore and pick up one of our discounted tickets at £15 each from behind the bar!

For more information be a fan of Summer Rites on Facebook.

A Little Summer Of Love

These amazing pictures come courtesy of our friend Dave Swindells who’ll be presenting a sample of his fascinating photography this weekend at visual art exhibition A Little Summer Of Love. Celebrating the early years of acid house, the exhibition will also feature the graphic art of Dave Little, a private screening of Gordon Mason’s acclaimed documentary film ‘They Call It Acid’, a live performance of the first British acid house tune, ‘Voodoo Ray’ by A Guy Called Gerald feat. Diane Charlemagne and DJs including Paris’ Acid Ball residents Hannah Holland and Dan Beaumont.

Being the kind sir he is, Mr Swindells has sent us a selection of his snaps from London and Ibiza in their acid house heydays with pictures of Danny Rampling at Shoom, Feral Is Kinky in Ibiza, crazy Boys Own parties and more plus explanations of each one in his own words…

TOP IMAGEAmnesia, 1989

To me this photo seems like it could almost have been taken last week at a party in Dalston. The fashions have changed somewhat, but not by much! This was 7am on the main dance floor at Amnesia on the opening night of the season in June 1989, when Boy George was invited to celebrate his birthday and host the club. Although it was taken in 1989 I’m putting it first it as was clubs like Amnesia which inspired Balearic beats and helped kick-start the Summer of Love in 1988. 

The Duchess of Norwood and friends in Ibiza, 1989

The Duchess of Norwood and friends in Ibiza, 1989

The Duchess of Norwood wasn’t her real name (natch) but she did make good friends with the local boyz. Ibiza had a properly polysexual scene long before London, and it was already a major gay holiday destination in the ’80s.

Danny Rampling at Shoom, 1988

Danny Rampling at Shoom, 1988

At Shoom Danny and Jenni Rampling created a small, friendly, New Age-y and intense underground club where Danny mixed Balearic beats and acid house and everyone went a little bonkers. Anton Le Pirate (top right) and Frankie Foncett (blue top) are in this photo, which was taken in the tiny Fitness Centre in Southwark. There were grumbles about the tight door policy, but Shoom was very significant because it was the underground club that DJs, club promoters and the media knew about (even if most of the media couldn’t get in). Just around the corner was RIP in Clink Street, but that’s a whole other story* – and they didn’t allow any photos to be taken. 

* The story is told in the liner notes to a new CD, ‘Richard Sen presents This Ain’t Chicago, the underground sound of UK house and acid 1987-1991’, which is released by Strut Records on June 25.  

The Future, 1988

The Future, 1988

This was taken at Paul Oakenfold’s night, The Future, for a feature on acid house and Balearic beats in i-D magazine. The clubbers there, including DJs Lisa Loud and Nancy Noise, had all been to Ibiza the previous summer, so we photographed the way they dressed and danced, because moves like the ‘shelf stacker’ were strange to people who’d grown up dancing with their feet rather than their arms.

A typical group of London clubbers in Ibiza…

A typical group of London clubbers in Ibiza…

Yeah, right. MC Kinky (aka FeralisKinky), Boy George, Fat Tony and Louise Prey photographed in Ku (now Privilege). It’s a night that we remember for the massive electrical storm (lots of the British chose to dance in the rain) and because the orgasmic ‘French Kiss’ by Lil Louis was played three times. When we left the open-topped jeeps in the car park looked like baths: full of water.     

Spectrum at Heaven, 1988

Spectrum at Heaven, 1988

Spectrum was a Monday night phenomenon at Heaven in 1988-89 where Paul Oakenfold was the main DJ. After a very quiet start it snowballed and used to draw clubbers from across the country – club folklore suggests that Spectrum inspired the name of the band Happy Mondays. This was taken one night in July 1988 when the air conditioning failed. No wonder the dancers were sweating. 

Gyroscope, acid house party in Deptford, 1988

Gyroscope, acid house party in Deptford, 1988

In 1989 and 1990 every rave had to have lasers and a bouncy castle (and they’d definitely get a shout out on the flyers too), but in 1988 the novelty was a gyroscope. Logic didn’t come into it: Hey, I’m feeling high/drunk/wasted, why don’t I throw my body everywhichway possible on a gyroscope while the strobe light blinds and disorientates me! Yay! 

Time Out meets Spectrum in Jubilee Gardens

Time Out meets Spectrum in Jubilee Gardens

Time Out was offered the chance to help programme a festival in a big top in Jubilee Gardens. Spectrum was at Heaven on Monday nights, so we teamed up with them and on June 6th 1988 acid house (and Balearic beats) were blaring out across the Thames towards Big Ben. 

Trip at the Astoria, 1988

Trip at the Astoria, 1988

It’s hilarious that the first club to bring acid house to the West End weekend was called Trip. Nicky Holloway’s Trip, with Pete Tong as a resident DJ, opened in June 1988 and was mobbed. Darren Rock (of Rocky & Diesel) is wearing the blue top while most of the dancers are wearing Trip t-shorts because the promoter saw me taking the shot from the DJ box and made me wait five minutes while he handed them out. 

Café Del Mar, Ibiza 1989

Café Del Mar, Ibiza 1989

‘Peril of Drug Isle Kids!’ warned The Sun. They weren’t wrong. Those kids are still in peril but these days it’s more likely to be the drinks and admission prices on The White Isle that will give them a heart attack.  I was out in Ibiza with journalist Alix Sharkey for 20/20 Magazine, so the fact that The Sun made Ibiza front-page news while we were there was lucky for us.

Boys Own Party, 1989

Boys Own Party, 1989 

1989 was the summer of orbital parties (parties at locations off the M25, hence orbital and hence Orbital, the band) but the Boy’s Own event, in a beautiful valley overlooking a reservoir near East Grinstead, was not a mega-rave to scare the tabloid writers, but a brilliant night of top tunes and larks. Why were these two climbing a ladder to nowhere? I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time…

The launch party of A Little Summer Of Love will be held this Saturday 30th June from 7pm – 2:30am at Westbourne Studios, W10 5JJ, with A Guy Called Gerald, Noel Watson, Kid Batchelor, Richard Sen and our very own Paris’ Acid Ball residents Dan Beaumont and Hannah Holland.