Posts Tagged ‘Ibiza’

Meet Wayne Shires

By Dan Beaumont

Wayne Shires has been at the forefront of London’s underground queer culture for several decades. From the best acid house warehouse parties in ’89 through to legendary dance floors like Substation, Bar Industria, Crash, Area, The Cock and his current baby East Bloc. He’s also been busy preparing for this weekend’s massive Summer Rites festival. Superstore’s Dan Beaumont caught up with him for a cuppa.

 

Can you please explain the compulsion to throw parties and open venues?

I think it must be some form of masochism. It can be really tortuous but at the same time it can be very euphoric and satisfying and rewarding when you get to that point where you see people enjoying themselves, and you’re the one who’s created it. It’s not a vanity project. I just really enjoy people having a good time. I’ve always liked putting on a party.

You started putting on parties during the acid house era?

The very first party I put on was a Sunday night at what used to be called The Apollo, which was a rent boy bar in Soho, which turned into The Brain run by Sean McLusky [legendary London music promoter- Dan] and later become Trash Palace on Wardour street. I’ve been going to clubs since I was about sixteen – I  met Princess Julia around then. I used to go to Heaven, Subway. Lasers on Green Lanes, Bolts.

I started going out in clubbing London and then I moved to America and had a had a stint there hitting the clubs. When I got back, there were warehouse parties and people were taking ecstasy, but there wasn’t really the music.

We used to go to Ibiza every summer. One year we went to Amnesia, I remember turning round and thinking “who are these people in shorts and smiley T-shirts, and what’s this music they’re dancing to? And they’re all off their heads!”

Wayne in Ibiza

That’s when I met Terry Farley and Danny & Jenni Rampling. Jenni said, “We love you guys, you have to come to our club Shoom when you get back to London.”      

I remember the first time I went to Shoom I wore jeans and a shirt. 

Next week in dungarees and smiley T-shirt?

Dungarees, smiley T-shirst and little round glasses. I dived straight into it – this was ’88.

And the Boys Own parties, East Grinsted – the famous one – the one down on the lake. That party was like the Sex Pistols gig at the 100 club. Everyone says they were there but they weren’t! I was there. I can tell you who was there. We were going to all that and I was then going back into ‘gay world’ and thinking “gays would love this.”

We used to go to a club called Queens on a Sunday afternoon run by Phil Perry and we were like the little gang of gays, about five of us – the token gays – but they adored us. Suddenly I was hanging out with football terrace boys, Chelsea fans, and they were all pilled up and loved up and very accepting. I just thought it would be really good to put on a party where that lot met my lot and we just kind of merged it.

The first party (getting back to your original question!) was a Sunday night at the Apollo. We wanted somewhere on a Sunday and the Apollo really unusually had a 5 o’clock license on a Sunday. This was ‘89. So we did a party there called ‘Eclipse’ that both Phil Perry and Danny Rampling played at plus a budding DJ who used to badger me all the time called Ashley Beedle. I gave him his first gig! 

And then you went on to do warehouse parties?

There was an arts space called The Diorama which is at the back of Regents Park Crescent and it’s a really beautiful hexagonal art space. There would be art happenings there and exhibitions. We hired it. It had ridiculous restrictions like you weren’t allowed to sell alcohol so you had to include it in the ticket price. It only went on til 2AM. When we did the first one there was this old guy who used to be the caretaker and actually lived upstairs in this room with an Alsatian dog.  We were getting the stock in on the first one and he said “oh Red Stripe – my favourite drink” and we went “do you want a case” So we gave him a case.

Later on it got to 2AM and he was by the bar loving it and he said “Just go on.”

So we carried on til six in the morning. We got away with doing those monthly for about two years.

Were they gay parties?

They were mixed. We had Kinky Gerlinky drag queens with Terry Farley, and we merged the whole thing. That’s when we started integrating people like Princess Julia and all those DJs in with the West London house DJs. You’d have drag queens dancing next to Chelsea boys.

Wayne Shires with Leigh Bowery

Was your first foray into venue owning Substation?

I had one before that called Bar Industria which was off Regent Street. Fat Tony did a night called ‘Abba’ on a Tuesday. Linda Evangalista DJing, stuff like that. I went up to her and said “Can I get you a drink?”

She said “Yeah bottle of tequila.”

Are we in the ‘90s now?

Yeah ‘91.

So this is supermodels and glam house?

Basically. George Michael used to come. It was fun. That only lasted a year and then we did Substation. Everything I’ve ever done has been inspired by a two year period when I lived in America. Every reference I have ever used is from that. So Bar Industria was Boy Bar, so it was very light, trophies on the wall, table football, checkerboard vinyl flooring, kind of a boys club. Very municipal, like a working men’s club. So there was that and then we went on to do Substation, which was Stallions before, and then became Ghetto after. We were there for five years. That was kind of Anvil/Mineshaft New York. Oil drums, chain link fencing, gay porn vodeo shoot style.

I remember pop videos being shot there?

Yeah quite a few. 

I was hanging out in New York a lot at the time,  hanging out with Rob di Stefano from Tribal Records  and met Danny Tenaglia through him. I did a party for them down at what become the original XXL venue. Danny used to play Substation when he was in town. It was quite a special time, really.  

Then we did Substation South in Brixton, which was a sort of South London version of the Soho one and you’d get away with a lot more there! That was Queer Nation’s home for many years. And it suited it and was perfect.

And then you invented Vauxhall?

I don’t know if I want to be credited for that right now! Substation moved to a bigger space on Dean Street – high ceilings, 600 capacity, we had it for about two years. When we were in the original venue you could open Monday Tuesday, Wednesday with like a hundred people in and it would look great. But the Dean Street venue needed like four hundred people in it and we couldn’t do that Monday to Thursday. We survived there for about two years. We had a lot of shit from the police. They would turn up and there would be a sea of boys with their shirts off and they would say “Your license says people need to be properly attired, tell them to put their shirts back on.”

I would stand at the door arguing with the police saying “You go and tell ’em to put their shirts back on!”

I got taken to court! Basically one Friday night we got a visit from the club squad. About five of them turned up in trench coats– it was all very bizarre. And they came in and said, “Can we just walk around?”

So we walked through the back way and literally as we turned into the dance floor this guy dropped to his knees and started sucking this other guy off!

I just whacked him round the back of the head and said “Security! Throw them out! And if they have memberships, take it off them!”

We all carried on walking and when we reached reception the police turned around and said “Mr Shires you are not obliged to say anything…”

I was done for running a disorderly house and ended up at the magistrate’s court. My business partner at the time had grief from the police for years. He wasn’t having any of it so he got the best barristers and we got it thrown out.

Substation South was running and Lambeth police had a lot more to deal with and were quite happy that there was a safe place the gays were going and had a different attitude. So I loved Lambeth and I suddenly started working really proactively with Lambeth police and the council.

When a railway arch came up in Vauxhall I opened Crash. Which was my version of Tunnel. So that’s the next New York reference.

And that was the first club in Vauxhall?

Yeah you had the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and the Market Tavern, which was a pub in the Nine Elms tower which was great. That was really cool, but it wasn’t a club per se. It was a pub for the traders of Covent Garden Market so it had one of those weird licenses. At one point they used to have an after hours there but you had to buy a bunch of flowers to go in!

Hang on. You were worried about being able to fill Substation in Dean Street so why did you take a massive railway arch in Vauxhall?

Substation South was doing incredibly well and that only held 350/400, it was rammed. Also I knew South London would be a lot more accommodating and Vauxhall was literally on the border – the closest you could get to the West End and the West End was the place to be. Heaven was there, all the gay bars were there. There was nothing East really. I wanted that big superclub! I wanted it to be really underground, I wanted the music to be cutting edge. We were very much into Tribal and Twisted. I was living with Tom Stephan and he was the main DJ from Substsion so it was a platform for his sound. It was all Murk, Tenaglia, it was that whole sound.

Give me one legendary night at Crash. What sticks out in your memory?

Yoko Ono performing.

Wow.

Yeah. I mean getting a phonecall in the office going “Yoko wants to perform in your club but you can’t announce it.”

“Ok.”

It was quite special.

How do you feel about Vauxhall now?

It’s a shame. At one point when I had Crash and we had been open a few years, The Eagle (Horse Meat Disco’s home) had been taken over by Mark Oakley and Paul Wilde. And there was the RVT. So there was a bit of a gay village thing going on. We had meetings with the council to go up to Manchester to see the model of Canal Street. Lambeth were very interested in developing Vauxhall gay village with road signs, we were going to change the name of roads to names with gay references and there was this blossoming idea that we were going to turn it into the gay village. Then other people came into the area with a different game plan. Money driven. The atmosphere changed and it all broke up. At one point it was very ‘us and them’ with a club that opened up. They weren’t particularly nice; they were very spiteful, used dirty tactics and it fell apart. It lost its solidarity. Then I opened Area because I’m a sucker for punishment and I wanted a bigger club.   

So you opened a giant club next door to your other giant club?

When that arch came up next door to my giant arch I thought it’s better for me to open up that giant arch than anyone else. I developed the model – everyone loved Crash and then all the arches were up for grabs. 

So I opened the big club next to the big club, which was a struggle, but programme-wise it kind of worked for a couple of years, but always battling with the people I won’t mention. I made one or two bad business decisions and got involved with the enemy, and the enemy screwed me over. I thought, “I’m out of here.”

It’s a different place now

It is. 

What made you get back on the saddle and start East Bloc?

I’d been a bit battered. I had enjoyed my career and what I had done. A lot of my mates had come East so I moved East. Julia and people were already living here and I bumped into Sean McLusky and he said “There’s a little club on City Road you should check out…”

I went and did a party there and it was just as I was selling Crash. The landlords said, “Do you want to buy it?”

I said, “No, I don’t want to buy a club.”

They said, “Why don’t you take a lease?”

I said, “Alright, I’ll have a go.”

Because I’m a masochist like we said at the beginning

Compared to the stress levels I’ve had in the past East Bloc is a walk in the park. It’s a lovely space to run, the crowd that come are lovely, the promoters are lovely, it’s a pleasure. 

Why do you think clubs like East Bloc are important?

LGBT venues are important because there are so few and it’s really important for people to be themselves. That’s why Dalston Superstore is important. That’s why the Joiners is important. That’s why the George and Dragon is Important. That’s why The Eagle is important. There are thousands of venues in London but what venues can a boy walk in with a beard, covered in glitter, wearing a jockstrap dance on the bar in heels? It’s important we are a safe playground. What I remember growing up is that I loved going out and feeling part of a family. And I think it’s really important to help the legacy of what has come before, to go forward. People in East Bloc, the kids, they will become venue owners when me and you are way long on the tooth to be doing it. I think it’s important to show what is possible. It’s achievable isn’t it?  A lot of people go “Oh my god how do you do this?”

I always thought that owning a venue was something other people did. Then something clicked and I realised it’s achievable. What do you think of the gay scene in London now?

It’s very fractured. You have the Vauxhall ‘good’ people, the bears. Soho is Soho. If a tourist came to London and said “Show me gay London!” and they wanted an overview of the scene I would struggle to find that big club that there used to be – like Heaven used to be. Or Crash was. 

What for you is the ultimate London queer club?

(long pause)

Horse Meat Disco. Has to be. Totally.

Your relationship with Jim Stanton goes back to when you were running The Cock together?

Jim was my assistant! Eve we used to call her – Eve Harrington!

How did The Cock come about?

I was doing Crash, Jim was working in the office and I knew Simon Hobart from Popstarz who had just opened The Ghetto in my old space (The first Substation). Simon had a lesbian night on a Friday that wasn’t working and it kind of reminded me of the East Village. It was a bit alternative. Me and Jim went in there and we were sort of saying “There should be gogo boys in pants like The Cock in New York,”

We were trying to come up with the name and I think it was Jim who said, “Just call it The Cock.”

And I was like “OK.”

We had never worked together creatively on a project before and it just clicked.

Where did the musical identity come from?

That was more Jim. He’s got an incredible music taste. As have I! We’ve both got a very eclectic taste. Jim was very forward in that electro sound. I booked Tasty and Julia, Jim booked the Scissor Sisters. I remember fighting with the Ghetto about the name ‘The Cock.’ There were a lot of gay girls behind the bar and there was a protest before we started. Me and Jim were called in by Simon who told us we had to change the name. They thought we wanted to do a Men Only sex club. 

Was Summer Rites, in its original incarnation, a reaction against Pride?

We got involved with Pride in ’92 when it was Europride. Pride was really exciting then and each year the attendance went up and the sponsorship got bigger and the events got bigger and the budget got bigger. It was free to get in and political and it was great. Very quickly over a five-year period it grew and it became a national thing – you’d have coaches coming from here, there and everywhere. One year we had to turn half of Clapham Common into a coach park. Londoners being Londoners had that kind of slightly snobbish thing going on. So Summer Rites was meant to be a Pride for London. And it was always meant to be representing all the different elements of the London club scene. We were taking all the politics away and we were just having a party for Londoners. A more niche, condensed party without the coaches and all that.

What made you resurrect it three years ago?

Because I’m mental and because I’m a masochist like I said at the beginning! The last one in the ‘90s we were hit by really bad weather. It had been baking all week and it was boiling hot and literally the morning of the day there was a torrential downpour. It has been so dry and it was on a hill so there were rivers coming down. I think we did eight or nine years in the end.

About four years ago I moved to Redchurch Street, Sean McLusky had his offices there and he said “I’m doing this festival called 1234 and you’ve got to come!”

I went with Julia and we had a great time. He spotted me and said “You should do the Sunday! You should bring back Summer Rites!”

I said, “No. I’m alright thank you.”

But because I live on that street and because he saw me going past his office he would come out and badger me.

You got doorstepped into starting a festival!

I got doorstepped by Sean McLusky into starting Summer Rites. It came back. Three years in Shoreditch Park which have been fun, but parks are too stressful because it can just piss down with rain and you’re screwed. Literally it’s the flip of a coin. You put all that effort and then and you’re sat there looking at the weather report. It’s life-changing if it rains.

If I want to buy you a drink this Saturday where can I find you?

You’ll probably find me in the cabaret room. But the whole venue is amazing. I got introduced to the Tobacco Dock at Winter Pride this year. And it’s undercover but feels outside so it’s amazing. It’s half indoors half outdoors. There’s a lot of daylight, there’s a lot of natural light and some big outdoor spaces. It’s beautiful.  And it doesn’t matter of it’s pissing down with rain! 

Join Wayne at Summer Rites at the Tobacco Dock this Saturday from noon, followed by Bender here at Dalston Superstore as one of the afterparties with special guest Den Haan from 9pm- 4am.

DJ Paulette

That fallen angel of the north DJ Paulette joins us at our bank holiday Sunday Service for Sister Pantychrist! She joins a long list of ex-nuns at Dalston Superstore, including Nimmo & The Gauntletts, Cathal, Elena Colombi, Bisoux, Squeaky and Elma Wolf who between them all will keep your praying for the party to never end. 

As one of the residents at seminal gay Manchester night Flesh, like her former cohorts Dave Kendrick, Princess Julia and Guy Williams among others, Paulette has since gone on to be a successful DJ, at Ministry Of Sound, across Ibiza with her own Bang parties, and even as a presenter on the radio and TV. We quizzed her on her past, present and future in dance…

You were a resident at the legendary Hacienda- what is your favourite memory from that time?

From Murray & Vern’s fashion shows where my lilac pearlised rubber catsuit split just as I started some complicated choreography involving lots of bending on the runway, to start to finish marathon all night disco, soul and house vinyl sets on a guerilla Technics set up in the sweatiest, sleaziest basement – I have so many happy memories. 

If I have to choose, then it’s a toss up between being shown how best to beat match by clapping along to the track by Princess Julia in the Gay Traitor Bar, or by being watched doing a showstopping lip synch to Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ (Masters At Work remix) by James Horrocks and Thomas Foley of React Records and then being asked to DJ at their ‘Garage’ night (alongside Steven Sharp, Rachel Auburn and Princess Julia) which was then held at Heaven on Friday nights.

What made Flesh such an important and still referenced party?

It was the mix of everything and everyone that made it so special. From flyer design to party themes to DJs and performers and most of all the fervent, loyal clubbers. Paul Cons and Lucy Scher put every effort into creating an unforgettable party and an ambiance that was unparalleled in clubland. Flesh was simultaneously a super stylish, uber-hedonistic, monthly mid-week party for music loving lesbians, gays and their friends at one of the best clubs in the world.  All the DJs, artists and promoters involved were the best in their field and have gone on to do such fabulous things since – Tim Lennox, Dave Kendrick, Kath Mc Dermott, Guy Williams and myself.

Why is Manchester such as fertile place for music?

It’s in the blood. And because it rains so much? You can’t go wrong with that combination.

You’re now based in France- what precipitated that move? Life changes or were you attracted to the music scene over there?

Ha ha, I was based in France for nearly nine years but I’ve moved again. I am now based in Ibiza! The move was prompted because I wanted to get  more involved musically and clubwise in the deep house scene, and the opportunities and contacts I was seeking are more easily found and connected to here. There has also a major personal change in my life which tipped the balance and since I didn’t like the direction Parisian/French life was taking I decided it was a good time to hang up my Parisian beret and don a sombrero for the foreseeable future.

What makes Paulette go “Bang” so to speak?

A bumping beat, a funky, phat bassline and a sexy lover. Oh and the always tricky combination of high heels and wide legged pants…

You’ve expressed your desire to have a proper radio show… who would have as your first guest on your new dream show and why?

Good question. I would love to have a Prince and Stevie Wonder sandwich.  Their knowledge, talent, experience and music is timeless and unparalleled. Without them my music collection would have a humungous hole.

Where is your favourite dancefloor in the world for atmosphere, crowd, soundsystem, outfits, dancing skills- the full works!

Strangely there is no one club that covers all these bases for me.  My favourite dancefloors are Showcase in Paris or DC10 in Ibiza. My favourite soundsystem is the small room in DC10 (the big room is way too loud – so loud that it knocked my watch out of whack for over a week. Cartiers so rarely lose time and it stopped it stone dead.) I love 4 Elements in Paris where I do my Bang night as the atmosphere is always festive. Outfits? Hmmmm – believe it or not I don’t really think of dress when I go to a club.  It’s not that important to me.

What are your summer Ibiza plans?

My summer Ibiza plans are just taking shape now.  I have the opening party of Privilege on June 7th – playing in the Vista Club in a back to back with Iban Mendoza, and in warm up to Jaymo and Andy George – all of whom I LOVE! Then I have a few dates as resident in the Vista Club, boat parties for Smartie Party and a few dates at KM5 already lined up.  I am in negotiations also with Hed Kandi to play a few dates at their residency at Hotel Santos in Playa D’En Bossa.

You’re playing at Sister Pantychrist as our fallen angel special guest. What’s the most Good Samaritanesque heavenly act you’ve ever committed?

I do try to do at least one Good Samaritanesque deed every day and I am very much someone who facilitates introductions and connections. We drove some friends home to Talamanca yesterday when their car broke down on our drive – it’s the other side of the island to where we live. Recently though I went to excessive lengths to get one of my nephew’s a job in Leeds when he started his university course and pulled every string possible to get another one of my nephews a Montpellier football strip for his birthday. Oh and I sneakily let our cat Luna eat Bubu’s (our other cat’s) breakfast this morning though. She looked hungrier…

What will you play to take the Superstore dancefloor to celestial heights?

Jaymo & Andy George – Remember – Moda Black

Dansson & Marlon Hoffstadt – Shake That  – Play It Down

Benoit & Sergio – $100 Bill – Hot Creations

Stefano Ritteri – Nothing Stays The Same – Defected 

Join DJ Paulette on Sunday 26th May at Dalston Superstore for Sister Pantychrist from 9pm – 4:30am.

Sonique

This Friday ’90s dance popstar Sonique joins us for Club Lesley! With the private view for new photography exhibit Dyke Of Our Time taking place just before the party, it’s looking set to be a big one. We caught up with the lovely Sonique to find out what she’s been up to since her chart-topping days…

You’re a born Londoner- what aspects of the city’s diverse music scene has had the biggest impact on the music you make?

I love the  fact that London is really cosmopolitan and eclectic and covers so many different kinds of musical styles.

What’s your best clubbing memory from when you used to join S’Express’s Mark Moore and DJ Judge Jules at their gigs?

One time – before I even started DJing – I was with Judge Jules in a club and he needed a toilet break… then the record ran out and he had not come back so I had to choose and put on the next track.

So many good memories of Mark Moore… he bought me my first mixer!

You were resident DJ at Manumission during its super hedonistic period in the late ’90s… how do you feel about having been part of such a important (and notorious) time in Ibiza’s dance music legacy?

I miss it a lot – everyone was so free and happy then and we could play what we wanted – Ibiza is too controlled now.

Are there any tracks from your sets back then that you’ll be playing out at Club Lesley on Friday?

Oh yes but you will have to come down to find out which ones…

How do you feel about the current resurgence of ’90s fashion?

I really like it – I can just pick something out of my closet to wear!

What are you currently working on besides DJing?

I am producing a lot of new tracks in my studio with various different collaborators – the latest one I have completed is with the Greek producer and DJ – Johnny Gerontakis.

Check it out – it is called Carry On by JG vs Sonique.

You’re obviously a strong lady, from living by yourself at 16, to recently overcoming breast cancer. What motto do you live your life by?

“Live each day as if it were your last.”

You’ve played or performed at a few Prides, including Bristol and Jo’Burg; what do you attribute your popularity in the LGBT community to?

I have no idea but I feel blessed to have such support!

What one record changed your life and why?

Donna Summer – I Feel Love – the first record I ever bought and an amazing song.

Join Sonique at Club Lesley this Friday 19th April from 9pm – 3am at Dalston Superstore.

Smokin Jo

After praying good and hard, the girls of East London have had their earthly desires granted and a heavenly force has delivered unto them a hot Easter Sunday party! Going by the somewhat sacriligious name of Sister Pantychrist, this glorious worship of dance music carries on right through the night until 4:30am, and features a fallen angel in the shape of legendary DJ and former Trade resident Smokin Jo, and five (count’em, five) ex nuns called Borja Peña, Cathal, Bisoux, Rebecca Sawyer and DJ Squeaky. 

Ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza we managed to prise Smokin’ Jo away from her divinely duties to find out more about her favourite tracks, what it takes to be a female DJ and what inspired her to pick up her headphones in the ’90s…

What parties and what DJs inspired you to start DJing yourself?

I used to go to all the big raves and underground illegal warehouse parties in the late ’80s: places like Clink St, Sunrise, The Dungeons were all amazing; DJ’s like Colin Favor, Tony Humpries, Evil Eddie Richards, Kid Batchelor really inspired me; the deep house and techno sounds I fell in love with.

When did you make your first ever mix tape?

God… ummm probably around September 1990. I got some decks and used to practise every day, I made tapes and played them in a shop I used to work in. 

What does Trade mean to you?

Trade means so much to me, It was the club that launched my career, not to mention it was utter mayhem every week. It was a dream gig, to be able to play that music to that crowd is something I will NEVER forget. It was a truly special time, the energy and the feeling that everyone was one. Every track I played and every mix I did was greeted with cheers and applause. Magical.

As a longtime London resident and someone who regularly plays here and abroad, what’s your take on the current view in the music press that London’s club scene (both on the smaller night scale and bigger warehouse events) is in dire straits?

I think the press always needs something to complain about. We are very spoilt in London to have such a diverse music scene, and while some clubs maybe are getting a bit stale and lazy, there are lots of underground, illegal or newer parties and venues that are popping up which are amazing. Dance Tunnel, Half Baked, Shelter, The Loft Studios are all amazing. If you want a good night out you need to go and and find it not expect it to come to you.

You’re our fallen angel at Sister Pantychrist… what’s the most angelic or heavenly act you’ve ever committed?

One time in Ibiza my boyfriend and I found a girl who had fallen into the port in Ibiza town, she had lost her friends, had no money and no idea what she was doing, totally off her nut. We took her back to our place and looked after for a few days, gave her food, let her stay and showed her a good time in Ibiza! 

Tell us one track you plan to play that’ll deliver salvation to the crowd…

Pleasurekraft  – American Hustle

What’s the funniest inaccuracy you’ve ever read about yourself?

That I was married to Skin from Skunk Anansie.

You’ve said in the past you found it easier to stand out when you were first starting out as there were only about 4 female DJs in the UK… now that there are a considerable amount more, what does a girl have to do to get noticed?

I guess it is the DJs that treat themselves like a brand that make it now. You have to have an agent, a manager, PR, your own record label, a club night, lots of tracks out. Maybe even your own merchandise. This is not something that I think makes a good DJ but it seems these days you have to have a team behind you to really stand out and make it.

You’ve recently been releasing on Hannah Holland’s Native City label- how did that come about?

I have know Hannah for years, she is a good mate, when she said she was starting a label I jumped at the chance, keep it in the family and all that!

What are your three favourite tracks for dancing to? And not necessarily ones that you’d play out…

The Emotions – Best of My Love

Blackstreet – No Diggity

Soft Cell – Tainted Love

Join Smokin Jo at Sister Pantychrist on Easter Sunday 31st March at Dalston Superstore from 7pm – 4:30am

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.

Hannah Holland Vs Smokin Jo

It’s time for another Paris’ Acid Ball, and after the success of the fabulous Miss Honey Dijon, they’ve recruited the legendary Smokin’ Jo to their cause. She’s been taking dancefloors deeper since landing her first gig in the early ’90s at the infamous afterhours party Trade, and has been on a global house journey ever since. Jo is a formidable selector as anyone who saw her turn it out at last year’s Trailer Trash extravaganza can attest.

We’re so excited for her to lay it down in the basement that we asked Acid Ball resident Hannah Holland to quiz her on all things H.O.U.S.E. and we even asked both lovely ladies to participate in a little virtual back to back session from the comfort of their own laptop screens using YouTube and SoundCloud…

HANNAH: When was the first time you heard house music and that acid sound?!

JO: It was in 1986 or ‘87, I used to go to a club called Enter The Dragon in Kensington, it was the most popular/coolest night in London at the time, when west London was really happening and the sound was rare groove. One night about an hour before the end a new DJ came on and started playing house music, it was a like a revelation, it was so amazing to hear some new different music, a lot of people didn’t like it or get it and left but I stayed and danced my tits off! I LOVED IT!

You’ve played literally every corner of the globe, what’s the most drama you’ve seen on a dancefloor / maddest place you’ve played?!

I must say the early days of playing in Ibiza were pretty nuts, it is still crazy now but back in 1992 Ibiza was full of the most outrageous characters and there were many more gay people/ trannies/drag queens there. Playing in the open air on the Space terrace was just the most bizarre and exciting experience ever. And also Manumussion at its peak was pretty full on, watching a girl fist her female partner whilst hanging in some netting over my head while I was DJing was rather memorable!

Gay club culture has always influenced straight clubland, and ballroom bitch tracks are all over the place again, what’s your relationship to the gay scene and why do you think it has such an influence?

I started my career on the gay scene, playing every week at Trade, the first legal after-hours in the whole of the UK. Back then the gay scene was leading the way musically. The atmosphere in gay/mixed clubs is much more OTT and out there, I love the vibe and the appreciation you get from the crowd. People don’t realise how many of the big DJ’s and producers are gay and the music they make sets the tone for the whole scene.

Last time you played for Paris’ Acid Ball was one of the best sets we’ve heard there, where were you pulling those tracks from!?!

Well if you have been DJing for 21 years you are gonna build up a rather large collection. I picked some oldies and favourites out to bust that night. I actually sold around 2000 of my old records a few years ago; it is truly one of my biggest regrets in life.

You’ve been releasing some killer tunes on Area Remote, Dirt Crew, Monique Speciale, what’s your inspiration in the studio?

My inspiration usually comes from older tracks, I like to try to have a bit of old skool flava in my tunes.

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SMOKIN’ JO AND HANNAH HOLLAND VIRTUAL B2B

Smokin’ Jo’s first choice…

K-HAND – I Can’t Take You Leaving Me

Hannah Holland’s first choice…

Boddika & Joy Orbison – Swims 

Jo’s second choice…

Lil’ Mo’ Ying Yang.Reach.Yin Yang Dub

Hannah’s second choice…

Robert Owens – Bring Down The Walls

Jo’s final choice…

Banji Boys – Love Thang

Hannah’s final choice…

MikeQ – Feels Like (ft. Kevin JZ Prodigy)

Smokin’ Jo’s latest EP, Listen Up, is available exclusively from Beatport and you can catch her play at Paris’ Acid Ball alongside Hannah Holland, Dan Beaumont and DJ Squeaky this Saturday 10th March from 9pm – 3am in the lazer basement.