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THUR 29th JULY : PAYBACK IN TIME

copy_1_of_picture19We went to see a guy I've got to know quite well in New York called DJ Stakka play at a 'benefits' gig called Payback at Avalon. It's been a while since I've been to a large club, it's been a while since I heard early 90s dance music.

DJ Stakka was on first so we turned up before the club opened. I used to work for a nightlife magazine called Clubland in London in 91. The owner was the age I am now and and we were amazed he still went clubbing. We spent plenty an evening turning up super early for a club night to wait a few hours before it got rammed. In the line we were like tourists from another time. It was easy to spot us apart - firstly many of the people in the queue weren't old enough to get a drinks wrist band. The girl from Delaware (who was not impressed with my knowledge that the state was the US smallest) also asked me if I was going to get hot in that sleeved shirt. I jokingly told her it was likely I would take it off which surprised her a little. Funny when you are the first person to enter and empty club. It was the first time I was the first. You walk in and you feel compelled to get to the center of the floor and dance like an idiot for just a second. Only for a second.

DJ Stakka played some pretty hard old school tunes for his 45 minute slot. Kids ten years younger than me were throwing down dance moves that kids my age were throwing down ten years ago. I used to shuffle more - but no-one seemed to have learned that one.

Guy Brighton's Nights OutIn the other room, The Chapel, old tunes took me back in time. Some took me back to a beer soaked cellar bar off Thames Street, others took me back further. It took me back to 88. Or was that 89? Probably 88. All I remember was the time dance music seemed to change forever. I had been on a youth club holiday to the north-east coast of Spain with seventy other kids overseen by a Catholic priest and a lesbian (we estimated). You can drink in Spain when you are about 3 months old and we spent our teenage nights roaming from club to club trying to break our innocence with sloppy exchanged kisses with far too drunk girls. We danced to soulful beats, ska-influenced beats, northern soul, reaggae influenced beats (I shuffled) and we all loved Soul To Soul. Kids with the knock-off T Shirts. Remember? Then we came back home from the sun and it all changed. I went to a house party to meet all the others and the place was dark, aggressive and charged. I found one girl I was still keen on after kissing her on holiday in the living room. She was with older boys now (and forever onwards) and she threw herself back and forth with the older boys to a non-stop riot of electronic alien mayhem filling my ears. She wore the sign of change : the smiley face. Acid House had arrived. It changed everything. You just had to be part of it. For a short time.

The music in The Chapel changed again. I was in Brighton now. Must have been 91. Slipmat and Lime. Joey Negro. XL Recordings. Brighton was really happening then. When Londoners really did go clubbing in Brighton. The Lanes. The clothes stores: Passenger T Shirts and everything seemed to have circle or a target on my chest then. I was at the Zapp on the beach; week night and we were dancing to house. Not techno, house. Diva singing a line again and again. Days of early garage too. People talked about the death of rock and roll. Death of the guitar.

The music in the Chapel changed again. Tunes with sirens in them. Remember? I had a summer job whilst at University as a milkman. I woke up at 4 in the morning, delivered milk in the suburbs until about 2, got home slept 6 hours, went out to a bar or club, slept 2 hours. I'd like to say I was dancing in the fields but somehow I didn't. All the other lads were in their cars. Driving round the M25 to find the rave. Ring this number, meet here. I stayed in just one night that summer but I was in central London instead - houses lit by neon tubes keeping the street up all night. Until the police came. Until the speakers went. Until Tom went crazy on us again. Smoking a pack of Red Marlboros on the drive home.

In the main room a guy called RB was now DJing and the old chestnuts came: the anthems. People weren't dancing by themselves like they used to, there were no lasers strobing the crowd but right now we all did have our hands in the air: grinning at the DJ. The DJ grinning back. Tune. My legs moved in a preprogrammed shuffle: the way I used to move to these tunes long ago. Precisely. So different from today. My hands chopping up and out at the air. Some kids had glow sticks at Avalon but I don't remember them then - they came later with techno and trance. In the other cities.

The Lady called me at 1 : it was time to return to today. Someone was threatening to stick something semi-circular in my mouth I didn't want. It was funny then. I didn't do that then. Kids did do e. But it was fifteen quid each. What did we do? I just drank and danced. Occasionally there was speed. All that happened later.

The Lady's number was buzzing on my phone and I escaped.

I said to Andrew as we left, ' the music really took me back.' He looked at me and replied, 'I wish I was still there.'

July 30, 2004 in Diary, Night Life Adventures | Permalink

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Tracked on Dec 21, 2004 12:15:48 PM

Comments

Hi Piers, or should I say Guy Brighton, its Belinda, Saritas friend? Remember? your forgiven if you don't - I randomly keep bumping into Simon King who told me that you had moved to NY city and that I had to check out your web site. More than a little impressed, the voyeurist in me really enjoyed reading about your diary, I laughed more than once. Say hi to heydiah (can't spell) she is the lady that you are talking about I take it. I hope all is on the up, take care of yourself
Belindax

Posted by: Belinda | May 15, 2005 12:26:48 PM

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