History - Early Days
I suppose it all started for me when I went to work in a sports shop in Northampton and it was there that I met the late great friend of mine, Murray Beetson (RIP) . We hung out, bought the tunes of the day and slowly but surely discovered the scene.
After 3 amazing holidays in Tenerife where we were introduced to tracks like Meltdown - Quartz, Raze-Break 4 love and Raps my Occupation - Shut up and Dance ....well, there was no stopping us.
I can still remember standing in that phone box, with a copy of mixmag, ringing up 'Outer Limits' in Bletchley to see if they had night on. This was one of the first places we went, discovering DJ's like Picci (who owned World Beats in Wolverton and was one of the Criminal Minds) and 'Evil' Eddie Richards.
It was probably early 89' and the music was incredible, the sets went from banging acid to house to hip hop to Balearic. Tunes such as Fingers Inc - Can you feel it, Steve Poindexter-Computer Madness and Lil louis - French Kiss never failed to bring the house down and we frequented this club many times before Murray got involved with ESP who were doing some parties at the Roadmender in Northampton
Even while Murray was busily organizing the next night for ESP we were going out every weekend and went from rave to rave soaking up the vibe and getting sucked into a lifestyle which to say the least was mind-blowing.
Pretty much the only way you could get to know a Biology rave was on was word of mouth or if you lived in London on the pirate radio stations. Centre Force was a particular favourite of ours as they played a real mixed selection of tunes tunes and would always have the latest info on the illegal partys. First step was to get to a meeting point where someone with a mobile in the carpark would give the convoy another mobile number or meeting point to go to. This was easy to follow until you had a hundred cars in one convoy and it became a cross between cat and mouse with the Police and chinese whispers. Much fun was had by all particularly one famous night when the Biology convoy bought the motorway to standstill and everyone just got out and was dancing around their vehicles.
Travelling up to the Hacienda was always a revelation. Not only was it a slightly dark and moody place for a non local but it usually meant a trip to an after party in Cheadle or Hulme which indeed was even scarier!
However the sheer enthusiasm of the podium dancing and the incredible tunes being played by Mike Pickering and the residents made for some truly memorable nights.
SIN @ The Astoria, London
Im not sure how we discovered the Astoria. I think it was word of mouth via friends of friends [you know how it is], but when we did....well you couldnt keep us out the place. It was here I became aquainted with Dj's like Hype and Top Buzz.
Again this could be a moody place if you strayed into the outer reaches of the club but in general we would grab ourselves 2 or three tables [dont forget this was a theatre] which each had 4 seats around it and this would become a base for the nights debauchery and merriment. Most unforgettable memory of this place is dancing on the tables at the end of the night when they would bring the house lights up and you could see hundreds of people doing the same thing. I nearly fell off the table and over the balcony one morning when i spotted a mate across the theatre just as Strawberry fields by Candy Flip came on............What a rush!!!!!!!!!
Their first event was an outdoor extravaganza near Banbury with loads of acts flown over from the States. Enduring memories of this party were some bloke on top of a marquee in the pouring rain using it like a swimming pool, a wicked set from frankie bones and the KLF being paid in pound notes and chucking them into the crowd from the lighting tower.
Raindance (From muddy Jenkins Lanes to the Ice Rinks and beyond)
The Raindance tents could hold up to 8000 people and they were always full. There was also a small chill-out tent which usually doubled as a cinema for the monged out and clueless. There was also free funfair rides to keep everyone amused.
Back in the day, Amnesia were doing partys everywhere, but i believe the first time I experienced a party put on by the Midlands nutters was at the Sky Blue Connection in Coventry. This probably was one of the first big legal raves to be held in what essentially was a huge Sports Hall [i think its where the footy team trained]. Not only was the production and sound levels at an all time high but they had some class Dj's such as Doc Scott, Simon bassline smith and Slipmatt as residents.
The Amnesia partys also introduced me to what I still think is one of the best clubs ever. The Eclipse in Coventry. I can still remember vividly to this day the exact moment I heard 'energy flash' [my favourite tune of all time]. I was down in the foyer and i have never ran up 2 flights of stairs so fast in all my life to hear this pulsating monster of a tune in its full glory!
Also Mentazm [again by Joey Beltram]. Standing looking over the balcony onto the dance floor waiting for Grooverider to come on. All the lights went out and he dropped this incredible tune. As the juno synths from the opening bars reverberated round the room signalling the start of his set, the arc lines and strobe lighting all fired at once sending everyone into a rapturous roar and nearly blowing the top of my head off. Amazing days.