Now then. Had a strange weekend just gone just before Christmas. Was booked to play in Canterbury at Studio41 with Shaun, Timo, Jes, Rosie and Friendly Pete.
It was supposed to be a bit of a Christmas bash for us but things never always go as you plan them. We’d also been double booked as we’d agreed to do Marie-Anne’s farewell bash in Whitstable, Cromwell Road the same night but as it was agreed months ago so we couldn’t back out.
I’d decided that the best way round this was to set up the Cromwell Rd party early-ish – they had their own DJ coming to spin some old Motown and stuff like that while the relatives were there – hang around and pick up our gratuities (a large bottle of Vladivar and a case of Hooligans) then drive up to Canterbury, play the early set, then come back to the Bubble around
But the best laid plans of mice and men…
Nero and I were chilling at home in the afternoon sucking on some top weed, which the hip hop boys gave me for designing their flyer, when there’s a knock at the door. It’s Stoney. He’d had our car round at his mate Stuarts the week before for about five days repairing a blown head gasket. Whilst doing this he’d damaged the thermostat and severed the choke cable. Anyway he’d come round to fix it before him and girlfriend Jenny drove down to Cornwall to visit Jenny’s mum. He’d been out there hours, and it was freezing cold, and we needed the car soon. He came in with a long face then informed us he’d snapped off the thermostat cover, couldn’t get a replacement (everywhere was shut) and would ‘come back tomorrow’ when he’d got a bit.
The night just caved in around me. Nero was on the phone ringing Cagey to see if we could borrow his left hand drive Renault to move the stuff. I ‘arranged’ with Stoney to meet early at the Crommy party where he would pick me up, drive me to Canterbury, wait around till I finished my set, and then drive me back to Whitstable. I now had a chauffer for the night! Nero zips up to Cagey’s to pick the car up and on the way back decides to partake herself of a opened bag of jelly babies on the dash. By the time she got back she was saying things like ‘I don’t feel very well’ and ‘out of the fucking way, I need the loo!’ Within ten minutes it was gushing out both ends. She was a right off for the next three days. Lying on the sofa with the duvet around her lithe frame, the fire up full blast going ‘I’m cold. Oh fuck… it’s happening again’ then running in three steps to the toilet. Poor thing.
Anyway, managed to get the kit set up, one of the hip hop boys (Steve) agreed to play 10 till 12, met Stoney who picked me, went to Canterbury, no Jes and Timo coz they’d fucked off snowboarding somewhere in Europe, if fact no one there at all, so plays a hour and a half, Shaun strolls in, takes over, say my goodbyes, agree to meet everyone back the Whitstable party, then fucked off, ensconced in the back seat with the heater up full and avoiding all the police patrols out for the crimbo drunk driving blitz.
So, Nero out for the count, 2 DJ’s missing, car fucked. Only redeemed later on when me Louie, Steve and Emily went round to Sara’s, lounging on her sofas, to get drink some ‘Vlad the Impaler’, as Louie kept calling it. Over and over again. We sat round the fire chatting away till around six in the morning – Sara, Emily and Louie were seriously pissed by now – till I rang Nero to see how she was. As she was up and about she picked me up and took me home. The end of a rather unpredictable day.
The Tuesday before we got an invite to Chris Goodman’s birthday ‘drink’ at his house 7.30 pm onwards.
I’ve been a web page designer for the past year. Been working down in Sandwich for a communications company in their Internet department with a 22 year old coder who’s into fast cars, a 55 year old graphic designer with 5 young kids and who never stops talking and a boss who’s a member of a ‘swinging couple’s’ website; we know coz we hacked his machine and found his membership (heh, heh). I thought I was a freak!
But I feel well a home. Among this lot. There was supposed to be this fire drill one day but the alarm in our end of the building didn’t go off. The Managing Director, who is from Belfast and has a well thick accent, burst into our room and shouts ‘ You’re all fuckin’ dead!’
Nero and me have been going to see a couple’s therapist for the past few months. With long-term couples you get particular problems
associated with repetitive behaviour patterns. That is we tend to argue in the same way each time and nothing gets resolved properly. These patterns tend to create resentments and frustrations, which build up over the years. We’re having fun at the moment coz she’s unpicking all this stuff and we seem to be getting on a lot better. Next session in January we talk about ‘our families’. Aargh! I’ve said to Nero ‘please don’t call Colin a psychopath.’
Did Tracey-Anns club, Clublife, on New Years Eve. The back room ‘till 6am’ as it said on the flyers. We had to split the time with some other DJ’s (Matt Walls did the first slot! He seems to have calmed right down.) but eventually got on the decks about 1am. The drink was ‘free all night’ or so it said on the flyers but they shut the bar at 2am. Never mind, we had two crates of lager and a bottle of Jack Daniels stashed behind the decks just in case anyway.. We also had loads of lush ‘mum and dad’ that everyone was tucking into and apart from a few drunk lads seeking help from Dee, the nurse on duty, everything was all going along uneventfully till 5.30 when they told us to turn off the music. What follows next is the article published on the tVC website:
tVC assaulted by bouncers in New Years Eve Debacle
"All cruelty springs from weakness." (Seneca, 4BC-AD65)
Door staff at Clublife night club in Denge Marsh near Lydd assaulted three people from tVC Sound System as they attempted to dismantle their equipment at the end of the evening. They had been working, supplying sound equipment and DJ's for the back room of the New Years Eve Ball at Clublife and were in the process of removing the equipment from the club at 5.30 when the assaults occurred.
According to eyewitness reports, at 5.30 in the morning after a rather uneventful evening, heavy handed bouncers used aggressive, unrestrained and unreasonable tactics to eject 2 women, attached to tVC Sound System, from the club into the car park. Once there, 18 stone Bobby, the head of security at Clublife, proceeded to attack one of the women, pushing her over and punching her. The other woman attempted to restrain the man but to no avail. Both women's combined weight was 15 stone.
'They just picked us up and threw us around like tissues', said one of the women. The other said 'It was 5.30am and the music had just been turned off in our room, the back room. There was about 15 or so of us all sitting around the table talking and waiting to load the equipment up into the van so that we could go home. Of the 15 people, 10 or so were crew members and the others were friends who'd come down for the night. They turned the music off half an hour earlier in our room. People were drifting out into the main room which was still going full on. The guys were busy behind the decks dismantling the equipment. We were all sitting rather quietly when a couple of bouncers came over, one of whom I now know to be Bobby, and told us to 'get moving' as they needed the room 'cleared'. I said that we were all just waiting for our driver to get the van and then we would be moving the equipment. He said 'What all of you?' and I said that yes all of us were involved and they were all helping us to load up the equipment.
With this they went, only to return about 5 minutes later in a much more agitated and insistent state, saying 'Come on now, get moving' or words to that effect. At this I replied, 'No we're not moving, I told you we're waiting to move the equipment." Whereupon he started to insist on us all moving. I told him to fuck off, and he said 'Swear once more and you're out.' I responded by turning to the people on my left and talking under my breath started to say how unreasonable his behaviour was being and he said 'don't mumble under your breath at me.' To which I replied "This is ridiculous, I'm going to get Paul to witness this.' He was standing in my way and I tried to get past him. At this he said 'Right you're out." He then grabbed me by the left arm and threw me physically out of the back door. The other bouncer who was by his side this whole time then stood in front of the door, barring the way.
Outside I was thrown onto the concrete, and he was on top of me throwing punches. I managed to get a bit of rock in my hand and started bashing him above his left eye in the hope that he would get off of me and stop hurting me. I was very frightened. Somehow I managed to get him to loosen his grip and got to my feet. I ran to the back door of the club and screamed through the door as loud as I could, 'He's kicking my fucking head in out here.' Then I was dragged back down to the concrete again and fell down onto my left side. As I looked over to the door I could hear Zoë screaming and then she was flying through the air as she was flung by her arm across the car park.'
One witness to this assault, Stuart the tVC driver (who was not allowed in on the guest list and had to pay the 37 pounds entrance fee, and only had a few beers because he was driving) attempted to intervene as he watched through the open fire door from inside. Two other bouncers barred his way outside as they were standing in front of the door as he attempted to push through to save the women. All three then turned on him and pummelled him with blows all over his body and face breaking his glasses in the process. Everyone of the other 8 or so eye witnesses was shouting and pleading for the men to desist their actions. 'He lost control', said Pete, a tVC DJ. 'Right in front of everyone'.
'Me and Zoë threw ourselves in between the bouncers and Stuart and everything seemed to calm down a bit as everyone else managed to push their way out into the car park and could see what had happened'.
Clive, a 45 year old teetotaller who also paid 37 pounds for the free drink all night ticket, said 'I have never seen such outrageous behaviour from door staff in all my 30 years of clubbing. The other two door supervisors were really good and were handling the situation well until the head of security arrived. Even when he was assaulting the women they still remained calm and were trying to restore order. It was Bobby who really over reacted to a scenario that was actually quite trivial. I don't think I will be coming back here. We're all more, ahem, mature clubbers and we don't really need this harassment'. Cecile, 48, and a first time clubber, was in tears as events unfolded. 'Oh dear' she said as she sobbed.
Other, regular, clubbers from other club promotion nights, including Splendid, have complained before about 'heavy handed behaviour' from this team of door supervisors such as 'beatings' and 'assaults', 'rude behaviour' and 'inappropriate language'. 'Following people into toilets', 'ejecting' people from the club for 'trivial' or 'unsubstantiated' reasons such as 'rolling up a cigarette'. 'Over stringent searches upon entry' and 'aggressive attitudes at the end of the night when they are clearing people out' were other complaints. 'No smoking is allowed in the club and this rule is vigorously pursued'; 'people have to go to their cars for a spliff'. 'You can't relax even if you are not doing anything to irritate the bouncers'.
The current bar manager, Stuart B, when asked about this and other incident alleged incidents said 'I've talked to Bobby and he says that she said 'fuck off we're not turning the music off' and threw a bottle at his head. 'They're in charge. They handle the security. I have to back them up'. Even if they are wrong? 'There's nothing I can do about it!' was all he would say.
Even club owner 'TA' was reported to have asked them nicely, after another incident at the main door, 'if her really good friend from years ago' would be allowed back in the club after he was thrown out for committing some 'minor misdemeanour'. There was also a constant stream of people at the first aid post suffering from alcohol related complaints. 'All of them very, very pissed' said the nurse on duty.
NYE at Clublife was supposed to be 'an explosive high-energy fusion of the years best promotions DJs from Clublife / Splendid / Monkey Business / Unprofessionals / Ex-essential and tVC. Fully heated marquee with chillout cafe and waitress service two rooms of music drinks free all night except champagne, midnight madness, performers, tickets £37!!!!!!' - but wasn't. Club owner TA was asked to talk on this incident but, so far, has refused to comment.
Both women are filing complaints and are considering pressing assault charges against the man.
I have started threads on various message boards on the net about this; chiefly Clublifes own and the responses have been interesting. Will send a compilation of them next letter which I will send next week (and I’ll send you a letter filled with stuff from the UK every week from now on till you get back home to your friends and family). Do you get any news at all? Do you want me to send an extra letter with news articles from the newspapers and magazines? Current affairs, music news, whatever Steve, just let me know. I want to support you over there. Are you getting these letters?
Take care. Love Paul