For some, Christmas is about the treats under the tree, for others it’s about the turkey on the table, but for us? well it’s about the traditional turn with Trade and while Turnmills may just be a memory in our minds, this Christmas night we were given the next best thing, a Chrimbo combo that proved a sweet sensation that was well worth swapping the dessert for the dancefloor.
We have always been a bit of a stickler for tradition, we always give up something for lent, not an Easter goes by without indulging on the proverbial egg, of the chocolate kind of course, while come our birthday a bottle of our favourite South African Beyerskloof is an essential inclusion in our sometimes singular celebrations. So when it comes to Christmas, we have plenty of traditions too, those that have known us over the years realising that Xmas Eve is never the same without the mandatory gammon & mash along with the classic film “Oliver”, while on the day itself, smoked salmon & champagne is a morning must while watching another classic, “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang”. Yet while in more recent times we can take or leave the tradition of Turkey, not least that in the sunnier climbs of our South African home, the heat of the summer doesn’t necessarily mix with the daytime feast that festoons the masses in the northern hemisphere, one thing we have grown to adore & pursue with a passion, is a little dancefloor debauchery. So, while last year it was Lovechild at Red & Blue in Antwerp, the previous handful had always been about the mother of all clubs, without whom no Christmas is quite the same, a club that always reigned supreme on Sunday’s although for on this occasion would step out in the night rather than the day.
Trade is a name that had always been synonymous with another T, namely Turnmills and while many a Sunday morning during the 90’s saw us cutting a stride on this clubbing equivalent of churches, no less than eight occasions seeing us working off our Christmas lunch on the dancefloor of this infamous clubbing mecca, the debauchery & decadent feel that we always used to succumb to on a Sunday heightened even more in the knowledge that the vast majority of London, on this one night of the year, would be rather sleeping off theirs! So there was always something extra special about the Trade Christmas nights and, even when Turnmills was no more, there was always The Egg to fall back on, while the post Farringdon days also had another home for this mothership of Christmas day clubbing, namely Fire in Vauxhall, this venue choice not only proving a popular one, but opened up the opportunity for Trade to join forces with another amazing afterhours clubbing brand, in the case of Christmas, being none other than Orange, the outing that started Fire way back when & is the name behind the mighty organisation that now runs this Vauxhall venue.
So, with Orange & Trade once again joining forces and asking us to “…enter the realm of The Snow Queen…” and with a line up that included Steve Thomas, Nick Tcherniak, Pagano, Paul Heron & Fat Tony, how could we resist, even the lack of public transport & triple taxi fares nowhere near enough to retain us from making the 20 minute jaunt from Clapham to Vauxhall and a meet with our Christmas night maker. And arriving at Fire’s doors at not long before midnight, it was clear that many had the same thing in mind, the queue already considerable, yet managed with the usual dexterity we have come to expect from our very own face of Trade (and many more clubs for that matter), Tom Fuller, the mandatory pause and catch-up stalling us in time to be greeted by Aaron Elder and our promoter of the year, Steven Sharp, the man behind Orange & the driving force behind this “Snow Queen” affair. But with the club beckoning as well as an expectant Chrissy Darling waiting for her Christmas kiss, we negotiated a rather overzealous security guard who went as far as feeling our crotch (how dare he!), is was Miss Darling that was doing the now acceptable feeling and having spent the previous Christmas day in her company, clubbing in Antwerp, it felt extremely appropriate that she was here too. But while all these entrance greetings love-in’s were welcome enough, well apart from that naughty crotch feel of course, it was Orange/Trade we were here for, the pounding music of the main room grabbing our immediate attention as we disrobed at the coatcheck & prepared ourselves for the decadent chrimbo cavorting ahead.
And it got right off to a brilliant start, Orange RAW man Hifi Sean in charge of the tunes, entertaining an already considerable crowd to a ton of tech & deep house beats, the lighting & effects already in full flow as we found out to our sudden surprise as the snaky Smalls hit the go button on the special snow cannon installed for this exceptional event, a shower of the white stuff flying over our heads in our selected spot, this time to the right of the D.J. booth (shock horror) & covering our hair & shoulders making us look like a south pole penguin. But with “Mr DiscoBalls” Sean sorting some sensational sounds, w soon shook off our snow covering, our dextrous “Doing The Disco Matt” moves shifting the last remnants of snow, while there were plenty others getting into the Orange/Trade groove too, one guy next to us even putting our extravert dancing to shame. Mind you, while this RAW element was doing it for us, it was the Trade treats we were very much looking forward, a peek into the mirrorarch, the space set aside for our mothership of clubbing captivation, spotting the screens being pulled back & the room swinging into action. So, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves up in our favoured spot (yes you guessed it, just left of the D.J. booth, the one & only Steve (Janet to his friends) Thomas masterminding the music, immediate Turnmills memories flooding back in our minds, as he set about scoring a succession of bulls-eye’s with his brilliant beats.
Now we were well into this classic Chrimbo combo meet, the influence of Steven Sharp, not just a prolific promoter, but one half of The Sharp Boys who had been Trade residents themselves, clearly working like a dream, that other half in the form of George due on in the Orange room, although not before international playboy D.J. Paul Heron had his turn, our momentary pause from the thrills of Mr Thomas in the Trade room seeing us stall our return a little longer than we had planned. And for good reason as not only did someone wearing a straw in their ear as a Madonna like microphone that immediately reminded us of our beautiful Brazilian babe Bel, but another female close to our hears made her actual presence felt, Andrea bounding up to give us the customary welcome that never fails to reduce us to fits of laughter, “…you can f*** right off…”, while a flood of other familiar faces came walking by, Nick Tcherniak, Tom Marchant & Ariel Mayer among them, while another Nick, Mr Evans to be precise, was on close call having kindly transported his close pal Paul to Fire in time for his slot at this “Snow Queen” happening. Indeed Mr Heron was heaping hoards of heavenly house upon us, tracks such as “Souk” making us shout out in our minds, “where are you Steve & Celso”, while the delightful dancers now on stage were discerning distractions enough to keep us concentrated on the Orange/Trade task in hand.
But Trade was to show the most hypnotic hand of the night, the club brands resident Nick Tcherniak the D.J. disciple to do it, a simply stunning set from start to finish enthralling the now packed to the rafters mirrorarch space, a hoard of Trade babies in attendance to witness this master mixer at his wonderful work. So, it was no surprise that we totally succumbed to this superb showing, spinning on our spot like a good un, even Trade’s Mark Mace mystified by a monstrous moves, while the arrival of Pagano for his turn at playing on our musical heart strings, did slightly stop us in our tracks, although such was the exhilarating energy being poured on us by the terrific Mr Tcherniak, we were soon back in the zone soaking up what was to be our performance of the party. Yet with so much more to enjoy and, as a result our nibble size tweeting pretty much grinding to a halt, it was Pagano who first thrilled us with a mound of magnificent music in the Trade space, including a new production of his that had a distinct nod towards a Bond theme of the OHMSS variety, while George Sharp kept drawing us into the Orange room, Tom Marchant’s new track also enthralling our ears. But the morning’s madcap melay for us was crowned by a prolific performance from Fat Tony, this Trade lite lounge legend very much sealing our satisfaction deal on this “Snow Queen” splendour, Tonnic’s vocals and Tony’s selection’s sending us skyward with every beat, our anthem of old, “Release Me”, even halting our exit, rather ensuring we reassumed our spinning spot in the Orange/Trade main room which marked our final focus on this fantastic foray.
So what did we think of the latest chapter in our catalogue of chrimbo cavorting?, and who rocked our world in the eight or so hours we sank into this “Snow Queen” quest? Well, first & foremost, the combining of forces between Orange & Trade worked like a dream, this the third time the duo have collaborated over Christmas and we loved the way the two differing styles of beats & bodies merged as one and whilst it may have not quite had the overtly decadent feel of the Turnmills Xmas nights, the sensation that we were pushing the boundaries of normality were certainly evident. As for those that rocked our eight hour world, well, pretty much every D.J. did their bit in tantalising our musical taste-buds, from the deep tech house of Hifi Sean through the more uplifting citric beats of Paul Heron & George Sharp in the main room, to the Trade tipped tunes from Steve Thomas & Pagano in the mirrorarch, our trips back & forth between the two spaces were evident that each & every one of them were hitting the mark. However, we have to single out Nick Tcherniak for his simply stunning set in the Trade room, we lapping up every tasty morsel of his magnificent music, while our hats very much also go off to Fat Tony for his splendid set in the Orange space, it being extremely rare for a D.J. to actually pull us back from the brink of an exit and he did it in spectacular style. So hearty congratulations to all involved from start to finish, to everyone that said hi but especially to Steven Sharp, our promoter of 2011, for masterminding this classic chrimbo combo, you did both Orange & Trade proud, well done. (DISCO MATT)