From being a magazine that built a reputation for unbiased & extensive coverage, quality & quantified reports & features and generally supporting the diversity that was the gay scene across London, Boyz has effectively ruined its reputation by becoming a mouth piece for Orange Nation, our most controversial seventh day sermon yet looking at this publications past, its present and what holds for its future.
Journalism can be a funny business sometimes, one just has to look at recent examples here in the UK such as the overt intrusion on the private lives of The Royal Family, the cash for questions, the MP’s expenses and the phone hacking scandals, the latter actually toppling one of the country’s most popular newspapers, while when you drill into both the broadsheets & the tabloids, you can find within the pole to p scale of reporting, a tinge of bias, whether it be from a political or a personal point of view. And as we are in the midst of a possible parliamentary vote on the Leveson Inquiry, while the UK can still be proud of both its freedom of speech and relative freedom of press reporting, there can be no doubt that the microscope is definitely on us journalists and the industry in general. Mind you, back home in South Africa, we still find a culture post the apartheid era where press freedom is still yet to be achieved and the ruling ANC party are still both censoring & suppressing subversive & controversial journalism in defence of elements of corruption & bad practice within the government. So, having experienced this censorship first hand in South Africa and have, in our current reporting role on the capitals clubbing scene, also been subject to heavy handed & suppressive tactics by certain club owners & promoters, we have always prided ourselves on attempting to strike a balance, report both fairly, accurately, constructively yet truthfully and in the spirit of our independent status and the freedom we enjoy, occasionally speak out on burning issues of the day, regardless of the fear of retribution as a result, this surely the spirit of journalism at its best.
So we place intrinsic important & real value on those principles, ones which we, in our early days of reporting on the London scene, looked to the weekly gay magazines in circulation as equally shining examples of this spirit of unbiased coverage, fair & accurate reporting, qualified & quantified features and generally supporting the diversity that was the rich playing field of the London scene, one admired around the world. And in those early days back in 2008/09 when we emerged, among others, we very much looked to Boyz magazine for inspiration, we having built a solid working relationship with the whole team in our previous club management role and during this time we were always impressed with both the quality & spread of coverage of the scene, the magazine probably the best in terms of supporting bars, through to clubs, events & festivals in the broadest sense of the word, while naturally it did hone on of some of the bigger club brands from time to time, G.A.Y. & XXL tow examples. But even up to about eighteen months ago the quality & quantity of its weekly publications commanded both a respectable reputation, while there were occasional & inevitable question marks over some elements & content, not least its annual awards ceremony & process, one which has, from other examples such as SeenQueen, been subject to tampering & foul play.
Yet with that respected reputation and a history that spans over twenty years, the last two have seen Boyz deteriorate into nothing more than a front for a clubbing conglomerate that itself has a considerably tarnished reputation, a mere glance through any recent copy of the magazine reflecting outrageously biased coverage towards Orange Nation and its bevy of brands, this year in particular seeing, particularly in terms of quantity, paltry reviews, reports & features each and every week on clubs Beyond, A:M, & Later, while completely overlooking others that, in earlier days would have benefitted from the magazines support & coverage. And we are not the only ones to extol this view, as the talk of the town is exactly the same as ours, remarks such as “…it’s become nothing more than pictorial press print…”, “…it’s the Orange Nation rag…” and “…it’s a comic of shameful proportions…”. And while we perhaps have to admit that, in terms of clubbing, the scene has shrunk considerably in recent times, we all know who are the culprits for both the competition crushing & denigration of the diversity of the capitals circuit, Boyz’s coverage clearly a voice for this catastrophic collapse, the first half of last week’s rag for instance, completely packed with all things Orange Nation, whether it was double sided adverts, half page insulting to intelligence interviews or simply a repetition of what was reported & featured in previous weeks, although we temper that criticism for this week’s edition at least, where there seems to be a slightly better spread.
Then we come to the annual Boyz awards, a controversial calamity indeed, as there have always been question marks, admittedly more so in recent times, over the validity of the process and while we would never site vote rigging or corruption within its structure or by prospective nominees, we cannot help but notice that three quarters of the club category awards this year have gone to Orange Nation clubs, events, promoters, D.J.’s & hosts, which, for us at least, rings a few alarm bells. However, looking at the awards as a whole, it is actually pleasing to see a spread of support, from cabaret venues, bars, clubs events & festivals, this very much a reflection of what Boyz’s previous respectable reputation was always built upon. We are particularly pleased with the “Outstanding Contribution” awards, both recipients, Jimmy Smith of The Two Brewers & Mark Oakley of The Eagle, richly deserved of this accolade, not least that they have worked tirelessly on behalf on their venues & the wider scene, this the spirit of what Boyz as a magazine was always about, but seems, of late, to be sorely lacking. Their awards aside, it is unquestionably clear that Boyz as a balanced, unbiased & quality publication falls woefully short of previous reasonable & respectable expectations, especially when you compare it to the likes of its counterpart in the weekly stakes, Q.X., while we fear that this obvious dependence that Boyz has on Orange Nation for advertising & coverage is fraught with looming problems on a number of fronts, while what was a huge happening on the scene just yesterday, the “A New Beginning” event at Covert received less than a paragraph mention, evidence enough of the politics that appear to riddle this once respected rag.
So, like the inevitable regulation of the national press in some form or another following the now politically & press pivotal Leveson Inquiry, as David Cameron is on the verge of brokering a deal with his cross party counterparts, thus avoiding a humiliating vote defeat, we hope that the powers that be in Boyz will also wake up & smell the realisation of just how they are viewed by a sizable proportion of the clubbing scene and, in doing so, attempt to re-address their reporting balance & restore that respectable reputation they have lost, or risk being the gay magazine version of The News Of The World. (DISCO MATT)
As we stutter & stumble into the third month of our year of positivity, 2013 is looking as rosy as the inclement weather, spring yet to have sprung in a second month that had plenty of positives but plagued with health negatives, we nevertheless looking back then forward with a yet further renewed sense of optimism for bigger & better times to come.
With a real spring in our step as February broke and much to look forward to in March, it would be fair to say that, as with the majority of 2012, our month was dominated by personal health issues that have close on brought us to a grinding halt, we falling off the radar completely in the last couple of weeks. However, while we should be a few thousand feet up in the air right now, heading home for our holidays, due to those health complications, we find ourselves lame in London, although with a mindful eye on the need to remain both positive & optimistic, out of the disappointment of missing out on our beloved South Africa (for now at least) comes the opportunity to be part of an event that marks a new beginning in the capitals clubbing circuit. So, for this third monthly message of 2013, we celebrate the good things to come out of February & the great things to come in March, while also touching on some shocking scene soirees that marred what was otherwise a really positive month for the London scene.
A disturbing trend that seems to be re-emerging and what looks like a writer’s block that we have developed towards the cornerstone of our activity, reviews of Scream & DISH from January & Propaganda at Red & Blue from February still outstanding. Plus, with a cancelled trip to This Is Prohibition and a dip in clubbing activity towards the end of February, our sheet here is clean excepting the first in our returning “That Was The Weekend That Was” review and then the special (and final report) we posted on Beyond, which did also review the clubs history from Colosseum through Area, while for us, the good times we reflected on, are now becoming memories of what used to be our favourite club of all time, but due to recent developments has fallen fatally from grace. http://discomatt.com/web/2013/02/reportsreviews-not-another-one-beyond-midnight-saturday-23rd-february-special-reflective-report
With no less than three previews planned for February, only one actually made it to publication, and quite a scathing one it was too, as we honed in the crazy new Orange Nation Friday night venture that was effectively the replacement for Onyx. But with a name “Manic Panic” it was always going t be in for some stick, the name itself probably a reflection of the internal affairs of the group, while with second room off-shoot District XXX nothing short of a clubbing rip off, we didn’t hold back in our condemnation of this new club on the calendar. As for March, well Covert will be getting our preview attention, as will Matinee’s “La-Leche” event in Paris, more detail on these coming up in a bit. http://discomatt.com/web/2013/02/previews-dads-army-antics-manic-panic-district-xxx-the-launch-friday-15th-february/
While we have only two weekly newsletters to boast for the whole month and just one Weekend Focus, our attention did land on two huge newsworthy happenings, the new clubbing combo This Is Prohibition & the forthcoming As One In the Park, although with a need to really pull our socks up, March seems to be the month to do it, although we are effectively already two weekends down. http://discomatt.com/web/2013/02/recommends-sidings-showtime-this-is-prohibition-love-resurrection-saturday-16th-february-weekend-focus-special/
The phrase “…there’s something in the air…” seemed wholly appropriate for our reporting in February as, while we promised ourselves a positive 2013, we actually found ourselves focussing n some of the scene negatives, Beyond, Manic and Orange Nation dominating our downbeat deliveries, while in our new Seventh Day Sermon reports, we received the biggest reaction to our writing since we started back in 2008, many praising us for speaking out on issues, particularly in our “Finding Our Favour Faltering” post. But while these controversial compositions will continue in March, we will also be reporting on the good & the great of which there is much out there at the moment. http://discomatt.com/web/2013/02/reports-finding-our-favour-faltering-dms-seventh-day-sermon-sunday-17th-february/
A pretty abysmal month for what is the true love in our lives, although with the popular podcast wind punched out of our sails, we struggled to find favour with many productions sufficient enough to go to full feature press. However, both Danny Verde & Brent Nicholls made it, while we also propelled Jean Phillips latest captivating compilation as one of three “Podcast Of The Week” choices. But, as we pick up the pieces of a dented delivery period, we hope to be back on both our newsletter, D.J. focuses & podcast picks feet by the end of March, having also consolidated our D.J.’s & Music sections into one. http://discomatt.com/web/2013/02/musicpicks-digital-dream-holab-heaven-podcast-track-of-the-week-saturday-23rd-february/
What seemed like a good idea at the time, ended up being a vastly underused section and, in reality, one which was simply a distractive extension to our Recommends section. So, while we did post two Picks posts for Gigolo & Butch n February, we have decided to ditch the section in favour of a new Press Releases one, while our Picks will now fall under our Recommends where they should always have been.
With March doing just that, marching ahead, we have much to catch up on, however, with some subtle changes to our website already implemented, we have much planned for the weeks ahead, not least that special feature on overt, our next Disco Matters interview, this time with Alan K, as well as a preview of Matinee Paris, a destination in our diary for Easter Sunday. Plus with Easter itself only three weekends away, the focus will fall on that, while the vent “A New Beginning” is in the forefront of our renewed activity, following which further new ventures as well as International focus features of The European Gay Ski Week, the return of Lovechild & WE Party will be received our detailed devotions.
First & foremost, the place to watch is right here, while we use our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/pages/Disco-Matt/112730602119746 and our group at http://facebook.com/groups/discomatt/ to propel all our posts into the public eye. And here you will also find pictorial propulsions of our “Pick Of The Day” and “Podcast & Track of The Week” choices, as well as our new “Hot Shot Happenings” where we share unmissable events, all these choices & post links appearing on our personal profile at http://facebook.com/discomattlondon along with our Tumblr page at http://discomatt.tumblr.com.
DISCO DANCE DIARY DATES
Having been completely off colour since Antwerp in February, we have scaled back our diary for March considerably, the only two commitments going to Covert’s “A New Beginning” this coming Saturday (16th March), while Matinee in Paris on Easter Sunday (31st March) is a definite too. So, anything else will be a bonus, while we plan to be back to at least four outings in April (and probably more).
Well that’s it for this third monthly newsletter and having seen our activity crumble at the end of February & the beginning of March, the only way is up. So, while we are determined to now under promise & over deliver and also ditch our theory of one post a day, the reality is that we are far from out of the health situation woods, meaning March may not be as productive as we would like, but, as we said earlier, bigger & better times are to come, so we move forward with positivity & optimism. (DISCO MATT)
With the capitals clubbing circuit on the cusp of some truly positive & exciting changes, we extend our Seventh Day Sermon series into still further controversial territory, speaking out on an issue close to our heart, the injustice meated out to many D.J.’s on the capitals clubbing through paltry pay while some continental compatriots are equally selling themselves short as the chase their next gig.
It is no secret of surprise that we are hugely passionate about many things connected with the clubbing scene, not just here in the capital but across in the continent too, our website activity evidence of the selfless support we spread among a wide range of clubs, events & music producers, while if we were to hang our hat on a particular passion it would be for the D.J.’s and the magnificent music they deliver in making the clubs & events they play for & at, the successes they are. Indeed, while each & every person connected with a club is important enough in that success, in our humble yet qualified opinion, one spanning close of twenty years treading the dancefloor boards of our beloved South Africa, here in London and across in Europe, it is the D.J. that is the most intrinsic part of that success, as without their music, no amount of organising, lighting, effects, production & promotion would either equal or exceed the undeniable importance of the D.J. in the role of a successful club or event. And while we acknowledge that music is and has not been the major driver for some in the clubbing fraternity, without it is akin to bread without butter, a car without wheels and a house without walls, such is the marriage between music & clubbing, along of course with the D.J’s that deliver it.
Yet despite this unquestionable importance that D.J.’s play in proceedings, it seems that London in general, but certain promoters in particular, simply do not recognise this through the dosh they dole out to D.J.’s, the rates of pay hardly having changed for over a decade, some naturally commanding higher rates than others, but those rates nowhere near the level of the capitals continental cousins. Indeed, with the knowledge that there are international D.J.’s/Producers that won’t even get out of bed for less than over twice (sometimes three times) the rates earned by our London based brethren while our lot have to accept paltry pay for the prominent part the play in the soaring success of parties, especially those packed out to the rafters, examples here being Matinee, WE & Beyond, it seems the worth of the wealth of the teaming talent we enjoy in London, is being vastly undervalued. Furthermore, it seems that club owners & producers across in Europe and further afield have a totally different psyche to their capitals cousins, they sharing our philosophy that D.J.’s are the cornerstone of clubs & events, so rewarding them accordingly, sharing the spoils of success with the spinners that actually make their brands & bashes tick. That said, there are exceptions to this rule on both sides of the channel & on both sides of the scale, without mentioning names, an established international dance troupe club promotions team falling woefully short in the pay stakes compared with their compatriots, while here in London there is a new clubbing movement & collective that recognise the intrinsic & important part that D.J.’s play and have already gone on record as saying they will & have shared the profits of their parties much more fairly & evenly with the D.J.’s on the rosters.
However, the paltry pay story also extends to certain D.J.’s themselves, many who have been sucked into selling themselves short in search of the next gig or exposure to the scene, this a particular feature across in Europe which is in complete contrast to the philosophy of the majority of promoters. But what this band of what we can only describe as desperate D.J.’s are so much so, that they would travel hundred’s, sometimes thousands of miles simply to get that much sort after exposure, hardly making any money (sometimes losing out) from the deal, equally unethical promoters rubbing their hands in delight that they have landed a D.J. for a cut price package of pay. And the inevitable comparisons with London are often made and even used as an excuse, this practice undermining both the value & attractiveness of experienced players & producers across the international circuit, many simply having to dig their heels in & stand by their pay principles, even if it means losing a gig, a tour or a festival as a result.
So, it seems, in certain circles at least, we have entered a vicious circle, where D.J.’s rates of pay vary considerably, where a handful of promoters practices, not least one of the largest clubbing groups right here in the capital, leave a lot to be desired, begging the inevitable questions of how can this be stopped and where will it end, the door of blame routed right here in London but one that seems to be spreading across the continent too. So, we reckon it’s time for those promoters responsible and reading this, to wake up to their responsibilities towards the bread & butter of their brands, clubs, events & parties, the D.J., to follow the lead of a certain capital clubbing & start rewarding them more fairly & proportionately through more respectful pay, while those D.J.’s that are forcing the rates of others down by their insatiable gig chasing desires, need to take heed and then account for their actions to save being outed, as we could so easily do. Why?, because we feel so strongly and passionately towards a long list of D.J.’s both here in London & internationally that richly deserve the reward for the enthralling entertainment they employ, but, at the hands of these handful of incredulous individuals are being sold short for paltry pay. (DISCO MATT)
With new & renewed life about to be injected into a sagging London scene, we reflect on what used to be brilliant, but what then went badly wrong as competition crushing & monstrous monopolies mobbed, while with the winds of change about to blow, we also look at what is to come in restoring & rejuvenating both the diversity and inclusivity that made this capital’s clubbing circuit the most captivating across all the five continents
We have always said that six months in clubland always seems to be a long time, why?, well because so much seems to happen, to change, to shift, that even this relatively short time in our lives, six months can feel like a lifetime in terms of sheer activity. Yet while our continental cousins seem to take it in their stride, the pace seemingly a lot slower and the schedule more measured, here in London, just like the city itself, the clubbing circuit, particularly in recent times, always feels to be on a knife edge. However, it wasn’t always that way, as in our early years circulating the scene, there seemed to be much more harmony, clubs & events, possibly purely by fluke, seemingly dovetailing into each other, never really treading on toes, but playing their part in a richly diverse yet inclusive scene that gained London’s reputation as being one of the most captivating for clubbers anywhere on the planet. Unfortunately, in more recent times, we have found an unwanted evil creeping in, the desire to dominate and in so doing, not only crush the competition, but bully others into submission, on the surface spurning some truly spectacular & prolific parties, but under the veneer, delivering a devious intent to take charge of the circuit centre ground, pushing a whole host of promoters & parties to the edge of existence. But with the winds of change about to blow across the capitals clubbing circuit, the resurrection of what made London’s scene so strong, it diversity yet inclusivity, looks like being the most cataclysmic change we have seen in a long time, creating an more even playing field for all those that want to play their part, the evil of domination & competition crushing banished from the equation.
But before we touch on those changes and the club at the centre of this marvellous movement, let’s take a nostalgic look back at what was so good about the scene a fair few years ago and then what went desperately wrong, our trip down memory lane taking us back to the mid 1990’s when the scene was alive with a whole host of clubs, all playing their part on the most dynamic and diverse scene in the world. And what a world it was, as we had some truly amazing club nights to savour, many that have become legendary, the likes of Fiction on Friday nights, Love Muscle on Saturday’s, Trade on Sunday morning’s, Sherbert then Salvation or Factor 25 on Sunday afternoon/evenings and FF, DTPM & Warriors on Sunday nights. But there was so much more, as it seemed so many more people were out to party, Subsation’s Soho & South, the latter sporting Queer Nation & the very early days of Hard On! (then called FIST), we had the colossal collaborations that was Famous Five, while Heaven was still massive, and London Gay Pride was a festival to be proud of, as was the superb Summer Rites, all evidence of clubs & club promoters coming together to deliver that diversity yet inclusivity that clubbers tuned into by the 1000’s. Plus, while there were rich pickings to be had, it seemed that clubs & events took the place in the scene schedule, never really pitting their wits against each other, rather attracting their followers and taking their small slice of the significant cake that was a truly captivating capital clubbing circuit.
And it was still looking good and feeling great as the century turn arrived, Vauxhall now part of the picture, thanks in the main to a visionary who created the iconic come legendary Crash, this spurning more club nights, including Action and the soon to be brilliant Beyond. That said, Vauxhall was already playing its part with the likes of The Market Tavern, The RVT & others, while it was on the verge of being pivotal in a change that would see that evil competition crushing and domination creep in, the success of Crash in outing the south of the river spot on the clubbing map, itself inadvertently fuelling the greed of a certain group, whose original intent with brands such as A:M & Orange, was simply to play its part in the prolific diverse playing field that was still a fabulous feature. But as the noughites progressed and international players began to look to London, the likes of La Troya & particularly Matinee, there began an undercurrent of deviousness that would end up even putting national party politics to shame, the halcyon days when club nights such as Horizon & Juicy simply played their part, soon pitching their parties in direct competition in incoming new nights. Indeed as the now recognised Orange Group organisation empire began to expand, it became clear that its intentions were not to play a part in the rich diversity yet inclusivity of the scene, but to dominate and to take more than just a slice or two, but the whole clubbing circuit cake.
Now we entered a period where promoter fighting & club confrontations become a norm, very much driven by The Orange Group’s desire to dominate, Crash pushed out of the Vauxhall picture, even its promoter ties with the still brilliant Beyond severed, his attempts to offer alternatives in a brand new venue, Area, also crushed. But he wasn’t the only one, as Matinee’s attempts to play its monthly part were scuppered, again it being a victim of what we call party pitching, so running a popular event up against another, this disturbing direction also rubbing off on other promoters, who themselves began to fight & battle each other, the SuperMartXe story one such example, while we were gratified that experienced promoter players with level heads sought to stay out of these sordid squabbles. But this evil element was to exacerbate itself to an enth degree, as a long list of individuals were drawn into The Orange Group empire, then spat out as soon as their perceived shelf life had expired or, in some cases, where they dared to promote parties that had the tiniest risk of toppling the domination that this greedy group desired. And while, as with our last sermon on this subject, we feel it would serve no good to mention names (there are many), clubs that have fallen prey include Crash, Matinee, SuperMartXe, & Lovechild, all big Saturday players, their fall from grace leaving us with little, well apart from WE, the ins & outs of how it, with the aid of The Orange Group, pushed SuperMartXe out of The Coronet, quite shocking.
We could go on and we could name case after case, promoter after promoter and club after club that has been either pushed out of the clubbing picture or even out of business by this greed and domination, the last twelve months bearing the rotten fruits of this greedy labour, leaving us with a lacklustre London scene that is not a patch on what it was back into those halcyon days. Yes there have been some success stories from within, Onyx, As One & Deelooded three, while now veteran outing Beyond has continued to ride high in the eyes of clubbers. Plus, what this domination has also done, is allow others to re-group, take stock and, in some cases, head off to do their own thing, a perfect example being Shoreditch and the players within it, who have created an environment that harps back to those happy days of the 90’s. But more importantly, what this greed has also created, is a marvellous movement, a powerful & influential one at that, which is seeking to restore the scene to that wonderfully diverse yet inclusive picture & playing field that we have mentioned many times, the individuals behind this wind of clubbing change, passionate about D.J.’s, promoters, players and you the clubber, in engendering the kind of scene where people work and come together, rather than fight or squabble. And it is the new(ish) gem in what was perceived as being part of the Orange Nation crown, that is driving this change, this tight knit team, after bringing the venue back under their control, now beginning to reach out to a number of promoters, to D.J.’s & other scene figureheads right across London, all who seem to want to play their part in the restoration of a London scene that, as a result of this greedy domineering period, is on its knees, the aims & aspirations of these change driving force individuals being to treat people fairly, pay them properly, reward their efforts, create an environment exempt from fear & bullying, but most importantly, restore a scene that makes Londoners proud, where they have choice, they have diversity, yet everyone feels they are included.
So, we have already hinted who is driving this wind of clubbing change, a change we are so pleased to be a part of too, we, ahead of our special feature, “Championing Clubbing Change”, raising our glass to the characters in what could quite possibly be a chain of cataclysmic changes, the like the capital has never seen before. (DISCO MATT)
What was a brilliant brand and a fabulous favourite of ours, is fast losing both is brilliance and its favour with the twelve hour “Midnight” mould breaker that is effectively laying this colossal club to a first four waste, we once again, yet for the last time, looking at why & how Beyond is being broken when it needs no fixing.
Of the myriad of meets, the catalogue of clubs and the bounty of brands we have come across in the close on twenty years we have been circulating the clubbing scene, not just here in the capital but across in continental Europe, as well as back home in South Africa, there are of these meets, clubs & brands, a figure that must run into the thousands, just a handful or two that we would class as truly legendary in our clubbing lifetimes. Back home it would have to be Cape Town’s Bronx, while in Europe, Muccassassina in Rome, Red & Blue in Antwerp, La Demence in Brussels & Salvation in Barcelona top our legendary continental tree. And while there are clubs further afield as yet untouched by our visiting hand, we look to the capital for a the rest, Factor 25, DTPM, Action, Fiction & FF, while of all these, there are two that sit above even this pronounced party parapet, both Sunday morning afterhours and both accounting for a seventh day of the week wondrous loss to the normality of straight minded Sunday life, each contributing to a run lasting from 1993 to 2012, with just a year or so break in 2006/7. Naturally, Trade is one of the two, Lawrence Malice’s legendary creation without doubt at its brilliant best in the Turnmills era which stretched from 1990 to 2003, while the other, one that wrestled the magnificent mantle for our mothership of clubbing as THE best club of all-time can only be Beyond, it dominating the 21st century like no other club, yet close on twelve years after its inception, is in serious danger of losing its title back to Trade.
So why this falling in favour and what is causing the brand breakage? Well, to answer those questions with qualification, we need to look back to Beyond, two, three or even four years ago, when having risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the split with former host venue, the Collosseum as well as on the back of a fall out between the then joint promoters. Finding its feet within weeks of securing its new home, the amazing Area, Beyond very much entered its most prolific purple patch period to date, a run of events spanning 2008 through 2010 securing it as not just the most popular outing on the capitals clubbing circuit, but gained a reputation overseas, even though it had yet to play out in continental Europe and further afield. And during this period, the format of Beyond hardly changed, a solid residency of stars ensuring its popularity never waned or the need to change was not an issue. Indeed, with Steve Pitron, Mkey D & Alan K masterminding the main room and David Jimenez, Hifi Sean & Paul Christian sorting the sounds in the second space, Beyond was very much at its brilliant best. However, the real magic for us was in the terrace room, where the delightfully debaucherous & decadent feel of clubbing on a Sunday morning played out the most, The Sharp Boys, The Oli, Jamie Head & Fat Tony often outstaying even the main room revellers right up to the midday finish, while that main room lighting the exceptional effects, the trademark ceiling rockets and scores of sterling sets from Mikey, Alan &, particularly an always precision perfect Mr Pitron, earned Beyond its all-time best club status.
Yet, despite all this, the then new promoter, Jonny Marsh, decided in 2010 that Beyond was destined for bigger and better times, not just in London but overseas, his aims to share the brilliance of the brand not just in other capital cities of the world, but in festivals & tours, this programme marking measured successes in Paris & Mykonos, although not that much more, The Week in Brazil playing host just once, Beyond showing its singular hand at Sydney Mardi Gras, while the La Demence cruise and the XLsior festival will go down as Beyond’s best international expeditions. However, back in London, the virtual constant tampering with the format, swapping and changing the D.J.’s at the drop of a hat, the continual desire to throw special events and the theory that by changing & shifting the show around would keep it fresh, actually put many of its earlier years fervent followers off, while this went virtually unnoticed by the promoter and his team, as for every regular they lost, another transient party goer would replace, meaning the bottom line figures didn’t look much different, but that whole fabulous feel & marvellous magic that had been Beyond, was slipping & sliding significantly. But, with Steven Sharp steering a stormy ship into calmer waters, Beyond, for a while at least, regained some of that magic it had lost, although with knee jerk axing & changing of promoters becoming the norm across the group, like Later & A:M, Beyond was an inevitable victim, a situation that has existed now for the last two years.
So that brings us pretty much up to date, although in 2012, while we continued to support our then most favourite frolic of all, our stays were merely extended to Steve Pitron set performances (which will always remain special for lots of reasons) and not much more, the charge laid at our door that it was only his house music we were interested in, but the true fact being that Beyond was not a patch of the party that it was in the years before. Indeed, another element in this equation was the decimation of the scene Saturday schedule , much of which lays at the doors of Orange Nation, meaning there was little to feed our desire to party before Beyond, even the protagonists of this sad Saturday story not replacing their crushed competition with ample or sufficient alternatives. And that brings us neatly to this “Midnight” format, one that was originally devised, like “Super Size” & “Ice”, as simply specialist & one-off events to satisfy increased clubber demand that bank holidays & the like dictated. However, more deviously, this “Midnight” format was also used as a weapon against brands such as Matinee & SuperMartXe, that competition crushing attempt to pitch this afterhours party right into the thick of the Saturday schedule, a place were Beyond in our view, simply doesn’t belong. But with no competition left and no real big parties remaining, excepting WE, Beyond is now simply being used to fill that very gap its timings switching & fixing created, 2013 already proving that as in the last eight weeks, there have been no less than five “Midnight” events, all the current promoter being able to say on the subject is “…we like to let people party for longer…”, a weak response to our critiscm of how this format is being used & abused, if ever there was one.
What we simply cannot understand with the current use of the “Midnight” muddle, is that rarely is the chapel space open before 3 a.m., while a wait till six or even seven is required before the main room swings into action, leaving just the terrace space which, in the hands of one Anna Iwinska, is tortuous tech house terror that wouldn’t be out of place in Berlin’s Berghain, while this week’s zero o’clock start sees an absolute unknown, Daniel Braggins, kick off this once spectacular show. But the favour faltering & all-time status sinking story of Beyond doesn’t rest just at the door of the now maligned “Midnight” format, but the whole atmosphere & feel of the club, the staff nowhere near as friendly as before, the security imposing & sometimes acutely invasive, while the promoter, who we would expect not only to take charge, show himself throughout and generally be the face of the club, is rarely seen after 8 a.m. And while some order has been restored with the once steady resident star line-up’s, we cannot help but feel (without mentioning names) that square pegs are being pushed into round holes, just one example being that certain D.J.’s can be seen playing in all three rooms, whereas each space always did and should have their own distinct sound, these individual’s styles actually no different from one room to the next. However if we are to believe the bullish banter of the clubs promoter when he say’s “…I’m loving the atmosphere at Beyond this year so let’s all raise the roof, take it to the next level and keep it at the top of its game…” those very words a contradiction in terms, as if Beyond really still is at the top of its game, where is that next level? Plus, while he adds of Beyond, “…not just London’s but the world’s best afterhours…” we are seriously casting doubts as to whether it can still rooftop shout that status.
So, with NYD looking like it was our last Beyond and with the winds of clubbing change about to sweep the scene, thus putting this once awesome afterhours amazement’s home in a pronounced & precarious position, we not only fear for Beyond’s future, but reckon that soon Trade will recapture that title as our top club of all-time it lost back in 2001/2, leaving us to simply lament on the magical memories Beyond brought us, both in those halcyon Colloseum days and that purple patch Area period. (DISCO MATT)
With much happening on the scene this last weekend, the timing of the return of our “That Was The Weekend That Was” review & report couldn’t have been better, we looking at the good, the bad & the ugly new ventures to hit the capitals clubbing circuit, while reporting on other highlight happenings and forthcoming frolics
What a funny old year 2012 was for us, not least the spluttering start on a special weekly feature originally called “That Was the Week That Was”, the intention to report back on events of the day and look forward to ones coming up. But as we struggled to even keep our review head above water, we decided to peg this new features back to just the weekend gone rather than the whole week, although even this proved a tough old task, as did much of our writing if we are honest. However, with the distractions that thwarted our publication progress at least parked and with 2013 very much our year of positivity, we are back with the new look “That Was The Weekend That Was” a punchy post that will pick on highlight happenings, good bad or otherwise from past weekend just while also looking forward to the next.
Right, let’s get on and did right into the detail of what very much proved to be a weekend of new club launches, great news on the surface, but scratching beneath it proving that there was elements of god, bad and (in our view) downright ugly. So to the good first and Saturday (16th Feb) and This Is Prohibition, a new clubbing concept that combined brands Lovechild, Bear Necessity, Queer Nation & Butch, a collaboration of like minded promotional minds similar to the halcyon days of As One, & Famous Five, bringing together a wealth of D.J. talent from both London & internationally and stamping its mark on the scene from The Sidings in Southwark, a venue formerly known as The Arches but now under new management & ownership. And, while we were laid up with a nasty virus, the feedback we got on this “Love Resurrection” first party & launch was extremely positive, the numbers buoyant, well over 100o through the door, while the brands worked together brilliantly, Lovechild the main focus & drive, not least with a prolific performance from P.A. Abigail Bailey, while with a string of superb sets from Oliver M, Tony English & Alan K, as well as pulsating performances in the other rooms, promoters Alex Erfan, Patrick Lilley & Manu Cartagenero were pleased as punch with the result. And while there is still work to do both on the venue & the format, This Is Prohibition will be back, no specific date yet set, but the likelihood is a May or June return, we bringing you news as soon as we get it.
Now to the bad and the ugly and if you saw our preview “Dad’s Army Antics”, you will quickly guess that we are talking about Manic Panic! And District XXX, the latest Friday night frolic twosome to come out of the Orange Nation creative stable. But creative they are not, particularly the latter, a whole host of people both within & outside of these two clubs, feeding back and concurring with our views on these fault filled ventures. You only have to read some of the event detail, a line which never fails to leave us aghast being “…a team of the craziest, limit pushing, disco pumped club kids will be rolling around the club each Friday night to ensure no one leaves without returning hot sweat flashbacks of their time at MANIC. These will be named The Panics…”, it speaking volumes for a club concept which, in the eyes of many is just a complete laughing stock. Yet, with international heavyweight Pagano headlining the vent each week, there is a glimmer of hope within the Manic Panic part of proceedings, while we cannot help but look upon it as a bad bash that puts all the good work of Onyx to shame. And it seems that clubbers agreed, as reports came in that numbers for Friday’s (15th Feb) launch, were not as expected, a figure of 600 being bandied around, this across three rooms, that second space sporting our ugly element as, again in our view, District XXX is a rip-off of the truly terrific PLAY>TIME, which fell afoul of the sudden closure of Lo-Profile in January. However, with hardly a care or a blink of the eye, a number of team members & D.J.’s previously part of the PLAY>TIME package have simply jumped ships and are now imitating this brilliant brand, from what we can see, trying to build a club within a club which is flawed for all sorts of reasons. So, with these reported numbers not good, the Manic Panic concept bad & the District XXX imitating downright ugly, time will tell whether this already maligned meet while last.
To other happenings over the weekend and to Friday again first, out east proving the place to be, as Larry Tee’s Super Electro Party machine not only celebrated London fashion week, but welcoming special guest D.J./Producer, D Ramirez to the decks, they coming back for more on Sunday (17th Feb) with their “Fashion Disaster” party, Jodie Harsh the guest this time. And sticking with East Bloc, the superb SOS was back on Saturday, Jim Warboy and his terrific team proving, yet again, how popular this party is, while with new Thursday edition Butch on the weekly schedule and next Saturday seeing the return of Gutterslut, Wayne Shires’ Shoreditch spot is certainly cooking on gas at the moment. As for Soho, while it is still clearly missing Profile & Lo-Profile, The Edge, Circa, Ku-Bar and new(ish) macho hangout, Manbar are taking the strain and all reported good numbers & atmospheres across the weekend, while Suzie Kruger’s Hard On!, currently based out of Union in Vauxhall, recorded one of their biggest turnouts in well over twelve months on Saturday, giving rise to the fact that the diversity within the scene that has been sadly lacking of late, is beginning to turn around for the good, rather than the bad that a certain group have been driving & diving the capitals clubbing circuit into. That said, Beyond, thank heavens, returned to its age-old format of a Sunday morning start, although while labelled as a “Temptation” event, it didn’t quite tempt enough to make it a roadblock event, despite the flock of frolics feeding it, but, disrobing developments aside, there is no doubt it remains a clubbing & clubber favourite.
Well, that was the weekend just gone, but what about the one coming up? Well, we have already mentioned Gutterslut, which is back to East Bloc with a bang this Saturday (23rd Feb), special guest D.J.’s Femi B & Bryony Masters heading up the rave room, while Princess Julia & Thirsty Kirsty take charge of the tunes in the DiscoSlut space, while alternative antics out east included “Pantastic” at The Joiners Arms and “Handsome” at The Visions Video Bar, both also on Saturday, while another shindig of the same day worth a shout is “Club R18” at the Eagle in Vauxhall, special guest Jack Chang on deck duty. AS for other choices, Soho’s The Edge with Zach Burns and Circa with Adam Turner are always good bets, while if you want bad & ugly, then its Manic Panic & District XXX again this Friday (22nd Feb). And talking of bad, at least creative bad, Beyond goes “Midnight” on us again this week, that’s now a total of five out of the last eight, vindicating our view that the promoter is attempting or at least sending a message that this once brilliant brand is now no longer just an afterhours amazement, but is trying to be a club for all Saturday & Sunday seasons, something it really doesn’t need to or should be. On the Orange Nation positive, Later welcomes back original Terry Bryan, a set you should definitely not miss, while before all that, something you also shouldn’t miss is this Thursday’s (21st Feb) Room Service, Jodie Harsh & co welcoming both Hifi Sean & Pagano to the decks, details of all of these upcoming events (excepting Manic Panic & District XXX) available a banner click away right here at http://discomatt.com/web, while you can also head to the online versions of both Boyz & Q.X. at http://boyz.co.uk & http://qxmagazine.com respectively.
So, that’s our “That Was The Weekend That Was”, good, bad and ugly as it proved for us, while we hope, wherever you had been & seen, it was a good one for you and with a selection of superb soiree’s coming up, that this next weekend is packed with positively pumping parties And, while clubbing is not specifically on our weekend agenda, with a birthday bash & them a meeting of minds, we will have much to share about a more diverse yet inclusive scene that London always used to be famed for, so here’s to a wonderful weekend that will be . (DISCO MATT)
After a lack lustre January that saw us fail to show our hand at any of their happenings and with so many new clubs & events launching elsewhere this month, this coupled with an undercurrent of uncertainty as promoters & key players have been pulled from the picture, we start our new series of “Seventh Day Sermon’s” by entering the lion’s den that is Orange Nation and share our thoughts on why we are finding our favour faltering.
Striking an independent balance is part & parcel of our core aims and achievements when we promote the clubs, events, music producers, businesses & publications that we do, while we also apply plumes of passion as well as conviction, both which have built the reputation we have today for not just spreading the love, but balancing our coverage in terms of reviews, previews, recommends & other posts fairly & consistently. And while many are hugely appreciative of our support, remarks such as “…one of the industry’s most loved columnists…” contributing to a continual stream of gracious gratifications that make our work worthwhile, we are all too often accused of being biased by and to certain quarters of the clubbing circuit, this never having been an issue with the internationals we support, but right here in London. Indeed, if we had a penny for every crumb of criticism, every moaning message, every conflictual comment and every enraged e-mail we have received over the years, our piggy bank would be brimming by now. However, we would be the first to admit that, for persistent periods over the last twenty four months, but particularly in the last twelve, our appearances & our posts have leant too far much in the direction of Orange Nation and its collection of clubs, our excuse, while no real defence, is that in both Beyond and certain key players & promoters in the Orange Nation mix, we have had a favourite frolic & a flock of firm friends.
Indeed, our support for Orange Nation has, in the main, been extremely positive in the last few months, the controversial edge that used to be a feature of our early work, all but disappearing, a casual comment from a D.J. pal on the Beyond dance floor recently confirming this, when part of the conversation included, “…I really miss your controversial posts…”, those so called critical & contentious articles, reviews & features never posted simply to poke & provoke, but based on actual beliefs and witnessing of shortcomings. And we have never been one to skirt issues or avoid tricky matters, while as we said earlier, we have always sought to strike a reasonable balance when faced with the difficult dilemma of saying it as we see it, particularly when recommending clubs & events, recent examples of parties falling into that bracket including Matinee “Pervert”, Beyond & Manic Panic! That said, when great things happen and when really good events come up, we are the first to throw our wholehearted support behind them, in the case of Orange Nation, Deelooded benefitted from one of our most positive previews ever, while we boosted their January Free Clubbing offer, the new February pass and, as recently as this weekend, their As One “In The Park” festival which, on paper at least, looks to be one of the best gay gatherings in years.
However, the phrase, “…what a difference a day makes…” or in this case, a handful of 2013 weeks, has come to bear upon our brow, as we have found ourselves taking off those rose tinted glasses that, in the case of Orange Nation, we have been accused of wearing for far too long and in so doing, clouding our judgement and prejudicing our publications, although with those glasses now off, our eyes have re-opened to a host of other clubs & events that we have been overlooking, we find ourselves, once again, sharing our coverage more evenly & fairly, while naturally picking out those clubs & events we consider deserve our full blown attention, shifting the emphasis away from the Orange Group & their events. Yet while we haven’t turned our back on Orange Nation, far from it, following a disturbing set of developments in recent weeks, we find our favour towards them faltering, a whole set of circumstances changing the way we both view the group and feel we can actively propel & promote some events of theirs in a positive way. And this is manifested in the fact that the mainstay brands, such as Beyond, A:M, Later & Orange, have been subject to constant tampering, many damaged as a result, some irreparably so, while D.J.’s, promoters and organisational individuals within & connected with the organisation have been treated dreadfully, reports of abuse and other shocking incidents & irregularities, many inexcusable in our eyes, leaving us asking questions of our own opinion of the Orange Group. Furthermore, of the spartan new ventures & club concepts Orange Nation has brought to us recently, they have either consisted actually of nothing new, or the idea & concept of the so called new is flawed on so many levels, thus rather than adding to the capitals clubbing circuit choice, they are simply replacing what has been lost with the same old same old, that or doomed for disaster drudgery.
Now, while a whole host of the accounts, claims & stories surrounding the mistreatment of individuals at the hands of Orange Nation leave our skin crawling in disgust, it would serve no purpose to either reveal the details of cases, circumstances, issues or indeed individuals, but rather to highlight this as a significant reason why we have found our favour to this clubbing group faltering. But what we can account for, are those club brands which have fallen prey to either Orange Nation’s greed or their desire to fix something that isn’t broken, Beyond right at the top of our list, not least that we have made no secret of the fact that it attained the status of our favourite club of all time. However, that very status is now in serious danger of dissolving, as we are left bemused by the sheer volume of “Midnight” events in 2013 alone, while the timings continue to chop & change as often as the wind direction, the same being said for the resident team of D.J.’s, some of whom are left off the weekly roster completely, while others are snubbed for their audacity to play for other promoters. So, as a result of this, Beyond, for us, has lost its appeal & draw and while the numbers may not be reflective of our view, the club is nowhere near as great this year, as it was last, the year before last, or the year before that, other examples extending to A:M, which was inappropriately used to fill a Friday clubbing schedule, lost its afterhours appeal as a result and now, having now switched back to its Saturday morning status, looks like struggling to survive, Orange, the emblem of the group, a pale of its former self, like many of the brands, having changed promotional hands as often as hot dinners, while the less we say about Manic Panic & District XXX the better, the concept of the former probably the worst we have ever seen, while the latter is a copycat of what proved to be one of our favourite frolics of 2012.
However, it goes much deeper than all of this, as with the benefit of hindsight, we look back over the last two or so years and see how the scene has changed and not for the better but for the worse, much of this lying at the doors of Orange Nation, how the scene schedule on Saturday’s for example, is not a patch on what it used to be, as promoters & clubs have been squeezed out of the partying picture, certain promoters throwing in the towel on Vauxhall and moving elsewhere, while others have been forced out of business completely. Moreover, with Orange Nation’s seemingly insatiable desire to dominate the capitals clubbing circuit, many of those Saturday scene shindigs are now no more, yet have not been replaced by Orange Nation events, the group’s creativity on what should be the biggest clubbing day of the week being to simply extend the opening hours of Beyond. Indeed, as a result of the crushing of competitors to Orange Nation’s own perceived clubbing crown, what it has simply served to achieve is that Vauxhall is left as the only playing ground for what we would call mainstream &/or big style regular gay clubs, the lack of any decent new brand blood to replace the ones lost, leaving the existing ones both monotone & mundane, for us, verging on the downright boring. But there is more that has dented our demeanour towards Orange Nation, that being the instantaneous & irreverent jumping of ship of many of those involved with Profile/Lo-Profile, moving not just themselves but brands associated with the former, all to Orange Nation and seemingly without a blinking of an eye or with any sort of respect for what has been a genuine loss to the scene, not just in Soho but London wide, the legacy that our Wardour Street wonders could have left, rather simply gobbled up by Orange Nation, the spotlight specifically on Society, while more indiscriminately, PLAY>TIME, which when you look at District XXX, is that copycat clubbing we referred to playing out for all to see.
On the positive, we can breathe a sigh of relief that ventures such as East Bloc in Shoreditch and its clutch of club nights is serving up viable & now very popular alternatives to the Vauxhall same old same old, while real success stories like WAR, DISH, SOS & Heroes, are offering both vitality & variation to Vauxhall. Indeed, it has been pleasing to see previously pushed out promoters returning to the scene, bringing with them fresh new ideas & clubbing concepts, This Is Prohibition one such example, we also finding new blood sprouting up in Soho, Bakebox a couple of weeks away from its second showing, Swallow another newbie and Manbar finding its feet & stride with a whole set of soiree’s sprting some of the biggest D.J. stars on the London scene, while existing parties Room Service & Gigolo remain as popular and packed as ever. And scratching beneath the varnish & veneer of Vauxhall itself, there is much happening to rock that so called dominating world of Orange Nation, Union fighting back with the likes of Booster, Wrong & others, Hard On! (now based there) reporting one of its best ever turnouts just last night, while Barcode looks like it may be coming back into its own, The Eagle having just celebrated its ninth year and still pulling in the numbers now as it did then, clubs such as Tonker, Carpet Burn & Horse Meat Disco major contributors. Plus with a big announcement imminent, one which will pave the way for a fairer, more fun-filled & positive playing field in Vauxhall and beyond, the inclusive nature of the players & performers within the scene the main thrust, it seems that competition crushing is a thing of the past and with this exciting news about to erupt, it may be more than just our favour towards Orange Nation that falters, but a cataclysmic change to the capitals clubbing circuit that sees a future bright and not just one that is Orange. (DISCO MATT)
We’ve had The Grammy’s, we’ve had the BAFTA’s and we’ve still got the OCSCAR’s to come, but before that there of the BOYZ awards, the annual appreciation of the capital’s clubbing & gay circuit achievers that always attracts amazing attention, we looking into the why’s & wherefores of this yearly awarding accolade, also hinting towards our own celebratory ceremony
With 2012 seemingly a distant memory, it always intrigues us as to quite why the major awards ceremonies take place well into the following year, just last weekend seeing both the music awards amazement that is The Grammy’s taking place stateside, while here in London, it was the BAFTA’S that stole the headlines, marking the best in a year packed with truly fantastic (some phenomenal) films in an industry hat seems to be going from strength to strength. Yet while the biggest & most prestigious ceremony is yet to come, The Academy Awards, better known as The OSCAR’s, marking the end of this short season of celebrations for the best in the business, films or otherwise, the capitals clubbing & gay circuit get their own annual awards too, courtesy of Boyz Magazine, who can’t quite match the 85th OSCAR’s season, but can boast a respectable 15 plus years shouting out for the most popular performers, promoters & others across a wide range of categories that celebrate the achievements of those who, in the eyes of its readers, make the eventual winners the cream of the Boyz magazine crop. So, as we find ourselves having adored the BAFA’s last weekend and look forward with excitable anticipation to the OSCAR’s next weekend, we thought it only right & proper to give a reporting big up, what we are calling, the BOYZ’s, running through the process and picking on some of the categories, giving you our view on who should be in the nominee running, while we will also hint towards our own new awards ceremony, the TICKLES.
So, let’s delve into the BOYZ’s and first share what the team behind the most popular annual scene awards by far have to say, the concurring with us by beginning, “…with the awards season upon us on both sides of the Atlantic, the UK gay scene’s most coveted gongs are up for grabs again…” then exclaiming, “…The Boyz Scene Awards – won by many, wanted by many more…” while they look back to last year with pride when they say “…2012 saw some of the best events the gay scene had ever experienced and, despite the recession, was a time of pure creativity, something all those who partied on the gay scene should be proud of…” we drawing short of “ever experienced” while agreeing that there were some exceptional events, captivating new clubs, prolific promoters & dynamic D.J.’s. Indeed the Boyz team recap on some previous award accolades, “…previous winners in the bar categories include The Edge, The Two Brewers, & Ku Bar. In clubs, Room Service, G.A.Y. and WE Party have all walked away with golds, while individuals with gongs hanging from their walls range from Chrissy Darling & Jeremy Joseph to Titti La Camp & The Sharp Boys…” we hoping to share a whole load more names to help you make your choices. And with these BOYZ’s covering 1/1 to 31/12 2012, there is much to digest, while the team finish by saying, “…so think carefully about who you want to bag one of this year’s Boyz awards and cast your vote now. Voting should take no more than five minutes…”, more on that in a minute.
Right, well that what the Boyz team have to say, now let’s dig into some of the sections & categories, the section list made a little more straight forward this year with just five, “Gay Bars, Pubs & Late Night Venues”, “Best Entertainers”, “Clubbing, Festivals & Events”, “Specialist Club Nights”, and “Club Promoter/DJ”, although there are no less than 29 BOYZ’s up for grabs within these categories. So, let’s focus first on “Clubbing, Festivals & Events” and give you some hints & ideas on names in the nominations frames, Deelooded sure to ride high in “Best New Club Promotion Or Venue” while others such as DISH, WAR, Tramp, Super Electro Party Machine & SPQR are sure to give Fat Tony’s creation a run for its money, while with the monotone weekend clubbing calendar, choosing “Best Regular Weekend Club” rears usual suspects such as Beyond, XXL, G.A.Y. & a smattering of others. However, 2012 did see weekday clubbing blossom, so “Best Regular Weekday Club” should be hotly contested, Gigolo knocking on the door of Room Service, while we reckon Popcorn has a great chance of scooping a BOYZ this year, while for “Best One-Off Party, Visiting Club Brand or Returning Event”, we reckon WE Party stands a better than fair chance of lifting the crown here, while Matinee did make a splash in 2012, as did Hustlaball. As for “Best Pride, Festival or Outdoor Event” , with London & World Pride a complete wash-out, Summer Rites lack-lustre & even Soho Pink Sunday recording a poor turnout, the good old British Summer didn’t help much, although Lovebox is probably in the running again, while Brighton Pride definitely gets our vote.
Onwards to the “Club Promoter/DJ” category and there are a veritable feast on nominations for both, “Best Club Promoter” an open playing field in 2012, our tips extending to Tom Stephan & Borja Pena for DISH, Kris Di Angelis for WAR & Tramp, Fat Tony for Deelooded, Jodie Harsh for Room Service, David & La. Hart for Gigolo, Christopher Selby-Rickards for Popcorn, Larry Tee for Super Electro Party Machine & Suzie Kruegar for Hard On!, while in our books, one of the hardest working & most dedicated promoters has to be Steven React Sharp, he having steered A:M & Later during 2012, as well as both Orange & As One for part of the year, so you can probably guess where our vote is going. All that said, probably the most hotly contested BOYZ will be for “Best Club D.J.”, a longer list we couldn’t summon if we tired, last year’s winner Steve Pitron surely very much in the running again, while a whole host of relative newcomers &/or young blood are more than just pretenders to Mr Pitron’s crown, not least the amazing Adam Turner or the brilliant Zach Burns, both who have had stellar 2012’s and very much on the up & up, Matt Bogard another contender, as should be Sam DMS. But the within established & experienced enclave, there are plenty that have had a yardstick year too, Pagano having made it huge both home & abroad, while Jamie Head has been on fantastic come phenomenal form. But our list could easily extend to Hifi Sean, Severino, Tony English, The Oli, The Sharp Boys, Tom Stephan, Kris Di Angelis, Phil Marriott, Jim Warboy, Paul Heron, & Nathan Six, while there are plenty more where they came from. So, it comes as no surprise that we are left in quite a quandary and we have still yet to decide on what, despite all these names, is a three horse race, the one question remaining, does our heart rule our head and if so, is it Adam or Zach?
Of the other four categories, our BOYZ’s picks are “Best Bar Central London & Westminster”, “Best Bars or Promotions Team In London” & “Sexiest Bar Staff In A Gay Bar, Pub or Late Night Venue”, the common denominator in all three cases for us, being Profile/Lo-Profile, sadly lost to the scene early in January this year, but, in our humble voting view, clearly deserving an awards accolade to recognise just how brilliant it was for the scene and how badly & sadly it is already missed. But with loads more to vote on besides, we reckon you should grab this week’s edition of Boyz (issue 1120) where you can see all the categories laid out and where you can vote in the good old fashioned way, on paper & by post. But for the twenty first century minded, you will probably prefer to cast your votes online, by heading to http://boyz.co.uk/index.php?p=boyzawards, either on your computer, tablet or even smart phone, the online forms expanding the nomination suggestions significantly, while for us leading you down a path you may not want to follow, our advice being for you to simply go with your favourite in each of the sections & categories, which will make for not just a fair, but open (and probably close) BOYZ award set results, those results going public of 14th March, while all votes need to be in by midnight on Friday 1st March. So get casting your votes to make this the best BOYZ’s yet, while also watch this space for our own awards ceremony, the TICKLES, which will come hot on the heels of the OSCAR’s and combine both film and clubbing, but crammed with categories with a difference, our nominations hitting publication this weekend (Sat 23rd Feb) and the awards accolades following the next (Sat 2nd March), perhaps hinting towards who we think may score a BOYZ two weeks later, while either confirming or confounding both the BAFTA & OSCAR winners.
So, as we prepare to cast our votes, marking a year that we, for lots of reasons, would rather forget, by making our choices we can in fact celebrate some real highlight happenings & incredible individuals that made our tough 2012 very much easier to bear and, whether your year was amazing, awful or merely average, you too can celebrate in a scene that, through good times or bad, is one of the best in the world, the Boyz team exemplifying that through their enthralling awards. (DISCO MATT)
With its dust sheets confined to the cleaning cupboard, As One emerges from its own obscurity with a bang, as it announces and exciting new chapter in its history, this clubbing combo caterpillar bursting out as a butterfly with its own Festival, we reporting in brief on the first announcement and ticket release.
Billed as “…London’s biggest gay gathering…”, just as we were about to write off As One as another amazing accomplishment on the capitals clubbing circuit no more, the news hits our desks that the team behind this colossal clubbing combo, have consigned it’s dust sheets to the cleaning cupboard, As One emerging from its own obscurity with a bang. Indeed, not only is it moving from inside to out, As One will be showcasing some huge artists & performing artists on the scene, as well as pulling in some true clubbing brand giants from both home and away.
So what do we know so far?, well a little bit and a lot really, as the plan to transform this clubbing caterpillar into the butterfly that will become an open air festival has been in the planning for a while, although kept very much under those dust sheet wraps. However, following the first reveal back at the beginning of the month, some of the detail is now dripping through, the first and most important announcement is that As One “In the Park” will take place on Bank Holiday Sunday 26th may at Victoria Park in east London, the location famed for bringing us huge happening Lovebox (among others), As One not quite of the scale of its counterpart, but sure to make a spring splash from 12 noon till 10.30 p.m. on 26th May.
Plus, the team behind this huge outdoor As One outing have also confirmed the first of many performing artists that will take to the main stage, Rita Ora, the 2012 pop sensation of Britain, whose debut album, “Ora”, zoomed straight t the UK number one spot, also spawning three singles, “Hot Right Now”, How Do We Party” and “R.I.P.”. Add to that a current UK tour and no less than three 2013 Brit Award nominations and she is very much a draw & coup for As One “In The Park”, while the team have also released details of the clubbing brands that will host the various dance arena’s around Victoria Park, London based Beyond, Orange, Deelooded & Salvation flying the home flag, while the international influence will come from Matinee “Revolution”, WE Party, The Week & the massive Circuit Festival. Plus, with support already in from Soho venues Comptons, Ku Bar, The Shadow Lounge, Rupert St. and businesses FindHRR, Prowler, Boyz, G3, the festival is already gathering promotional pace.
But the other piece in our news nibble jigsaw is the release of the first batch of tickets, super early bird options priced at £35 available online at http://ticketweb.co.uk/event/as-one-tickets/40035, while the VIP package looks quite impressive as it offers fast track entry, a complimentary glass of bubbly, exclusive entry to the Shadow Lounge VIP village behind the main stage, VIP toilets, VIP bars stocked with only premium spirits & other drinks, while even table service is on offer to make your whole experience enthralling. However, they do come at a price, a hefty £75, but given what they offer, it does actually seem good value for money and, from our experience of Lovebox, and those VIP toilets are worth their weight in gold. And with more acts to be announced next week, we reckon you should grab one of those super early bird tickets now, more information available by e-mailing the As One “In The Park” team at firstname.lastname@example.org or b following their website at http://asoneinthepark.co.uk, while you can also keep track of announcements as they hit by both liking & following their Facebook page at https://facebook.com/AsOneInThePark.
So setting its stool on a bank holiday weekend in May, as well as choosing a location renowned for holding park festivals, the future is definitely looking bright for the butterfly hat has become As One In the Park and we can’t wait to share further news as it reaches us and the date gets ever closer. (DISCO MATT)