THREE or four years after hearing Brandon’s seminal acid house tape, music was coming at me from all directions.
The shock waves from the initial slo-mo house detonation continued to roll around the world – bouncing between Chicago, Detroit and New York, reverberating across the Atlantic to London and Milan before booming back to New York and then back again to Ghent and Antwerp and Frankfurt via Sheffield and Manchester and beyond.
And all of these shockwaves seemed to collide in Leeds in 1992.
I’D BEEN down to the Ministry of Sound a couple of times previously, when it was still a booze-free zone, but in 1994 a big bunch of us from Leeds, Manchester and Burnley went down for a party in London one weekend and ended up in Elephant & Castle on Saturday night.
None of us were particularly impressed with the place – there was a long queue, it was expensive to get in, the music wasn’t great, it seemed to be full of twats and Australians – so the next time someone had a house party back up north, they printed up some invites with the name Ministry of Shite on them.
See what they did there?
Me and Earnshaw liked the name so much we used it when we started putting on all-nighters at an old mansion house in north Leeds a year or so later. The place was owned by a friend of the guy who ran Dream FM – in fact we had the studio there for a while – and I’d been to a few parties there already. Martin lived on the top floor, rented out the middle floor and kept the ground floor as a two-room party venue, complete with a pretty tidy custom-made soundsystem.
Since the mansion wasn’t strictly – or indeed, remotely – licensed, Martin was a bit nervous about money changing hands on the door, so we ripped off the Ministry of Sound portcullis logo, replaced the word ‘sound’ with ‘shite’ in punk rock blackmail lettering, and flogged the invites for a fiver, upfront. We had to hire a bouncer as well, just in case.
IT WAS a long, sultry summer evening in Leeds, the kind of perfect night that just seems to go on forever until you blink and suddenly it’s midday.
Nicki’s mum was having a party in the back garden of her house on Spencer Place. All manner of mad-heads, oddballs, students, hippies, yuppies, posh girls and rude boys, even a few amiable low-level gangster types, passed through during the night. It was wild.
It was an optimistic – if slightly naïve – time, despite the fact that what would become club culture was in the process of being shooed away from the great outdoors into regulated, licensed clubs. I’d tell you my theory about the great narco-conspiracy between the Tories, the brewing industry and the Colombian drug cartels but we’ve neither the time or the space.
Okay, if you insist.