A LOAD of us went down to the Ministry at some point in the mid 90s and, despite hearing some great music, we were not particularly impressed by the distinct lack of atmosphere compared to clubs such as Kaos, Basics and Hard Times in Leeds. There just wasn’t the same kind of energy and enthusiasm.
A few weeks later, me and Earnshaw DJed at a party at a mate’s house and someone did some jokey flyers saying we were residents at the Ministry of Shite. We ended up keeping the name when we started putting on parties ourselves.
It was all a bit rough and ready, but we had a run of great parties over three or four years at an old mansion house at the Weetwood end of Headingley in Leeds, with perhaps two or three hundred people coming through the door during the night, generally ending around 6am with no bother from the cops.
We played a lot of new US garage and vocal house but we also threw in old acid, techno, hardcore and hip house at key moments to ensure everything remained suitably blurry and twisted out of shape.
I’VE got all kinds of crap that I’ve accumulated over the years. Stuff I’ve written, posters, flyers, diaries, notebooks. Most of it isn’t particularly important or profound. You know, it’s just crap. I took the opportunity to get rid of a lot of it when I was moving out earlier this year. I had a bonfire.
I should probably have sorted through it a bit more thoroughly. But I couldn’t be arsed. It didn’t seem important.
One thing I did rescue from fiery oblivion was an unpublished interview with the Shamen, which I’m guessing is from 1989. It was done for Grunt, the fanzine I was involved in at the time, and typed up on Chumbawamba’s word processor – probably my first experience of new-fangled computers.
It didn’t run because we stopped doing the fanzine, partly because I was a lot more interested in 24-hour partying than pretty much anything else, partly because everyone else who was involved was busy with bands, families, actual work etc.
I think I went to the Shamen’s travelling rave experience Synergy a couple of times. I remember, well, not much, apart from the Shamen being fantastic and feeling impressed by the seamless presentation, with no gap between the DJs and the live music (I think Eskimos & Egypt were also on the bill).
Some time later, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the infectious rave anthem that had been hammered all over the place for the last few weeks – the one that went, I can move, move, move any mountain – was actually the Shamen.
But all that was in the phuture.
HIGH ON HOPE, Piers Sanderson’s documentary about the Hardcore Uproar parties in Blackburn in the late Eighties and early Nineties has already won acclaim at film festivals in Barcelona and Leeds, and with a bit of luck it will be touring around the UK next year. Keep an eye on the High on Hope off-yer-Facebook for more details.
In the meantime, here’s an exclusive interview with the film’s wobbly cinematographer, the visionary social historian and painfully shy local raver known at the time as Preston Bob – his real name is actually David Rostron – without whom High on Hope would simply not have been possible.
Nice one, David.
PIERS SANDERSON is a documentary filmmaker who has put together a feature-length film about the warehouse parties that took place in and around Blackburn in Lancashire from the end of the Eighties to the start of the Nineties.
As well as in-depth interviews with many of the people who organised and attended the Blackburn parties, High On Hope also features previously unseen footage shot in warehouses at the time.
Sanderson planned to release the film last year but ran into problems licensing the music used in the film. I got in touch with him via the High On Hope website and he agreed to answer a few questions about the project.