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’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.