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The last record on the turntable
The Hacienda in Manchester went from coaxing black-clad students through its doors with a free drink and 50p entry to being packed to the rafters with dayglo-clad sweating bodies in the blink of an eye. For those of us around at the time, the scene went from watching bands to electronic pulses in the space of a heartbeat. The reason? The inexorable rise of house music, superstar DJs and the party lifestyle that went with it.
Mill End-born club manager Chris Good fondly remembers the halcyon days of the megaclub in his documentary, One More – A Definitive History of UK Clubbing, 1988-2008.
“Two and a half years ago, my friend Andrew Wallace and I were at a barbecue,“ explains Chris. “Being a bit older than me, he used to take me and my brother to clubs when I was about 15. We got chatting and thought it would be good to find out the last record played at all the major clubs before they shut down, and the project went from there.“
Chris attended St Peter’s Junior School in Mill End and Rickmansworth School where he played rugby for Hertfordshire and football for Middlesex.
After he left school, he was offered an apprenticeship at Brentford FC but on the advice of his parents turned it down to study film and TV at West Herts College.
On graduating, aged 16, Chris was signed to play for Brentford FC, by Arsenal legend Frank McLintock, but never made the first team. His fortunes dwindled under Tottenham star Steve Perryman and he was released from his contract after three years.
Chris went on to play for St Albans before breaking an ankle, which put paid to his life on the turf. After working as a runner in Soho for a spell and being made redundant from John Cleese’s film company, Chris used his payout to buy a couple of decks. After working as a doorman, he make his DJ debut in Soho in 1995.
“Eventually I got a warm-up spot at the revered Velvet Underground and ended up staying there for five years,“ says Chris.
“Then I was asked to help open Area in Watford and stayed there for seven years. That was a brilliant thing, getting 700 clubbers in Area on a Saturday night. It undeniably changed that end of the high street, there was a real boom with lots of bars opening. Boy George and Howard Donald from Take That said it was one of their favourite clubs.“
Now managing Vanilla in Windsor, Chris also finds time to DJ in Ibiza, Norway and Russia.
One More recounts the brightest and best of the country’s nightclubs such as Venus, Escape and Golden. There is commentary from leading lights such as Norman Cook, Graeme Park and Jeremy Healy and the film is presented by one of the most legendary and notorious of the club DJs, Brandon Block.
Brandon started spinning discs at the John Lyon pub near his home in Wembley, aged 15, and went on be the toast of the Ibiza set.
“The first year in Space on the Terrace in Ibiza in 1991 was just amazing,“ says Brandon. “For any DJ just to play there was unbelievable. There were lots of great clubs, the Foo Bar, Milk Bar, Clockwork Orange and Spectrum. I think the documentary would appeal to the people who were there, they were such big names in their day – Moneypenny’s was always a winner for me.“
Brandon’s rise and fall is documented in The Life and Lines Of Brandon Block by music writer Matt Trollope, who has also created a book to accompany the One More DVD release. His now legendary skirmish with Ronnie Wood at the Brits Awards in 2000 at the height of his excessive behaviour is all in the past.
“The way I see it, it was a bit of fun. I thought I’d won an award, said my bit and then went off stage, he called me the ‘c’ word and that prompted me to come back and represent myself.“
One More DVD and book release is on February 27. Details: www.1more.co.uk