Revisiting The Dance(teria)

A couple of weeks ago the confirmation came through that over Easter Bank Holiday this year we would be playing a Pop Up Party in Brighton called Danceteria in conjunction with Wild Fruit and DSD

OK, it's always a very special honour to be asked to play for other party hosts but what makes this one just that little bit more important is that for many years now playing music on the "gay scene" hasn't been something that has presented itself to me and to some degree Affy as well

To put things in to context, Wild Fruit run by Paul Kemp is the countries largest promoter on the scene whilst DSD are resident DJ Queen Josephine plus Kate Wildblood from Sundae Sundae who have been stalwarts of regular parties in Brighton for a very long time

Naturally this is a big booking for us both as well as one that feels exciting and challenging in equal measures from the perspective of being guest djs due to the reputation and history that follows our hosts Paul, Kate and Jo

The remit that comes with the Danceteria party is clear as in going back to it's original roots which I believe to be something along the lines of music from New York be it house or disco, right up our street then !

Affy has a great appreciation of what to do however not having been to many things Paul, Kate or Jo have been part of putting on over the years leaves me a little uneducated on what to expect from the crowd

Not a bad thing but a challenge none the less

Saying that both promotions we've team up with are exclusively gay nights would be wrong as they are both generally mixed affairs with a strong gay following. However, going into this environment for me at least has bought back some fond memories of days gone by as a dj whilst at the same time driven me to think about a different environment than the usual ones that I'll be playing in over this coming Easter weekend

16 years go whilst living in another part of the country I was fortunate enough to of been invited to play for a party called The Recovery Session which was a mixed Sunday gathering in a gay venue where I lived which had been adopted by our local club community in the middle of the 90's House Music boom in the UK

I became one of the resident djs at The Recovery Session after a chance meeting one night on a club dancefloor lead a friend namely Dave who I shared a house with and myself  taking up the invitation of meeting our new friend Margaret from the night before after her invite to come out and party the following day at this great Sunday party she regularly went to

Both Dave and myself hadn't had much if any exposure to gay clubs and in particular anyone gay for that matter,  however unbeknown to us we ventured along to meet our new friend (soon to become Dave's girlfriend) at the agreed location and time

As two wet behind the ears twenty somethings Dave and I were definitely in for a shock when finally arriving to meet Margaret we found that a) there were few females in the venue and b) our new female friend wasn't anywhere to be found

We waited a few minutes and then hastily turned tail deciding that this place wasn't for us, leaving slightly disappointed and also genuinely alarmed that we were exposed to something not really in keeping with our then macho ideas and aspirations as British Servicemen

Around an hour after getting home and going over what we had seen or not as the case was, Margaret  phoned up to tell Dave she was there waiting and that we should come back

We both declined and decided to take a rain check with the idea that we wouldn't be going back in any particular hurry

The following week Dave and Margaret started regular phone conversations as new lovers do and both Dave and I decided to drop our macho stance on such matters relating to gay people and their haunts and gave the venue another go all be it with some trepidation and reserve

The same scene greeted us upon arrival once again, primarily men dancing everywhere this time though with a few more girls getting in on the mid afternoon dancing action

Looking across the venue through the mid afterroon haze we saw Margaret beaming from ear to ear with the pleasure of seeing us both finally taking a little leap of faith upon entering this new world she was keen to share with us

Any preconceptions that both Dave and I had quickly vanished as we were both greeted with enthusiasm by many of Margaret's friends who came from all sides of the sexual divide and who would in time become friends of both Dave and myself for years to come thereafter

I became one of the resident djs soon after that first visit to The Recovery Session thanks to Margaret and my new dj partner Ant, this now meant I got to know even more people and that was it, my first and sadly last experience of djing in a predominately gay venue for many years

The Recovery Session finally came to a rapid end after a Police Raid in June 1997 and moved to a new location for it's Sunday gatherings but it wasn't the same as the inherent party spirit connected to the venue and the people was broken beyond repair

Dave and Margaret sadly split up after a few months, I dated a girl from that scene but she wasn't for Me and I eventually learnt about humility after nearly going down a path of self importance by mistake (thanks Dave and Kay his new girlfriend for putting me straight on a few things)

Musically speaking I ditched the whole party thing and got into deep house and more black influenced music including funk and breaks with friends that I had met through that whole experience at The Recovery Sessions

Many friendships have been built and some sadly lost over the course of time but they all came about through my first venture into a world not usually experienced by myself all those years ago on the gay scene where I lived

See You on Easter Sunday for The Danceteria, good times and more lessons in life as a dj await once again years later maybe ?

Written with fondest memories of Margaret who is sadly no longer with us (this had bought it all back)
With special thanks and love to Dave, Larry, Karl, Yvette, Abby, Steve and Ant plus all the people from that time and space (you are not forgotten)


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