One of the good things about having been buying records for a long time is that you amass what can only be described as a library (one of the bad things is of course that records end up everywhere, your greed conspicuous). Tons of stuff that has been filed away and not listened to in years. Decades. When my copy Graham Smith`s book “We Can Be Heroes” arrived earlier this year, the London club playlists included sent me back to the library. While reading the book, I wanted to hear the soundtrack to the nights that Graham photographed and that Chris Sullivan describes. I also wanted to hear how that soundtrack changed over time, if any tracks remained constants, and if its evolution were “logical”. To see if a musical course from The Blitz to Acid House could be traced. The scientist, the dry academic, in me still performing experiments. Of sorts. If you want to see how the fashions changed, buy the book.
We`ll use Graham and Chris` book as a starting point, and I hope they don`t mind, but if the experiment proves interesting it would be great to take it further. The Electric Ballroom, The Africa Centre, Demob, Raw, and Dingwalls. Maybe if we can keep the momentum we could do the House, the Balearic, and see how they have changed. Thinking now, it would also be amazing to do a similar thing for Tokyo`s nightlife. I am a little obsessed with the time that I missed. The time of Yellow, and Blue and UFO`s residencies. To me that was the original Tokyo Balearic. Anyone with playlists, contacts and stories, please get in touch.
Paul and Tim did The Blitz a little while ago http://testpressing.org/2011/09/blitz-playlist-mixes/ , so I am gonna begin with St. Moritz, which I have to stress is a bit of an oddball. Hosted by Chris Sullivan and Steven Mahoney, with Graham Smith and Robert Elms DJing, it was a reaction to the angular, metallic future presented by The Blitz. Still imagining a decadent Berlin, only this time not Iggy and Bowie`s Cold War bunker, but the between the wars lost generation of Christopher Isherwood`s voyeurism. St. Moritz only ran for three months in 1980, but even so, the mix of Jazz and show tunes continued to an extent right through, at least, until the Dingwalls sessions in the late 80s early 90s. Something like “House Of Bamboo”, maybe not the Earl Grant, but definitely the Andy Williams version, still being played. While listening, please try to remember that LSD was pretty much a constant (cheap, effects lasting all night) on the London club scene throughout the 80s.
All photographs copyright of Graham Smith. “We Can Be Heroes” is published by Unbound and contains some amazing examples of Graham`s work, text by Chris Sullivan and the full club playlists on which this series is based.