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190 / London Club Playlists / 002 / Hell

St Moritz closes, possibly due to the influence of Soho`s nefarious underworld, possibly because it had served its purpose, in providing a musical alternative to The Blitz. Steve Strange and Rusty Egan acknowledge the competition, and everyone joins forces, briefly, in a themed (and mural-ed) club called Hell.

Hosted for six months in 1980, by Steve Strange and Chris Sullivan, with Sullivan and Rusty Egan DJing. The music a barmy mix of St Moritz`s show tunes, 50s Rock and Roll, 70s Funk & Disco, and a touch of the mutant emerging on Ze. Accompanied by fireworks in the basement and dancing around the graveyard out back. Hot Gossip on Black Star Liners cavorting amidst the tombstones to Cerrone`s “Supernature” in a Dionysian Bacchanal. Marilyn Monroe`s “Heatwave” gets a rewind (not included here? I didn`t think you needed to hear it twice). Elvis does the Bossa Nova. For me, a track that brings back fond memories of drinking strong lager til I could hardly stand while Rocky & Diesel spun at the early days of The Heavenly Social on Great Portland Street.

T-Connection`s “Do What You Wanna Do” must have been a staple on every scene since its release in 1977. Sullivan references The Lacy Lady, but later it was also a London Balearic mainstay. I can keenly recall it being played alongside the then modern sounds of (shit like) Mombassa`s “Cry Freedom” when I DJed in a barn somewhere out West with Ronnie Turner. Sullivan playing it at Hell clearly had some impact on Egan, since he covered it in an Electro style as The Cage (included on this excellent compilation with interesting sleeve notes). Nina Hagen`s “African Reggae” is a classic from the boxes of legends, from Larry Levan to Alfredo Fiorito.

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.

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