WRDMidlands Special

Oilroight, lads? How we doin’, cocka? Yow oilroight, mate? Gorrany Mitsibishi ecstasy E tablets gewin? How much, mate? Five powend? Five fuckin’ powend?! Fuck me, kidda, gew on then. We’ll have to call yow Five Powend Fred from now on, woe we, ya fuckin’ rob dog! Doe mind me, mate, I’m saft as a fuckin’ bag of grey pays ‘n’ bacon! Right then, he’s ya ackers, where’s me suck? Bostin’! Cheers, mate!

If you've ever been to ANY nightclub in Birmingham*, you've seen a young man with ten different hair styles on his greasy bleached-blonde head, wearing black labelled Adidas tracksuit bottoms and a pair of Kickers on his feet holding up a top half: untucked, lime green and red box-checked Ralf Loren shirt with bright white collar and cuffs, and a small hooped copper earring on the left side of his pock-marked, bum-fluffed face carry that very conversation, word for word, a million and one times – especially if you were frequenting Sundissential at Pulse, Q-Club and The Sanctuary between the years 1999 and 2003.

In the mid-nineties, before I was old enough to go out and experience it for myself, clubbing in Birmingham was great. Miss Moneypenny's was an exotic, glamorous, mythical, glamorous and exotic mirrored cave of excess and beauty. You could only get in if you were a Premiership footballer, a male model, a lady model or a lad called Simon Mobley in my year at school. Sundissential was, at the time, something new: a fresh, anything-goes Sunday afternoon alternative to the hand bag house being played out to the suits and dresses on a Saturday night...at Sundissential, they played hard bag. Chuff Chuff sounded like it was fucking brilliant and I'm losing steam now on why and how clubbing in Birmingham was good, but it definitely was, I think.

Today, clubbing in Birmingham feels very different to clubbing in London. It feels rougher. It feels a little unsure of itself. It feels like you’re still out clubbing in your late teens even when you’re a thirty three year old man in 2014 because you’re still surrounded by blokes in brightly coloured untucked fakes on the pull and you have to wear shoes to get into most of the bars in the city centre. There are exceptions though. There are places you can go.

Steer clear of the sick-stained pavements of Broad Street and reluctantly head towards Digbeth because that seems to be the only area where you can walk into a pub wearing trainers, holding a library book and order a pint of Black Country BFG without being laughed at by a gang of fat lads getting ready for Godskitchen. I say "reluctantly" because you might bump into my fifty six year old trendy dad who celebrated middle age a few years ago with a crisis, a divorce, a wardrobe trip to Urban Outfitters, a move to Kings Heath and a wedding to a younger bird in New York because it's "romantic in New York." How a place is romantic is beyond me. New York isn't romantic; what you do there is, and I know for a fact that all my dad did in New York was have his photo taken outside bars and Check In on Facebook all week. Anyway, my point is this: there are places to go in Brum where you won't end up being in a fight, watching a fight or having the shit kicked out of you for not fighting in a fight you were trying to watch, and I'll get to them in a bit.

Bakers and Stoodi Bakers used to be on Broad Street, Key Largo and Ministry of Sound Bar too. Those places were glitzy and fun and full of slappers, sluts, slags, dirties, open cockpits, easy dreamers, ginger West Bromwich Albion strikers and blokes who loved fighting. I had the opportunity to finger a pretty Indian woman in the Ministry of Sound Bar (circa 2000), and I took it. I never saw her again but I don't think it's because of my technique or the length of my middle finger. These days, the middle finger on my right hand is a little crooked. It's hairy, wrinkled and dry around the joint that separates the intermediate and proximal phalange. It's slightly fatter today than it was during the Millennium. Back then, my middle fingers were like scaled down human javelins; sleek and ready to be thrown into various grassy mud holes up and down the back streets of Brindley Place. They were slim and sturdy, not crooked in any way, and only the ghosts of a hairy future were visible. I fucking hate the passing of time.

I once stood upright and proud on the Bakers dance floor, waving my twiggy arms around behind my sister's head and gurning as June Sarpong hopped on a podium and screamed, "SEE YOU AFTER THE BREAK" to the MTV Dancefloor Chart camera crew. The amount of glittered crop-tops, whizz, Smirnoff Ice and furry boots. The amount. Fuck me. I've still got this episode taped on video, and when I get around to popping into Snappy Snaps, converting it to DVD and disguising every shot of my face with that Tonka shepherd picture, I'll put it on YouTube.

House of God has lived through the nineties, the noughties and is still plodding on through the tens and teens. House of God is different. House of God is good. HoG celebrated Halloween last week with a party at Tunnel Club where, I heard, Paul Birken, Surgeon, Terry Donovan, Jinx, Slobodan, DJ X, Deadbeat, Grindi, Stacked and Sir Real all played sets that incorporated the following genres: techno, drums and bass, jungle, beats, bass and happy room. Apparently, it was fucking brilliant...and I'm not just saying that because I've become friendly with the people who run it on Facebook and Twitter.

House of God is ramma jamma full of clued-up industrial techno kids in their late twenties and ravers from ‘Generation Rave Late 1980s and Early 90s’ who are probably in their early sixties now. One wrinkled-up dread-locked Mad Max-type bloke I met at their 20th birthday party was stomping around with his twenty six year old daughter! He was pushing a bottle of poppers up her nose and letting her lick drug powder off the back of his house key. It made me feel sad on the one hand and really happy on the other because although I knew that what I’d witnessed was a gross mishandling of the traditional father/daughter relationship, they’d let me sniff from their bottle of Liquid Gold for the last thirty or forty minutes.

Atomic Jam is a bit like House of God, I think. Their parties are rare, but very well done, like a confused steak...and I'm not just saying that because I've become friendly with the people who run it on Facebook and Twitter. I've never been there before but they've got a long history of booking Dave Clarke so they must be alright. And Jeff Mills. I’m going for the first time on Friday 14 November with Micky John and Draper. I’ll be signing copies of the Weekly Review of Dance Music for most of the night before hitting the (dance) floor (with my feet) for the last couple of hours.

I'll be signing copies of the Weekly Review of Dance Music on the side of the dance floor whilst He/aT, Ø [Phase] Stephanie Sykes and Dave Clarke enhance the spectacle by providing a background soundtrack of birthday-themed techno songs to a clued-up Brummie crowd. I can't wait. The promoters have already bought a little trestle table and mock-up posters of me climbing Mount Everest with an Atomic Jam flag strapped to my back. By way of a trade off for helping me promote WRDM outside of London, I'm providing He/aT with the MASSIVEST platform to showcase his talents; fuck the time he played Berghain, next week He/aT will be the subject of next week's MASSIVE QUESTIONS next week.

Atomic Jam are that good that they're giving themselves TWO birthday parties! The first one, next week, sold out in about twenty seconds, so they're doing another one on the 23 January 2015. Friend of a very dear friend, Truss, will be DJing with his brother along with Shifted, He/aT (again) and Stephanie Sykes (again). Maybe I'll make it, maybe I won't...it all hinges on how many page views, Twitter Followers and Facebook Likes I can farm from Birmingham after next week's promotional exercise.

In summary then, clubbing in the midlands used to be fucking brilliant, and maybe it still is, I don't know. I haven't got a fucking clue, and that's the point of this week's post. They haven't got Miss Moneypenny's anymore. If you have a look at the Sundissential Facebook page lately, you'll see that the whole operation is a fucking shambles now - they need Madders back, urgently. Nobody cares about Godskitchen. The less said about Gatecrasher the better. So, correct me if I'm wrong, but it feels like there are only two decent nights left in Birmingham: House of God and Atomic Jam, and they're both about twenty years old! I hope I'm wrong because, although I'll never move back and live there again, I do wish my old city well...and if I have to keep alternating between two aging techno nights every time I come up and visit it's a sad state of affairs. Very fucking sad.

Please let me know if there is anything else good happening in Birmingham club-wise and I'll happily shine a light.

I'll be back next Tuesday with MASSIVE QUESTIONS with He/aT, loads more Hilarious Lookalikes, loads of free promotion for things I like, a brand new Remix of the Week, MASSIVE QUESTIONS with Anne Savage, PEER to PEER with Andrew Ryce, Tonka's Week on Ran$om Note, my exposé into the murky goings on at a famous online dance distributor and an in depth look at the ongoing Musical Bingo war in London and a wonderful PEER to PEER with Kate Hutchinson when she gets around to sending back her answers back to me.

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*I can’t speak for every nightclub in Birmingham because, before I fucked off to London in 2004, I was so one-eyed when it came to clubbing I really did ONLY go to Sundissential (and the affiliated seasonal Tidy Trax parties at Wolverhampton’s Mezzanine) and almost got the ‘boy and girl’ symbol tattooed across the skin above my heart. At the age of nineteen, I gave up Catholicism and adopted Sundissentialsim; with Madders as my God, Nick Rafferty as my Jesus, Lisa Lashes as my Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Paul Glazby as my Joseph, the Tidy Boys as two of my shepherds, Ian M as one of the other shepherds, Fergie as my Judas, Tony De Vit as my Angel Gabriel, the Brain Bashers as my Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist, Andy Farley as my Luke the Apostle, the 12” Thumpers as my Pontius Pilate and Herod the Great and Pulse, Q-Club and The Sanctuary as my St. Paul’s Cathedral, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris and The Annunciation of Our Lady on the Yew Tree Estate in Walsall.