POSTCARDS FROM 88… Paul Staines

There’s no doubt that the summer of 1988 marked a watershed moment in the history of dance, as the house rhythms of Chicago, artistic exuberance of Ibiza, and electronic soundscapes of Detroit surged through club culture. Acid house had arrived.

With this in mind, 909originals presents ‘Postcards from 88’, a series that sees leading DJs, promoters, journalists, club owners, photographers, and of course the clubbers themselves, shed some light on just what went on during those halcyon days, 30 years ago.

This week’s ‘Postcards from 88’ features an individual who, as a prominent member of the Sunrise collective, helped organise raves and acid house parties in the late 80s, as well as the legendary Freedom To Party rallies in London.

More recently, he has been perhaps better known as Guido Fawkes, political blogger and rabble rouser… Paul Staines.

Q. Do you remember what you were doing as the Summer of 1988 started?

Working in politics in Westminster.

Q. When or where did you first realise that ‘something different’ was happening with music, particularly dance/club music?

When Tony Colston-Hayter invited me to Apocalypse Now at Lee Studios. This was like nothing I had been to before.

Apocalypse Now was in an all-white studio where they filmed pop videos, so there were no corners – handy when you have just done your first E and acid trip! As I recall the sound was early Detroit house – though I would not have known it at the time.

The production was better than I had hitherto experienced in a nightclub – lasers, smoke machines – at one point I think I transubstantiated into an actual wisp of smoke.

Most of my raving was in dodgy venues, but I went to Shoom a couple of times, as well as some gay clubs like Turnmills because they were early adopters. The Embassy had a good night which the upmarket clientele didn’t really understand. I loved Carwash, which was hot and steamy. Had a mad night at Labyrinth – never to be repeated.

After Sunrise, we promoted nights at The Park in Kensington, where I’d often end up mangled in the VIP room.

Q. Was there a particular tune from the Summer of 1988 that stood out for you? Why?

Derrick May – Strings Of The Strings Of Life is still one of my favourite tunes. It just reminds me of driving to raves, smoking a spliff, coming down.

Q. Why do you think that people are still so interested in the origins of the dance scene, old school and everything that goes with it?

Because we had unforgettable experiences that made deep impressions on us, on our psyches and our souls.

Q. If the ‘you’ from 1988 could give the ‘you’ from 2018 a piece of music-related advice, what would it be?

Talk to more girls.

[Thanks to Paul for this week’s interview. Kudos to derwall2005 for the YouTube upload. Postcards from 88 continues next week. Check out the other interviews in the series by clicking here]

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