Trade – The All Night Bender (Documentary)

Here’s something interesting to watch: a 1997 Channel 4 documentary about Trade, the infamous gay after-hours club night that used to run from 4am to mid-day (and beyond!) at Turnmills in Clerkenwell. As far as the development of the UK’s hard dance scene goes, Trade was probably one of the most important clubs, if not the most important – it’s dj resident roster, including Steve Thomas, Ian M, Pete Wardman, and, of course, the almighty Tony de Vit, was pretty much a who’s who of crucial figures in the development of hard house. I never went personally (I’m straight and at the time I was into the acid/hard trance sound being pioneered at nights like Pendragon and Escape From Samsara), but Trade’s musical influence is hard to overstate. So from that perspective this is a fascinating look behind the scenes of one of London’s most important ever clubs, as well as being an interesting time capsule to 15 years ago, which, although it doesn’t really seem that long ago, kind of is.

In particular it’s quite amazing to think how quickly the popular acceptance of homosexuality has advanced over that time!

The documentary of course covers the scenes at Turnmills, but also shows the Trade tent at Gay Pride, as well as Trade’s tour events in South Africa and Mallorca. Plus the documentary also includes interviews with Trade clubbers, such as the gay fireman who celebrates his marriage to his (straight, female) best friend with a night out at Trade, and a couple hoping that the New Labour government would give the South African half the right to stay in the country, plus a few younger guys, including a teenage boy from working-class Braintree, Essex, who is struggling to come to terms with being gay. Needless to say, the documentary also features some vintage killer tunes, including ‘Underrave’ by The Disciples and ‘Let’s Rock’ by E-Trax. How often have tunes like that gotten an airing on British television?!?

A must watch!

Other Trade stuff to check out if you’re interested in finding out more:

Andy Farley talks Trade – An interview with legendary Brummie hard house dj Andy Farley about his memories of Trade as a punter and dj
Andy Farley’s Trade Memories and Andy Farley’s Trade Memories 2 – Two amazing sets of tribute mixes to Trade by Andy Farley, each containing eight (!) full-length mixes, building from funky US house through to pounding nu-nrg. Over 16 hours of incredible music. Don’t miss out!
Us Boys Together Clinging: One Night in a Gay Club – 1994 feature about Trade from Gay Times, reproduced on the DJHistory.com site. An excellent read!