10. Trent House Beach Party 1986
The Beach Hustle
Probably the greatest underground party ever to come out of this City & certainly the peak of our DIY party activity was the 1986 Trent House Beach Party.
(Editor’s note: The iconic, original, Beach Party invite artwork, as drawn by Chris Viz in 1986, has aged well, becoming an accepted part of Newcastle’s social history…
… In 2009 it was put on public exhibition & displayed in the Discovery Museum, then toured all other major museums in the region).
This was a proper epic event & topped 700 people, with marquees, 3 pool tables, generators, space invader machines, food, beer, sound system etc., etc., etc.
That’s the level we took all this to.
Nothing even vaguely on this ‘Pop Up City on a Beach’ type tip, had ever taken place before.
It was on such a grand scale & just so, so, cheeky, that the authorities would never have even believed, that we would try to pull off something that elaborate…
(Editor’s note: This is the corner of the Original Beach Party poster, that you can see in an image further down, taken in the Trent back in the day).
Party..? Flippin’ hyperspace more like..!
We trucked all the gear up there in a top secret operation & assembled it on the beach, just for the one beautiful Summer’s night. The site was in a natural amphitheatre between the dunes, at Duridge Bay, way up in Northumberland.
Everyone was on it & all met in the Trent, where we’d booked a fleet of coaches to arrive & bus them all up to the coast. We also had coaches come down from Scotland too.
We’d popped up in the afternoon, so we could give the farmer, with the land nearest the bit of beach where we planned to party, a yarn about a get together for a few pals.
(Editor’s note: Cue sound of noses growing…)
We also gave him a bottle of whiskey to (hopefully) knock him out. We’d seen him,, when we were casing it all out in advance & had clocked his big red conk.
Sure sign of a fellow who likes a drop of the sauce, we thought & we were right. Worked a treat & we didn’t hear a peep out of him all night.
As the sun came up a game of footie took off, which must have been 100 a side on the beach, with crazy dogs running around, all woofing like mad in there too. It was absolutely magical!
Many of the tunes played at the Beach Party are still played in the Club today & it is as a direct result of our involvement in events like this, that the World Headquarters Club you see today exists.
One that really sticks in the memory from that night & still rocks dance floors full of young, fresh-faces kids today, is Wayne Smith’s Under Me Sleng Teng. Classic, classic, memories…
(Editor’s note: ‘Green Beret’ video game in ’86, was the height of entertainment technology, at a time when Liberto Chinos & fly Italian shirts were the Soul Boy uniform of choice…)
This was an absolutely insanely good party & the tune of the night, as dawn broke over the dunes was Daylight, by the outstanding Soul legend, Mr Bobby Womack.
(Editor’s note: in 2013 our Resident Dj bumped into Bobby in the Holiday Inn, Camden, when he was playing two shows at the Jazz Cafe, shortly before he passed…
His parting words were… ‘I always make time for people who make time for me’ – Bobby Womack, a true Legend).
The Beach High
By the time the cops eventually cottoned on, it was the next day & we were long gone…
Disappeared in a puff of smoke, taking our 5 a side goals, all our rubbish, plus our 700, weary, happy chums with us. It was like a mad, best ever dream & everyone felt it that night.
We had rocked the underground in an earth shattering fashion, whilst all the time (paradoxically) riding our luck, like a mechanical rodeo bull, in a cheap 80’s Bigg market superpub… Ha!
At this point you have to take on board just where we now sat in the underground scene. We were at the very top, we were the absolute, must know guys.
We’d been able to persuade 700 people to attend this event (based on our friendships with them & reputation) & all get tickets in advance, when not one of them had any idea where we were gonna even take them…
We didn’t have security, because we didn’t need security. This was a Trent party, everyone already knew what that meant & just got along with one another. It was the polar opposite of what went on in the city center at the time…
Really great fun, amazing happy memories & total utter harmony – It really was just that simple.
That was a proper do & it planted the seed in us. We knew that if we could realise an event as complex as the Beach Party, then surely we had the skills & could muster enough support, to legitimise this kinda caper, in the real world.
We dreamed of building some kind of permanent, legal & legitimate scene for us to party in. Somewhere like a proper Club, where we could expand our multiracial Trent groove, that people seemed so up for.
So we began to focus on working in Clubs, playing records at night once the Bar shut. Avoiding all the mainstream places & always doing it on our own terms – To see what crazy places that might lead us…
The Dawn of Rave Culture
This was just as well, as the sudden arrival of designer Club drugs a couple of years later, blew the whole 80s outdoor scene apart & all but killed off any opportunities to do the kind of safe, cool, fun, underground parties we had pioneered.
The rise of pills attracted a different crowd…
Once the 90’s dawned, charvers & gangsters poured into the scene & all the credibility, innocence & merit, in doing underground party activity was lost…
Pop! Just like that..!
It became one big hassle, then kinda petered out, to be replaced by Raves & all the other pantomime stuff & nonsense that came with them.
We’d been there, done it & got the T shirt, way before all those daft Gibbons discovered that a scene like that was even possible. More to the point, it wasn’t cool anymore – so we binned it.
Time to stop scurrying about on beaches like outlaws & go back to the city & change that instead…