29. The World Headquarters Prepares to open 1993
We initially shut the premises for a few months while we plotted & schemed. Then we reopened it in Summer 1993 under a new name, The World Headquarters.
We had proper self belief, real confidence & we had a new plan – Based on everything, everywhere we had ever played had taught us. About music, atmosphere, security, but most of all… How not to run a Club.
We didn’t court the media & had allowed the venue to drop off the radar while it had been closed. We kept our mouths shut too. These were still dangerous times.
We then started to build it through our friends, on a handshake, from the bottom up…
We always wanted to offer something that was outside the mainstream & we reckoned the only way to do that was to build a viable, credible, cosmopolitan alternative to it.
That alternative had to exist totally on its own terms, totally separate from the rest of the city’s scene & that fact had to be clearly relayed to people.
That way they would know that the Club was different, special & always there as an alternative to mainstream twaddle, if they wanted it.
Obviously it also needed to be safe, commercially successful, musically on & it had to be good fun to be a part of.
Why World Headquarters..?
We came up with the name World Headquarters as we thought it sounded ridiculous, bearing in mind just how small the building it was in, actually was.
It was really just a tiny terraced house, but the name made it sound like a massive thing, which the idea behind it is.
Sort of like the World Famous Trent House hustle, that we broke down for you, way back in the yarn.
We felt that it reflected the musical remit of what we had planned & also we thought it just sounded kinda cool. From the minute we came up with it, we knew it was a total winner – A bomb name.
Planning to make it secure
The first problem was dealing with some of the more extreme radgies who had frequented the place towards the last days of Afrika.
By closing it for 3 months they all drifted away. We also concocted an illusion around the membership system, advertising on flyers that the police were going to vet all members (which was nonsense).
It was amazing how those two simple plans shifted all the undesirables as if by magic…
Just like that..!
We changed the layout as well to make it more Clubby, moving the bar & DJ booth until we were happy with the layout & felt it worked well.
Steve Caulker, who had run the door at the Riverside Club for years came on board, bringing with him a young guy called Dave to work the door
(Yes chums, that is the same Dave who still runs all our security today & yet another fine example, of that old WHQ continuity!)
We were now almost ready & spread the word to people, that it was finally on…
We put all of the vast experience we had accumulated to date into it & were 100% confident it would work. By this point failure didn’t even occur to us…
The consumer demand WHQ has now created in 2019, was not there on anything like the same scale, back then in 1993 when it first opened.
The Club’s initial market was just us & our close friends. Realistically all we did at first, was start to run a regular party for those friends & it just kinda grew beyond our wildest dreams.
The plan was to rely on the fact that playing great records & being friendly, genuine & having integrity, really would be enough & would cause our friends to recommend the Club to other people.
So, we kept the door super, super tight & built it slowly, inviting friends, who in turn invited friends of friends & friends of friends & the word just spread.
We based the entire thing around the music, our friends & the fact we were gonna keep it completely drug, charver & trouble free. We believed in ourselves & gave it time.
Here is a picture of our first ever flyer from 1993, in which we spelt out the groove we opened with, which we have stuck to & still operate World Headquarters by today. Give it a click & it’ll enlarge…
Sticking to that plan from day one & ignoring all commercial pressures & city trends, allowed us to carve out our little niche, that organically grew over time, simply through word of mouth.
Why this had to happen…
Most Nightclubs open for commercial reasons, WHQ always whilst a proper business, didn’t really develop from that type of commercial standpoint.
To escape the Club violence & druggie madness of the early 90’s we had to start our own place. We didn’t have an option if we wanted to keep moving forward, stay playing our music & carve out a chance to effect the city in a positive way.
Things had to change & we wanted that…
World Headquarters came from the soul & was created out of necessity, because there was nowhere else to go that would cater to the stuff & diversity that we were into.
When we say that we don’t just mean musically, we also mean that in terms of ethos, politics & the fact we didn’t want ourselves, or our friends to ever get our heads kicked in, or to be stabbed on a night out.
We just wanted a place anyone, from anywhere in the world would feel welcome – A place we could control, so we weren’t at the mercy of crazy doormen & all the radgies on the early 90s drug scene anymore…
Just that one chance to shine & to have great tunes, that was all we had ever wanted. From day one World HQ had a really all inclusive feel.
We knew now this was that chance & if we just remembered all we had learnt & stuck totally to our plans, this could really take off…