History & Culture

Club Afrika in the 90s

Time for another rapid exit

After the joys & lesson of our enlightening little Scottish jaunt, we were no longer willing to risk our lives for nonsense. This meant that we now fell out with the management at Club Afrika, as by 1992 they just couldn’t manage the door security.

The management were really out of touch & in a naïve attempt to help control who came in, at one point placed a blanket ban on all trainers & sportswear.

Ha! Bet spying these take a few of you back in time..? The dope, must-have, dancing shoe of the day for sure, so banning them was the daftest possible idea.

Trainers were all many dancers wore back then (including us) & that silly notion, that what people wear, can be somehow be equated to how violent a ruffneck they may, or may not be, has always been bogus.

Never really liked the hi-tops, but these days Travel Fox are revered as an iconic, Old-Skool, classic brand.

It was quite funny initially though, as all the girls we knew dressed up all fancy for a week or so, then grumbled on about it. Eventually people just started to get pissed off with it all & stopped coming.

One quick click of those posh heels & all the fly girls were gone.

With almost zero control over who was & wasn't allowed in, many of the people who were down with us had just stopped feeling safe there.

By this point, we'd have happily settled for a Club full of Goths instead - it was that bad.

The no trainers thing (obviously) didn't work & was eventually backed down on. The damage was already done though & it wasn't long before the regular, friendly crowd started to thin out & the vibe of the people who did come deteriorated even further. 

It honestly got to the point where people were threatening us with knives as we played tunes & were quite literally bringing in Pit Bull dogs & sitting them on the bar…

Hoo Man..! Ha yee got knee rave...?!!

Honestly, it was totally out of control & after witnessing a particularly spectacular beating in there (which left us covered in blood as we tried to protect the victim) we left.

Not sure of the language on these labels, but have it on good authourity that indeed, these are in fact 'Claret' & thus, both accurate & topical.

Foolishly, we returned months later for a short while, as they got desperate, promising us proper security & double the money to play there again.

Rapid exit #2

Big mistake, as it was the exact same deal with the security, so we left yet again. We’d seen this caper all before & it just wasn’t worth the hassle for any wage packet.

We were all about the music, so we'd only fight if we had to & for stuff we believed in. We reckoned ending up fighting because a venue's door policy was insecure, was inexcusable if we could see that coming in advance. Common sense innit..?

Madonna who used to the door till in Afrika. Her catchphrase was - 'Whaaat do you mean!!'

Where it left us

Strangely, the plus side was actually quite considerable, as we got Gus Gill, who was hands down, the absolute star of Afrika, to leave with us & join our team working at the at the Trent.

Gus was amazing, a 63 year old Trinidadian charmer & a realistic contender for the title of 'funniest man alive.' A total one-off & the kind of engaging, almost unbelievably unique character, that you'd be outstandingly lucky to meet - if only once in a lifetime.

His catch phrase was... 'My darling, your eyes are like two spoonfuls of the Pacific...'

We are smiling broadly now, just writing these few words, as we recall that wonderful, beautiful man.

So that was the good news.

Mr. Augustine Cameron Mckenzie Gill - RIP Beautiful Brother.

But by now Club drugs were big business & violence on Club doors all over the region, was on the rise again.

Some of the things we saw go down in some places we worked, were well dodge & we knew that we really needed to desperately push for a Club of our own now, asap.

We saw stuff go down in those days, that you never want to see go down in a Club.

We couldn’t keep putting our name to random places we didn’t control & we didn’t want to be associated with violence & the actions of out of control, steroid addled Doormen, over zealous plod, or understaffed, out of control Nightclubs.

Wise advice - so we took it & split.

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