You thought we were going to leave it without paying tribute to Plastic People? No chance: Boiler Room and Plastic People are close relations, they exist in the same cultural space, and practically every member of Boiler Room’s London team has a formative memory of losing themselves on that dark dancefloor, even if just the once. As such, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Boiler Room would be a very different beast if it weren’t for Plastic People.
Plastic People inspired us all because it represented a steadfast refusal to believe that culture could be reduced to interchangeable “content”, and an insistence that for all the speed and delocalisation of the internet era, the reality of bodies moving together in time and space was still vital. The nights that took place there were universally about music with deep roots and immediate impact, about scenes that are true networks of friends not just people adhering to sound and style codes, and about the pursuit of sheer quality of experience rather than any perceived notion of “cool”.
And no one person owned that ethos. Of course the club’s founder Ade Fakile must take huge credit and our eternal gratitude, as must the DJs and promoters who kept the sound flowing – but Plastic People WAS its people: it was the crowd, it was the staff, everyone was a superstar, and the club’s influence extended out of its doors and into the lives of everyone who really experienced what it was about. Over in our special feature, Melissa Bradshaw digs deep into what it was all about, but it wouldn’t be a proper tribute without bringing in as many voices as we possibly can, so here is what we can fairly call an outpouring of affection from a whole crowd of the people who made the place what it was, together with untold musical memories and even detailed playlists. Get yourself a cuppa and revel in the love they’re showing.
Harri (PP’s first resident DJ and currently Subculture [Sub Club] resident):
“On arrival, I was usually furnished with my herbal medication by Turkish John. There was always a long queue before the club opened (usually late) and a busy dancefloor within minutes of the doors opening. Loads of really colourful characters from all over the world, including the staff. Lots of them became friends and are still involved in music to this day. There was always the odd celebrity, and loads of the guest DJs that have gone on to be big names. Ultimately, Ade’s singleminded vision and the amazing, enthusiastic punters were what kept it going. I flew down from Glasgow every Friday evening and back to Glasgow on the Saturday afternoon to do the Sub Club, and I loved every minute of it.”
Ben V (CDR / SHOOK mag / Chimurenga):
“Ali Augur’s illustrated flyers and enthusiasm from a piano-playing friend first drew me to Plastics. 12, 13 years on, the many nights of listening, dancing, in the “active darkness” of the house that Ade built have been, wow, so much. We’ve experienced a way for how a club (and connected community) can be. Quality of sound plus freedom of selection. Greeted at the door with smiles and gladness (special shout to stalwarts Barry and Winston). Family tings.
“It’s staggering to think of all the music played, heard, at Plastics. Teachings from master selectors including Abdul Forsyth (Ade’s alias), Tony Nwachukwu, Theo Parrish, Floating Points, the Nonsense crew… a lot! Massive thanks and respect to all who helped make Plastic People a second home and some. Viva! See you(s) in the dance.”
Daz-I-Kue (producer / DJ / promoter Co-Op):
“Oooooh… wonderful. There are so much memories. One that stands out when I was spinning a set that night and Questlove came through. I was playing an exclusive dub of Sister Sledge “We Are Family” I just finished. The crowd reaction was phenomenal as always, but what made it special for me was when Quest came up to me asking me who did that mix and when I told him was me and he enthusiastically sang my praises, I felt so chuffed. Apparently it was his favourite club and he came through every time he was in London. Another was when I would see Fatima all the time at Co-Op and I would jokingly ask her “where’s your CD at?” when she would tell me she was a singer. And look at her now… so proud of her and the Floating Points crew. Were supporters and family from the beginning, and that’s because of Plastic People.”
Eric Lau (producer / DJ / promoter):
“Plastic People was the only music school I ever attended. Every time I went there I learnt something from a Master. The first presentation of my work was held there. I had the opportunity to practice side by side with my direct elders there. Most importantly I made connections there that only music of a certain vibration can manifest, for that I am eternally grateful. I will forever carry the Plastic People spirit with me when I play music as that is the doctrine that I was blessed with.”
“Too many memories, too many jokes, so much love for Plastic”
Seiji (producer / DJ / promoter Co-Op):
“Co-Op was a special time for me, playing my music in this small dark basement buzzing with energy, one red light and an incredible sound system, broken beat fanatics and some of the best dancers in the city coming together to lose themselves in the music. For me it was the last real ‘underground’ sanctuary…. great memories. RIP Plastic People.”
Marshmello (DJ / promoter / MC):
“There was a time after Co-Op when it seemed like all my girls – my raving crew – started having babies… It got to a point where I was like, where’s my crew at, who can I rave with? But the thing about Plastic People is that it’s one of those clubs you can rock up to on your own, or it was for me anyway, especially as the bouncers were the best ever, they knew the true fam, so I would rock up to the front even if the queue was long, a little eye contact, wait a minute or two & be ushered in…
“There used to be a lil back room behind the DJ booth that I would just sit and chill, listen to music, have conversations, and I made a whole new group of friends that way. This led to Balance which led to NTS. One of my favourite moments – apart from the many at Co-Op which trust me I used to loose my shit at, but that’s another story – was when the smoking ban came into law. That was the night Queen Fatima took the mic, I believe for the first time, and the rest is history. Spacek crew and Blacktronica – Charlie Dark + The Wach – played that night. It was an epic evening, sweat off the walls, everyone was smoking even those who didn’t decided to just for the sake of it! Too many memories, too many jokes, so much love for Plastic. I’ve been the first in and the last to leave that club too many times to count. It was my home.”
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