I used to love coming down from Manchester to Turnmills! They were the best ever club nights I had experienced in the UK especially with nights like Trade. What an experience, which I will treasure for the rest of my life. Pity I can't get hold of those very rare Trade CD's as my final memento!
The Gallery is held every Friday night at Turnmills on the corner of London's Clerkenwell Road. The night runs from 10.30pm to 7.30am and entry costs between £8 and £12 depending on what time you turn up and whether you are a member or not. The nearest tube station is Farringdon, which is about a 5 minute walk away and there is plenty of night time parking in the streets around the club on yellow lines. If you want to get in quickly expect to turn up early, even before 10.30pm. Otherwise be prepared to queue for around an hour, although to be fair in my opinion this is one of the only negative points to the night. So what exactly can you expect from The Gallery. Well it is promoted by Danny Newman, brother of superstar DJ Tall Paul Newman. So the music policy is one of Pumping House and Euro Trance, always uplifting and becoming harder as the night draws on. As he is the brother of the club's promoter Tall Paul is naturally one of the resident DJs alongside Steve Lee and Lottie. Regular guests include the cream of the UKs DJs including Judge Jules, Fergie, Sister Bliss, Paul Oakenfold, Nick Warren and Jon Pleased Wimmin. Plus occasional appearances from Europes elite such as Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Ferry Corsten and Sander Kleinenberg. The club itself is one of my favourites in London but may not be to everyones tastes. Located downstairs in what I guess used to be under street cellars the word that springs to mind is intimate. Although the capacity is probably around the 800-900 mark it is cramped in many places and there are lots of narrow walk ways and tight stair cases to negotiate. The main dance floor is at the back of the club and is quite long and narrow. The DJ box is located at the front end of the dance floor and is visible from most positions which is nice. On busier nights the second dance floor at the back of the club is opened up, and although separate to the main floor has the same music channelled through. The lighting an
d sound system in the club is also top notch. Because the main floor is long, dark and narrow with a low ceiling the laser they have in there looks superb. Quite often throughout the night you will see the laser sweep down and cut through a sea of hands and smoke. Its an excellent touch. The Gallery also has a second smaller side room. The music policy changes around for this room, but is always an alternative to the full on House of the main dance floor. Currently you can expect to hear a mixture of Funky House, Breaks and Old Skool House played in this second room depending on the DJ. The crowd at the Gallery is excellent, especially for London. The average clubber here is slightly older than somewhere like Peach and a bit more clued up on the music. There is a dress code at the club, and although it isnt too strict you won't see too many people in tracksuits and trainers. The crowd is quite mixed, with similar amounts of guys and girls, plus the odd transvestite or two. Ive always noticed quite a large presence of Australians and New Zealanders in there too which is cool, and adds to the flavour of the night. As the club is open so late there is a real lack of beer-boys and the emphasis is on dancing hard, so be prepared to get very sweaty. Although to assist you there is some air conditioning in there which helps to bring the temperature down a little. To sum up the Gallery is an excellent night out for the proper clubber. It is London?s best alternative to the Midlands super clubs like Gatecrasher, Passion and Gods Kitchen. As their website states the Gallery is probably the friendliest club night of its kind and who am I to argue. It comes highly recommended by me.
The Gallery at Turnmills is probably amongst the elite of the UK clubscene without quite getting the recognition it deserves when rubbing shoulders with the likes of Cream, Home, Ministry et al. This is in spite of long attracting A-list names to an arena boasting wall to wall sweat and a distinctly un-London-like attitude and atmosphere. However, admittedly the abiding memories of the Clerkenwell Road outfit are its out and out pokiness. No room at all to swing a domestic animal of the moggy variety, which when you've lost three stones in weight owing to slight perspiration, can be a little uncomfortable. Just a series of pokey, single-file staircases leading into narrow doorways and entrances and a general sense of being too cramped to be really appreciated. To be honest my recollection of the actual layout inside is hazy but I recall that part of the problem was having no real set pattern in terms of a conventionally shaped dancefloor or bar arrangements knee-deep in clubbers all fighting for one inch of space to place their handbag and dance round. Well not quite. Musically The Gallery is quite heavy, not hard house as such but definitely offering more pump than your average draught beer convention - okay, not the best metaphor but Tall Paul certainly shook the foundations upon my visit with a set that took its time to get going but eventually proved unstoppable. Wandering across to the obscured back room though was a touch disappointing, at the time showcasing some experimental, trip hop and dub sounds but barely tempting the masses evidently more interested in their 4/4 beats rather than something post-modern and moody. Placing a back room of this variety in an arena like this seems puzzling; a chill out area is likely to be more than welcoming for those needing to kick their feet up for a moment, yet The Gallery seems to stand for banging banging banging without a moments thought of relenting for a second. Atmosphere and attitud
e-wise, The Gallery wins. Having arrived in customary smart shirt and trousers combo, I was a little annoyed but at the same time impressed to see a heavy jeans and trainers element succumbing to the sauna-esque conditions and letting the sweat all hang out. London clubs too often give out their impression that its clientele should be ultra-swanky when the surroundings barely merit getting dolled up to the 9's. So for a big-time city club to be fairly relaxed with its dress code came as a big surprise and wishing I had gone in something a little more sweat absorbant. For all the hoardes of clubbed-up end-of-week revellers, not one had a bad word to say and I found myself constantly shaking hands and having quick bits of banter between beats with complete strangers recognising the fact that everyone was a friend as long as they were under the same Turnmills roof. Again, hostility plays it part in clubland but the only frowning in these parts was when it was time to go home. Add to this, an impressive lighting rig with a particularly mesmerising collection of strobes that sent me boz-eyed within seconds trying to keep up. My one real gripe and something to this day I have never got to grips with was the amount of times me and my crew were asked for drugs, whether we'd like some or whether we had some to sell, like we were looking dodgier than the motley crew we already were. Whether this is just a common clubland way of life is speculative... Some lightweight mates of mine decided enough was enough by half past three in the morn, and still upon exiting, the queue to get in for the remaining couple of hours was nigh on gargantuan. Good job us lot were on the guest list and more or less went straight to the front for a pretty measly charge of ten English pounds. The setting and scenery may not initially inspire but the intensity alone of The Gallery ensures a thumping good dancefloor demolition, the great vibes from other punters and the DJ's on rot
ation also contributing to a night out the seasoned club pros will lap and the social fledgling will do well to experience...