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Turnmills the head turner
The Gallery @ Turnmills (London)
Member Name: Sugar Matty O
The Gallery @ Turnmills (London)
Date: 27/09/01, updated on 27/09/01 (175 review reads)
Advantages: No place to hide once the beats rain down!, Great atmosphere, Always likely to draw in the big names
Disadvantages: Soon find yourself fighting for room to breathe, Aesthetically unpleasing - I suppose the site is just too difficult to find space with, Expect queues if you turn up late
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...