Club UK - Final Frontier - Wandsworth/London

biz

Member
I've recently found a set from Gayle San, October 1994, recorded at Final Frontier, Club UK. When i moved to London in Sept. 94, i had never been to a proper club. I dj'd in a bar/club in a small town but once I moved to London, Friday nights were reserved for Final Frontier. Free bus from Trafalgar Square, quality dj lineups, great atmosphere, excellent pills. Basically, this night transformed my life. It sounds cheesy as hell but I would be a few of you have similar experiences in other clubs. What i'm wondering is, was anyone here going to Club UK the fall of 94 through the spring of 95 (just prior to the raids). I'd love to share some memories and perhaps try to piece together some of the events that transpired.

Some key memories for me:

1st or 2nd year Birthday Party in Dec.94 or Jan95 with the best club lineup i've ever seen: Justin Robertson, Dust Brothers (just prior to the name change), Billy Nasty, Laurent Garnier, Sven Vath...actually, i'd love to find the flyer for this cuz i can't remember exactly what happened. Ended up in the bright recovery room next to a japanese journalist interviewing Dust/Chem Bros. Thought the first pill hadn't hit when I took the second. Whoops. Saw a space ship land that night with a giant alien on stilts shooting candy laser pistols. Narcotic Influence and This Is Not A Mind Trip being caned.

That big room in the back, balls to the wall techno madness. Always some crusties smoking reefer in the back right hand corner. Thanks guys!

The stairs somewhere near the middle room. Met loads of great people there. Were you there?
 

noel emits

a wonderful wooden reason
Ay up biz.

I was just talking about Final Frontier last night. Mental times. In fact I was wondering what happened to Club UK - didn't know or remember about raids closing it down. That was quite a place - you'd completely forget you were in a shopping center, the sunken circular dance floor was like being in UFO. I was there pretty regularly for a while. Got my membership card somewhere. Not sure if I was still going by late '94, although it's very likely. Remember sets by Laurent Garnier, Scott Hardkiss, Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia, Dave Angel, Sven Vath, Gayle San, Dj Dag, Daz Saund, loads more.
 
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Gabba Flamenco Crossover

High Sierra Skullfuck
I have mates who were in there the night it got raided. I missed out though, as I didn't move down to London til summer 95.

The holy trinity of London techno nights in this era: Lost at the Vox in Brixton, Sabresonic, Final Frontier.

A little OT but this is an awesome recent techno mix from Placid: http://waxdj.com/djs/5193/
 

noel emits

a wonderful wooden reason
The holy trinity of London techno nights in this era: Lost at the Vox in Brixton, Sabresonic, Final Frontier.
Yep. Don't forget Eurobeat 2000 as well. Actually I suppose there were loads. You're right about the big three though. Quirky at The Vox was really good as well on a more off centre tip.

We need more memories of Final Frontier though. Some moments - Laurent Garnier playing Flash and Born Slippy. Scott Hardkiss dropping High Tech jazz as his last track. Dj Dag playing the most ridiculous Wagnerian trance.
 
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Oh dear, i'm afraid i went to this a few times. it was a right old mash up. all i can really remember is one time taking our drugs in the car on the way down, stopping at the services and deciding it would be hilarious to have these bullshit business cards printed on one of the machines you used to get in services in them days, then handing the cards out to puzzled mongs in the club. so if anyone ever gave you a pretend business card there, that was possibly me or a friend of mine ;)

did it really close that early? i seem to kinda remember it being closed, re-opening for a while, then closing again...last line up i went to had doc scott and gachet in the back room
 

DRMHCP

Well-known member
Oh dear, i'm afraid i went to this a few times. it was a right old mash up. all i can really remember is one time taking our drugs in the car on the way down, stopping at the services and deciding it would be hilarious to have these bullshit business cards printed on one of the machines you used to get in services in them days, then handing the cards out to puzzled mongs in the club. so if anyone ever gave you a pretend business card there, that was possibly me or a friend of mine ;)

did it really close that early? i seem to kinda remember it being closed, re-opening for a while, then closing again...last line up i went to had doc scott and gachet in the back room


It was still going in the summer of 1996...I know that as on the way down there once me and my friend bumped into a couple of people we knew who'd just been to a Euro 96 matches at Wembley. Then we got down to Wandsworth nice and early and had a few beers in a couple of pubs around Wandworth...I remember it was a beautiful Summer night. That year I also remember one of their completely mashed Birthday Parties (lovely atmosphere) that summer (their last!) as it was raided and closed a few weeks later. I'd just started going to decent clubs again in 1995 and there along with Strawberry Sundae, Sunnyside Up/Mind Over Matter and the surprisingly good Freedom at Bagleys were some of my final London nights up till 1997. Lovely times...
 
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biz

Member
primarily it was the music that blew my mind every week. certainly that had a lot to do with the drugs but Final Frontier always had a great dj lineup. i recall (with much embarrassment) handing Justin Robertson a sweat soaked t-shirt after a particularly spectacular set. his reluctance to accept my shirt at the time was viewed as his modesty but now i see it as him not wanting a sweaty shirt from a pilled up 20yr old kid. billy nasty was my absolute fav. at the time. his mixing style was so exciting. basically he would slam the fader over for 1 or 2 bars (4-8 beats) at a time to introduce the next track. this had a 'tunneling' effect for me when in the right frame of mind, that felt like the next song was fighting to break out. i know my memories are all colored by the mdma but the music inside Club UK was alive to me. the more i think about this the more it starts to sound like bullshit PLUR. oh well.


anyone have any fliers? i've found a couple online but i haven't been able to find many.
 

Lichen

Well-known member
I was there often and generally very, very high indeed.

Remember a smashing Derrick May set and a great night with DIY in the middle room.

There was alot of music in there!
 

noel emits

a wonderful wooden reason
I know my memories are all colored by the mdma but the music inside Club UK was alive to me. the more i think about this the more it starts to sound like bullshit PLUR. oh well.
It was pretty nuts for a while. Did get bored of going eventually though, probably not enough Jungle or something.

Anyway, it's good to reminisce. :)
 

biz

Member
yeah noel. it was around this time that Original Nuttah, Apache something and AWOL at Ministry of Sound i think. Now that was a mindfuck, the first time i heard DnB on a huge soundsystem.
 

blunt

shot by both sides
Whenever I think of Club UK, I think of poppers. The whole place used to absolutely reek of the stuff. Went to see Jeff Mills play out there once, and the whole experience was so overwhelming that I literally went blind for about 15 mins and found myself feeling my way around the wall.

Perversely, this was one of my favourite nights out ever :)

Great club. Nothing like it around anymore - at least, not legally.
 

bassnation

the abyss
I've recently found a set from Gayle San, October 1994, recorded at Final Frontier, Club UK. When i moved to London in Sept. 94, i had never been to a proper club. I dj'd in a bar/club in a small town but once I moved to London, Friday nights were reserved for Final Frontier. Free bus from Trafalgar Square, quality dj lineups, great atmosphere, excellent pills. Basically, this night transformed my life. It sounds cheesy as hell but I would be a few of you have similar experiences in other clubs. What i'm wondering is, was anyone here going to Club UK the fall of 94 through the spring of 95 (just prior to the raids). I'd love to share some memories and perhaps try to piece together some of the events that transpired.
yes, i used to go back then. i moved to thames ditton from liverpool in 1994 after i broke up with this girl and used to go down there with my mates, was my first real experiences of london, and specifically clubbing here. to be honest its all a bit hazy but i remember we had yellow callies a lot which were absolutely mental. this was back in the days where you didn't need to do silly amounts to have a good night.

i remember fabio paras in the back room and it being fairly banging. i liked the fact that the club had lots of dodgy people as well as all the munted ravers, it really had flavour and an edge. later they had jungle in the backroom which was moody but good. people smoking crack in the corner, kids doing the screwface on the dancefloor, arms folded (hilarious). also saw primal scream djing in that small middle room where they had the cloakroom. the room was empty apart from us.

we tried to go the night it got raided, but by the time we pulled up the raid (replete with police on horseback and a camera crew) was already in full swing. end of an era really. very fond memories of the place and making some good friends some of which are still my best friends today.
 
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MankyFiver

Well-known member
wow i used to go there, well only a few times, remember the disorientation of the place and finding the only place you could chat was in the space between the 2 rooms

last time i went i had beautiful (well i thought it was) pillar box red short hair and got caught taking speed in the toilets by the bouncers but they let me keep it (it was the hair!) then off my nut at 7 am cruising clapham junction for the early birds and i must have looked a state!
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Narcotic Influence and This Is Not A Mind Trip being caned.
Haha, I listened to Narcotic Influence last night for the first time in ages, great tune.

Don't have too much else to add, having been 13 in 1994, I'm afraid.
 

Transpontine

history is made at night
I had some great nights in there on Fridays at Final Frontier and also on Saturdays which was more of a house night. It was launched as this great luxurious superclub but like most such places this pretty much meant a few black painted rooms and a couple of seats. I think one of the rooms was sweetie-themed, IIRC there was kind a wooden box/podium painted with smarties. Good sound system though and the crowd was always pretty up for it, sometimes it got hellishly hot and packed, one night I was there they had to let people out of a fire escape and open a chill out area in the Arndale Centre behind. It closed down, losing its licence after a police raid. I have some old flyers which I will scan in - any chance of uploading that Final Frontier mix somewhere?
 

noel emits

a wonderful wooden reason
one night I was there they had to let people out of a fire escape and open a chill out area in the Arndale Centre behind.
I remember this happening at least one time at Final Frontier. Very surreal (or surreally normal) to have this cavernous brightly lit empty shopping centre looming up outside a door that had previously been part of a black wall.
 

Transpontine

history is made at night
Final Frontier at Club UK was raided by police in December 1994.

In October 1995, the Saturdays night was raided in Operation Blade involving dogs, horses, and 150 police from the Territorial Support Group. 800 clubbers were turned out on to the streets, and many searched. 10 people were arrested. It was one of those raids staged for publicity value with TV cameras invited along and a press conference on the Monday - at the Ministry of Sound! I remember thinking that this was very ironic as drugs were just as easily available at Ministry as at Club UK, which the police must have known. Clearly MoS were happy to do the police a favour if it meant running down their biggest competition in South London.

The club finally lost its licence from Wandsworth Council in January 1997, although I believe it had been closed for a while before while the club tried to appeal.

There was a lot of money to be made from the drugs/dance music interface at that point, probably even more so than now, and with most of the major clubs there were rumours about the extent of gangster involvement - whether it was just collusion between bouncers and dealers, gangs controlling the door and effectively running the place, or in some cases drugs money paying for the construction/refurbishment of clubs. I have no evidence of where Club UK was on this continuum!
 

wonk_vitesse

radio eros
IIRC that gangland landrover killing in Essex was connected with the dealers who supplied drugs to this club. I'm sure a big criminal fraternity held sway over the whole thing.
 
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