Spooky Stories:

The Haunted Nightclub

On a dark and stormy night, a handsome young body-building dance music journalist called Tonka locked the front door behind him and took steps towards the garden gate. The raging and famous October 2013 winds threw the old wooden entrance open before him and, in a second, sucked it shut. Tonka was a brave man but the unusual action of the gate, working with the wind, took his breath away. This did not usually happen. For reasons unknown, Tonka was running late after having arranged to meet his friends Draper, Micky John, Robbo and Cozza in their favourite pre-club haunt, The Red Prince and Duck, around Spitafields, London. “Why do you agree to meet at 9pm when you know you won’t get there until 9.15pm?” he whispered to himself, not knowing the answer.


He whispered to himself until the bright lights and busy atmosphere of Northolt tube station snapped him out of the negative vibes he had created for himself on the five minute journey from home/WRDMHQ. The leafy, upcoming west London suburb evoked feelings of purity, danger and youth and poked at the fire within.

“Life as we know it. Pure and proper good vibes here. Lovin’ it, man.”

East bound. End seat. In popped the black Sony headphones and on slid the black, 8GB iPod Nano. Shuffle.

Neighborhood #3
Arcade Fire
Funeral

“Next.”

Bingo Bango
Basement Jaxx
The Singles

“Next.”

Sunset at the Café Del Mar
Tabula Ra-Sa
Café Del Mar: Ibiza

“Yes.”


After approximately one minute of luscious pads and generously spaced percussion, Tonka thumbed at Shuffle again.

The Struggle Within
Metallica
Metallica

“No.”

99 Problems
Jay-Z
The Black Album

“No.”

Las Velas No Arden
Alejandro Vivanco
Sci-Fi Hi-Fi Volume 2


“Back when Luciano was good and I’ve landed on the best track on this compilation. Sorted.”

This was the type of music Tonka was expecting to hear at the opening of London’s newest nightclub that night. Da Place Ta Be was a mysterious new build on the grounds of the ghostly old Turnmills. Little was known about the mastermind behind the club or how it was to be funded. Some words on the street said that it was an old homosexual man called Tony, a retired hard house DJ from Birmingham who disappeared in the nineties. Others insisted that it was a shady conglomerate of former promoters of previously successful nights; Madders, James Hetfield from Cream, the Miss Moneypenny’s twins and Mike Manumission. Tonka didn’t really care who was running it as long as the DJs played minimal techno, techno, minimal house, tribal house, house and deep house; this was something he asserted regularly on his Twitter feed, Facebook page, weekly column for Ran$om Note and blog, the world famous and hugely successful Weekly Review of Dance Music.


An edgy underground viral campaign by 1000 Heads had the symbol of the club; a gaudy portrait of Buddah's face chalked gold, all over bus stops in north, west, south and east London with additional graffiti peppered around the other major cities of the United Kingdom using permanent marker pens. Resident Advisor even created an Events page for it and put it at the top of its Top London Clubs section before a beat had been dropped.

So sure was Tonka and his chums that Da Place Ta Be was going to be their new favourite club they had the words tattooed on the back of their calf muscles in Old English Text font.

The underground train puffed into East London station at exactly 9.12pm. Twelve minutes late, as usual. Still, Micky John was pleased to see his old friend burst through the pub doors. “Tonka, mah wee cadge-rattler, yee. How the fuckin’ Hell ahh ye?”

“Just get the fuckin’ beers in now, you stupid Scottish cunt. I’m starving.”


If there was a king of banter in the group, Tonka wore the crown. He plonked himself down at the table where the rest of the group had huddled, slapped Cozza playfully in the face and spat in Draper’s empty pint glass.

“Lucky that glass is empty, Tonk”, peeped Robbo.

“Why’s that?” replied Tonka.

“He’s not into swallowing spit, is Draper. He swallows spunk!”, spluttered Robbo.

Quick as a flash, Tonka boomed “You should fucking know!” and Micky John rocked over with a tray full of lager.

During a lively discussion about Tulisa, football and pubic hair a chill ran down Tonka’s spine. “Did anyone else feel that?” Inappropriate responses flew back and nothing more was thought of it. An old man with a toothbrush moustache entered the bar and stared at the collections of bottles behind the two young lady cocktail shakers before his attention turned to the junction of air vents grooved into the ceiling. Behind and above the bar was a shelf full of spirits. Behind the spirits stood a wall. Within that wall housed a hole, and through that hole was the sheet metal casing of the air vent access spindle. Etched inside the air vent's first chute in blood bore the legend,

Star Cult: Da Place Ta Be

“Who’s playing tonight then, Tonka?” grumbled Cozza.

“All I know is that I had a direct message on Twitter from the promoters, whoever the fuck they are, saying that Star Cult are playing an all-nighter and they want me to come and review it. Should be fucking ace, lads.”

This group of young men sat around their table, slaughtering pints of Fosters and refusing to admit to one another that they didn’t have a clue who Star Cult were. Such was the determination to know about the underground. To be cool. To know.


Tonka was one of the most well-connected young men in the UK, and most certainly in London. VIP AAA guest list is a given in every single English nightclub. Tonight was no exception. Inside the velvet lined walls of the club, the beats were sparse, minimal, overwhelmingly tribal and understandably deep. Techno on a plate. Da Place Ta Be really was the place to be that dark and stormy night. Upwards of 4000 people packed onto the dance floor in Hellraiser masks and danced incessantly, like zombies, to Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Sandwell District remix). Star Cult knew how to select. Star Cult were DJs without profile. Up high, over the crowd the DJ booth stood erect, like a space-age altar previewing the forthcoming dreams of those who come to worship. Tonka, Micky John, Robbo, Draper and Cozza danced around the edges, licking Mandy and sniffing up poppers to the delight of desperate congregation with their hands held out.

“Only in places like this can you beg for poppers and not look like a fucking…”

The music came to a halt as Vincent Price took up his monologue. The lights slowly came up and every single person on the dance floor stopped dancing and gasped. Was this a dramatic transition to Bobby Picket’s Monster Mash (Ben Klock edit) or an act of gross misconduct on behalf of the lighting and sound engineers?


It was neither.

An overhead projector from inside the DJ booth flickered and sprayed an image onto the velvet draped opposite wall, sending the congregation into a uniform 180 degree head spin. Tonka spat out his lager when he saw what he saw.

One shot scanned out the inside of a cave to reveal Madders, Mike Manumission, James Hetfield from Cream and the Miss Moneypenny’s twins stood wearing army fatigues, laughing, Uzi AK-47 automatic machine guns dangling from their hands whilst a thin and wrinkled Tony De Vit sat, strapped to a small wooden primary school chair with bicycle chains.

“Inhumane! Cruel!” wailed a young lady, who only two minutes previously had been pretending to be Uncle Fester. The DJ booth’s bullet-proof window opened and a green laser beam shot out, landing square between her eyes, melting her whole head and killing her instantly. Tonka stood conspiratorially on Draper’s toes and spoke under his breath, “Fuck me, he’s alive. I always thought there was something dodgy about a grown man dying of pneumonia in England. It’s too clement for that. Too fucking clement.”

“SILENCE!” boomed Madders, “you fuckers have got it coming tonight.”


Mike Manumission raised his hand and spoke in a slow, calm, almost Germanic voice. “You thought hard house was dead. You sneered at those who attempted to maintain its popularity. Mixmag staffers got lazy and no longer ventured outside of London. You began mingling with the jealous dogs who derided the hugely popular hoovers and horns sound in favour of a stripped down, slower, “cool” sound. Our clubs have gone, replaced with faceless, warehouse parties with not a recognisable logo between them. This man was your only hope and you let him die.”

“He’s still alive!” slurred Micky John at the top of his voice.

“You let him die”, hushed James Hetfield from Cream in Liverpudlian before pressing the fore-end of his gat to TdV’s temple and squeezing the trigger. As the hard house encased skull exploded and sprayed brains all over the camouflaged trousers of the five maniacs, the projected image scrambled and the lights in the club went down.


Walk The Night by the Skatt Brothers started up and the crowd began to dance. If you’re on ecstasy and dance music is playing, to dance or not to dance is not the question. Tonka understood this more than anyone so he strutted and jived to the middle of the dance floor, MDMA rising up through his spine. His jaw swirling, body shivering, limbs loosening. Joy filling his mind, body and soul despite the confusing, cold-blooded celebrity murder he had just witnessed on a four metre square flat white in a brand new nightclub. The evening had become incomprehensible and suddenly long-winded.

Tonka made his way to the unisex toilets for a piss and a look in the mirror. There seemed to be a consensus throughout the club that the laser beam murder and the slotting of Tony De Vit on a big screen had been a mass hallucination caused by a bad batch of pills. Tonka chuffed over to the east African gentleman and spent a two pound coin on a strawberry lollipop. “Am I the only one who thinks there’s something more to this than a few dodgy Vera’s?” he asked. The old man just laughed.

“What’s so funny?” asked Tonka.

“Nothing, mate” he said in a broad West Midlands accent before scurrying away towards the DJ booth.


To cut a long story short, Tonka finally slumped to his knees on the dance floor, a spear hanging out the back of his head, surrounded by the severed faces of his best friends and the slow march of a brigade of clowns retreating towards their Big Top in the chill out room. Madders approached the microphone stand for the final time and announced in an over-the-top manner that Star Cult are, “gonna play one more!”

Madders stepped back to reveal two silhouettes advance. Tony De Vit and a cryogenetically persevered Adolf Hitler stepped out from the shadows and prepared their Technics 1210 MK2 turntables for one last 12". An arrogant high-five and a lot of over-enthusiastic nodding accompanied the kick-drum intro as Cuz I’m Rockin’ by F1 filled the heavy air of murder on the dance floor to an almost empty nightclub.

Tonka lay bleeding to death in a pool of his own boiled blood and on the final beat, Da Place Ta Be evaporated into Hell, leaving nothing but your own interpretation of events.