Colin Steven talks to Steven Sleepman. Glasgow‘s Club guru extraordinaire (below).


Club culture

‘It is possible to start a club. basically do nothing with it. and it could run for a short while. but if you‘re serious about it you need to put in a lot of work behind the scenes.‘

So says Steven Sleepman. (ilasgow‘s very own club guru. whose pedigree reads like a Glasgow Clubs ‘best of‘ in recent times: Slam. Blackmarket and Ecstasy/Joy (with his ex-partners in crime. the Slam Crew) and. most recently. his own club UFO. Yet he‘s never played a record at one of them. What else is involved in running a club‘.’

Well. somebody has to do all the publicity work. and this job is as important as the DJs. This means designing leaflets and posters. and organising their printing. It all sounds simple. but printers aren‘t always very reliable: ‘You constantly have to chase them up and make sure things are going to be ready on time.‘ he moans. ‘When UFO started I got all my publicity material a week later than I should have. and I only had two weeks‘ build-up instead of the three lwanted.‘

The story doesn‘t end there: you have to phone round record companies to check out PAs. tour the shops and bars putting out PR material. and design the drapes and new slides for the light show inside the club. But the worst job has to be flyposting!

It‘s tough at the top. being a creative consultant for Schlitz. To think Steven was once an ordinary little Clubber with a fetish for flares. llis break came when he was given the responsibility of leafletting for the band night at Fury Murrys. This brought him into contact with what was to become the infamous Slam Crew: Dave (‘larke and the two DJs. ()rde Meikle and Stuart McMillan. and he began llyposting for their new club Blackmarket. When the chance of Saturday night at Tin Pan Alley came up things really began to take off for them with their now legendary club Slam. in which he became a partner.

‘I really started getting involved in the running ofclubs because I was fed up with what other people were offering.‘ explains Steven. ‘At that time the Sub Club and every one else weren‘t playing nearly enough house. but the irony is at the moment and over the last year I‘ve felt there‘s been too much!‘

Their empire began to expand steadily with the introduction of Ecstasy (now Joy for obvious reasons) and llustle at the Sub Club. but it reached its peak last summer with the Slam/Schlitz tour of Scotland. The tour was an astounding success. bringing names such as Double Trouble and the Rebel MC. Electribe

leave clubs and concentrate on his hobbies furniture and fashion design: ‘I probably take clubs far too seriously. but I like to look upon them as an art form. I know that will sound crazy. but my favourite art movement is futurism. and they always built something up. destroyed it and then started again. There was that continual process. and I didn‘t like the idea ofhaving three clubs in the eyes of the public over the period of a year. So once it got to about a year I decided to have a break so that when I came back I would be fresh.‘

Slam by this time had finished on Saturdays. and Steven had been kept on by Schlitz. so it was the obvious night. when he felt it was the right 101. Inner City and 808 State north of the border for PAs. After the tour. feelingjaded with the scene. he decided to take a break for six months. time to move back into clubs on his own. He made sure be consulted his ex-partners before he made the move though: ‘l‘m still friendly with the guys; I spoke to them about UFO. because I really value their opinions.‘

Unlimited Freak ()ut opened at Tin Pan Alley last December. with one ofthe best ever opening

nights. The pulsating house beats and basslines never let up. jellifying the brainsofthe poor suckers who danced till the death.

Despite having both floors. they haven‘t been able to use the venue to it‘s full potential. ‘It would have been nice to have turned Tin Pan Alley into a stranger place. Maybe having an ambient house room downstairs playing sound effects and sparse bits of house. with big sofas and ' bean bags for people to sit about on. They could chill out and watch the video screens. but because ofthe economics ofclubs you have to fill them with people dancing and drinking for the management to be happy.‘

He‘s done the next best thing though by getting Graham Wilson to open a new club within UFO called 82. The idea is to play total house upstairs and have 52 downstairs playing everything but: funk. soul. hip-hop. garage & jazz.

Ultimately. he plans to have his own venue. but at the moment he‘ll continue designing any artwork needed by Schlitz. practising his l)J-ing (he eventually plans to move onto the decks at UFO) and. paramount in his plans. organising another club tour ofScotland. (Colin Steven) J

The List 9— 22 February 1990 63