A few years ago I was resident at an 80s night at the now defunct Purple Pussycat. The venue was kind of raucous and fun. I’d gotten used to playing there and I wondered if I could pitch a night. I’d decided ‘Drunk At Vogue’ was the perfect name for a night the second I heard Carrie Bradshaw say it in Season 4 of ‘Sex and the City’. Also because of that show, and because it was one of my favourite songs as a kid, the now ubiquitous ‘Got To Be Real’ by Cheryl Lynn was the first song I put on the playlist. At the time, Horse Meat Disco threw intermittent parties at the Pussycat so I couldn’t pitch them a straight-up disco night. Instead I went for a ‘not dance music, just music for dancing’ vibe. The playlist was disco, 80s synth, vintage pop, electro, Italo. The idea was to treat dance tunes just like pop songs. Ronnie Dyson, Little Boots, Kid Creole, Chic, Eurythmics, Cristina… But the venue wasn’t into it, and the 80s night finished, and the venue closed down. Such is nightlife.
Soon after that I became resident at Off The Hook. After that night took a hiatus I decided to help resurrect it in a new venue, with a new vibe. It worked really well and we’re still going strong. Bolstered by that success I started yapping about Drunk At Vogue again. When I mentioned it to my friends Gary, Thom and James, they saw potential in it from the off. And not just musical potential either: videos, outfits, performance art, and a whole host of New York and Manchester references to play with. Suddenly there were four of us and the venue was obvious, Kraak; new home to Off The Hook, blank canvas, backstreet, away from the Village – but not too far – hard to find, sweaty.
You can spout all you like about what you want your night to be, but it doesn’t mean a thing until the place starts to fill. If it fills. What the punters play in their rooms before they show up, what they decide to wear, or not wear, the videos they post on your page the day before the party; these are all out of your hands, and they matter. Drunk At Vogue Party Number 1 filled up within the hour. The outfits were some of the best I’ve ever seen on a night out. Shoestring glamour and genderfuckery and fun and hot and funny. Larry Levan and Mai Tai and ‘The Boss’ and avante garde drag and Chris on the door in his underwear.
We threw a boat party on the Irwell this year. It was magic. Our ‘Gay Sex In The 70s Party’ for Pride weekend was our best night to date, and actually really emotional. We’ve set the bar pretty high for our first birthday. It’s on October 5th. Everyone is welcome. You might be surprised that something like this is happening here in Manchester. So come and see us. I’m never sure where all the amazing punters come from. But there they are.
Legends is going to shut soon. We didn’t win that one. We have to invest elsewhere in the city. Manchester is changing faster than ever and it sometimes feels they like don’t want you to keep dancing, but you have to keep moving…