The City Talking: Fashion, Vol. 2
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120 beats lower merrion street

120 beats lower merrion street

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The pubs are hostile and the clubs are hostile and the streets are hostile and your mum’s house is hostile and your dad’s house is hostile and the only space left is between your ears filled with radio and that gives you hope in all this city of Leeds of thousands you can’t be the only one but there’s nowhere to meet each other no way to know each other but sometimes you can tell a t-shirt or the jeans and no hostility and have you been to no mate come on I’ll show you

do you want to go into town into town to hear funk into town to hear soul or are you already on the new tips into town to hear house Chicago New York Detroit or techno the beats in your bloodstream the speakers feel tight against your chest holding bass to your heart hour after hour tunes you’ve heard taped tracks you’ll describe Monday at work then in the record shop you’re not the first not the last the guy has been hearing it all day it goes like yeah he was playing it

white panelled walls and tall green pot plants a classy wine list and a menu to impress you’ve got mints to overcome the garlic and a wallet to buy the best the Coconut Grove sister to Salvo’s cousin to the coffee bars Gip and John in charge educating the city in proper cooking Leeds part of Yorkshire now Leeds part of Europe soon to be Leeds part of the world but always the most important part the city that has to be impressed lad white walls and parmesan and music

Back to Basics at The Pleasure Rooms, Leeds • courtesy Dave Beer

Back to Basics at The Pleasure Rooms, Leeds • courtesy Dave Beer

you dine downstairs and chat with Gip or John but they seem distracted there’s an arrival at the door carrying boxes like a delivery man he turns heads and heads upstairs the heads follow you order your main course and listen a snap on a snare an experimental stab from an expertly held horn it’s jazz upstairs not just any jazz Ronnie Scott George Melly Georgie Fame cooking something here it’s hotter than the food spicier than the dish richer than the red wine you eat and hear

below the floor under the ground underground beginning every good restaurant wanted to be a nightclub deep down eat here dance here stay here romance here move your life forward all here Coconut Grove above Ricky’s below a separate door a separate sound a separate scene a shared memory and an international event Steve Luigi playing out playing Steve Silk Hurley playing Jack Your Body playing the first house tune in Leeds the first question: what’s this shit?

Coconut Grove had changed or Gip had changed or Gip had changed it and Suzy and Paul and Jez and Tim and and and and most of all you took the dancefloor back clearing tables off to the side and letting the jazz in and following the jazz the jazz dancers who knew they could dance so hard who knew they would come so far who knew they would dress so smart this is Leeds but it could be Harlem this is Leeds but it could be Paris this was the Coconut Grove but soon it’s The Gallery and it’s cool it’s full it’s Leeds

Back to Basics at The Pleasure Rooms, Leeds • courtesy Dave Beer

Back to Basics at The Pleasure Rooms, Leeds • courtesy Dave Beer

knock it all through Paul Lamonte has seen the future knock it all through walls and floors come down and barriers are destroyed and the balcony is open three floors as one and the white grand piano stays the balcony the bar the food is gone the Coconut Grove has gone way out and RnB is the sound one thousand dancers every Saturday night a mecca for RnB dancers the north’s always sound since the seventies black American music changing Paul came back it’s changing

The Gallery it changes Leeds won’t stay the same stay still a sound goes out a sound comes in an explosion in the counties reaches the city the clubs can’t resist the warehouses and fields roll in to the clubs and the turntables to The Gallery this is a rave club now this is Bliss on Friday fifteen hundred people from all over the world white gloves grip the balcony railings The Gallery Posse reaching for the giant globe over the dancefloor reaching for the world in here

Back to Basics at The Pleasure Rooms, Leeds • courtesy Dave Beer

Back to Basics at The Pleasure Rooms, Leeds • courtesy Dave Beer

but you want all of it and you can have all of it for as long as the doors are open to this place and they’re open til six in the morning open when everywhere else is closed while the norms fight their way home to sleep it off you’re in here with your best friends hundreds of them safe until six and breakfast and the after party and to keep coming back week after week Vague Lorna Cohen Leeds disco granny a change not beaten senseless but feeling

too many white gloves in rave too many glow sticks floppy haircuts dungarees you couldn’t find the police with white gloves and hair in your eyes and if you were a raver you’d fought breaking into warehouses just to have a party

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Archive Thoughts Courtesy
Dave Beer • Tristan Da Cunha • Gip Dammone • Ralph Lawson • Steve Luigi • Suzy Mason • Utah Saints

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Originally published in The City Talking: Leeds, issue 27


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