28 May 2009
Floor to Wall
Between 1998 - 2003, I designed and illustrated over 60 flyers for Plastic People. For those that don’t know the club, it started as a basement space on Oxford Street, with an incomparable sound system playing a mixture of House, Soul, Jazz and Hip Hop. A small and friendly space, and free from the pretensions usually associated with clubs. It moved from the West End to Old Street in 1996 where it continues to draw an underground crowd thanks to its bespoke sound system and initmacy.
The clubs owner, manger (and DJ!) Ade Fakile gave me the freedom to do what I wanted (dream client). I treated the flyers like mini-campaigns with each series based around London or music. The club’s cornerstones nights were Saturday’s Balance Sessions and Friday’s Blueprint Sessions.
An introduction to a Blurb book at the end of last year inspired me to pull these flyers from their various hiding places; shoe boxes, between record sleeves, under beds, backs of drawers... and put them together in a book. After weeks of digging, scanning and writing, a book started to take shape. DJ and writer Charlie Dark kindly wrote the foreword for me, he also wrote a list of 10 memories too (see below). The memories and stories that have come from this have been inspiring, with the flyers acting like cue cards. Ten years on I realise just how special the period was, both socially and musically. A tracklist at the back of the book reflects this.
Thanks to everyone for their help in putting this together, Ade (goes without saying), Charlie Dark (foreword), Jim Lister (for the missing flyers), Becci (support), Justin (copy checking).
“The flyers in this book cover the clubs two homes, from the original space on Oxford Street to its current home in Old Street. Over this five year period, Augur celebrated the less obvious London landmarks through illustration and design. The series-of-8 carried a range of themes, from street scenes, to landmarks to underground seat patterns. On the reverse, the stella line-up of DJ’s who graced the decks from the likes of: Theo Parrish, Gilles Peterson, Madlib, Francois Kervorkian, Moodymann, Questlove, Benji B, Jazzanova. Like the nights they promoted, the flyers have become pieces of clubland past, and remain a tangible record of the nights events.”
“If you trace the flyers in this book from beginning to end you will soon see patterns developing within the names that graced the turntables. Warm-up DJs elevated to peak time draw. Old stalwarts switching genres. Hallowed masters who rarely played our shores pitching up and rocking well into the morning.”
The 7 inch sized 128 page book includes a foreword by DJ and Producer, Charlie Dark and an introduction by Ali Augur. It is being self-published through Blurb.com and is available to buy now.
10 memories courtesy of Charlie Dark:
There are too many anecdotes to list and some of them shall remain in the club but off the top of the dome here are ten with a special place in my record box.
1. Moodyman djing behind a curtain and then coming back a couple of years later and taking requests and entertaining the crowd like a wedding DJ.
2. Leaving my bed at 4am to go and listen to Francois K rock the early morning session. Five minutes of a tropical rainstorm followed by the Bill Laswell rerub of Bob Marleys ‘Exodus’. Heaven.
3. Jay Dilla playing two hours of his own productions on wax on the Plastic People system. Neck hurt for a week afterwards.
4. Dego dropping ‘This Ain’t Tom And Jerry’ on CDR and messing up everyones heads. Proto Dubstep Broken Grime monster. When the Bass dropped my drink fell off the speaker.
5. Black Thought turning up in a mink coat with platinum dog tags and then proceeding to the ghetto V.I.P area on the left-hand side of the decks.
6. Bugz in the Attic debut set at Forward. Dance floor would empty whenever the rhodes came in but the beats were mashing kids heads up.
7. Dego clashing IG Culture at Co Op. CDR’s flying and both dropping boombastic beats that were only ever heard on that night. To close to call it.
8. Theo Parrish. Too many sessions to mention. Always heavy, always different and always full of surprises. And no one rocks the EQ dance like Theo.
9. The 2002 New Years Eve Party. Pharaoh Sanders playing ‘You Gotta Have Freedom’ at 12 o’clock and the insane line up. One of my top ten gigs of all time. I still feel honoured to this day to even have been included on the DJ line up.
10. Mos Def ‘Universal Magnetic’ on the crazy Russion radio station turntables. They weigh a ton, takes ages to set up, impossible to mix on, but make kick drums sound like thunder. You’ll never play a record on a Techniques 1200 again.
Bonus memory: The undercover party room behind the DJ booth. Seek and you shall find.
Floor to Wall is available HERE