Dave Haslam’s Life After Dark book launch: Leaf, Liverpool

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Life After Dark

Life After Dark

As an audience of like minded music lovers gathered under the fairy lights upstairs at Leaf, Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald enjoyed an evening of talk about music, and the history of Life After Dark.

Those of us who like books full of words about music, and we are many, could do a lot worse than keeping a well turned eye on the window of Waterstones. Sarah Hughes and her brilliant events team regularly deliver wonderful events for people of our particular persuasion, both in-house, and at various other venues in the city.

This event was certainly no different. We found ourselves upstairs at Leaf, and rather than the usual format of an author being interviewed, the book launch for Dave Haslam‘s new book, Life After Dark featured a panel of invited guests. The book, a work some five years in the writing, chronicles the rich and varied history of Britain’s clubs and nightlife. A history of lives lived and adventures enjoyed in darkened rooms up and down the country.

Haslam sure knows a thing or two about the matter. His career started with him promoting gigs and bands back in the early 80s, and led him to the DJ booth at The Hacienda within a few years where he became one of the country’s first superstar DJs. He was joined on the stage by Marc Jones of Medication, Revo Ziganda, and DJ/Producer Steve Proctor, ex of this parish and now London based.

Read the thoughts of Liverpool music regulars on the closure of the Kazimier

After a short introduction from Haslam, on how, and more importantly, why he wrote the book, he began with the simple quote from its back cover, ‘The best club in the world is the one that changed your life‘. Never a truer word spoken. He talked at this event, particularly of Liverpool’s nightime history, detailing stories of early Victorian after hours clubs, and the shenanigans and goings on to be found behind those doors, and the cultural shifts and influencers brought about by what is so often referred to as the nightime economy.

Once Haslam had introduced his band of nightclub brothers, the discussion opened up a little with Steve Proctor detailing his time as a DJ in many of the city’s clubs in the late 70s and early 80s and since then in London and further afield, Marc Jones‘ involvement in the most successful student night in the North West (probably the country, actually, Marc), and Revo talked of the challenges and hard times of promoting, and of how those aspects couldn’t diminish the rewarding feeling brought about by having a success with a night or a gig. As the quote on the book states, life changing stuff.

A name that cropped up on more than one occasion was Eric’s and that clubs original DJ Norman Killon was in the audience. Unanimously, the panel thanked him for his influence, and the talk opened up to discuss the future. Talk of the closure of the Kazimier brought an interesting touch of perspective from Sound City‘s Dave Pichilingi, who insisted, rightly so, that it’s actually a positive thing to see venues coming and going as it keeps the scene fresh, vibrant and relevant.

An interesting, and at times hilarious discussion followed with the various ‘old skool’ members of the audience recalling memories of each others pasts. After a question from the floor about the involvement of women in powerful, influential positions in the music industry, Revo made the point that, these days, he increasingly deals with more and more women in his work with EVOL, and that some of the most important people in the business are women.

We all have that favourite club, that favourite memory, favourite place. Haslam‘s book is a fascinating account, written from both a personal and national perspective, and it’s well deserving of our attention, as is the event information in the window of Waterstones. More please.

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