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If you’d have to think of the oldest alternative club in the whole of Europe (or the World for that matter), which one would you think of? Are we correct in assuming that it would be Slimelight?
If yes, you would probably be right as our very quick investigations in the world of the Internet revealed that there are not many alternative and weekly European clubs that would come anywhere near Slimelight’s respectable age of about 25 years and still have the same kind of concept and clientele.
Indeed, the club has it’s roots in London’s Westbourne Grove where, back in 1984-85, it operated as the legendary Kit Kat Club that was London’s first ever all-night club. The venue was called the Pleasure Dive. Kit Kat Club’s stay at this venue was not long, and eventually had to move out. It moved around London, until ’87, and the club settled into it’s current location, the Electrowerkz in Islington – and became, what we today know as Slimelight. Since then the club has seen Islington change and being built around it, the place itself remaining one of the few constant fixtures of the area.
The name ‘Slimelight’ was first used when the club was held in a church shortly after the Limelight club, also held in a church, opened and was an alternative to this West End club.
“Slimes” has been open almost every Saturday since it was established. There have been a couple of exceptions though, such as a couple of Saturdays around ‘89 when the club was closed due to the building works.
Slimelight has about 10,000 members, and the membership scheme has existed from the early days and is based on the one already created for the Kit Kat Club. The Membership scheme made it possible for the club to operate the way it did. In the 80s, there were hardly any clubs that were open late (or early in the morning – whichever way you want to look at it). Apparently, Saturday nights were also quite quiet in London back then.
Becoming a member required, and still requires, filling in a form and getting two existing members to sign it. Why the complicated procedure? This is part of the legal framework of how the club operated within the law in the 80s. It made it possible for the club to stay open as late as it did. The club still has the same framework, even though it is not necessary because of the law anymore.
The alternative people of various nationalities travel to Slimelight each Saturday evening to listen to industrial, power-noise, cyber-synth, ebm, cyber-goth, darkwave, trad and modern goth dance and to dance non-stop from 10pm until 7:30am. The Slimelight concept has always been that it is open until early hours of the morning so that people can get home by the tube.
The club itself consists of three floors that are connected together with a maze of staircases, forming a kind of labyrinth inside the building. Well, at least the place seems like a labyrinth for all the newcomers but after a few intense visits, the different routes around the place start feeling as familiar as the layout of your home – with a lot bigger toilets.
The ground floor is currently dominated by the Goth dance floor and the tube bar for general hanging out and chilling. Up on the middle floor you will find the EBM dance floor and a bar, on the top floor, along with yet another bar you will find the Noise floor. Slimelight also offers the hungry party goers barbecue food near the tube bar and for more chilling, a small movie theatre. The intention is, of course, to keep members happy.
Over the years Slimelight has seen many DJs come and go. Currently, the resident DJs on the Goth floor are Loki Effect, Victoria Fenbane and Mak, the club often has regular guest DJs on all floors, especially when the club is hosting events.
Photos are courtesy of the Islington Metal Works and Slimelight.