Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Before I Forget: Heaven On A Wednesday Night Part I

There's some things that a soul just can't forget and some things you shouldn't be allowed to forget. Heaven on a Wednesday night is one of those things for me that falls into both categories.

Back in the day, and we're talking 1994 for those who can recall back that far, I, along with a pile of others, were given a second chance at a wild childhood with Heaven and it's Wednesday night retro party, Timewarp. There's been plenty of other Timewarps spring up since those days, but to quite a cliche, the original will always remain the best. I can clearly recall going back to Heaven in around 2000 for a look at their Timewarp and leaving after they played such retro classics as Will Smith's Get Jiggy Wit It, along with the latest from whatever idiot had won Popstars that week. They missed the point entirely, but then that'd be the reason it died a miserable death - the club was barely a fifth full. In it's heyday, back in '94, they'd have to turn people away at the door. No mean feat for mid-week in Adelaide.

Allow me to set my own scene here. In 1994 I was busy running one of Adelaide's more progressive collectibles stores Dark Light. A lot of the ideas and concepts that I had in place have been utilised since by others, hey - such is life. Some pave the way, others just steal ideas. I knew I was onto a good thing when I'd see ads from established stores that just re-worded my own slogans. As good as the store was it never made any money and by around April I was in a pit of deep depression mainly due to a messy divorce (and I was so young!) and a woman whom I'd met who decided to give me the royal run around before dumping me for the first time (but not the last). Into my depression (a bottle of Jack Daniels a night thanks muchly - on my own) came one of my best chums, the Little River Man. He was so named by my other great chum Robin (who used to own Andromeda when it was the best store of it's kind, before some fat bastard bought him out and ran the store into the ground) because, a although his name is Paul, he is 1] little, 2] he carries the name of Rivers and 3] he appeared to be a man. As it was Paul was the only one of my friends who actually seemed interested in rescuing me from myself and he suggested that we hit Heaven on a Wednesday to check it out. Having nothing to lose I decided to accept.

I can't dress for a nightclub. I either over-dress or under-dress, but no problem. Paul is a fashion plate and one of those people who could wear a plastic bag and still impress the ladies. And I've seen him do exactly that, so believe me when I tell you. We caught a cab and went on down. The first thing that I noticed was the line-up to get in. I hate line-ups, I'll leave rather than subject myself to a wait, but that didn't faze Paul. We merely walked past the line and he dropped the magic word, "Hoops" at the door. Instant access. We walked in through the alcove and into the room proper. That's when the magic happened.

I can remember to this day the first song that was playing: Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran. Right there and then I knew I'd be having a lot of fun. We got the first round in and looked around at the people who were gathering. Not many were dancing, a few drunken guys and the standard gatherings of girls and that was about it. More music hammered into me like wave on an ocean. It was pure '70s disco and '80s New Romantics. Blancemange. Spandau Ballet. The ever present Abba. Village People - you name it, it was heard. That night would have impacts upon me that remain with me to this day. I had finally found a place where I fit in. Everyone fit in there, except for the under 20s and the posers. And on that night I met two people, one of whom remains a close chum to this day, and the other a person who is closer to me than some members of my own family - indeed she is family to me and we've had the fights to prove it. But more on her later. The first life-changing meeting for me was when Paul dragged me to the DJ booth and simply said, "Danny, meet Steve Hooper." A giant of a man, with the most earnest face I'd ever seen greeted me wearing a gold lame suit. He looked me up and down and said, "Luvvie, call me Hoops! We'll talk later darlings." With that the ball of pure energy vanished into the darkness only to re-emerge in the booth like a golden God before the masses. There were nights when Hoops could have asked everyone to take their clothes off and leap into the air and 500 people would have done it - such was his power and charisma. But more on that, and him, later as well.

I remember dancing a lot, drinking more and doing several things that were totally out of character. I danced the Time Warp itself on a table. I was stripped to the waist and danced on quad boxes on the side of the stage - being a lot slimmer then I could get away with that (liquid diet can do that to you). I carried on and was carried out and was carried right back in again. I can't remember what time I finally fell into bed but I do know that the next day I coasted on a euphoric high and couldn't wait for the next week to roll around. I couldn't care about weekends, I wanted mid-week. I wanted that totally hedonistic world that I'd found existed under my nose for all this time.

I wanted life. And I found it. I found my place in the sun and everyone that came with it. We were surfing on the crest of a wave and the ocean didn't subside for another year.
NEXT: Hoops revealed...and what the hell was the hot dog stand selling laser discs for?

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