“it’s better than any nightclub in london” - the story of hull’s legendary nightclub, spiders

Nested between a bunch of warehouses and factory units in one of east Hull’s industrialised zones, lies a club that has woven itself into the fabric of Britain’s nightlife culture. Here, we peek behind the web during its 1984-90 heyday.

by Andy Roe
08 November 2017, 1:25am

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Wherever I have skittered around Britain, be it Leeds, Birmingham, London or Glasgow, to name but a handful of cities, I have nearly always managed to cross paths with people who, at some point in their lives, have either experienced the delights of Spiders first hand, or have heard a rumour or two, spun from a friend of a friend, about the aforementioned nightclub. In fact, one particular youth, who was from the south, once said to me, "It's better than any other nightclub in London. There's nowhere like it mate." I'm not sure if he was an authority on nightclubs, but his enthusiasm for Spiders was near fanatical. Those chance encounters tell me one thing about Spiders: that it has unquestionably woven itself into the fabric of Britain's nightclub culture.

And so what is the magical formula that underpins Spiders' spellbinding success? Perhaps it's the eclectic mix of music that mesmerises the punters, seducing them into repeat visits; maybe the secret lies in the memorably named cocktail potions that bewitch the thirsty Spiderlings, or could it simply be the theatrical environment -- a Tim Burton/Alfred Hitchcock-like Gothic film set, with an overarching arachnid theme, creating a sense of anticipation, drama and undiluted excitement? The answer is probably a combination of all of the aforementioned suggestions, which, over the years, have created a truly alluring imaginary web, upon which countless people remain spiritually attached for the rest of their lives.

I've also learned that many residents in the city of Hull, despite their disparate musical tastes, regard Spiders as a priceless gem in Hull's cultural crown jewels; an entity to be cherished and safeguarded against the creeping tide of commercialism and town planning.

One of the obvious charms of Spiders is its geographical location -- nested between a bunch of warehouses and factory units in one of east Hull's industrialised zones. And finding it for the first time is like discovering a rare and precious flower in a field that is bereft of beauty and colour.

For me, despite the fact that my Spiders-going days ended nearly 25 years ago, I still feel as though part of me, to some degree, is still deeply connected to the club by a seemingly unbreakable imaginary thread of some description, which has undoubtedly entwined itself around my very core.

Spiders: Tales From Behind The Web by Andy Roe is out now.

club culture
the north