a look at club night boombox's legacy by princess julia
As seminal east London party BoomBox returns to celebrate its 10th anniversary with New Look Men during LFWM, one of its regulars Princess Julia reflects on the club night that was like no other.
A lot has changed over the past 10 years, on the other hand some things haven't really changed at all. Digital is the new word of mouth - we now look online for the newest events and hottest parties. Yet ten years ago, social media wasn't quite what it is today. MySpace was our main port of call, Facebook was a relatively new platform so really BoomBox was really one of the last club nights that emerged without the aid of much online communication; mostly relying on flyers, posters plus the whisperings that something really exciting was going on. And that's exactly how Richard Mortimer, whose brainchild it was wanted it. Making his mark in London, Richard Mortimer was very particular about how he wanted to relay news about his club night, he carefully planned imagery to reflect what BoomBox was all about. It was for and by the people that went there week in and week out, they were, in essence the stars of BoomBox. Richard would always outspend his budget though, flying in DJs for PAs and blowing lavish sums on extraordinary amounts of conceptual bunting and wot not for special occasions. I don't believe he ever made a penny out of it, but much to his credit he reimagined the idea of clubbing, asking pop stars, fashion designers, models, artists and style heroes to take to the decks and DJ.
I remember when Kylie DJd. She mainly danced on the bar while her stylist William Baker and I selected and pressed the play buttons! But who cares! BoomBox was always night to remember. Amidst the hoo ha, BoomBox's trusty resident DJs Nathan Gregory Wilkins, Jerry Bouthier, Andrea Gorgerino, Matthew Stone, DJ Rokk and Hanna Hanra held the fort with eclectic playlists that had us bouncing off the walls and bounce we did! Mortimer asked Alistair Allen, who set up a website dirtydirtydancing.com to archive the night, to take the most flawless photos he could. He had some sort of exacting flash that blasted out any imperfections, (no filters in those days). How Alistair managed to get the photos up for Monday morning was beyond me but we all clamoured online to find ourselves the next day.
BoomBox, a free guest list only weekly Sunday night party emerged from the ashes of various incarnations, a night called Golf Sale being its original parent, then later Family. The noughties saw London club life shifting away from central London - we were heading East to experience the next clubbing generations take on the disco round. I was one of many keen to see what all the fuss was about, I never thought I'd end up DJing there but ended up being a regular DJ guest at all of Richard's clubs. When I first met Richard Mortimer I thought I'd known him for years and chatted on about this and that much to his bemusement.
From the moment you trotted to the entrance of BoomBox at The Hoxton Bar, where host greeters and holders of the coveted guest list James 'Jeanette' Main, Cozette McCreery and Nuno Antunes waved you past, you got the sense you were in the right place at the right time. There was always a queue stretching up the road, that added to the anticipation, so it was vital you got on the list but if you dressed the part that would also get you in. Every week Jeanette wore something different, clothes were called in, fashion drag was borrowed and sometimes ruined!
Making the journey down past the crowded left hand bar, people frantically waving to catch a bartender's attention, a swift right then left past the bustling toilets for a last chance to check yourself- the pounding music getting progressively louder, people getting progressively wilder and into the vault and heart of BoomBox you got the sense you'd arrived at one of the most unique nights of the 00's. Everyone was there, all those stories are true if you're wondering! The crowd, like the music was a real mix of pop, art and fashion culture. It was all encompassing, a safe haven to explore, reimagine yourself and dance - no holds barred. Like all good clubs there was gossip, intrigue and a lot of drama, It wasn't a late night affair, the club opened at 7.30pm and went on till 12.30am. But we'd get smashed without fail and stumble home actually looking forward to a hangover the next day… Now that's something you can't always say about a club night but BoomBox certainly gave us something to talk about, both then and now!
Text Princess Julia
Club photography Alastair Allen