|Here's what Paul, the new promoter of FF:Reloaded said in
the preview press release:
the relaunch of the legendary club ‘ff’...
FF:RELOADED - BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
A new incarnation of the fabulous ‘ff club’ is going
to throw open its doors on the 21st June, 10pm to late.
Relaunching as ‘FF:RELOADED’, the club will offer
a heady mixture of music and visuals for its customers.
There will be 3 rooms of cutting edge and progressive sounds
ranging from uplifting, to deep, dark, hard, and just damn right
sexy. Not forgetting its roots, a proportion of the music will
be from the hey day of the original club, providing a new unique
and enjoyable clubbing experience.The original DJ line up will
be on hand, including Blu Peter, Mrs
Wood, EJ Doubell and
Hugo’sland. In addition, new up and coming
DJs will be performing regularly. For the launch party Jafar,
Jason Joy and Olly will be
joining us. In addition, there will be live diva-esque vocal
backing to some tracks by the fabulous ‘Sativa’.
Paul (the promoter) said "We didn’t
just want to duplicate the old club as it has already had its
day. After Mark Lang decided to close it in
1996, the scene was left with little choice for its punters
that partied on sundays. But maintaining its core values of
a fun night, excellent music and the slightly chaotic nature
of the original club, we can offer our customers both old and
new something that is not currently on the scene at present".
Blu Peter said about FF:RELOADED: "I
am really looking forward to playing with Mrs Wood again. We
always played well together, particularly at ‘ff".
Mrs Wood said: "The original djs
always worked well together and created the unique sound, this
will be just as cutting edge and create a place where anything
can happen!" "I find the London club scene a little
boring at the moment, it all seems to be more of the same, you
go out and know exactly what you are going to get, which is
not what we want is it?"
In association with SceneChange, we will be
the first club to premiere their new lighting projection system
called the ‘Hippotiser 2’. Providing realtime graphic
generation and manipulation, and movie integration. The system
is unique in its field.
FF:RELOADED will be at The Glasshouse in Blackfriars on the
3rd Saturday of the month for an initial four
The initial pricing for each event will be £10 with a
flyer or advance tickets and £14 on the door.
Advance ticket sales are from our web site: http://www.ff-club.net
are in partnership with TicketWeb, the premier ticket service."
FF was a legendary London club of the 1990s. Despite what many
think, FF stood for "First Friday", even though the
club was held on Sundays! The club has been resurrected using
the original line-up of DJs, plus new up&comers, with the
aim of keeping the old vibe, while updating the club for the
21st. Century. The fundamental goal, I was told, was to be different
and unpredictable. I went along in eager anticipation.
June 21st. was the shortest night of the year, but for the promoters
of ff:Reloaded it must surely have seemed like the longest!
"If you build it they will come" may work for baseball,
but it hasn't worked here. There were enough people at this
launch to sustain a good atmosphere in one room, not three,
and indeed one of the three was closed. The poor attendance
was partly down to a confusing image for the club and what it
represents. For instance, it claimed to be offering something
different, yet played on the heritage of a club long closed.
The music policy was not "mainstream" for a gay club,
yet the featured DJs were those which headlined six or more
years ago at the old ff which was at Turnmills. Then there's
the name: using a past club's name with their DJ line-up, but
then claiming that this was NOT an attempt to re-launch that
club. Further, the original club was held on a Sunday, yet the
new one is slotted into the most popular period of the weekend,
The target audience was clearly the gay market, but there are
groups within that market. Who exactly was expected to come?
Was it the old ff crowd? One clubber I spoke to before the launch
night who went to the old ff said that if it wasn't at Turnmills
then it wouldn't be "ff". Another said "most
of the ff clubbers are probably dead now." Another old
ff devotee I met afterwards didn't even know about the launch
and wondered whether it had been advertised.
If not the old ff clubbers, for which the name had meaning,
(and who seemed to feel that this offering could never match
the original) then who? The curious? Those who had heard of
ff but had never been. Well, this might work once - on the launch
night, but surely isn't enough to keep them coming back, as
surely they would be disappointed, as The Glasshouse is certainly
not Turnmills. Many people I spoke to during or after the event
didn't feel that The Glasshouse was the right place. One commented
that it reminded him of a school disco. Another said he disliked
the security staff whose constant observation was too "in
If not the old ff crowd, or the curious, then who? People who
had never been to ff and had never heard of it or couldn't care
less? If them, then why call it"ff"?
Further disappointment must have been caused for those who went
to hear the featured original ff dj line-up. Surely in the original
club these djs played consecutively? If so, why put Mrs. Wood
on in one room, and EJ Doubell in another at the same time,
forcing people to have to choose between the two? The result
was that they chose EJ Doubell, and Mrs. Wood's excellent, very
interesting and energising techno set was played to an almost
Matters were not helped by there being stiff competition for
the pink pound with a popular live PA at G-A-Y and the very
popular Action, (at a venue holding 3,000) at the same time
as the launch.
What's the point of a "launch" night? Well fundamentally,
it's to get good press coverage and good word-of-mouth going
in order to get more people there next time. All the stops should
be pulled out for a launch, both in terms of pre-launch publicity,
and on the night, in order to build up expectations and to deliver
on them. Charging people £14 to come to an unfamiliar
venue and try something new seems inconsistent with this objective,
and, unfortunately the stops were not all pulled, the message
was confusing or failed to get out altogether and if ff was
"reloaded", it was loaded with blanks!
This is an effort where the promoters should take serious stock
of what they're trying to do, why and for whom, and re-think
|Second event: 19th. July...
|Billed as a Pre-Pride Party,
Boys Vs Girls (Blu Peter and Hugo'sland Vs EJ Doubell and Mrs.
Wood), it should perhaps be titled "Throwing Good Money
After Bad." I'm rarely wrong... but maybe this time? Let's
see. Have special marzipan hat just in case.
The above was written before the event. Reports indicate that
the second event attracted about thirty customers, and an attempt
to view the club's website today (August 12th.) led only to
an error message.
As a result my marzipan hat has been returned to the fridge.