| Tin Tin's
308 Bull Ring Centre,
Birmingham club and predecessor of
many now well-established, Tin Tin's
and Hype was where it all took off for many.
|Tin Tin's was a legendary after hours
club located opposite the entrance to New Street Station, in a building
The following extracts from interviews with some well known names
on a couple of websites might give you an insight into the significance
of this club:
|"So Andy how did you get your break?
My first break into DJing was when I entered a DJ competition
at The Nightingale club in Birmingham, and they offered me a
residency shortly afterwards. A few years after that, I was
asked to play at Tin Tin's club in Birmingham,
which did an after hours club, starting at 2 a.m. until 8 a.m.,
and this is where I first made my name around the Birmingham
area. A couple of years later, in 1996, Sundissential
started and asked me to be resident, and from here my work start
to escalate, and finally joining the Nukleuz agency in 2000
gave me the boost I needed!!"
Interview with Andy Farley.
|"What ever styles of house
it is, I play it hard and dirty, it's my favourite way!"
How long have you been DJing, First DJ gig, early memories &
River Severn boat party was my first ever gig, Sundissential
gave me my first residency; I have been playing now for over
6 years. My earliest memories of clubbing and DJ's were going
to Miss Moneypenny's, Chuff Chuff and see people like Lisa Loud
and John Kelly, then I discovered Tin Tin's and saw
the late and great Tony De Vit! It was then that I wanted to
be a DJ."
So it was significant but what was it about? Who ran it? Who set it
up and why... and how? Why did it close? Who went? What was the music
like? All these and other questions need answering. Well, this is
an opportunity for you to contribute to the site. I only went a couple
of times, and my recollections are very hazy. I think the club was
closed after a drugs raid and recall stories about huge quantities
of pills being discovered in the office. But was that all true? And
anyway that was only the end... what happened before then? I'll post
the stories about this legend of a club as I get them. Write to me
|Your Tin Tin's stories...
|Another example of the significance of
Tin Tin's can gauged from a story told me by Hard Dance legendary
DJ Ian M about how he got his break at Trade.
Apparently one night, Trade held a
tour night at Tin-Tins and Ian was at the club along with Tony
de Vit who as their resident, was scheduled to play after Ian’s
set. Meanwhile during the course of the night, friends of Tony
got him into a ‘bit of a messy state’, so when it
came to him playing Tony could hardly stand. So he asked Ian
to carry on playing on the decks in his place.
In the end, Ian played a three + hours set. That night, Trade's
(silent partner) Promoter Big Tim from Trade was at the club,
and as a result of that set (2 weeks later) he got his break
with Trade and his subsequent residency there.
Yet again Tin Tin's was instrumental in propelling the career
of a now legendary DJ.
|Tin Tins was one of the first all night
clubs in Birmingham. I use to go there and then on to Marc Polo's.
My sisters mother-in-law, Carol, ran the door
for them. The music was a mixture of everything. One of my good
friends was a resident: Frankie Dred. He now
plays occasionally at Inukshuk (Breakbeat).
I remember the dress in there was varied from Trannie to trouser
I will endeavour to find out from Frankie the other information.
Stuart (aka DJ Mack)
|An interview with Tin Tin's first resident
DJ, DJ Dolly
|Today DJ Dolly (aka Pete)
plays at one of Birmingham's premiere gay clubs, DV8,
but back in the early 1990s he was involved with one of the
city's most influential and pioneering clubs, Tin Tin's. As
part of 2Klub's effort to capture the history of this famous
and infamous night-time experience, (people tell me that it
was something more than just a club), Pete was willing to let
me interview him. Here is the result:
2Klub: How long did the club run for?
Dolly: It originally opened in spring 1990
as a gay club. I worked two nights and I think Simon
Baker did two as well. It was very busy in the early
days as you would imagine for a new club, and we were lucky
to have a number of really good PAs on there, including Lily
Savage and Take That. Twice. Haha
- I've worked with Robbie... Williams!! It then changed ownership
after 2 years or so, and was owned by Richard and managed by
a mate of mine, David. That was when the 'after club' concept
was born. Tin Tins was open 10-2am, they would then clear out
and re-open til 6am as 'Hype', a much harder dance night with,
as history tells you, some amazing DJ names on there.
2Klub: I understand that it was open more than
one night a week - what things were on on different nights?
Dolly: Originally the club opened Tuesday through
to Sunday, their busiest nights being Friday and Saturday, although
there was a great deal of student interest too, and Tuesdays
also took off in term time. They tried everything from strippers,
drag, karaoke, 70s... the lot!
2Klub: Why was it significant in terms of Brum's
nightlife? Who set it up & why?
Dolly: At the time the gay scene was very insular
and underground, mainly cellar bars (The Jester,
Partners) and private clubs like The
Nightingale and The Jug (before
it became Subway City),
and the scene was getting too big for just these places, so
something new was waiting to happen. I am just glad I was part
of it all....
Tin Tin's was originally owned by Brian and Martin, two older
gay guys who also owned Partners bar (now Enigma
on Hurst Street). They wanted a club to essentially rival the
Nightingale, because in 1989 there was only two gay bars and
one gay club in Brum. So they bought the lease on a former Indian
Restaurant (The Pride of India) and with a
little cosmetic change they turned it into a nightclub. Although
I must say they built the DJ box in the wrong place so it was
almost impossible to mix on the right deck as it was right next
to a pillar!). They then decided to retire (to Bangkok) and
sold the club to Richard. The site where Tin Tin's stood was
demolished in 1999 to make way for the new BullRing complex.
2Klub: What was the crowd like?
Dolly: A great crowd to start with, but after
about 18 months, as with all new clubs, people found somewhere
newer and more exciting to go than an old Indian restaurant
with gold flock wallpaper (still!). After that it was mainly
lesbians on the gay nights, and students in the week, and harder
clubbers late on the Saturdays - this is where Richard (an ex-policeman
- very handy!) made most of his money, and it became quite renowned
on the scene.
2Klub: And why did it close?
It got raided and they found drugs on the premises. The club
closed for a while, then changed hands again, no longer being
called Tin Tins.
2Klub: How did you
and Simon Baker get to play there for the opening?
Dolly: He was travelling between Brum and Bournemouth
(where he was at University) and used to play Fri/Sat, and then
Hype in later days, and I used to DJ for the guys at Partners,
I was their main DJ so it was only natural they would used Partners
as a 'feeder' pub for their new club, and the DJs with it. Opening
night was fantastic, the legal capacity was only about 350-400,
but I am sure we must have had about 800 in. And a drag show...
how the scene has progressed, eh?!
Do you have any fun or interesting stories from the club?
Dolly: Walking in on Take That stuffing
socks down their cycling shorts in the dressing room... and
the stairs in the middle of the club, they just wouldn't be
allowed in a club now, they were steep, and I lost count the
amount of people who fell backward down them after one too many
(beers or pills!) There are probably many many more stories
to be told, but sadly a lot of these people no longer come out,
or are no longer with us...
Does anyone have pics of the interior?
I have a few, mainly from the earlier days ... I have a great
black & white one of me and Simon Baker (from about 1990)
on one of the first weekends there.
How do you think things have changed since Tin Tin's?
Dolly: The gay scene now is certainly a lot
less 'gay' than it used to be, very mixed and very accessible.
Although I feel a lot of the fun and friendships have gone out
of it now. As I told you I have worked on the scene now since
September 1987 as a DJ, and I worked with Tony
de Vit for a good while during his 10 year run at the Nightingale,
something he was proud of, and maybe the newer clubbers may
not be aware of. I worked at The Nightingale (on Thorpe Street,
now the home of Birmingham Royal Ballet & The Hippodrome
- from 1991 to 1995), Tin Tins (from opening night for 18 months),
Subway City (from opening night for 2 years), The new Nightingale
(on its current site on Lower Essex Street, for two years),
as well as the odd residencies in London and Nottingham.
2Klub: Recently I come across some guys
(also DJs) with tapes of TdV from London - early Trade days.
It would be fascinating if one could bring these all together
one day, and maybe hear the development of the hard dance music
sound Tony was famous for.
The tape I have of Tony would probably not make a lot of sense
to his later fans, as you may be aware Hi-NRG was very big in
Europe and on the Gay club circuit worldwide between about 1978
and 1988. It is an old old tape (and very dear to me), and I
have no hard proof other than my word that Tony mixed it! Tony
was, of course, at the forefront of gay club music at this time,
then moving on to Stock Aitken Waterman (honest!) and to Italo
house in the early nineties. He had a very loyal gay crowd even
In about 1992 Tony started his London gigs, and began to play
a much harder edge of music, something which the Birmingham
gay scene had a lot of trouble adapting to. They were used to
easy listening pop records, sing along stuff, and here he was
with his thumping anthems with scarcely a vocal in it! Needless
to say he only stayed on at the Nightingale for another year
or so, as he was earning far more in London, and was far better
appreciated. I also worked with Andy
Farley at the Nightingale during this time - he
too started with Hi-NRG and pop/dance, but progressed to 'proper'
dance music and took over when Tony left. He is a great lad,
and I am proud to say I have had the opportunity to work with
Then came Sundissential...
and the rest is history I guess.
"My memories of Tin Tin's are totally
different from the mainstream... my musical tastes were much
mellower than the typical Tin Tin's crowd.... I know I had
some great times there... but basically can't remember any
DJ Andy Ward
|This from a Hype clubber...
my home for most of the early nineties, every Saturday night
I would be there jumping up and down. Here is an interesting
fact about Tin Tins:- The one person who never gets mentioned
in any Tin Tin's history is the guy who stayed in the background
but helped shape the music policies of the club for the first
five years, which was Paul Andrews the five
year resident Dj. I had forgotten him myself until I went to
see House Discipline play in Nottingham and recognised him as
one of the two djs in House Discipline, ... Fantastic Dj."
|Paul Andrews, Ex-TinTin's Resident
|My memories of TinTins.
I first started at TinTins late 1990 when Dj
Carole asked me to help Dj her Student Night there.
Even then the place was friendly and fun and I loved working
on those Monday nights. It wasn't long before I was Djing other
nights there; by the End of '91 it was either
myself or Simon Baker that was on. Then Hype
came along and the big transformation started taking TinTins
from a small gay club to the biggest success in Brum. But it
The first few nights were half empty. It took a hell of a lot
of promoting to get going. I joined the line up of Dave
Simmons, Tony de Vit and Simon
Baker on the third week of Hype and from this point
there was no going back. It was an amazing club. Tintins got
busier and busier with queues going right down Smallbrook Queensway.
Next to change was the Saturday night pre-Hype. At the time
Simon Harris (Nightingale) was the Saturday
dj, but with the success of Hype he was replaced with myself
and Mark Jarman, which meant I ended up djing
twice a night for almost two years. But it was needed at the
time as the Saturdays were filling up with people waiting for
Hype. A year later it was going all the way through with no
stop at 2am.
I left in '95 after an argument with then promotions
manager Simon who was trying to get me to play Garage instead
of the house which I had always played and was known for playing.
Jumping into my slot was dj Arron Mann who
I had spent over a year training and teaching to become a Dj,
and it all paid off as for a short time he was extremely popular
My best moments at TinTins were too many to mention, but the
one thing I am grateful for is that I met Tony De Vit
who coached me for about a year and became a good friend who
deserved the success that he got. It's funny but I was asked
a few months ago if I fancied getting it all going again in
Birmingham by a friend who really loved the club and was insisting
that the dance scene in Birmingham needed it back, But the way
the Club ended means it will never be repeated, though I suppose
it could be copied.....
|Michelle's de Large's Memories
|This is my account of Tin Tins.
I was into the hardcore dance scence at the time.
I remember after a night on intense clubbing my friends
wanting to play this tape of a DJ called Andy
Farley. I was quite reluctent as I thought all
house was slow and boring. I agreed and it blew me away,
we were all dancing round the living room until the early
My friend Sean Moffatt at the time 1995
had something to do with Tin Tins I think they rented
his sound system. He took me up the next week.I went as
often as I could the music was great and the atmosphere
was amazing. It was great being able to go out and not
be hassled by blokes, to just meet people and have a laugh.
Everyone was friendly it was like a family. Going to a
gay club was not something I was used to but I found the
atmosphere a lot better then any of the straight clubs
I'd been to. Tin Tins used to have this like unique music
that I only really heard in B'Ham
I remember there was this transvestite who used to have
this toy dog and would dress up as a nurse (I think),
I remember wishing I could walk in those heels. There
was also them bloody stairs that were really steep! People
would line up and do this dance the whole club would do
it. Tin Tins dance we'd call it. You'd see them do it
in other clubs and u just knew they went to tin tins.
They also had this fan by one of the podiums and I remember
people used to sit on it. I had on this white dress once
and it was black by the end of the night.
They used to have cages upstairs you could dance in, they
My friend I used to go with, Andy, was well known; he
used to run and jump around and he was a big black bloke
- he used to entertain people.
After Tin Tins we would go to the West End bar
and carry on till the afternoon
I had a lot of my first clubbing experiences in Tin Tins.
It was a fantastic club and I was sorry when it closed.
I heard some bloke died and they raided the club and found
loads of drugs.
Then Sundissential and a lot of the old Tin Tin's crew
would go there. But i don't believe the unique atmosphere
u felt can be copied.
I have some tapes of Andy Farley recorded live at Tin
Tins and they r very valued as they hold strong memories.
|Request for Tin Tin's tapes from
|Michelle would like to know whether
anyone's got any old Tin Tin's tapes they might be willing
to copy for her. Contact her through me: Jonathan
"... i went there a lot
from 93 to 95, it's where i started clubbing so needless
to say i have lots of great memories
i also have 2 tapes, one called 'house project'
and one called 'techno classics', both from the club,
both from 94, they used to sell them in the bar downstairs
as i recall
i'm happy to tape them for you and don't want anything
in return, but if you have any tapes/mp3s etc that you
can share with me that would be great
|This in from Little Irish John
Tin Tin's was my second home for many years. Unfortunately
I moved back to Ireland. I have some tapes somewhere I'll
see if I can dig them out.
If Michelle wants to get in touch thats cool.
What a time that was, I have still got one of my Hype
members card at home. That place holds many great memories.
I've been clubbing all over the world since, nothing has
come close. Everything from the music to the staff were
perfect. I still go clubbing a lot in Dublin and tell
people of my experiences there. I try to buy up old tunes
that remind me of those days. (Always something there
to remind me) remember that one?
It is only now I realise how important the Birmingham
club scene back then is to the club scene now. Miss Moneypenny's,
decadence, The Steering Wheel, SLAG, Wobble, Cream Nights
I went back to brum a few years ago, Moneypennys were
in the old Tin Tin's it was empty. ended up in the Hush
Wouldn't it be great just to have all the old crowd back
together just for one night, try and recreate the feel,
although the venue is gone I'm sure we could do it. The
tunes were an intergral part of the club, totally unique
at the time. If we can get those we can recreate the vibe.
I know we are
all verging on being old timer's but hey it would be fantastic.
Just one more time.
At least we still have the memories if it doesn't happen.
It's nice to know that we all contributed in a positive
way and shaped the way a lot
of clubland is today. Long may the legacy of Tin Tin's
Little Irish John (as I was known then).
|I just thought I should mention that I only quote people
with their permission. All the quotes on this page have
been printed here with the permission of the people who
wrote to me.
|I remember the first time that i walked into the club
- i was apprehensive and fearfull being a straight man
in a gay club but as soon as i walked through the doors
and into the club, i was totally taken away.
Being a house music fan from a young age guided me to
the club scene in Birmingham which started with regular
visits to the Insitute. The music in Tin Tins was totally
different to what i had ever experienced- hard, high energy,
moody and uplifting all rolled into one. The scene inside
was a case of whatever goes - people being who they wanted
to be without any of the pretentiousness that you get
From 1994 i spent the majority of my Friday and Saturday
(and sometimes Sunday) nites in the club being inspired
by DJs such as Dave Simmons and Paul Andrews. the mix
of people and mix of music was simply amazing. I continued
to go there until it was closed down, sharing other weekend
nites in the Steering Wheel, Wobble, Cappella, Bonds and
Subway. One thing i do remember about Tin Tins is the
river boat shuffles they organised - how mad were they!?
The closing of the club seemed to leave a large void in
my life and i know it did the same to a lot of the friends
I'd met there.
It would be so good to set up a nite with the old DJs,
old crowd and old music but would never be the same atmosphere
as what the club produced. It would also be good to find
out what the original DJs are doing now like Dave Simmons
etc. If anyone has got any old tapes I'd be grateful if
i could have a copy !
And finally a thought to all of those vivid Sunday mornings
in Marco's when Hype was over..........