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Tin Tin's
308 Bull Ring Centre,
Smallbrook,
Queensway,
Birmingham

Capacity: 340

A legendary 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 now demolished.

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:

Andy Farley
"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!!"

(Source: http://www.muzik.com.
Interview with Andy Farley.
Viewed 19.06.03)
Lisa Lashes
"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 & inspirations?

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."

Source: http://www.sistersf.com

Viewed:
19.06.03
Your Tin Tin's stories...
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 at: Jonathan@2Klub.com

IanM's Story
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.
DJ Mack's story
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 boys.

I will endeavour to find out from Frankie the other information.

Stuart (aka DJ Mack)
Inukshuk
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?

Dolly: 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?!

2Klub: 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...

2Klub: Does anyone have pics of the interior?

Dolly: 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.

2Klub: 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.

Dolly: 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 then.

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 him.

Then came Sundissential... and the rest is history I guess.

Too good to remember!

"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 of them!"

DJ Andy Ward

This from a Hype clubber...
"Hype was 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 wasn't easy.

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 there.

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 hours.

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 were fun.

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...
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
This in from Martin (Apr '05)...
"... 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

martin"

This in from Little Irish John (Apr '05)...
"Hi there,

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, Bakers, crasher,
decadence, The Steering Wheel, SLAG, Wobble, Cream Nights etc etc.

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 club afterwards.

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 live on.

Little Irish John (as I was known then).
By the way...
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.
Markied (June '05)
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 today.

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..........


 
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