Scottish clubbers' favourite dancefloor moments

With submissions to the V&A Dundee's digital Scottish clubbing archive, Everyone in the Club, closing this month, we’ve picked out a handful of clubbers’ memories from dancefloors across Scotland

Feature by Nadia Younes | 05 Jan 2022
  • Clubbing Memories

In September last year, the V&A Dundee launched Everyone in the Club – a crowd-sourced digital archive documenting Scottish club culture over the years – to coincide with the museum’s Night Fever exhibition. As the exhibition comes to a close this month, so too does the opportunity for public submissions to be entered into the archive.

Featuring input from the promoters behind some of Scotland’s most famous parties from the 80s to the present day – including Subculture’s Harri & Domenic, Optimo’s JD Twitch, and trailblazing audiovisual DJ VAJ.Power – the archive provides a brief overview of Scotland’s vibrant club scene. But club culture is and always will be about the dancers, so we’ve picked out some of the recent submissions to the archive from members of the public to share some of the clubbers’ memories from the dancefloor.

Laura Mackenzie on Camel Beats at The Venue, Edinburgh

“Going to Pure or Camel Beats on Friday at The Venue in the mid to late 90s straight after my work at a posh French restaurant finished! It was joyous, leaving that staid and restrained atmosphere and diving headlong into the dark, hot, pulsating atmosphere of The Venue. Often still in my waitress uniform, I'd dance the tiredness out of my legs surrounded by wonderful, sweaty friends and strangers. There was nowhere and nothing else like it: open, friendly, cathartic and truly wonderful. Memories to be cherished forever… Me and my husband still have our Camel Beats membership cards and he even has a T-shirt!"

Paul McFadyen on LVE at The Art School, Glasgow

“Between 2000 and 2005, a bunch of very skint but imaginative individuals put on a collection of audio/visual club nights called LiveVEvil, and attempted to bring some fun and quality drum’n’bass to The Art School, and various other venues... We tried to do things slightly differently by placing a huge importance on the visual aspects of the events, as well as the audio, with a team of VJs and DJs. We also streamed the events live online, which was quite an unusual thing to do back in 2000…

"Along the way we introduced Glasgow to some amazing guest DJs with the likes of John B, Doc Scott, Black Sun Empire, Photek, Matrix, Pendulum, Tech Itch and many more passing through the doors… So many good memories! That final night was a bit emotional as we’d all put quite a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years and we packed The Art School out one final time. Pretty sure we even did wee cringey speeches at the end – less said the better about that though...”

Andrew Goulder on Rezerection at various venues across Scotland

“My Rezerection bomber jacket was a present from my parents for my 16th birthday. We regularly visited both Ingliston and Kinross Sunday markets, where there were stalls that sold rave tapes. I had nagged my dad to buy me something from the Rezerection mail order. I must have picked up a flyer at Sleeves Records in Kirkcaldy or something.

"I was proud as anything when I got this jacket: black with the Rez head on the back. None of my school mates had anything like it. I stupidly took it to a mate’s 'empty' house party the following weekend, as you do when you are 16, and it was promptly stolen, never to be seen again. Gutted, and I had to tell my parents. Four years later, I'm now at uni in Dundee and scrolling through eBay instead of doing coursework, and what popped up? My black Rez head jacket, in Dunfermline. I bid and won it back! And that has formed the main part of my collection for the last 20 years.”

Grant Anderson on Minival at The Tunnels, Aberdeen

“I started my photography career shooting clubs in Aberdeen. Between 2013 and 2017 I covered many of the events in the city and, although much of it is a haze, I do have some vivid memories of the hot, dark and sweat-dripping parties. Some things that really stuck with me were the short summer nights leaving a club at 3.15am and it being quite bright was something I never got used to…

"[At Minival’s] season-ender in November 2015, one half of Âme (Kristian Beyer) played a five-hour all night long set at The Tunnels. When I was working nights I would have all my regular bars and clubs to shoot before these bigger one-off gigs, so would have to cram in a full event shoot into the last hour of the night, which was always super sweaty, maximum capacity and everyone suitably jovial. The Minival parties were always so much fun. I had enjoyed them as a partygoer, and it was ace to see Ravi and Cristof using unusual venues and spaces in the city.”

Mike McDonald on Fat Sams, Dundee

“My earliest clubbing memories were those from Fat Sams from 1988 and into the early 90s, waiting in the queue with anticipation, with the heavy bass you could hear above you coming from the club. Back then it was ‘regulars only’ and luckily I went with a few pals who were already regulars and had been going since it opened in 1983, so I then became a regular myself. Before heading to Fatties, the squad would meet up in The Parliamentary, Laings, The Bread, Chevy’s, and sometimes Chambers – if our mate Seve was playing his trumpet in a band.

"Acid house had just hit the UK. Those sounds and the four-to-the-floor beat would stay with me, and it’s something I will always love. The atmosphere inside the club was incredible. We would sometimes go to Fatties from Thursday to Sunday. It was a religion, Fat Sams was our church, and DJs such as Ned Jordan and Dave Calikas, playing some of the best tunes from that era, were our musical ministers; especially Dave Calikas playing Secchi – Flute On as his last tune every Saturday night.”

Night Fever: Designing Club Culture, V&A Dundee, until 9 Jan
Everyone in the Club is accepting public submissions to the archive until then

For more on Scotland's clubbing history, listen to the first episode of our Clubbing Together podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts