Trade History

History of TRADE

Trade is unlike any other club. Open from 4am until 1pm on Sunday afternoon, when most of the capital is safely tucked up in bed, you can guarantee that Turnmills at 63b Clerkenwell Road will be packed to the rafters and with still more queuing up outside.

Trade was launched almost four and a half years ago by Laurence Malice. It was inspired by spanish resorts like Ibiza, Barcelona and the USA where there is such a wonderful, carefree attitude to nightlife. It was no surprise then that Trades' original clientele were mainly Italians, Spaniards and French people, because they were used to going out at 2am and not bothered about Sunday as a "day of rest".

Nowadays, though the majority are Londoners, a sign that British people are slowly adopting the lifestyles of their European cousins. Some of the crowd come from other clubs that have closed too early, while others are making their first appearance of the night.
Laurence Malice is a man with his fingers firmly on the pumping pulse of clubland. With over 15 years of experience in the promotion of gay and mixed clubs in a sometimes fickle and pernicious scene, he well understands the importance of staying one step ahead of the plagiarists.

When Laurence first approached the management of Turnmills, they could not understand why anyone wanted ro run a club on a Sunday morning. They thought it would be full of people who wanted to sleep until the trains started. How wrong they were - there is usually a queue of a few hundred people waiting outside at 3am for the doors to open, many will not even gain entrance due to the club's strict door policy.

Laurence Malice
At first you may find the atmosphere inside Trade a touch surreal - it's at times both frenzied and mellow and the whole club seems to be moving.

Trade Poster
The club is like a speakeasy - an underground venue in the old style. It's cleanly turned out and stylishly decorated without all the high-tech paraphernalia of the standard Euro-disco. The layout of the club sprawls on different levels and although the dancefloor takes up the most spacious part, there are loads of other interesting areas you can find to chill out or sit and chat.

Dancing is not restricted to the dancefloor, wherever you look there are arms waving, heads swinging and whistles blowing. The crowd is a very eclectic mix - mostly gay but with a smattering a friendly straights.

Sexual or asexual, gay or straight, designer clad queens rub shoulders with T-shirt ravers, drag shares its floor space with muscle-bound hunks. The atmosphere is energy charged and diverse.

But despite the variety there's a real communal feel - a sense that you're amongst 'friends' or a least like-minded strangers. People who want to dance the night away without the worry of houselights being turned on.

The sound system is the business and there is a regular interchange of DJs so that you can never get bored with just one groove.

Club Pic
Trade is the club for '24 hour party people' in the truest sense. One of the regular cliches you will hear about the club is that the DJs play only hardcore techno. Not so - the music is as varied as the DJ's taste. The music policy is keenly monitored and has evolved away from the industrial-strength techno that Trade became known for courtesy of Daz Sounds and Trevor Rockliffe. Smokin Jo cut her teeth at Trade and, along with Tony de Vit, Paul Newman and Malcolm, the emphasis has been placed on happier house. Nowadays, the music comes from Italy, Chicago, Detroit and you'll also find some Belgian new beat. The atmosphere has got more comfortable as a result, and is proof positive that the club's promoters have catered to their customers needs.

Club Pic
The door policy at Trade is firm but fair: you don't have to be gay or a member to get in, but your attitude and look will count.

If you've not been, its an experience well worth staying up for. Trade has stamped its identity on an era of clubland history - product of our time.

"I first stumbled across Trade soon after it opened having spent some of the previous three years reporting on European club life. By 1990, the exuberance and optimism of 1988 had been increasingly tempered by lock-jawed, charlie-edged aggressive attitude that was wholly disillusioning. So when I discovered Trade, it reminded me of why I'd made a career of going out in the first place. Since that day, straight clubland has always seemed second rate. To gain access to the dance floor, you have to run the gauntlet of a throng of glistening, bare chested muscle queens, all vying with one another to be the first in the pec-ing order. There are sweaty, air punching, stripped-to-the-waist action men and muscle marys, drag queens, transsexuals and the not so sures. One thing pervades, along side the whiff of the Liquid Gold : the sweet smell of acceptance. No matter what your creed, colour, gender or sexual persuasion, one thing you will always find there is tolerance. It's hard to imagine a world without Trade. Actually, no it isn't - we'd all be at work on Monday a bit more often."

Muff Fitzgerald
"The Face" - March 1996

Club Pic

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