triman (triman) wrote,

When did disco die?

It's a generational question. If you grew up in or around a big city, there were, are and always will be clubs. Each generation has its watershed, the day that their "disco" dies. While typing my prior entry I'm listening to Ben Rost Woods Gatecrasher tribute mix, it's a fantastic review of club/house music from the 2000-2004 era. Ben put it together to celebrate GC after the fire that burnt down the Gatecrasher building in Sheffield.

Ella hooked me up with me up with the Rost Wood mix, you can find it online here with a track listing. I suspect when she looks back, although she stopped going regularly to Gate Crasher a few years before, "disco" died for Ella in June 2007. There are even videos on YouTube of  the fire.

For me, like most other people, my generations disco died in 1979. In my case I'd grown-up, well I thought I had. Ella was born not long after :-) - but listening to the Robert Elms 1976 show this morning, I remembered. Disco really died for me on New Years Eve in London. A crowd of us had gone to club in Neal St. in Covent Garden that was called Chaguaramas. In those days Covent garden wasn't what it is today, it was a pretty grimy run down part of London. The market was still there I think and Neal St was on the border of the happening West End. We'd been to chaguaramas many times, but in 1976 it started to go downhill, downmarket. Not sure what caused it.

Sometime around then chaguaramas  was renamed the Roxy, but my memory was of a regular club night on New Years Eve, tickets only. Then just before midnight a band came on, in discussion a few years ago, it was suggested it was the Clash. I can't remember. What I do remember was feeling alienated, let down, lost. There were loads of people with black dustbin bags for tops, tight pants, jumping up and down doing what became later known as the pogo, spitting.

We left.

I remember walking down to Trafalgar Square with Angie, I think Barb, and a few others, feeling deflated. Missing Big-Ben and making our way back to Euston to get the train, or was Euan driving? That was the night disco died for me. A fantastic year, with some really great music but everything changed in 1977. Well at least that was my memory.

I searched around on google and maybe I got the years muddled up. Maybe it was New Years Eve 1975? If you read some of the articles on the Roxy on the Internet it seems to say that it opened exclusively as London's first ever punk club on December 21st, 1976. The VestalWatch MySpace page says January 1977. I certainly don't recognize this description of the club, in the Clash book, the Return of the Last Gang in Town.

Although I was never into punk at all, neither the music nor the clothes, I guess I was there at the start. According to this article, the club was for a while the flag ship store of uber-hip Red and Dead. And the triathlon link? Yes, today it is a Speedo store.

The more I read, the more confused I've become. The Wikipedia entry for the Roxy says that there were three punk nights in December of '76, "The third, on 21st December, featured Siouxsie & the Banshees and Generation X. However, it was The Clash and the Heartbreakers that headlined the official gala opening on January 1, 1977." - So maybe it was December 21st Christmas Party rather than New Years Eve, or maybe it was New Years Day evening, I'm really confused now.

Anyone out there confirm or correct my memories? Which year was it? Was there a party New Years Eve 1976 with a punk band ? Who were the band that played that night? and was it chaguaramas or Shagaramas? I must admit, I always thought it was the latter.

Tags: 1976 roxy
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