Thursday, 29 April 1999
Brick Lane Window Party
The party was near Aldgate East in a huge blue and white office block. Loads of people are arriving as we turn up around midnight and boom-boom-boom is coming from inside, so in we go.
Oh shit, this place is huge. Over something like 10 floors, there were rooms and rooms of sound systems. I lost count of how many there were, but it was much more than the 6 promised. There was everything from Gabba to that lovely "Housey London" sound, I still don't know this is really called.
The night was spent either dancing myself silly or wandering around this huge building, constantly finding more and more new areas. Fair to say I was getting as trashed as the building was.
One thing was clear though, the event was popular, massively popular. Despite there being no advertising and the phone lines not opening 'till 10.00pm, I would say at a guess at least 5000 people turned up, maybe a lot more. The reason for the popularity is simple, no hassles. This was free land, go mad in an empty office block, have fun.
I continued my wanderings down a second staircase, through the heating plant and into a huge underground car park and a room with the most beautiful sounds.
Back up the stairs to the first floor and a small area with a PA and a guy with a CD, MD and DAT arrangement playing "home made" music of various types. This guy looked like a real thug, huge he was with deep set eyes. He seemed to know his music though and was treating the CDs with utmost care. Now I began to see the strength of the underground in London, the brilliance of the music and the two little figures held stiff against the blandness of commercialism.
More rooms later I find Doug, a friend over from the US and experiencing his first squat rave, who seems to have had an interesting time. I was worried as to how he would feel about all of this, certainly it was quite unlike anything he had experienced in the US. He seemed happy enough and we went upstairs together to yet another room I hadn't found yet on the top floor.
This room was huge. It was daylight by now (had been for some time) and the large "glass wall" windows let the light flood in to show a somewhat trashed open plan office room full of trashed people. After dancing for some time I took a break and sat down for a chill.
As we were talking some geezer, totally off his head, runs over to me, slaps me (gently) on the head and runs away. I didn't think too much of it, but a bit later he does it again to someone else. I'm watching him as he is clearly going over the top, rolling around on the floor and then running around the room. Suddenly, he runs toward me again, but slightly to my left, and smashes into one of the large glass windows which shatters. He seems OK though and goes back to his insane running around. A group of people are concerned about him however, and we talk about what to do. Some of them want to call the police and stop the party before he hurts himself. I thought we should take him downstairs to somewhere nearer ground level and where its quieter.
Before we can come to a conclusion though, he comes running from the crowd again. I see him and I can tell from his eyes, this is it. I try and grab him but fail, then run with all my speed behind him shouting "stop him, stop him", but he reaches the window and dives head first at it.
Glass smashes as he goes out the window with a sound I will never forget, but someone catches his feet at the last minute and pulls him back in, we're 6 floors up remember. He gets up and runs again, but this time there is a lot of blood. I catch him and wrestle him to the ground and with the help of about six other people, we apply first aid.
This was serious, and I had wondered what would happen in a place like this if there was an emergency, now I was going to find out. Someone with a mobile phoned 999. The police were there in minutes, followed by the medics.
The guy was out of there very quickly and off to hospital, I doubt he would
have had faster attention in a legal place. Police re-enforcements turned up but stayed outside. I was left there, covered in blood and very shaken but with a strange feeling of having just saved someones' life. I've never done that before.
It's also worth mentioning the way others reacted. A girl knew more about applying the pressure pad than I did, someone else checked carefully for glass fragments, someone else phoned the police and directed them to the scene, others helped restrain him. No-one got in the way, everyone helped. The police, it has to be said, were also wonderful, they were calm and polite and accepted help until they were able to take full control.
The bloke was tripping on acid, rather too much acid.
Afterwards me and Doug went up to the roof and I became a lump of jelly. We left the party (it was around midday) and went to have a cup of tea.
There is a happy ending to the story, the person concerned made a full recovery and is still very much with us, if a little shaken by the experience, but it was an unfortunate end to what had been a really good party.