Wednesday, 24 April 2013

They Were The Creators (Rene Gelston - Black Market)

In 1984 I was employed by Vidal Sassoon, in London, as their artistic director. At that time I hosted a number of parties in London and I was invited by Chris Sullivan to take over the running of the Friday night slot at the Wag Club in Wardour Street. The first few weeks of any new club night can be the make or break and our Black Market night would be no different. Fortunately I was introduced to Barrie Sharpe, by my junior Diana Brown, her boyfriend at the time. Every day Diana would pester me for Barrie to DJ at Black Market. Although he was not actually a DJ I took a chance and after a few weeks the club was starting to draw a crowd. Barrie brought along another new young DJ, his neighbour Lascelle Gordon; this partnership laid the foundations for what was later to be termed as Rare Groove; they were the creators; FACT! To say that the club went on to be successful would be an understatement - Black Market was literally packed every Friday and there was always a queue sometimes stretching way down to Leicester Square. This was the place to be seen at and to dance with a mix of fashionistas and street kids; Black Market was the first club in the West End to openly welcome a multiracial crowd. The press were falling over themselves to write about the night; the club attracted huge press coverage both in the UK and the US, with   quotes such as 'ground breaking' and 'seminal'.  ID Magazine quoted, “When Black Market sneezes club land catches a cold”. The Independent, “The term Rare Groove was coined around the Friday nights Black Market”. This was all down to the Foundations that Barrie and Lascelle set down in the beginning; which helped me cement the future for Black Market, now a worldwide recognised brand. As for Barrie, he has always been strong headed; but I would call it more of a direction, a purpose. There are many people that will never get their dues for making London what it is today; these people were the creators, not the followers. After Barrie left Black Market our paths crossed again and Barrie recommended that I take the small shop next to the Duffers in Soho to open Black Market Records. The good thing was both businesses jointly benefited from the increase in human traffic. We still meet and do some business together; we have a mutual respect for each other. As I always say, “Many people have taken props for what other people laid the foundations for”. There are too many lazy journalists who are not willing to discover the real creators; Barrie Sharpe is one of them.

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