A personal history of clubbing at the Arches
Arche de Triumphe
Sandra Marron, former press manager for the Arches and current Glasgow clubs editor at The List, gives a personal history of clubbing at the Arches.
I first stepped into the cavernous spaces of the Arches in the year 2000 to hand in an application form for a press position. I remember Andy Arnold taking me on a tour of the building (works) and showing me a massive hole in the floor (the Café Bar) but most of all I can remember the way it smelled. If you ever want to smell fun and creativity mixed in with old railway bricks, then the Arches is where you’ll get a good old whiff. I was then and am still reminded of Robert Duvall’s line in Apocalypse Now: ‘I love the smell of napalm in the morning.’ It’s not quite napalm but on a Monday morning after two packed club nights, a theatre show and a live music event the smell was probably just as powerful, but comfortable as all hell. I still love that smell.
The Arches turns 15 this year and to celebrate it is putting on a series of events entitled Fifteen Years: Two Fingers for five weeks in every nook and cranny of the building including some killer clubnights. Mind the Gap’s line-up includes DJ Touché, Rex the Dog, Cagedbaby and local band Union of Knives plus for one night only punters will be treated to the return of the Arches’ first ever in-house club night, Café Loco, which joins forces with Death Disco.
For many the Arches will always be synonymous with putting on some of the best club nights in the UK. The infamous Slam nights were among the first regular nights to put the club side of things on the map, the first time Cream came to the city in 1995 over 4,000 people queued around the block to get in. Carl Cox is its newest patron, it is Judge Jules’ favourite place to spin, Mylo DJed in the Café Bar before he made it big and Madonna’s musical director Jacques Le Cont was about to throw in the towel and quit DJing forever until he played at Death Disco.
During my time there I worked with lots of great club promoters and nights but Death Disco was the one I was most involved with. Along with Tiernan Kelly (programmer), Tamsin Austin (the then music programmer), Niall Walker (marketing manager and Designer) and DJ Mingo-Go (resident DJ) we poured our heart and soul into making Death Disco (named by yours truly) into a club that fitted in with the ethos of the Arches: a place that nurtured young talent, took risks and put on cutting edge bands and DJs that no other club night had the balls to put on.
On the first night about 300 people turned up and now, three years on, it regularly packs in over a 1000 punters each month. One night at Death Disco it dawned on me that I had been using the same toilet for the best part of five years. The Glimmer Twins were rip-roaring through a blazing set and I was in ‘my toilet’. As I sat there, I thought, for as long as I’ve been in this city, this place has been and will probably always be part of my life. A year on and over two years since I was a full time member of staff, I’m still using that same bloody toilet. Long may it continue.
Mind the Gap, the Arches, Glasgow, Sat 23 Sep; Death Disco v Café Loco, the Arches, Glasgow, Sat 14 Oct.