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Until Saturday 16 January 2016 at the Islington Museum, the Trade Exhibition showcases one of London’s most iconic clubbing brands.
Back in October 1990, Trade changed the face of LGBT clubbing. Ecstasy was changing the nature of house music and London needed a night to keep up with it. Appropriately billed as ‘the original all-night bender’, Laurence Malice launched Trade on 29 October 1990 at Turnmills, 63b Clerkenwell Road, Islington.
Although it seems less strange now, at the time its opening hours of 3am until 1pm on Sundays were considered revolutionary – and more than a little taboo. Now there are countless clubs that do the very same thing, but none of them is as fondly or widely remembered as the original Trade.
Hard-edged techno was the signature sound at Trade, with DJs including Tony De Vit, Smokin Jo, Tall Paul, Sister Bliss, DJ Fergie, the Sharp Boys and Pete Wardman stirring up crowds into loved-up frenzies at one with the music. Trade was the birthplace of hard house and thus birthed countless imitators over the years.
Founder Laurence Malice says of Trade, ‘No gay club in this country has managed to equal this. Our music policy will forever be our most pivotal contribution to the club scene.’
These might seem like big words, but Malice is right. Trade headlined sets to 500,000 people alongside Radio 1 at Leeds’ Love Parade festival and still regularly appears at London Pride, Summer Rites and the Tobacco Dock festivals.
Trade apparently counts as fans such figures as Alexander McQueen, Boy George, Bjork, Dolce & Gabbana, Erick Morillo, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and Rupert Everett, and is even rumoured to have turned Cher away at the door. Trade even appeared in Sex in the City – a sure sign of its street cred.
The brand cemented its legacy with albums and tours both nationally and internationally. The mainstream media also took note, with Channel 4 producing Trade: The All-Night Bender in 1998, highlightint LGBT clubbing one year before Queer as Folk hit our screens.
From October 2002, Trade continued to host one-off events on an epic scale – usually at Turnmills, until the venue closed in 2008. Now the night tours other venues for special parties, such as Egg on York Way, Islington.
Trade: Often Copied, Never Equalled celebrates 25 years of Trade through a collection of artwork, memorabilia, music and photography from the period.
Event: Trade: Often Copied, Never Equalled Exhibition
Celebrating 25 years since the opening of this iconic club night in Islington in 1990
Date: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (closed Wednesdays & Sundays) until 16 January 2016
Venue: Islington Museum, 245 St John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1V 4NB
Time: 10am – 5pm
Featuring artwork, posters, flyers, memorabilia and much more