Where (not) to go cyber clubbing

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The Independent Culture
Question: when is the UK's first cyber nightclub, not the UK's first cyber nightclub? Answer: when the mighty, infallible mega- gigabyte computer that drives it breaks down. This was the sorry story at Saturday's launch of D'Kama, billed as the nightclub to break the mould, something new, something different.

It was hard not to feel sorry for brothers William and Henry Powell, the proud owners of D'Kama. In their early 20s, the brothers cut their teeth in the computer world working for Anmex, which recently won the What PC multimedia computer of the year award.

Though they both regularly surf the Internet and are fully versed in techno-babble, they do not wear anoraks. In fact both are fully-fledged members of London's swanky Fulham Road scene, the English equivalent of Beverly Hills 90210. The two brothers - twentysomethings with trust-funds, BMWs and Chelsea pied-a-terres, and with nightclubs and parties a regular part of their fast-lane lifestyle - decided to open a club of their own. A place their friends could go, but somewhere new, somewhere that combined their computer knowledge and avoided the usual loud music nightclub format. How about a cyber club?

In addition to the usual booming sound-system, D'Kama is decked out with TV screens which (and here's the novelty) project thousands of images stored on computer. The artwork is cross-referenced into subject matters, each theme being labelled and assigned a button in the DJ's booth. The DJ can then select a mood to accompany the music. Henry explains: "Suppose it's a Friday evening and everyone has just come in from work, the DJ can select the 'relax' button. The computer then randomly loads relaxing images on to the screens; maybe droplets rippling across a pond. Then later in the night we might want to get a celebratory feeling going. So he'll hit the button and 'bang', an image of, say, a girl cracking open some champagne comes up." Brilliant. Only tonight the computer's crashed, the music is playing very loud and D'Kama is, well, like any other nightclub.

The Powell brothers might be entrepreneurial techno-bods, but their other partner in D'Kama, Sebastian Paris, is an old night-owl, having owned after-hours venues in LA and Sydney. With the computer down, Paris has a surer touch with the customers. Sitting on the bar, courtesy of his other company, Icely Brothers, are two huge ice sculptures. Known as the Love Luge, they might be better termed the Lust Luge. One is the headless naked body of Pamela Anderson, the other Brad Pitt (above). Both are the centre of orgiastic excitement. For pounds 3 a shot, the barmaid pours champagne into the neck; the drink then luges its way through the ice sculpture's body, leaving the lucky punter to quench his or her thirst from an area of Pamela or Brad's anatomy best left to the imagination. Proof that no matter how sexy you try to make computers, there really is no substitute for the real thing (or as close as you're likely to get).

JAMES STYLE

D'Kama, 11 Queensberry Place, London SW7 (0171-589 1568) 7pm-1am Tue- Sat

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