AFTER DARK: Smile, you're on Club @ Vision
Saturday 15 November 1997
There's something strangely compelling about watching other people party in clubs. You can listen to the tunes, laugh at the wannabes posing for the camera, and weep when some geezer decides to display his own "unique" style of dancing.
Club @ Vision offers a phat slice of club culture that goes far beyond ITV's painful attempts in The Hitman and Her - hyperactive zoom shots and "pro" dancers that created a freak of nature somewhere between Cheggers Plays Pop and The Magic Roundabout - to capture the clubbing vibe.
"The original idea, that I've always tried to stick to, is that we should show different types of musical genres from different regions," explains the man behind Club @ Vision, Russell Cleaver. "From a business point of view, we need to sell videos. If we just did a London-based show, people in Belfast, Glasgow and other northern cities wouldn't be interested. Northern clubbers often travel, book a hotel and visit different cities. They make a real weekend out of it, but Londoners are a little more lazy and don't want to go further than down the road."
Launched in March 1996, the videos have gone from strength to strength. Club @ Vision doesn't attempt to set a clubbing agenda, choosing instead to document club culture as a whole. Their latest release (volume IV series II) is an Ibiza special. It features the obligatory shots of clubbing revelry, but also offers excellent DJ/promoter interviews and extensive attractions of Ibiza island by day - something summer pilgrims forego in favour of sleep. The Ibiza clubbing formula is predictable, but by the end of the video I was ready to pack my bags.
Innovative camera shots, combined with the slick delivery of presenter Lisa Nash (above) make the video compelling, and a far cry from earlier efforts.
"The first edition was very different," he laughs. "With most programmes, the makers come from a television background, but we did it the other way and learned as we went along."
For clubbers, the videos offer an accurate picture of their culture in addition to providing them with access to DJs who are usually seen on raised stages a hundred yards away. Tony De Vit, Brandon Block and Danny Rampling all feature in the latest offering.
More importantly, all the clubbing caricatures that we know and love are present. Tanned Mediterranean club owners who look like extras from The Godfather ("We love everybody who come into my club"), wide London boys out on the razzle and Essex girls complaining bitterly about the lack of male talent before concluding "We're definitely coming back next year".
Future productions promise features on other European destinations like Amsterdam; the great British clubber will travel almost anywhere for a good DJ and a friendly crowd. Yet with many people predicting the demise of club culture, how far can Club @ Vision go?
"I've been clubbing for over 20 years now, back when Carl Cox was playing at wedding receptions," he says. "The club scene grew out of nothing and has fragmented, but it's come so far. We try to be humorous and informative and provide `Infotainment'. Club @ Vision's job is to chart the culture's course - whichever direction the scene goes, we'll be there to film it."
Club @ Vision `Ibiza Special' is available in Virgin Mega Stores and Trumps, pounds 7.99 per video/pounds 42 per series (6 videos).
Call 0171-613 4868 for subscription information and additional enquiries.
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