From King’s Cross to the LOLLOP Lounge…

The first two chapters of Trip City were written on a manual typewriter, in my squat, which was between King’s Cross and the Angel. I lived in the former police barracks named Charles Rowan House. ‘Chippy Rowan,’ as we called it, had become council flats – some of which were squatted by various ne’er-do-wells, like us. My college pals had been in number 42 – but they moved on. Ian McCook offered me a room in the place – which seemed perfect, as warehouse parties or one-off clubs were springing up all over the neighborhood. Some even further north, like Seven Sisters. And the summer of 88 was an incredible time for house music and getting high.

I would meet James White after work and head into the West End to cruise various pubs and bars like The George on Wardour Street. And lots of our DJ cronies had segued from playing funk and hip-hop to being 100% House or Garage and in some cases ‘Acieeed.’ Somebody gave me a tattered copy of The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis. And I am reading that alternately with Carlos Castaneda – thinking my disconnection had some spiritual component.

Soph and Chris who had been around Rare-Groove and had a shop called ‘Rogue’ in Soho were now transitioning onto the House Scene. They were doing a Friday night in a Greek function room called The Arena on Green Lanes. None of us were sure why they dubbed their early portable rave ‘COOZZ’ but it was singularly unique for the flavored smoke and the chill-out room or lollipop lounge that they misspelled on the flyer as the LOLLOP lounge. Ashley Beadle and the shock Soundsystem were the early DJs. Later replaced by Mr. C and others.

James White would DJ at Coozz and I would sometimes Emcee… Somehow Trip City’s early chapters were fueled by my experiences in Green Lanes, of all places… Mind you, it’s hard to forget hearing ‘Reachin’ or ‘Promised Land’ on big speakers, for the first time, with ALL THOSE HANDS in the air… And so many of us were moved by those tunes – especially me. You see it felt like a secret society – like we found our tribe and all had the password to get in…