Photographier Molly Macindoe has a new book out 'Out of Order: A Photographic Celebration of the Free Party Scene'. I haven't got hold of a copy yet, but judging by the images reproduced in the Guardian last week, I have to get one soon. Lots of great images of parties in London from 1997 onwards then on to the Teknival circuit on the continent.
This photo was taken at a disused meat factory, Tottenham Hale on 31 December 1997. Joshua Surtees recalls this party at London Loves: 'The venue, we quickly realised, had once been an abattoir or meat factory. This was evidenced by large machinised meat hooks hanging from the ceiling, huge conveyor belts and various bits of slicing and dicing equipment. The size of the place was almost unimaginable. Each room was the size of a football pitch. Each contained a soundsystem playing either techno, jungle or gabber'.
This strange sense of space has always been one of the features of larger squatted buildings. In commercial clubs, every metre is planned for - the bar, the dancefloor, the cloakroom. Squatted buildings can be small and crowded but sometimes, like this one, huge and cavernous with a fantastically uneconomic use of space - whole areas where people can just drift. And yes, as Surtees point out: 'These were buildings lying empty in ruins. Filthy, devoid of electricity supplies or running water, windows broken, utterly neglected and destined to stay like that for years. Soundsystems such as Crossbones transformed these spaces into living, breathing, mind altering events full of colour, energy and sound. Very, very loud sound'.
On a similar tip check out 90's + Gigs Squats Parties, a newish site with flyers etc. from the free party scene. Lots of Brixton/South London stuff there, already including a few parties I was at.