An Interview Invitation
At the very end of 1999, I was invited to an interview on MM, Music Media, Bulgarian cable music tv, to talk about subcultures in general and subcultures in Bulgaria in particular.
The reason being that I had achieved a certain notoriety in Sofia by being "into the occult" from one hand and for creating, together with my husband at the time, the first privately owned musical club in Sofia.
This last paragraph needs some explanations. As one : everybody was notorious in Sofia at the time for Sofia was very small and everybody knew everybody else. In this sense, I was notorious - everybody knew my name and occupation - associate with a space where music, arts and occult are going on. As two: at that point in Sofia there were - Yalta, a state owned (as everything else in the country) discotheque and Rhythm, a state owned club were life bands were occasionally playing.
This was Sofia's musical landscape just after the changes - a fish ball quoi. So when we started with the club, we, who have never seen a real music venue in our lives, we created it from scratches.
We constructed the whole space as we imagined it it should be. Two floors. In the basement a small stage and dj boot, a bar with no sitting places it looked like a cave. Moist runny walls, darkness and blitzs, good investment in speakers and sound sets the basement was just for music and dancing. And effectively for its four years life much music and dancing took place in there.
Upstairs was a whole different story. Upstairs was the "face" of the club and it was exceptional. The door was thick wood and metal made to order and looked like the gate to a castle - or how we imagined a castle door should look. Cast in the concrete floor was a massive black Chaos Sphere as the club was called the Chaos club (nevermind that everybody called it The Mud as it was situated on a central boulevard under reconstruction related to the diggings of Sofia's first underground line in the early 90s. And also because at the opening night there was some leakage at the lavatories which mixed with the mud brought from outside). The bar was also wooden made on order. The iron chandeliers too. And then there were thd Toth Tarot cards painted on the walls by a friend, who had just come back from Germany where he was restoring church frescos - so the quality of work was exceptional. There were the tarot atous Art, Death, The Devil, The Hierophant and more (Funnily, I don't have one single photo of the place) This front room looked as if Merlin has decorated King Arthur's knight's night club. Apart from the music and dancing some poetry reading and talks on clever and freaky subjects were taking place.
When visitors from Germany, Italy, or the States were saying "This is the best club in the world. We've never seen anything like it". I would think there were just being nice to us, provincial Easter European dears.... quarter of a century later and after all my world exploits I come to realise they were right. For those having missed the Factory and the Haciend - the muddy Chaos Club downtown Sofia early 90s has probably been the best club they have seen.
I haven't seen anything like it afterwards either. Neither as esthetic, nor as dynamics .
The investment of effort, work, imagination and enthusiasm were extraordinary. Later on it had been frozen by the ... I really don't know how to call it anymore... the Post-Soviet Thugiotic Structures?.... just like today the Coal Office's (N1C) upper deck is frozen for "private parties" that never take place. This is how you'd recognize the presence of Post-Soviet Thugiotic Structures (PSTS - very echomimetic). When you are downtown, in an expensive, beautiful, also historic, very desirable area which is packed up to the brim with people wanting to spend a pound while having good time and then you see the best spot in this area, the most desirable, with the best views and you see it empty - then you know it is own by PSTS PSTS ( it should be said twice against jings and bad eye like hush hush). Like in Tbilisi the attractive restaurant down the river opposite the Old Town - daily "Reserved for cooperative parties" that never occur. Or the restaurant at the top of Galata in Istanbul. The best about the EU is that the Frozen phenomenon is no longer to be spotted in any EU country no matter how deeply Russianised the country might be. Or at least, I haven't spotted it yet. This London, with its Coal Office, stands now in one line with Tbilisi and Istanbul now. No, it is not the same as VIP launch or a private island inaccessible for mortals - no problem with those. It is an icicle in the heart of town. Like the the particle of the Devil's mirror stuck in Kay's heart. It is not a special people or special activity spot, it is just no life spot.
Where was I? Ah yes, later on the club was Frozen, luckily after my divorce with the husband - No, it couldn't last : tall and handsome owner of the first music club in the country, my first husband was 24 hours full on in some sort of 'The Rolling Stones on Tour' film all by himself. No, I wasn't at home with a baby. Just with a baby and at work as a journalist at BNR - and the withdrawal of my investment.
Hence, the invitation for the interview with MM that came few years later, when the club was already closed.
By the time of the interview my son was still quite little but already showing his character - as much as I like streets and roads, he likes to stay home.
Asked to accompany me to MM studios he refused and preferred to stay home alone. Yes, it was still done this sh*t, leaving children home alone. So I gave him a task : to watch the telly and to turn on the video recorder the minute I show up.
Took a taxi forwards and backwards - after all the kid is home alone. In two-three hours time et me voilà back home. To find a petrified Ian in front of a screen with a frozen disfigured image of my face in a close up with an open mouth partially hanging outside of my face, full of white pixels like many a raw of teeth in a shark's jaw and eyes looking in different directions, a 'She Jaws' by Picasso.
It turned out that the reception has failed only few minutes after the start of the show. Ian reluctant to turn it off in case it may get back to normal sat two hours hypnotised by the terrible image "I was scared that you might have turned into an alien while on TV".
And then he would't turn it off because I've said before leaving "Once I get off the screen I'll be home in fifteen minites"...
"It would've been fine mum if you didn't look so scary on the screen"...
Subsequently, MM offered me to present a four hour author's weekly show on subcultures. Instead, I preferred to be subcultural proper and head for clandestine political studies in Lyon.
25 August 2019
For Caitlin Moran's TV Special : Here
I sent the article to Ian asking him if he remembered the story. To which he replied "You've forgotten to mention the bugged sound. It was worse than the image. Your voice was distort, making loud cracky noises" ...