Stars of VHS

Bagleys in 1998

This snippet from a long gone MTV show catches DJ Ariel mid set at Freedom.

In our new series, Stars of VHS, we’ll be fishing out premium video gold from the dusty archives of YouTube’s lesser explored corners

Strolling round Kings Cross and its burgeoning outer buildings, you can't help but think that for once, property developers have done something right. It's a serene, cosmopolitan area that combines original architecture with the clientele of the Eurostar, employees of The Guardian and art students. Walking through it now and you’d be surprised that twenty years ago the area was part red light district, part wasteland.

In the mid 90s, Kings Cross held the largest capacity venue in London. With up to six rooms of music, Bagley’s programming went from experiential nights to several hour long sets from the likes of the now legendary DJ Ariel. Ravers came from all over the country to get involved.

By the late 90s, the thrill of a night out at Bagley’s had been tapped into by the likes of MTV, who sent roving reporter June Sarpong down to present some sort of club chart show from its upper balcony. 

Filmed at ‘Freedom’, a night where DJ Ariel would play hard house and techno from 11pm – 7am, the vibe is intense- you can sense thousands of people clutching water bottles and fixedly stamping through 8 hours of the Argentine selector’s music.

MTV’s presence sounds a death toll to the underground nature of rave subculture, though the crowds seem no less accepting for it. Maybe something to do with the smart causal style of clubber - halter neck tops and branded surf wear have replaced the Priest costumes and leopard print of Cream in 1995. June Sarpong presents in what looks like office wear.

Inhibition ploughed through into the new millennium, and Bagley’s kept going until ownership changed in 2003 after a gun related incident - murder on the dancefloor of the highest degree. June Sarpong moved to Channel 4 and King's Cross started to become to oasis of gentrification that we know and love it for today. 

More old old clubbing videos:

Cream, 1995

Written by Tamara Roper

24 Mar 2016