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Sundissential to Scream – From The Heart 1 by Sacha Wall

todayMay 7, 2022 533 1 5

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foreword

…i’ve written all my life, i have 100’s of letters never sent and blogs that i’ve not had the courage to publish… until now, thanks to my husbands love, support and encouragement my “from the heart” blog starts here, with my true life story account on how i went from being a PG3 model, to club promoter and my entry into working full time in the dance music industry

sundissential to scream

by sacha wall

a true story – from the heart #1

It’s 2000, the end of the century.  I’d just turned 27 when standing in Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, seeing in the New Year at Gatecrashers huge NYE event.

The run up to the millennium in the clubbing scene had seen the pinnacle of the so called “Superstar DJ’ wave.  It was reported that Judge Jules was being paid £100,000k to play at Crasher, DJ fees and ticket prices had gone sky high, and the cost of everything being triple actually meant lots of people did not go out, and many promoters lost out big time that night. 

However, for me, I was just your average clubber on the dancefloor.  Up till then I’d done part time jobs in clubs, been a barmaid at Racquels, in Basildon and a “door whore” for Club Class in Maidstone, but I was still a full-time glamour model at that time.

Me & my best mate had been regularly making the trip up North from Essex to go to Crasher and Sundissential, and being such a special occasion there was a small posse of us that had made the journey this time.

Typically, when the expectation of a night is built up so massively, it failed to deliver. Firstly, it was freezing in that stadium, we were all dressed right up in our clubbing gear.  I had silver underwear on, being worn as outwear, not exactly practical for standing in a stadium in the harsh northern winter weather.  The sound was not great either, so you couldn’t get into it, and due to it being such a big venue, it was hard to find our friends; all those people we had become clubbing mates with at both club nights. 

Then at midnight, two mad things happened, famously, some guy who had likely done way too many drugs, had decided to scale the DJ tower, and was hanging from the ceiling looking like he could fall to his untimely death at any second.  Paul Van Dyk was playing and had to stop the music, the whole place erupted into booos and hurling obscenities at the loon hanging from the rafters.  Fortunately, somehow security managed to get him down, and I seem to remember someone told me Judge Jules lamped him, no idea if that’s true or not though, Jules?

Then a load of cyber friends came running over to me, to tell me my best mates 18yr old cyber boyfriend was about to propose to her! Now as much as I loved them both, things seemed to be getting more out of control by the minute, she was 24 and had only split up with her long-time boyfriend 7mths or so prior, and he was there at the event.  My gut instinct kicked in and I thought this was a bad idea all round, but it happened, they got engaged. I remember sitting next to her now fiancé that night, and saying directly to him “Do you really think that you’re going to be with her for the rest of your life?” Not what he wanted to hear obviously, they were in love and adamant it was all meant to be, we’ll see I thought… They did end up spending 4 happy years together…

We sacked off the night early, it was just too cold, so it was back to the hotel and a few hours to wait till Sundissential’s NYD bash at Europa in Leeds.

Weirdly, I don’t remember much about Sundissential that day, apart from it being the fateful day I met and snogged Louis Gee, the promotions manager for Sundissential who was running the event.

We hit it off, but I lived in Essex, him in Birmingham, 200 miles apart, and so a phone relationship began between us, and in Feb 2000, I went up to his house to stay with him for the first time, I stayed a week.

It was on this visit that I started to meet more of the main Sundissential crew, from Danny Kirk to Madders, and DJs like Nick Rafferty, Charlotte Birch and Sarah G. All the talk was of plans for their first ever proper season in Ibiza, 1999 had seen Sundissential meets Fantazia at Pacha Ibiza, but Dan Prince had put that on, and it was not really anything like a Sundissential night.  I went to it out there, in fact, it was where my best mate met the lad she had just got engaged to.  I was to find out much later, that there had been a big fall out between Danny, Madders and Dan Prince, but at this time, I was not aware of club politics in anyway.

Louis, as promo manager, was set to be going out to Ibiza for the season, while Danny and Madders looked after the UK nights.  Danny’s girlfriend and two other girls had already been asked to be on the promo team, then Louis asked me if I would like a job out there for the season, and to go out with him.

I jumped at the chance, I had had enough of modelling, and had fallen deeply in love with Ibiza the previous year. So that was it, I said yes and planned to leave the country for the summer.

At the time I was renting a flat in Benfleet that my dad owned, and had a cat called Taz, but I was also struggling and wanted to get away.  So, I told my Dad I was leaving, and as he could not keep the flat empty, and I could not afford to pay for it while away, I let the flat go, and asked my Mum took look after my cat for the summer.

Meanwhile I was still modelling and in and out of the newspapers.  Part of being a model or celebrity of any kind is selling stories, and I was happy at that stage to use my status to promote Sundissential.  The Sport commissioned Rob Farell (Mixmag photographer) to take pictures of me once out there for the paper.  Then Sky 1 contacted Sundissential due to them arranging filming for the next Ibiza Uncovered II documentary, and me being a Pg3 girl, they asked if they could follow me and Louis throughout our whole season on the island, running Sundissential at Eden in San Antonio.

We happily agreed, nobody turns down TV promo for their club night.

At the start of May, me and Louis landed in Ibiza, we had a decent 3 bedroom apartment behind Pacha in Ibiza Town, and I thought I’d landed on my feet, especially when my best mate had come out to do the season with me and her then fiancé were in cramped workers digs in San An, I was grateful to not be slumming it tbh.

The first 3wks before the season kicked off me and Louis had a wonderful time, hedonistic yes, but we were being welcomed wherever we went, people wanted to get to know us new promoters and we sailed round the island being wined and dined.

It was one week before the first party when Louis suddenly got sick.  Firstly, I thought he had just “overdone” it, he took to bed and I went out organising the flyering team in the west end of San An.

I vividly remember sitting in the Chinese restaurant at the bottom of the west end, when my phone rang.  It was Louis, but he was talking no sense, he sounded completely and utterly delirious.  I ran to the medical center opposite and told them he was very ill; they came with me in an ambulance back to Ibiza town.  When we got there, Louis was in a right state, full on delirium, he didn’t know who he was or where he was, it looked like a bad fever had taken hold of him, he was thrashing about and pouring with sweat in the bed.

They took him to the hospital in Ibiza town and he was admitted into a room on his own.  It was the private hospital, I called the Sundissential office and remember there being a nightmare as to whether there was any travel medical insurance in place, I was on the phone to Madders in a proper panic, somehow it got sorted and I then sat with Louis, in fear of what was wrong with him.  For the next 48hrs I sat by his bedside while he was gripped by fever, on a drip and wired up to a machine monitoring his heart/brain waves.  I sat and watched that screen go bleep bleep bleep, while heavily medicated it was stable, and then it would start to bleep quicker, and the waves would go up and down more violently, as he started to get delirious as the medication wore off, it was traumatic just watching him, not knowing what was wrong, my mind was reeling, but eventually it did stabilise. Isaac Hildalgo the manager of Eden came to the hospital, as he spoke Spanish he was able to talk to the doctors and then to me, I asked him what was going on he just said “these things happen in Ibiza”

As Louis was supposed to be the main man for Sundissetial on the island, in his absence I naturally stood in, we had less than week before the first night, the whole season and all the money already invested was at stake, I pushed on with the other girls to make it happen.

Meanwhile the doctors were doing tests on Louis to find out what was wrong with him, the news that he was in hospital had got out on the island, you can’t keep any secrets in Ibiza. There was gossip on whether he had got food poisoning after eating at mambos the night before, that he had malaria, or that he just done load of drink and drugs and ended up sick.

A couple of days later, I was standing in the poster room at the back of Eden with Sandra one of the other girls on the team,  when I got a phone call from Louis, the worst phone call of my life…

I picked up the phone and he just said

“I’ve been diagnosed HIV positive”

I fainted, literally hit the deck, I’ve never done that before, or since, my life flashed before me, my world spun.

I came too quickly, got up, got into the car, and drove from San An to Ibiza town.  I remember banging my hand on the steering wheel saying over and over again, “NO, NO, this can’t be happening, no, no, no.”

When I got to the hospital the doctors told me that he had received a “positive” result to the HIV test and that I should be tested.  By this time, I was hyper ventilating, something I used to do in my childhood.  They gave me a sedative to drink, but it didn’t do anything.  I called my best mate, and she came to the hospital, we sat on the outside balcony of his hospital room and smoked solid hash all day, until I finally was calmer, and able to breathe and talk again.

I’d been given a test, the next day they told me it was negative BUT, as I had only been sleeping with him for 3mths, had I been infected within that time, it would not show up yet, therefore, I was told I would have to test again, in 6mths time…

This first season in Ibiza was not going to plan, my heavenly few weeks on the island had dramatically turned into a full-blown nightmare!

I’m sure many people would have left and gone home at this point, but that just wasn’t an option.  It never crossed my mind to leave Louis, he had just been given the worse news, I felt sorry for him, I had to wait for a test anyway.

Despite being diagnosed HIV positive, Louis was then well enough to be discharged, but he was told to go back to the UK and see his doctor.

That didn’t happen.

Incredibly this was just a day before our opening party at Eden, Fergie was headlining, and SKY 1 film crew were coming to film.  All the Sundissential parties had a theme, and we were kicking off the season with, ironically…

The “Doctors & Nurses” party…

We had no choice but to carry on.  We three girls were all dressed up in white PVC nurse’s outfits, and Louis, was dressed as a Doctor, in a long white coat, he looked so pale and weak I was still really worried but best foot forward,  our pre party was at Mambos, and with the TV cameras rolling, we walked, in a line, down the road towards the beach together, the 4 of us, and the season commenced.

Up until then Ibiza had not had a big hard house night, and the island had never before seen anything like the crazy crew that were the Sundissential faithful, the clubbers were truly passionately devoted, and two young lads had gone above and beyond to try and get a job on the flyering team, they’d stickered up their mark 1 Ford Fiesta with the legendary man and woman ss logo, driven it over from Brum and turned up at the PR recruitment meeting in it, obviously they got the job.

This now promo car was parked outside the front of Mambos, and as we started to walk down towards the seafront they banged on the tunes and the whole place started to BOUNCE, the energy was insane, the pre party went off and miraculously the opening night at Eden after was a success, the real season had begun.

Now anyone that’s done a season working in Ibiza knows that once you start its non-stop till September, but with the news we had just had my head was still spinning. 

We cracked on, focusing on the party.  Louis however went into complete denial, refused to talk about the diagnosis, said he would see a Doctor when he got home.

For me personally, I never thought about leaving, I could not test again for 6mths anyway, better I stay on the sunshine paradise island while waiting that time out, than at home stressing.

As I’ve come to realise is normal with me, I buried myself in my work in promoting the night.  I have an extremely strong work ethic instilled in me by my Dad, I always strive to give the best I can give and do whatever I can. I did shoots for the newspapers at home on the beach to promote the party and threw myself into the club promoter job in every way. All the while Sky1 continued to fly on the wall follow us throughout that most mental summer of my life.

I learnt so much about promoting that season, I threw myself into it, from poster wars to flyering teams evading the fines, to walking the streets of San An herding PRs around in various mad outfits. I once dressed them all up in posters, as we had so many left over it seemed like a good idea. I made many friends out there that summer, and began to become well acquainted with the all the different dance music industry peeps that work on the island in season.

However, things for Sundissential in the UK had hit a bad point, sometime during those months there had tragically been two deaths on the dancefloor at their nights. I think it was one in Brum and one in Leeds, I think they both had heart attacks!

This was bad press for the night at home and causing all kinds of issues with the founding team.  They had been branching out to start nights in other cities around the UK, they had been packing out clubs wherever they went but with that kind of stigma venues were now starting to worry about letting Sundissential in.

Come September and thoughts of returning back to the UK began.  Due to the fatalities, the new venue that was opening in Bristol called ROCK, a big renovated old cinema, that Dan Prince had organised with Piers Adam for Sundissential to go into.  Piers was now worried and pulling out of association with the brand.  So a discussion between me, Dan Prince and Louis in our apartment began, and the idea of SCREAM was born.

We were banding names around, and Dan mentioned his friend Chris Sparrow, a friend of DJ Sasha who had a night in Plymouth called Scream, that he said he wasn’t doing it anymore and we could buy the name. I remember thinking how apt it was, I felt like I wanted to scream at the time, the whole HIV fear building inside of me all summer, without being able to talk to anyone about it was consuming me.

We finished the season with our last filming session with SKY, they followed us to Formentera where we were supposed to be having our “one day off” at end of season.  I remember just being mentally and physically exhausted, they then took us back to Pikes for the final segment, I was crying behind my eyes in that interview, it looked dreamy on the final edit, but it was pure pain I was feeling.

I was facing going back to the UK, with no money, no home and the threat of HIV. Things were far from ideal.

Upon our return in October we rented my Uncles house for a couple of months while Scream was planned and our move to Bristol to start our big new idea.

DMC had a mag called 7 at the time, the offices were in Notting Hill so me and Louis used to travel up a few days a week.

The big idea was to bankroll the night, none of us had any money so it seemed, despite Dan being the son of a millionaire, he had no money of his own.  His mother and father had recently sold Mixmag for millions, and they agreed to set up a DMC No.2 account and everything for the night would go on that.

My first trip down to Bristol I remember well, to meet the local DJs to discuss them being residents for the night.  Two young lads called Dan Pearce & Greg Shiel known as The Saint, and the Radio DJ from the biggest local show Paul Conroy.

The deal was done, weekly residency for £200 each, Conroy would warm up, the duo would close, headliners in between.

I arranged a photo shoot for the flyers, with my modelling photographer friend jeff kaine, roped in a couple of glamour girl friends and shot these pictures. we went on to use just the girls face screaming

Me & Louis then moved to Bristol, rented a flat and started work on the local promo, in these days we had 80,000 flyers and 1000’s of posters, the was no social media in them days, a double page spread for $4K + vat went into mixmag, the costs were building up big time.

We also had a northern venue, hard house and trance was the genre, and it was especially big sound up North, Simon Raine, Gatecrasher owner had a fairly new sister venue to the Republic, Bed, in sheffield, so we confirmed 2 dates there

Meanwhile Sundissential had now secured a different venue in Bristol and were launching on the same day as us 3rd Dec 20.

The HIV diagnosis was stilling hanging in the air like the unspoken doom that it was, Louis refused to speak of it in anyway.  Looking back I wonder why I didn’t go to the doctors on my own, but we were all over the place, had not yet settled, trying to make some money to survive, and so we just carried on from where we had left off in Ibiza, and now I felt like I had a good grasp on what this job was all about, I loved it.

The big opening day arrived, £30k hanging on 4 parties, we opened the doors at Rock at 2pm and having sold pre-sale 200 tickets, for a venue that holds 1800, we needed to do a lot on the door, on this standard Sunday in early Dec.

Judge Jules and Tall Paul were booked to headline, Paul Conroy was warming up the main room nicely, when the police arrived…

I was standing near the door when I saw them walk in, go up to the venue manager and then walk into the main room, at which point the music went off, and the 200 people in there kicked off…

BOOOOOOOO, bottles started getting thrown.  The police went on the mic

“I’m sorry this venue does not have a licence for people to dance on a Sunday, you will all have to leave”

More shouting, ironically the whole place was screaming

It was all too much for me, I literally hid in the toilets, there was nothing I could do, everyone wanted their money back and I had none right there and then. I started throwing up violently, in the toilets, my best mate Kel hid in there with me, we stayed till everyone had gone and then ventured out.

Everyone was in the pub opposite the club, all the talk was that Sundissential had reported us somehow.  I still to this day don’t know whether they did, not sure how they would have known there wasn’t the right licence in place at the venue though?

The disastrous and eventful first night was then the talk of the town, the police turning up hit the local papers and suddenly what had happened at Scream was big local news. No such thing as bad press, so we put out that all those that had tickets to the opening would get free entry to the next party, on Boxing Day with Fergie and Tall Paul.

Meanwhile Dan Prince was talking to Piers Adam the venue owner asking for compensation, that it was the venues fault for not obtaining the right licence and we should be reimbursed.

That week it was up to Sheffield, to launch Scream at Bed.  I’d connected with the friends I’d made while Northern clubbing at Crasher, Sundissential and notorious afterparty Insomniacz. Party was a great vibe but we only put 450 people in what was 1500 people venue, so financially we were still running at a massive loss

However, Boxing Day back in Bristol was a roaring success, our first one, everyone loved Fergie at that time, and with all the press and work we put into it, we kicked off in the way we had intended, and that night Scream truly was born.

NYD in Sheffield was hard once again, so we made the decision to ditch Sheffield, to focus on Bristol, and after Piers saw the success of Boxing Day he amazingly agreed to reimbuse our account by £30k and then offered us every Friday night at the club kicking off on 9th Feb 2001 with Pete Tong.

I remember that night well, Tong was booked by Dan, for £8k + vat, plus his especially ordered “rider” He told me to draw up a cheque for it, I had it in an envelope in my hand.

It was my first encounter with Pete, he was rude, in the extreme, refused to acknowledge me, despite having an £8k cheque in my hand.  I was not happy about paying him that much as it was, Fergie was £800 and much more popular, and played the right music, a better DJ to be honest, I’ve never enjoyed a set by Pete Tong I’ve heard, he has a good voice for Radio, but tbh as a DJ, he’s always bored me. Weird to feel like I’m not allowed to say that, as is the power that Pete still commands over our industry.

Scream every Friday at Rock had begun, and filling a 1800 capacity venue every week was never going to be easy. We took a serviced office space in Park House on Park St and employed local part time DJ and good friend of our residents Amos Nelson to work full time.

I threw all my heart, soul and passion into Scream.  Having been clubbing for five years, it was a dream come true to now have my own night.  I worked hard for Scream, I never took a day off, or missed a night.  Unfortunately Louis was not coping well throughout this time.  He was still refusing to go to the Doctors, living in pure denial of even discussing the diagnosis.  Nobody in Bristol knew, it’s not the kind of thing you advertise obviously, and he was hell bent on masking it all, with drink and drugs and putting on the whole promoter persona, while actually doing very little real work, spending most afternoons drinking in the The Elbow Rooms up the road from our office, and every Friday I had to literally hide the takings of the night from him, so it would not all end up with the local dealer.

Looking back I made a lot of allowances for him, knowing that he was really living in the shadow of an HIV diagnosis, I cared for him, I felt sorry for him and was genuinely doing everything I could to help him and myself and the night that we had created together work.

For a while it did, every Friday was the Scream radio show on Galaxy West & Wales hosted by Conroy, the biggest and most popular show of the week on the station, this really helped to bring the locals.  Dan & The Saint were much loved so our residents were doing a great job each week, we were all excited to be a part of something great.  the high of Scream every Friday was counteracting the lows going on behind the scenes.  I loved running the show, Scream was a dream for me at that time, and despite Louis problems the night went from strength to strength.

Dan Prince would come once a month or so, he was based in London and him a Louis were only interested in booking the DJs, work was not in their equation, however Dan booking DJs appeared to mean we were being charged top whack by everyone, and our DJ bills were crucifying us each week, even back then in 2001, I was doing the accounts and constantly concerned whether we would even break even each week.

One notorious week at Scream, the bouncer come and grabbed me “there’s some drunk at the door that we’re not letting in insisting that he speaks to you” when I got there it was Dan, leathered.  You’ll have to let me in I said, he’s a Scream partner!

Come September and our biggest night so far, we were playing host to an MTV Dance party that would be televised coming from our club, this was a big deal at the time and meant we’d pack out the club.  The not so famous as he is now Russell Brand was our host that night, this was at the height of Russells drug fuelled days.  He turned up off his head with a real life cut off pigs head in a pushchair. So dark, I was not happy as you can imagine, took me 10 years to forgive Russell for that, ironically he is now a true inspiration to me, how things can change.

It was very soon after this that I finally managed to get Louis to go to hospital.  I could wait no longer, this was over a year since the diagnosis and Louis was not mentally well and due to the drink and drugs was not doing well physically, he was suffering from serious night terrors and every night I was waking up with a bed soaked in sweat while he thrashed around, in much the same way he had that time in the hospital in Ibiza.

I’d been to see the Terence Higgins trust in Bristol and got some advice and leaflets from them, I was beginning to understand that HIV might not be the death sentence I’d previously thought, and I felt as well as ever, by this point I had convinced myself that I hadn’t caught it and was ok.

But I needed to know, I could not continue any longer, and I needed to know what was going on with Louis at the same time.  I booked the tests at Bristol infirmary and I dragged him down there and we went in together.

A we sat together in the waiting room they came out with results

We were BOTH negative.

They explained that the Ibiza hospital must of got it wrong, they also said that a “false positive” can happen if suffering from another virus at the time.

That it seems is what happened.

As I walked out of the hospital I felt like the weight of the world had lifted off my shoulders, I was ok, and so miraculously was Louis.

However his mood did not change, it was like he was a robot moving but not able to take anything in, the denial he had been living in, and then telling him this was wrong, none of it seemed to be sinking in.

He didn’t get any better, our relationship didn’t improve, we were living together, doing Scream but everything was still broken behind the scenes.

Due to the success Scream was still having around this time we were offered the Saturday night at the club as well.  Me & Conroy came up with the idea of an 80’s night, we didn’t want to spend big money on DJs and my much loved night Relax began, we even bought an old capri as a promo car to drive around town, it said The 80s Are Back across the bonnet!

As the end of the year approached I was getting unhappier by the week. We were putting on the a themed NYE event “The Wizard of Oz comes to Bristol.  Line up, Boy George, Anne Savage and Fergie.

By this time Fergie had blown up and gone on to Radio 1, he’d left Resistance that had looked after him since Tony Di Vit had brought him over, and he’d gone from being £800 to £2k a set overnight.

However to book him on NYE they wanted £12.5k and we had to book another of the agencies DJs to play in Room 2 as part of the deal.

I was dead against it, the risk we were taking we did not have the capital to do so, the budget for the one night was looking close to £30k, and we could only charge £25 a ticket tops, but I was overruled, as always, Dan did whatever he wanted

We also committed to doing Boxing Day night again, we’d had it right off the year before.  This was a mistake, most people were saving themselves for NYE, as I turned 28 on boxing day night I stood on a very thin dancefloor of people and cried my eyes out, we’d lost £7k that night alone, how were we going to make that back.

We did pack it that NYE, everyone else was having a great time, I was just thankful we’d managed to break even over the two nights, but I knew this farce could not carry on much longer. 

I took £1500 out of that nights takings, the first time I’d ever taken any lump sum for myself in that whole year, and booked a holiday to maurtius with a good friend, I needed time off, and time out for myself big time.

As I sat looking out at the Indian ocean, reading three Harry potter novels in a wk, I found the courage to be strong, and face the problems in my life head on.  I decided when I got back I would tell Louis I was moving out, I couldn’t cope with living with him any longer, that I was leaving him, but that I would continue working with Scream and Relax.  We had had no sex life, it had basically become plutonic anyway, I thought it would be the best for us both.

When I got back he was not in a good way, he’d already been to the Doctors re his mental health and we had tried counselling. 

So I told him I wanted to split and then he lost it.  He’d never been violent, he’d been a mess but never scary towards me, but he grabbed me and threw me across the room.  I found myself in the corner in a heap, I ran for the landline phone and called the doctor, asked them to send help, I then called Dan Pearce, who came to the flat,  saw me in shock and scooped me up and took me back to his house, where I sat for over 24hours, shaking, close to a nervous breakdown.

I finally got myself together, my mum came down and helped me move my stuff out of the flat, I rented my own one bedroom off whiteladies rd.

I spoke to Dan prince, I was told that Louis couldn’t “see my face” and to stay away from the office and the club.

I was dumbfounded, what about Scream and Relax, it was partly mine, it was my whole life at the time?

I wasn’t having it, I went down to the club that Friday to face them, the venue manager let me in, I went looking round the club for them both, they were nowhere to be seen, it was a quiet night and I just remember walking round and round the big old cinema space getting more and more annoyed. All the Scream faithful kept asking me what was going on, they then started telling me that they’d been told I’d “lost it and “gone crazy”

Hearing this I was livid, i was not the one that was displaying full signs of pure madness and insanity.

I left and sat in the Sushi bar next door, then I saw Louis outside the club, I tried to get up but my friends held me back, fearing a big argument.

That week I went in to the office at night, when I knew there would be nobody there, I grabbed everything from my desk, boxes of paperwork, Dictaphone tapes of meetings the three of us had had, anything I thought I might need.  I then found a letter, that I still have.

reading it, i realised that Louis had registered the company behind my back in November, 3mths before i’d told him i couldn’t be his girlfriend anymore.

Everything started to dawn on me then, I’d sat in the meeting with him and Dan, discussing with the accountant how we would split from the DMC no 2 account and start up Scream Clubbing Ltd on our own, I had no idea they had done it without me.

I just could not believe what was happening, I’d stuck by Louis all this time, making allowances for him during his HIV diagnosis, when all the while he and Dan were just using me to do the work, front the night and actually wanted it all for themselves

It was only then that I started to reveal the reality of what was happening to the people working for Scream, but despite tales of Louis in a mess twitching in doorways surfacing, the whole HIV scare was unbelievably used against me, as if I’d made it up and that justified them telling everyone I was crazy, but it was true, there were some people that knew the truth.  Of course Dan Prince knew, and Fergie and a few of the other original SS crew. 

But I quickly found that when a line in the sand is drawn and people are forced into taking sides, in this world all anyone cared about was if they would keep their job, the moral fibre was non-existent.  Dan Prince looked like he had the power and called the shots, so the boys stuck together, it didn’t matter that I had done nothing wrong, or how I was being treated, how much I was being hurt, when push came to shove it was easier for them to block it all out than to face me, the truth and their own personal demons.

I was truly devastated on every level, I had to split up with my boyfriend yes, but I didn’t expect to lose everything and be run out of the town I now called home at the same time. I’d shown nothing but love and care for him, I’d stuck by him through his diagnosis, despite the risk to my life, how could they be so low? On a personal and business level, nobody ever said sorry, I was not offered a penny, and that is the same to this day.

I went to see a solicitor in Bristol, I showed him all the paperwork I had taken from the office, he looked through it, I told him everything honestly and he said this

“There’s no point in you fighting for the club night, as far as I can see there is very little money or assets, financially it isn’t worth you going through with it.  However, looking through these emails you have, you could sue Dan Prince for sexual harassment…”

That wasn’t what I was expecting.  Dan had made many a drunken lurch to kiss me, I always pushed him off, thinking he didn’t know what he was doing at the time, I was his supposed best mates girlfriend for god sake.

But there was a lot of evidence of derogatory ways of speaking to me, emails entitled Hello Big Tits, things that’s I laughed off at the time, but I wouldn’t anymore.

I went to London, met with Dan, I mistakenly gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was in a difficult position with me & Louis having split up, but that he knew about the HIV and the reality of our relationship, he knew the state Louis had been in mentally, and that I’d done ALL the work for Scream.  I begged him to at least let me take Relax, the 80’s night,  it was all my idea, all my work, he’d never even been, but he brushed me off saying “he’d see what he could do” unsurprisingly no call came.

I gathered all my courage, outrage and injustice and went to see his mum & dad Tony & Christine Prince, the ex-owners of Mixmag.  They saw me, I told them everything, they just listened, said nothing at all, then Christine turned to me and coldly said

“We can’t help you Sacha” the finality in it, was deathly.  They didn’t seem to care what their son did, or how bad he was…zero emotion.

I left, mortified, penniless and not knowing what the hell to do next. The frustration I felt was killing me.

I was left with the only choice of suing Dan, and I figured that this would likely mean the end of me working in the music industry that I’d only just begun in.

Me being me, I would not be defeated. What was happening with me and Louis seemed to be the local gossip of the day, Bristol was now my home and I’d fallen in love with the city, and I had made some good friends that weren’t in the pocket of Dan that carried on talking to me,  I’m not one to give up if I can help it so…

I did all I knew I could do in that city, I went down to another club Lakota and asked them if I could do a night there, they said Yes, so I named it

GELZ

I freely admit that everything I was going through at the time was affecting me deeply, I’d withdrawn into what I now know was my first spiritual retreat into myself.  My creativity was my solace, and I absorbed my time with creating artwork for the night, a flyer and poster that only I could properly read in the end!

Meanwhile at Scream, Dan & Louis were booking all the DJs that I’d refused to pay for, the big usa ones for the mega bucks and the night started to fail.  I felt like they were destroying everything good that we had done with Scream and Relax, it was painful to watch, feeling powerless to do anything.  For the first time in my life I felt the pain of the deep injustice being done to me, the feelings of frustration, that you’re being silenced and that few people care, that the morals I lived by did not matter to these people.  I’d always called Dan the Prince of Darkness, that name took on a whole deeper meaning for me now.

On the 4th of May 2002, Star Wars Day, I launched Gelz at Lakota.  I’d thrown all of my pain and suffering into its concept and design; the flyer is most symbolic to me.  It’s me being whipped on the front, in a photo that was shot for the first Scream shoot, and all the script is me being let loose in creativity, it is far too complex and cryptic for most people to make sense of, but it helped me release my feelings onto paper and publish them at that time.

The party started well, hundred or so people turned up at the beginning, my 14yr old sister was with me, but I soon realised that only the pre ticket sales and the guest list were coming, not enough for me to even nearly break even. Everyone was in the front bar, I went into the main room where the DJ was playing, panicking about what to do and how to pay everyone. I was holding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice as I walked down the stairs off the stage, when I slipped…

While holding the bottle in my right hand I instinctively reached to break my fall with the same arm, the bottle smashed as I hit the ground and sliced into my right forearm.

As blood started to spurt on to the dancefloor I ran with my little sister in tow to the empty toilets, the deep cut in my arm was causing the blood to literally spurt up the mirror and the walls, it was a scene from a horror movie, and I hate horror movies.  My sister was wearing a tie, she grabbed it to use as a tourniquet and ran for the bouncers, next thing I know I’m being lifted up, the fire escape kicked open and taken out of the doors.

An ambulance was called, I left the club 2hours into my first night.  I spent the next 6hrs in A&E being stitched up, while my sister sang along to the Radio to me all the way through it.

I faced the next week knowing my time was running out, having had my access to the Scream income cut off and no money in the bank I was now struggling big time.  I couldn’t pay my rent, and was now in debt for the night I was trying to put on.

I was sitting with my head in my hands when I got a phone call from one of The Sport journalists, normal line “got any stories, shagged any footballers”

I’d never done a so called “Kiss and Tell’ it’s what they were all looking for, but I was desperate, I told her about my night with Shane Lynch from Boyzone.  Boyzone had recently disbanded, but he was now in another group doing a student night down in Plymouth. I was a massive BOYZONE fan, no shame I know, ha, but he was my favourite for years, so when a local student night promoter invited me down, I’d jumped at the chance.

I’d not seen Shane again though, didn’t expect to, and I needed bailing out financially big time.

I agreed to sell them my story of my night with Shane Lynch, she went off to the papers and the News of The World bit.  I went up to London to meet them, a photo shoot and to go over the story, the fee they were offering was £10k.

Back in Bristol with a bandaged arm I faced the 2nd party, always the hardest, but the story was supposed to be breaking in the paper the day after, so at least I would get paid and have some funding to keep me going.

The party was not busy, I think I shut it early, left the club, and went straight to the garage to get the early morning Sunday papers, opened it, frantically looking on every page, only to find I wasn’t in it, my story hadn’t been run. The scoop of the day instead, was a story about Angus Deaton of Have I Got News For You TV fame, allegedly he’d been doing cocaine with hookers, far juicer and bigger than my story.

As it didn’t run, I would not get paid…this was the final blow.

That week, I made the decision to run away, I had no other choice. I was just 28, and I felt like I’d lost everything…

When “the boys” at Scream ganged up on me I now realise I had no chance. The things they had said to everyone about me were pure nasty and completely untrue. I’d literally never done anything but help everyone, to tell people that the HIV wasn’t true, that I was crazy and had lost it, and to not speak to me had destroyed my faith in people, if they couldn’t use me, abuse me, or screw me I was worthless to them. I could not understand how they could live with themselves. It was so sad, we’d created something special at Scream, and I know the love I put in week in week out was a large reason for that.  Everything good about it, even the memory was now destroyed.

My saving grace in this time in Bristol was one very special lady, a beautiful woman that I am eternally grateful for to this day for, I now call her my guardian angel.

When “the boys” banned me from the office, that I had been working in every day for a year, I had been missed by someone who I didn’t even really know at the time.  I had walked past her every working day, in fact she put the Scream calls through as she was the receptionist for the whole of Park House serviced offices, but we had not yet become friends.

I was sitting in my new flat when I got a call, from the black lady receptionist, Gloria Wigmore.

Very matter of factly she said

“Where are you, what’s going on?

I told her, very quickly, it all spewed out, her reply was

“I never did understand what you saw in him? he’s very strange”

I was a bit taken aback, she hardly knew me, but she was bang on right.

We arranged to go out for lunch, I’ll never forget how this lady ,who is originally from Jamaica and the oldest of 10 siblings, pushed a £10 note across the table, as I had nothing, and she wanted me to be able to eat, I was living on super noodles.

I look back and see someone who materially has very little, but was so caring and kind to someone she hardly knew, quite the opposite as to what I had been dealing with the boys at Scream.

We are, to this day still very close, I still wish that I lived up the road to her, she is I suppose in many ways, the surrogate mother, the person that truly loves and cares about me, the woman that I draw so much strength and love from, I want to look after her and beat myself up for not having the means to help her, she is in her 60’s and stunning on the inside and out, could easily pass for being in her 30’s, Gloria, I know you will read this and I love you very very  much, thank you for being you xxxx

It was Gloria that I was now saddest to leave, and as much as I’d loved the community of Bristol that I’d made with Scream, I was now feeling very much shunned, an outcast and wronged, the injustice was the hardest bit to bare.

It was now the 3rd wk of May, I put my belongings in storage, booked a flight to Ibiza, and with my poster boy in tow, jumped in the “Relax” Capri and hot footed it down the M4 back to Essex.  I dumped the car in my Nans garage in Benfleet, and with my portfolio in hand and £200 cash to my name, I jumped on a plane to Ibiza.

Thankfully the island saved my life again, my portfolio bagged me a job at Mambos, 3 wks later I got the poster manager job for School Disco at Eden, and my summer was sorted.

While I was away Scream died, I think they run out of money, I don’t really know.

I never spoke to or saw Louis again; he became a 2nd hand car salesman as far as Conroy told me.

But Dan Prince, Dan Pearce and Conroy I would see again, quite a lot in fact.  I stayed in the music industry, I’ve never stopped since, we were all to work together again, our business and personal relationships were not to end there, far from it.

Those 3, I have known well since, in all kinds of ways, the last 20years of my life was still to happen, and in different ways and scales they have played big parts in it.

8 years later, Dan Pearce became eats everything and an Ideal DJ, on my DJ roster, and I would be sitting in Dan Princes mum & Dad’s office once again, with Paul Conroy, who, out of all of them I was misguided into thinking was a friend.

That is why, right here and now, I’m disgusted all over again, everything that happened has been re TRIGGERED, as if it was yesterday, when I opened my Facebook to see this

LOOK WHO’S BACK

Guess who nobody even spoke to about it!

Guess who are now trying to pretend I don’t exist and ignoring me!

Guess who hasn’t been mentioned in their egotistical posts about Scream!

Guess who are really showing their true colours when it comes to how they treat women and people in general in this industry?

It’s all plain to see.

Unbelievably I’d been chatting to Dan Prince 2 days before

I reached out to all three of them after the announcement

this  was dans reply

Having spent the last 22years in this business I have had to fight, Scream taught me so much, but I didn’t really realise how much until it all came back, like a bomb going off in my head

Misogyny in this industry is still rife, while “the boys club” swig champagne and pat each other on the back and tell everyone how amazing they are, it gives a very bad role model to the world of DJs to follow

I will not stay silent to it anymore, by doing so I feel complicit in allowing this kind of behaviour to happen to me and many others.   I fear retaliation for speaking out of course, I’m human, but truth matters, and things need to change

The money driven, greedy egocentric culture is bad news, it breeds abuse of power and contempt, and while we keep quiet, and say nothing it continues to be fed, and damages us all.

I love DJs, I love our real rave culture but this dark side impacts us, it destroys peoples mental health,  tarnishes DJs and gives our scene a bad name. 

There’s so much green washing and virtue signalling a lot of talk with no real results, where’s the action?

I have booked and represented many DJs over the years, as a manager, agent and promoter. I eventually started my own agency, Ideal DJs it was called.   I put a lot of love and duty of care into my closest artists, Filthy Rich/Spektre, Will Bailey and many I was super close to, some I still am, the last Ideal DJ I took on was Dan, the guy I’ve always called Fatboy and he calls me “Pyle’ and everyone else now calls him Eats Everything.

With great power comes great responsibility, people with influence should not stay silent, lurking in the shadows. 

I’m a lover not a fighter, it’s not easy to bare my soul, I’m not saying this for any revenge or money, it’s the disrespect, the dismissal, the disregard for the love and pure graft i put in. it’s the value I have for myself that now moves me forward, and gives me the courage to say how I feel. taking away my history discredits me, it’s not right.

I still care, just because others don’t, I cannot let that hold me back anymore.

These people know me, and i know them, EVERYONE at Scream knew me, in the words of Blondie, why don’t they “call me”

my feelings count don’t they?

shine the light and keep it real, always, until the next chapter

all the love, all the power x

Written by: SachaIstreem

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wax worx – for the record 2

for the record #2 my blog, my story, my truth, my purpose…. what happned to Tim? I’ve sat down many times to try and write this blog; it’s now taken me a month since publishing part one to complete it.This is not only because of how painful and re-traumatising it is, but also because it's never been my intention for anyone else to suffer, but sometimes the truth hurts. The truth […]

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