“It’s hard to believe,” went a recent Facebook announcement, “that Club AntiChrist has now been going for five years.”
Well yes, it certainly was hard for me to believe. Like most people I know on the London fetish scene, I thought AntiChrist had started at the end of 2007 when we were invited to Sin on Charing Cross Road to witness what we understood to be its opening night.
It was reported by us as such, and I don’t recall anyone challenging that assumption at the time. So I’m sorry if I missed the previous four years of AntiChristian build-up (perhaps it was just its first night at Sin, eh?). But for me and many others, November 2007 is where the AntiChrist story began.
I remember coming away from that night thinking that, while it described itself as a fetish club, this was by no means the full story.
For one, it was very obviously aimed at a goth/alternative contingent disenchanted with London’s existing fetish club culture. Specifically, with its emphasis on a goth/industrial music policy, it was aiming at the G/A crowd who didn’t like the music played at other clubs. Especially, it seemed, the music played at Torture Garden.
Few would dispute that Torture Garden has outgrown its old image as the must-do fetish night for young gothy types. TG admission now costs too much for many young newbies, and the club recently made it clear that they’re not too keen on people trying to meet their dresscode in cheap sex-shop outfits either.
So one way AC has scored is by appealing to that sector of the clubbing populace seeking a cheaper, less demanding alternative to TG with a music policy more in line with their tastes.
But that ‘first’ AC night also seemed to be aiming for what you might call a ‘Bizarre reader’s idea of a good fetish night out’. Naughty nuns, fake blood and strippers were the order of the day, and when it came to the dungeon, it was very much ‘them’ and not ‘us’: single subbie blokes and pro mistresses rather than pervy couples playing on the equipment.
A year or so down the line, Club AntiChrist, now monthly at Colosseum, has become a solid fixture in London’s kinky calendar
That this night was more about observing a bit of alternative sexuality from a safe distance than being sexual yourself was confirmed for me by the stir Fetishistas reporter Roswell Ivory caused by mingling topless among the punters at the bar. It was pretty obvious that this was the closest some of them had ever been to a breast, certainly in a club environment.
Sin seemed like a great venue for a fetish club and I was not immediately convinced that AntiChrist had done the right thing moving to Club Colosseum in Vauxhall. This venue, home to other fetish events from time to time, is sizable but rather characterless, in a typical modern concrete kind of way.
However, a year or so down the line, I have to say that AntiChrist, now monthly at Colosseum, has become a solid fixture in the kinky calendar. Its popularity has swelled so much that there are now two categories of event.
The AC ‘Specials’ are major parties with fashion shows, live bands and other performances, while the recently relaunched PFI (PureFuckingIndustrial) nights focus primarily on music, with some added sideshows.
And as AC events have become more popular, so the audience seems to have sorted itself out. The earlier mix of traditional London fetish people and young, basic-black gothy types from the suburbs and beyond seems to have given way to a much dressier, über-goth-dominated crowd.
There are fewer girls in sex-shop plastic and more who look like they’ve spent days on their exotic hair and make-up and on putting their outfits together.
At the same time, the dungeon area has become a vibrant playroom for kinky couples and those who like to watch them, leaving the room’s professional hosts to focus more on supervision and less on providing the action.
February’s event, with its fantastic bodymod/suspension performance by AMF Korsets, shows by Vermillion Embers, Pariah Circus and Sophia Landi, and live music from three bands was well up to par as entertainment.
But it was the audience that, for me, made it the best AC so far. The crowd at this event were confident, and confidently sexy; they no longer looked like they were unsure whether they really belonged at this or any other ‘fetish’ club.
This was a crowd that knew they belonged at AntiChrist. They knew this club was there for them and they were loving it.
AntiChrist takes place on the last Friday of every month. The next AC is a PFI night on March 27.
The crowd at this event were confidently sexy; they no longer looked like they were unsure whether they really belonged here