You would think that a £3500 application fee, British and Singaporean degrees, a British husband and a clean record would be enough to get a visa to live here. Nope, the process is arduous, going through it is like having a second job, and you don’t get your money back if it’s unsuccessful. After my recently married friends mailed months of documents, letters and their entire online conversation history (yep) to the Immigration Offices they got an ‘unsuccessful delivery’ notification from the courier, and upon contacting the immigration office were told that they couldn’t confirm or deny that the documents were received, that their savings hadn’t just disappeared. All this as they talked in the rare hours when their jobs and timezones synced. [a few months after I published this article the laws regarding oversees students changed; if she had graduated 3 years later than she did then none of this would have been required of her]
She flew here. Then began her job search, as he simultaneously entered the final quarter of the financial year (16 hour working days), and then a series of exams.
They have really different music habits, he drives himself with 2 daily hours of high octane drum’n’bass and very little else, whereas she’s a classic millennial omnivore (I made her this playlist at the time) who also doesn’t really like d’n’b. I asked her what they want from a night out, she said she just wants space to dance, I don’t need to ask him, I know he’ll be happy with anything dancy and ecstatic about anything super high energy).
Standing on the dancefloor a few minutes before cult d’n’b legend DJ Flight’s throwback set – described as ‘euphoric, soulful fire’ on the event page – I watch Husband shifting from side to side, gazing up, and ask him how he is. ‘I just want it to start’ he says with a puppydog smile, as organiser Josey Rebelle tweaked us with moody midtempo techno. ‘One more song til DJ Flight people’ MarshmeLLo says over the mic, I get a drink, and then the bottom end of the music drops out. A bouncy, bassless line of soul whirls above our head. To say Josey was warming us up feels wrong, it’s more like she was gradually compressing the club, ready for Flight to open the windows and let celestial light in.
Sadly I got a weird feeling in my stomach halfway through the set and retreated to the Pickle Factory’s side bar for a LOVELY chat, but what I remember of it was gorgeous. And then Fauzia detonates the roof, like when #ENDGAMESPOILERS# Thanos blows the Avengers Mansion out of a terrestrial colour scheme, Dubstep, Footwork, Grime and Breakbeat cuts fly with the giddy choreography of a superhero fight. The fact that the following tracks fit naturally in the same, intuitive 90 minute set should demonstrate what I mean, it was one of those sets that remind you just how exciting a DJ can be.
The tracks embedded at the start of this article come from the first and arguably most impressive set, from MarshmeLLo. Impressive because there were about 10 people on the dancefloor, but she played music so delicious and confident that it didn’t matter, massaging us out of our London awkwardness. Her presence through the rest of the night as an mc really cherried it for me, ‘la-di-da-di’-ing with an audible grin over the most intense jungle cuts, as Wife jumped up and down on the spot, it was just great. MarshmeLLo also gave me the perfect quote to clumsily steer this review back to the political issues at the centre of great club night – the best I’ve attended in London in years – gazing over the gradually swelling, tentative crowd ‘don’t be afraid to make a noise, this is your space.’