Sunday, September 16

Experimental Circle Club: The Secret of Sircles and Spheres

The Experimental Circle Club began in late 2006 as a successor to the popular Junk night. Like Junk before it, the Exp. Circ. Club runs in the basement of the Royal Hotel on Southend High Street (although it started in nearby Westcliff). As of last Friday, seven successful 'experiments' had been completed in Southend and Westcliff, and a new phase in the life of the Exp. Circ. Club was about to start: the first happening in London.

The Eighth Experiment, titled 'The Secret of Sircles and Spheres', was different to any of the previous seven. The date and the details were highly publicised, but one fairly crucial bit of information was left out: where exactly the party was to take place. The location, although confirmed as East London, had been kept secret, and was only released on the day itself, after emailed guestlist applications had closed.

Apparently there were a few reasons for this. The first was to keep the gathering small and exclusive, since East London is accessible to more people than Southend. The second was just in the spirit of experiment and mystery surrounding the club. Chris Error, one of the organisers, told The New Thing, 'People love it. At some points during the week we had an email coming in every minute.'

Even now the night is over, we aren't going to shatter the secrecy surrounding the location. What we will do is give a brief taster, for those unlucky enough to miss out, on what actually took place at The Secret of Sircles and Spheres, Experimental Circle Club, 15th September 2007.

Guests arriving in the general area were guided to the venue by Chris Error, who had adopted the title (and appearance, complete with lab coat) of a Professor for the night. After scrutiny of the guestlist, we were admitted to the inner bowels of the Exp. Circ. Club.

The main room featured a bar, a small stage with the equipment of the night's band (Ipso Facto, making their second Exp. Circ. appearance) set up, flickering monochromatic film projections, and (horror of Horrors) a disco ball; the whole thing was lit by chains of blue lamps, and UV lights picking out all the white details. Outside this room, the corridors on main flight of stairs leading to the roof was littered with bowl-haired people dressed to the nines in black and grey, some wearing Exp. Circ. armbands, draped over sofas and office chairs.

Famous faces in the movement lurking in the main room (if you'll allow us to sound like Hello! for a moment) were Rhys Webb and Tomethy Furse of The Horrors (the latter taking to the booth for an unannounced DJ set), Cieran O'Shea, cover artist par excellence, and of course 'Professor' Chris Error and Ipso Facto.

The night started with the traditional Exp. Circ. 'soundtrack of drone, static, and electronic sounds, building to an eclectic mix of sonic delights'. On this particular occasion, beats and beeps abounded, though this wasn't from any kind of new rave trash but true electronic experimentalists at work.

Since London is a big place, and the venue was a good distance away from our beckoning homes, we at The New Thing were forced to leave prematurely, and as a result unhappily missed out on Ipso Facto's performance, as well as the latter DJ sets. Early departure notwithstanding, the night was extremely intruiging as well as very enjoyable...we hope to attend the next London experiment.

Exp. Circ. Club has now settled down, and takes place on the first Saturday of every month at the Royal Hotel, Southend. The next (ninth) experiment, on 6th October, is a joint happening with UFO Club, and features live performances by Ulterior and Errormental.

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