#16 - Debby Lee & Billy Reilly / Bagleys & The Cross / 1987-2000
I met Debby and Billy on an extremely rainy day at The Grain Store just opposite the sites of Bagleys, - which Debby Lee ran (an 'epicentre of dance music') and The Cross, which was Billy's (spot of Ibiza in Kings Cross) venue. Too busy and too noisy be able to have a proper conversation there, we quickly retreated, umbrellas in hand, taking some quick photos on the way, to a pub Billy owns nearby, The Driver, where, in the upstairs room we could stay dry and talk at length.
Being a little bit too young to have experienced the early rave scene first hand, that afternoon with Debby and Billy took me right there. The passion with which they both spoke about the revolutionary side of rave in the context of Margaret Thatcher, Kings Cross and Camden and London more widely, as well as the economy, class and the levelling aspect of the scene, I found somehow incredibly moving.
It was hard to keep this edit down to ten minutes: I came away with over an hour of recordings. At the end we spoke about the possibility of taking this discussion further, into a documentary.
Because of the rain, we couldn't make the video that day - so I returned with my camera on 21st September and shot it as we'd discussed. It was also raining then, but, as with all these encounters, the stories I've been told in connection with all these places, get stuck to me too. So beyond the lines of posh cars lining up for some fashion event that was going as I shot the pan shot movie, I could see the hoards of ravers making their way through the dark alleys of Kings Cross, music thumping, crowds roaring, and The Cross a play of surprise sumptuousness for party goers in the midst of industrial warehouses, railway arches, gasometers and garages.
As part of the development of Kings Cross, Bagleys Studios will soon become part of The Coal Drops.