Fred turns back clock on nineties city club scene - Kevin Buckle

Club Life poster by Fred DeakinClub Life poster by Fred Deakin
Club Life poster by Fred Deakin
Great news for those of us that remember the Edinburgh club scene in the late eighties and nineties with the news that Fred Deakin, who was a pioneer of the time, has a show at Summerhall this August.

To quote the blurb - “Lemon Jelly’s Fred Deakin hosts an immersive joyride through Edinburgh’ underground club scene in the 80s and 90s.

Through spoken word, music, visuals and dance, this atmospheric show recreates an iconic and

nostalgic moment in time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Lemon Jelly club poster by Fred DeakinLemon Jelly club poster by Fred Deakin
Lemon Jelly club poster by Fred Deakin

Audiences are invited to join Fred in resurrecting the fashion tribes of the late 20th century and

recreating classic nights. As you hop from club to club, Fred shares his story about growing up in

the club scene and philosophy on club life. Clubs, he argues, provide an essential space for us to find our tribe and celebrate life in the moment.

Club Life is an untold story of decades on the dance floor searching for mayhem and magic.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Going Places club poster by Fred DeakinGoing Places club poster by Fred Deakin
Going Places club poster by Fred Deakin

In the West Nicolson Street Avalanche of the eighties Fred was not just a good customer but somebody who would regularly bring in posters for his club nights.

The one thing I remember most is that at the time colour copying cost a fortune and while all the posters we would be given to display would be in black and white Fred’s would be in full colour. He did later explain that rather than put up hundreds of monochrome posters he would make only a handful of his colourful posters and put them up in key places.

It still wasn’t that simple as they quickly became very popular so they would have to be put somewhere where they couldn’t be stolen!

Later for his club Going Places in the second half of the nineties he would screenprint fifteen A1 posters two weeks before the club and have them prominently displayed in local bars with the incentive to the bar manager that they got to keep what was a valuable poster.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Thunderball club poster by Fred DeakinThunderball club poster by Fred Deakin
Thunderball club poster by Fred Deakin

We loved his posters so much that when the Avalanche record label started in 1990 we asked him to design several of the sleeves.

In fact it is Fred who designed the Avalanche logo and the posters for the occasional shop gigs we put on.

Thankfully Fred has documented much of this on his website or I would struggle to remember all the details.

The clubs Blue, Thunderball, Devil Mountain, Wild Life, Misery, Going Places and Impotent Fury which all had different themes were based in an eclectic collection of venues - Fruitmarket Gallery, Wilkie House, La Belle Angele, the ABC Cinema and even the Assembly Rooms and the old Post Office on Waterloo Place along with others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Fred DeaklnFred Deakln
Fred Deakln

A man of many talents Fred had also formed the band Lemon Jelly with Nick Franglen in the late nineties and the compilation album of their first three EPs was one of Avalanche’s best sellers in 2000.

It is impossible to explain to somebody not familiar with Fred’s work the number of interesting projects he has been involved with and all the work he has done so for those who would like to know more or like myself need their memory jogging I would recommend Fred’s website which has a very useful My Story section

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.