What’s the view inside the club scene on needle spiking? The industry insider gets in touch and reveals his perspective on this disturbing crime

Every now and then, this blog gets contacted by a male who’s very high up in the dance music world. He’s worked in many prominent roles and has been around since the 1980s raves. And he speaks in a remarkably candid fashion about issues at the time. He even allows me to publish those views – so long as it’s under a cloak of anonymity.

The insider in question has been in touch on the subject of needle spiking. This is a disturbing crime which I haven’t encountered before – typically, it involves giving women an injection of harmful drugs without their consent. The needles are absolutely tiny – we’re not talking about the whoppers you might see at your dentist.

Of needle spiking itself, he says. “This crime is clearly horrific on the women who fall victim to it. There’s no doubt about that. And anyone who does this kind of stuff, as far as I’m concerned, is an evil c*** who deserve everything they get. But this demonisation of nightclubs over this issue is just b******s”.

Was my insider referring to the impending boycott of nightclubs being planned shortly? Not surprisingly, he was, saying “I don’t think that’s fair. Even the most unscrupulous nightclub owners out there don’t want people going home unable to remember a single moment they were in there. It’s bad for business – at a time when lots of nightclubs are already in financial trouble.”

“But it’s not the nightclub which injects this poison into the victims. They shouldn’t be punished because of the actions of a few scumbags. There are undoubtedly nightclubs out there who cut corners on security to save on time or whatever – but no matter how much security you have, you’d never be able to catch absolutely everything.”

“You’ve spoken on your blog before about how the nightclub industry isn’t terribly good at defending itself. And that’s why this s*** is being aimed at them. Whilst there’s clearly a legitimate issue here and nightclubs should definitely see what else they can do to deal with this problem, it’s not the fault of nightclubs it’s happening. It’s the fault of sick f***ers who think they’ve got the right to drug and do even worse things to women.”

He isn’t holding back on this one…

Do they use the same publicist as Diplo? Sacha Lord’s Warehouse Project FINALLY speak out about what happened at the club two weeks ago – and it quickly became a PR disaster…

Two weeks ago, a 20-year old man died at the Warehouse Project after taking drugs. The club made no comment on their social media pages, something which irked me on the Sunday after it happened – and irked me even more the following week. Nearly two weeks later, Warehouse Project have finally said something.

So here’s the statement for anyone who fancies reading it. Take your time – it really is as bad as it looks…

It turns out that more happened that night than was first reported. It’s unclear whether the two events are linked – I’ll leave it up to Greater Manchester Police to work that out. But it turns out a 21-year old and a 20-year old were stabbed just outside the venue on the same evening.

And here’s where things get rather farcical. Because the pond life who carried out the stabbings were refused entry into the club by security earlier in the evening – yet still managed to get in anyway. How on earth did they give security the slip? And how the hell did they get those knives into the building when it has security and a police presence outside?

Someone somewhere has got big questions to answer here. I’ll let the police get on with working that out – although they might have a few awkward questions of their own to answer. But firstly, I must query whether Warehouse Project uses the same publicist as the one who advised Diplo to publish a long, rambling statement on his social media yesterday. That person might want to find their new calling in life…

Are clubbers killing our fish with drugs? High amounts of MDMA and cocaine in water is (apparently) the latest challenge to the environment…

Fear not. You haven’t walked into an episode of 90s TV show Brass Eye here. There really is method to my purposefully histrionic headline. Recently, I’ve seen a few stories about large amounts of drugs being detected in water sources near where festivals have taken place.

Researchers last week revealed that the amounts of MDMA and cocaine in water sources near Glastonbury were so high after the festival that it posed a threat to the animals living in the rivers, such as rare eels. Which makes you wonder about what got into the water elsewhere, doesn’t it?

Imagine what Tulum must have been like after all those plague raves descended there. It wasn’t just Covid being spread at those events, let’s face it. Or what about the numerous raves which took place in India before the country experienced a massive wave of the virus? Making sure there are enough toilets available was never the priority for those running such events.

But on the other hand, such additions to the water might have no effect in some areas. A source joked that “In some American cities, there’s so much s*** already in the water from dumping chemicals that I doubt the fish would honestly notice anything else”.

A spokesperson for Glastonbury replied to all this, saying “Peeing on the land is something we will continue to strongly discourage at future festivals”. Someone is actually receiving a salary to say that…

After a 20-year old died after taking drugs on the premises last weekend, why the silence from Warehouse Project – who have been in this situation before?

Why is Warehouse Project refusing to say anything at all about the death of a 20-year old who was at their venue last weekend? This is the question I asked last Sunday and today, I pose it again. The ongoing silence from the Warehouse and owner Sacha Lord is mystifying, to say the least.

Obviously, a police investigation is ongoing into the matter and nobody, least of all me, expects them to say something which could compromise that. But bar a brief statement issued to the press by a faceless, unnamed spokesperson for the Warehouse Project, nothing has been said publicly by anyone.

This is an increasingly bizarre turn of events. This week, Sacha Lord has found the time to tweet about VAT increases for business, the HGV drivers shortage and even fallen for a prank where someone claimed the Google camera photographed a sex act taking place outside his club. In truth, it was an old photo taken from a nearby street and deleted from the service eight years ago.

Yet he hasn’t tweeted a few words of condolence for the man in question. No words of sympathy for his family, who will now be going through hell after the loss of a loved one. And no words about the drugs policy of the club or the importance of drug testing – something which he has advocated for many years.

A source close to the Warehouse Project told me “We’re under strict orders coming from the top not to discuss this. We’ve been told almost nothing about what’s happened”. Hardly surprising – but their collective silence is all the more odd considering this has happened before.

In 2013, a 30-year old man called Nick Bonnie collapsed at the Warehouse Project and later died in hospital. His inquest revealed high levels of cocaine and MDMA in his body at the time of death. That very same weekend, 16 others at the venue were hospitalised after taking ecstasy and and the dealer had to seek medical attention after swallowing his stash.

In December 2016, a 19-year old beautician called Lauren Atkinson died after taking ecstasy at the club. And back in 2012, another 19-year old called Souvik Pal was found dead in a nearby canal after taking ecstasy on the premises as well. All this was reported a few years ago in the Manchester Evening News.

So as much as I hate to say this, but Warehouse Project have been in this position before. And whilst there’s no suggestion from me that the club isn’t being run properly – police in Manchester have said several times they believe it is – the optics of this refusal to say anything whatsoever are simply terrible…

At least show us you care! After a 20 year old dies at the Warehouse Project in the early hours of Saturday, still no word on when Sacha Lord or his club are going to make any comment…

Tragedy struck in Manchester over this weekend. A 20-year old man, whose name hasn’t yet been released, went for a night out on Friday at the Warehouse Project in the city. Fate had a terribly cruel twist in store for him – he wasn’t going back home.

During the early hours of yesterday, he began to feel unwell and was taken to hospital at 3.30am. And sadly, he died a little while later.

My condolences, of course, go to this man’s family and friends – I cannot begin to imagine the hell you are going through right now. Exactly what happened is currently unclear, but three men and one woman aged between 20 and 23 were arrested by Greater Manchester Police on Saturday. As this is obviously now a police matter, I won’t be commenting on the specifics.

But I do have to query exactly how the Warehouse Project – and their owner Sacha Lord – have responded to this horrible event. Whilst a customary quote has been provided to a few news outlets which have reported the story, anyone looking at their pages over this weekend will be none the wiser of what has happened.

Instead, they simply spent most of yesterday answering questions about whether people could get in after 6pm and promoting forthcoming events. The death in their club the night before has not merited a single mention – indeed, the closest that Warehouse Project got to saying anything about the incident was a series of tweets yesterday urging anyone who isnt’t feeling well to seek out medical assistance as soon as possible.

Yet whilst Lord remains silent over troubles closer to home, it seems that a few weeks ago, he had no issue at all referencing the death of 21-year old Bill Hodgson at The Cross in London…

Not for the first time, Lord’s stance on such issues appear to change when one of his own venues are involved…

Sacha Lord believes in looking after yourself at his events – so how much will he charge you for water to remain hydrated this weekend?

Say what you like about Sacha Lord – and this blog frequently comments on the self-declared man on a mission to save hospitality across Britain. But there’s one area that I won’t hear a word said against him, believe it or not. And that topic is on reducing the potential harm that drugs can do.

Which is why last weekend, Parklife used their official Twitter account to remind visitors to drink plenty of water. And seek medical attention immediately if you start to feel unwell…

This seems sensible advice whether you intend to partake with something questionable or not. I personally get headaches if I don’t drink enough water and become even more grumpy than normal.

Now, I’m going to hazard a guess that Lord’s other event, the Warehouse Project, will also post a similar message to this in the next few days. Today’s event might also choose to use its platform to retweet a message like this from W.E.L. Safe…

So let’s apply the above tweet to Warehouse Project. Now, I don’t know exactly what the drinks prices for the event is, so I’m going to use Parklife’s price of £2.50 for a 500ml bottle of water as a guide. It’s an event with the same owner, so I consider this a reasonable assumption.

They advise drinking half a pint every hour. Half a pint is 284ml. This evening’s event goes on from 7pm to 2am – so you’ll need 1988ml in that time. That’s four bottles and £10. And if you’re at tomorrow’s event from 2pm to 4am, you’ll need 3976ml. Eight bottles at £20.

To give you some context here, you can buy multipacks of six 500ml bottles in several supermarkets, often at around £1. The same amount with Sacha Lord would cost £15 – and seeing you’re not allowed to bring in your own food or drinks, you have no choice but to pay.

Add that onto the costs of tickets, transport to get there and home again, possible hotel costs, food whilst you’re there and other drinks – because who drinks just water at these things? – and that’s a lot of money involved.

I’d suggest charging £2.50 for a bottle of water isn’t consistent with your message of harm reduction, Sacha…

So what the hell WERE they taking? No sod knows, as The Loop reveal half the MDMA tested at a recent festival contained no MDMA!

Cast your mind back to 2013. In February that year, Tesco admitted – with very long faces – they’d been selling spaghetti bolognese which was comprised of 60% horse meat. Soon, we found out it wasn’t just Tesco who’d been selling such products. I’d give you the list, but you might feel hoarse afterwards.

Jokes aside, this is what came to mind for me after reading a story about what drugs harm reduction charity The Loop found after attending the Lost Village festival in Lincolnshire last weekend. Out of all the MDMA they tested, only half of it contained any actual MDMA.

The rest were filled with substitutes – a bit like you’d get at a supermarket with your online shopping, only totally undeclared and potentially very dangerous. For example, eutylone was in some of them – a problem that Australia and New Zealand encountered from late last year.

So what’s causing the problem? Mixmag cite Brexit as a reason in their article on the subject – good guess, but wrong. No, it’s because of the high cost of transporting these goods around the world and the currently low number of countries where clubs are open. For example, they’re currently open across Britain, but not on the island of Ireland or large swathes of Europe.

And no one yet knows what winter will do to coronavirus cases, meaning the uncertainty is likely to continue. Profit margins are down, hence cheaper substitutes are being used. And without widespread testing, no one has a clue what they’re actually taking.

It’s almost as if the Home Office refusing to respond to a recent report about drugs testing facilities is criminally negligent…

Who was to blame for the charity event at The Cause which never was? The DJs who said they’d appear are firmly on the firing line…

This is a question which has been on my mind for a few days now – was I too hasty to criticise London club The Cause for a charity event that never happened? I’m beginning to think I was. Allow me to explain some background here.

On the early hours of 31st July, Bill Hodgson was admitted to hospital with a suspected drugs overdose, along with two other men. The three had reportedly taken drugs on the premises of the club. Hodgson, a 21-year old aspiring DJ, died soon after arriving in hospital. I reported the story on Monday 2nd August.

The Cause then agreed to remain closed until August 11th whilst the police investigated. They were due to reopen with an event to raise money for The Loop, a harm reduction charity. This was due to take place on August 15th, but cancelled at the last minute. I covered it here, and I wasn’t very nice.

Since it was published, one of my sources got in touch to explain some of the perils of doing charity events in nightclubs. He explained that he did a similar event many years ago – loads of DJs promised to do it. But when offers of paid work for that date came in, he was truly astonished at the number of DJs who dropped the event like a hot potato.

To be honest, I had my suspicions something odd was going on. I trawled through every social media profile I could find for the DJs who were on the lineup – and I didn’t come across a single one actually promoting the event. And whilst I’m aware some DJs aren’t great on updating the socials, the fact none of them seemed to have made their followers aware of an upcoming appearance just seems odd.

The truth is I thought this was dodgy, and I really wish I’d just trusted my instinct when I covered the story. Whilst I think I do a pretty good job here, I’m still learning every day on how to do just that little bit better. Perhaps The Cause were not to blame for this debacle, after all…