Back in February, Enter Gallery made its motion picture debut in Sky Documentaries’ new film, Right Here, Right Now.
The documentary transports us back to the summer of 2002, when the biggest free party in Britain’s history saw 250,000 ravers cram themselves onto Brighton Beach for Fatboy Slim’s legendary and notorious Big Beach Boutique II.
As Brightonians, some of us were there that day, others only heard the stories, or suffered through the beach clean-up… but one thing is clear, a free party of this magnitude may have been generation-defining but it’s unlikely to ever happen again.
In today’s blog, we’re taking a closer look at this love letter to our city, and chatting to the documentary’s writer and director, Jak Hutchcraft, to discuss Fatboy Slim’s enduring influence on the world of art. We’re also offering a peek at our Art Buyer, Helen's star performance in the film, which you can find below.
We’ve come a long, long way…
Right Here, Right Now is the story of the Big Beach Boutique II – an event now considered a turning point in dance music, live events and British cultural history. With the iconic Fatboy Slim as DJ, only 40,000 ravers were expected to show up that day, but when a quarter of a million people descended on Brighton from all corners of the UK, chaos ensued. Hutchcraft reveals:
“The documentary draws a line from the acid house days of illegal raves and government crackdowns to the superstar DJ era of dance music dominating the mainstream. I contextualise the Big Beach Boutique II within the rich history of British dance culture, to try and understand its legacy. The story is told by a diverse range of people who were on the beach that day; from famous faces to loved-up ravers, police officers to Norman Cook himself.”
Funk Soul Brighton
While the documentary celebrates the hedonism of the day, it also doesn’t shy away from the danger that it presented. While many suffered injuries and one woman tragically died a number of hours after the event, security staff on the day credited the crowd with remaining calm and peaceful and looking out for one another. Hutchcraft tells us:
“I strongly believe that The Big Beach Boutique II party could have only happened in 2002, it could have only been Fatboy Slim DJing, and it could only have happened in Brighton.”
“Brighton champions the arts in both an open-minded and proactive way. It’s a bastion of creativity, inclusivity and progressive politics. It also has a seaside holiday hedonism which rumbles beneath the surface. All of these things contributed to the ‘perfect storm’ of what went down on the beach on July 13th 2002.”
Celebrate You, Baby
There’s not many DJ’s who have reached the same superstar status as Fatboy Slim and his influence extends far beyond the dancefloors that he fills. Over the years, Enter Gallery has exhibited work from a number of artists who have paid tribute to the DJ in their work. Hutchcraft states:
“Fatboy Slim has such a legacy in Brighton and is loved by many. You see his logo and face spray painted on walls around town, but you also see art which is inspired by him hanging in proper galleries. I wanted to capture this. Enter Gallery was perfect to feature in the documentary because they exhibit artists such as Jana Nicole, RYCA and Mark Vessey, who make art that is directly inspired by Fatboy Slim. I love Enter Gallery and I am so glad I could include them as part of the story.”
In the documentary, you’ll see footage from Enter Gallery on the launch night of Brighton-photographer, Mark Vessey’s, Norman print back in 2017. Created in collaboration with Fatboy himself, the piece captures the superstar DJ’s record collection.
Award-winning artist Jana Nicole is another of Enter Gallery’s artists to collaborate with Cook, creating Norman Cook: A Portrait of the Self – in which she celebrates the personal history and creative genius of the DJ.
In the detailed piece, Nicole includes nods to Cook’s illustrious career, to his home city of Brighton, and even the Big Beach Boutique II itself, with the quote ‘Shall we wave to the boats?’
Given his love of rave culture, it’s no surprise that RYCA has also created many a work honouring Cook. In fact, this Friday 31st March between 6-8pm, Enter Gallery is hosting the artist’s latest solo show, Words Are Weapons – a typographic show paying homage to iconic quotes from film, TV and music.
If you’d like to join us on the night, there’s still time to RSVP here.
So, without further ado, check out Enter Gallery in Right Here, Right Now…
You can catch Right Here, Right Now on Sky and Now TV.