Sterns - Interview with Mensa 1993

Sterns – The End?

Sterns – the final chapter. Saturday the 14th August 1993 will go down in history books as one of the saddest of all occasions to be recorded. No, no one died, there was no riots, but just thousands of young people dancing for the last time at Sterns, voted the best club in the UK back in 1989. We, the young people are being denied the opportunity to dance again at the most famous nightclub in the south. Coast…. Interdance’s Sterns….

You may well ask yourself why a club that attracts 1,500 young ravers EVERY WEEK has to close. Usually clubs shut due to low attendances,  but this one didn’t. So Blaze spoke to the captain of the ship, the main man himself – Mensa.

So Mensa, what happened?
Well, not wanting to blow my own trumpet or sound too big headed, we became too successful. About three years ago now we were asked to put on all night parties because there was a big problem with illegal parties on the south coast, now look what’s happened.

How often did you do these all night parties at Sterns?
We did them every other week to keep the crowd happy.

So why did the club become a 2am finisher rather than all night many months ago?
A new licensing inspector came on the scene and asked me what the club had done. We told him rave nights and that was that, they went all out to shut us down. First we lost our 6am licence and now we lost the 2am licence.

The very nice(?) inspector man claims that the club is attracting people out of Worthing, therefore it doesn’t keep the people off the street in the local area. The funny thing is, Worthing is a seaside resort where the main industry is tourism.

Which means the town relies on people out of town for money to be generated back into the community so that perhaps on the basis of what the police are saying we should shut the whole town down along with all the small shop businesses because they don’t want people from out of town around. But of course, this rule only applies when its rave clubs involved and young people. So watch out all you promoters putting on parties that young people WANT on the South coast, you could be driven out of business by the police.

Are the police trying to shut you down for any other reasons such as Sterns being the source of drugs for the Worthing area?
The only time we have called the police into the club in the three and a half years it’s been running is when the security catch people selling drugs. The police say we do not look after our customers and the venue is unsafe which is untrue. In the time we have been running this club the police have mounted two large scale operations they prosecuted only 7 people. In three and a half years, that is not a lot of people, is Sterns unsafe you may ask yourself? A football match sees more arrests in one afternoon, let alone three and half years, is there something wrong here?

Now the authorities have got their way, how many people have been made unemployed?
In all, a lot of people will suffer. 16-20 DJ’s a week will loose wages, 40 security people, all the bar staff and the people who work in the Interdance office. The list can go on including printers, promotional companies, record shops plus many more. This is the country that is being built, we are in a recession and they want to put more people out of work just because they don’t want young people dancing and having a good time.

Well, so that’s Mensa the promoters story, lets go and hear the views of others.

First we came across DJ Ellis Dee, real Rumpold Stiltskin (you read in first in Blaze).

So Ellis, you’ve played here on the last night, what have you got say about the club closing and the last night?
It was good here tonight, shame it’s closing and I have been told I will never play here again.

I’m back off to ask some people their views.

First of all I ask a rave called Doran (?), what he thinks of what the authorities have done by shutting the club down?

I think they are bang out of order, this is a great place that should not be taken away. The council should reconsider.

Up to another raver called Sid from Worthing, I asked what he thought of the police statement that nobody from Worthing came to the club and that was one of the reasons why it was shutting down, Sid replied “Total rubbish, there totally wrong”.

Next up, I collar Mickey Finn. Mickey what do you think of Sterns?

Well, what can I say. Every room in there is packed and it’s the same story every week. Why close it down?

Soon the night comes to an end and nobody wants to leave, the whole place is going mad with people shouting and screaming for more. As the people leave they shout out further comments into my microphone such as “best night ever” “Sterns is the best, I’ve always come here and hoped to always do one day”, “shit hot” and Mensa the promoter. One final comment Mensa? “Yes, well at the moment I feel a bit sick, but with everyone behind us, I’ve just put in for a new licence with new management and we will just sort it out. Sterns will be back the place is made for it”.

Where I come from, London, there is a pick of 20-30 all night clubs to visit at any weekend. We just can’t understand the so called authorities mentality by closing down clubs on the South coast left, right and centre. There is a recession on at present and surely it’s beneficial to local communities to generate money. Now they will probably find that there will be more illegal parties along the South coast, which is silly as Sterns was set up to rid the area of the problem.

At 2am on Sunday 15th August 1993 the music stopped for the last time. All we are left with are the memories for our grandchildren. Hopefully, by the time stories are shared of the past in the future society may have changed. But, then on the other hand I doubt it very much. Just look back in history at the music scene. Since Elvis Presley took to the stage back in 1958 it was Devil’s music. Nothing much has changed since then. So with these mortal words from another artists back in the 50’s – rave on….


Reproduced with the permission of Blaze


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Sterns - Worthing

Sterns was one of the first rave clubs.  It ran very successfully from around 1989 to 1993 when it was closed by the authorities.  1500 people a week regularly packed the venue to see up and coming DJs like Carl Cox.

The club was run by Mensa who sadly died around a while after the club closed in a car crash.

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