TF Archives

David & Allen From Torture Garden- We Don't Enjoy Other Fetish Clubs

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Thursday, September 4, 2003
"Fetish people are always perceived as being the types who live in suburban houses hiding behind net curtains, dressing up in rubber and doing their little secret thing. We've always tried to be anti that suburban fetish couple cliche, we specifically started Torture Garden NOT to be for those kinds of people."

Sitting in his artfully furnished warehouse space in deepest inner city zone Hoxton, David TG is anything but suburban, and like his Torture Garden cofounder Allen (sitting alongside) embodies what TG stands for.

"What we're about is people from alternative culture, whether that's from an industrial background, or people into body art- techno, electro, art school, weirdoes, that kind of bizarre mix of people. Plus trannies (transgender types- fetish Ed) and sexual freaks; all the different diversities of sexual life- anything but quiet suburban couples."

13 years after they started, both guys have transformed Torture Garden into THE superclub brand of the fetish scene, hosting parties across the globe while selling clothing, mix CDs and videos. As promoters of Britain's best known sex club, they've had their fair share of experiences and run-ins with the establishment, though as Allen points out, while anything might go consensually, their scene has always been safe.

"We've never had a rape, not even an alleged one," he says.

"There are a few weirdoes on the scene, there was that guy in the papers recently who cut up that woman in Camden and he'd been to a couple of fetish clubs," he admits.

"He had nothing to do with the fetish scene itself, he'd just been there" (alleged serial killer Anthony John Hardy is accused of dismembering the body of 31 year old prostitute Paula Fields, and throwing them into Regent's Canal last December).

"The people that do tend to murder and rape people are the ones who are fucked up about their sexuality, not the ones who are open," David agrees.

"Fetish clubs are therapeutic and educational and can calm people down".

Sex issues aside, though, TG has always distinguished itself from other fetish clubs by its music; "The original idea was to create a new kind of fetish club with interesting music, to create a new kind of alternative scene," David continues.

"We started off by playing Gothic/ industrial then Nu Beat/ Industrial, then it went to techno/ industrial then techno. Now the club's about techno, breakbeats, drum & bass and electro. We've pissed some people off over the years when we've changed things but tough, we do what we want to do," he adds.

Skrufff (Jonty): How much in common is there between the Torture Garden of today and when you started-

Torture Garden (David): "The basic club structure is the same, initially we wanted to have two or three different rooms with different sounds and we had lots of visuals and performances and we even had market stalls as well. It was never about just one room playing one kind of music. Though the crowd that comes today and the mix of fashions is totally different now,t certain ideas have stayed constant throughout."

Torture Garden (Allen): "The basic ethos, the original conversation we had when we created the club, still exists to this day. The concept was to replace what was missing from the club scene in 1990; dressing up had basically stopped, the Goth scene was starting to get all jeans and leather jackets with the guys no longer wearing make-up. We'd both been bored of clubs for a couple of years and we wanted to do a club with shows and performances that was monthly, so it was seen as an event. Most clubs were weekly at that point. We wanted to surprise people and give them something to talk about when they left. It was about creating the kind of club that you see in movies. That was the theatrical side which remains to this day."

Skrufff: When you started were you friends with lots of fetish types-

Torture Garden (David): "We were hanging out in that scene so we knew a