Farewell Tutu's: nightclub closes after over 20 years
To see more photos, click on the image above or visit our Tutu's Final Phase Flickr set.
It was a send-off to remember. Over 400 alumni joined over 400 students on Friday 7 June to bid farewell to Tutu’s nightclub at this year’s Alumni Weekend. The floor was sticky, the walls were sweaty and some serious shapes were thrown on the dance floor as alumni boogied the night away and caught up with old friends to celebrate Tutu’s final Phase club night in style.
It all began in 1992: John Major had won the General Election, the Endeavour shuttle was launched into space and Ebeneezer Goode by The Shamen was riding high in the charts. That September, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Theology, 1965) himself declared King’s College London’s very own club, named after this legendary alumnus, open for business.
Hannah Seymour (Medicine, 1996) was lucky enough to be there:
‘I met Desmond Tutu when he opened the original venue. He was unforgettable - a truly remarkable aura surrounded him and he spoke so wonderfully about his memories of King's.’
For the next 21 years, Tutu’s would play host to club nights, live music, and comedy, as well as performances by various King’s societies.
Mark Cooper (Geography, 1996) was a member of the KCLSU student staff technical crew.
‘During my time there I did lighting and sound for a great many shows. Those that stuck in my mind (in no particular order!) were Danni Minogue, Phil Jupitus, Hugh Lennon and Hypnodog, Beck and former King's student, Rory Bremner. The highlight, however, has to be working on the Foo Fighters debut European gig (they even used footage of the gig as the official video for their debut single 'This is a Call' on Top Of the Pops!). It truly was a fantastic gig to watch, let alone work! I think I still have my 'Local Crew' ID badge somewhere...’
He also fondly remembers the Collide-a-Scope club night ‘which was one of the best indie nights in London, especially during the reign of the Britpop movement.’
Through rave music and grunge, Britpop and nu metal, and the rise and rise of X Factor, Tutu’s has seen it all. As well as hosting live music like Vampire Weekend and Taylor Swift, students have been dancing all these years at the venue's many club nights: Truffle Shuffle, Des Was a Bowie Fan and of course, the Friday Phase nights.
‘I was at the first Phase 1 in September 1997,’ remembers Timothy Martin (Business Management, 1999), ‘It was proposed to have Phase 2 the next Friday and Phase 3 the following Friday, and so on. A misunderstanding when printing the flyers put an end to that idea!’
Tutu’s has a special place in some alumni’s hearts. ‘I told my now current wife that I loved her for the first time up there and that was almost 8 years ago,’ says Simon Paterson (War Studies, 2006).
Angela Walker Haymonds graduated from King’s 21 years ago. ‘I was head of student security when it opened! My husband was General Secretary of KCLSU in 1991-2.’ She remembers the comedy greats who performed at Tutu’s: ‘We had Jack Dee, Al Murray (whose sister was at King's) and Steve Coogan.’
So what will Tutu’s become? The most popular suggestions from students have been a performance space, a bar and a climbing wall. Tutu’s famed club nights will live on, albeit with different names, in other venues in London. The wheels are in motion, and the final decisions will be made in September. Stay tuned for the next phase…
Send us your photos and/or memories of Tutu’s or tell us what you think should be done with the space for future students.