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After reading everyone else's opinions on the Ministry and finding that they mostly didn't find it too pleasing I thought that I better stand up for it and give my experience of it. I've only ever been once but it was a great night and a great weekend. So, if you're sitting comfortably then I'll begin... The whole reason that I got to go the Ministry was because one of my mates had entered into a DJ competition and got through to the finals that were to be held, yes you've guessed it, at the Ministry itself. And, because he didn't have a girlfriend at the time, he invited me to accompany him. This meant that I would get a free hotel room for the night and free entry to the club, obviously this sounded too good to be true and I jumped at the chance. So off we went to London and after checking in at our £200 a night hotel we made our way to Elephant and Castle, where the club is. Now, being a couple of country boys we didn't have a clue where anything was in London, so after getting off the tube at Elephant and Castle we thought how hard could the club be to find? Well, after asking about a million people and my mate starting to get rather stressed as he was meant to be there for the start of the competition, we jumped in a cab that took us about 50 yards up the road and charged us a fortune for it, but nevermind. Anyway we had made it to the club. From the outside it didn't look like much, a large courtyard surrounded by a tall fence and a small entrance door. We weren't even sure if we had the right place! But we went in and my mate took part in the competition, which unluckily he didn't win, but they did have a free bar for us, so getting pissed in the minstry for free is not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you ask me. And I got a go on the decks, so yes, I have played at the Ministry of Sound, come on! I also got to meet Norman Jay (a well respected DJ), which was always g
oing to be a pleasure. So, after the competition we returned to the hotel to prepare ourselves for the evening ahead. The night: After going to some pre-club bars we made our way to the club at around 1 am, it opened at 12 but we didn't want to appear too eager. After swanning past the que due to our guestlst status we entered the club. You enter down a long corridor that is lit with sparkling fairy lights, this then deposits you in the main bar area. By the time we arrived this room was already quite full and people were getting down to the funky house grooves. After weighing in the horrendously priced drinks at the bar (unfortunately it was no longer free for us) we decided to have a look round. The bar that we were in was quite large, with a high ceiling, there is a walkway reaching across it, though this was closed, but up the stairs we went and came out into a chill out room with quite a bit of seating and another bar. If you then carried on through there you came to a small room that I think was playing drum and bass, though I'm not sure, if you carried on through there then you cam e out in the same bar again. Although we had heard tales of how unfriendly the people of London are everyone we met were ace, we even got asked back to no less then 2 after parties! So there, who says London's unfriendly? Although the music was good in this room, we were feeling a bit the worse for wear after our long day and were ready to give in and go home, when suddenly, we realised they had opened the main room. So, in we went. My first impression of it was one of walking into another world, the smoke machines were on full and you could hardly see you hand in front of your face, the music was pumping and the lighting was amazing, cutting through the smoke and taking you to another level. There were a few podiums but you couldn't really see the people on them through the smoke. The only way that I can describe it is as being lost in another wor
ld, where only the music existed and you had to dance, no one else mattered. So, even though we were previously ready to go home, we danced through all of Jazzy M's set, some wicked funky house, and finally left at around 6, though on the way out people were still coming in, hardcore! We then went back to the hotel slept like mice and then after a spot of record shopping made our long way home, well it wouldn't of been to long if the trains worked but don't start me on that. To sum up, I had one the best weekends of my life at the Ministry and altough it is very expensive, both for admission and drinks, I thought it was well worth it and can't wait to return, though I don't think I will be staying in the same hotel, £200 a night, you must be joking. I would highhly reccomend the Ministry for all lovers of good clubs and funky house music, I had a wicked time, I hope you will too.
I guarantee your first thought when visting Ministry Of Sound will be 'what a dump!' - basically it's in the middle of a housing estate and a load of garages in Elephant & Castle, a pretty run down area of South London. First impressions can be deceptive, though, and in this case they duly are because the club is quite plush on the inside, which at least partly serves to justify the 'superclub' tag that gets frequently attached to it. And because it's a superclub, the owners have divine right to charge extortionatly high prices...entry fees are not too bad if you have an NUS card, but the drinks....£3 for a can of Coke, nice one!! (I think not.) If you're the sort who needs to down a few before hitting the tiles, make sure a few pre-club pubs are visited before arriving at MOS. It's surprisingly small for a club of its stature too...just a main room and a second room, neither of which are fantastically huge, in comparison to Home for example. Having said that, anyone who's visited MOS's S-MOVE on a Friday night will pay testimony to the fact that their music policy is second to none. S-MOVE is widely regarded as MOS' best night at the momemt, back2back R&B and hiphop classics, with the likes of Matt White (Kiss 100FM), EZ and MJ Cole on the decks. This night should be checked out, for sure, but get there reasonably early. This brings me to one final criticism of MOS - they let far too many people in, to the extent that there's barely enough room to move - let alone dance. If you don't go to MOS with too high expectations you'll have a good night. Otherwise, brace yourself for possibly being a little disappointed.
While the massive queues and media hype make it seem worthwile travelling out of the heart of the city, you would be much better sticking to the queues of Home and the other Leichester square superclubs, for the experience is nearly always the same. Unless you are looking for a novelty club like The School Disco, near Vauxhall Bridge, or similar that you are likely to enjoy the huge hanger like expanses that are clubs such as the MOS. But be warned your wallet will be empty when you leave, as well as the exhorbitant entrance fee, there is the small fortune that it will cost you for a drink. The club itslef has some good music, although it depends who is DJing, however the lub will never go back to its glory days captured on the 'classics' box set. If you want a night out and want to say you've been then you'll enjoy the ministry. If you just want to go clubbing then go somehwere else or buy a CD
OK, before I start getting seriously stuck into dissing the Ministry, I just want to clarify two things. For one thing, the ministry is just a venue so it's perfectly possible that there are some decent nights there, for another I wasn't at the record launch party that the opinionator went to - so,who knows, maybe it was good. However, I can speak from personal experience as to what Rulin is like and, in fact, what the Ministry is like in general and -to be brutally honest - it really and truelly sucks. The design is so bad that there doesn't seeem to be any one point in the club where people actually stop to do anything interesting like talk or dance. Instead everyone just wanders around the club aimlessly looking for a half decent place to hang out. It might actually be that people are so shocked that the venue doesn't live up to it's massive media hype that they wonder around stunned looking for evidence of why the club enjoys such a reputation (think mega media corporation.) But really this is the point - the club is shit and so is the music MoS produces, anyone who thinks otherwise is the unfortunate victim of an incredibly effective marketing machine based on exclusivity and sex. Not only does the Ministry have a massively popular magazine, website and radio station to persuade the public how good its shite wares are, but the record label and the club also cross market each other to great effect. To sum it up - the club is incredibly expensive, very posey, full of tourists who don't know better and victims of the MoS monster marketing machine. The atmosphere's so baaaad that the only people who dance are the trannies and podium bunnies who are paid to. Sad, but true.
Last year I was very lucky enough to win a competition on the web for New Years Eve 1999 to stay in St Martins Lane Hotel (very expensive Hotel) and then a limoisine to Ministry of Sound. My girlfriend and I got a train to London and then booked into the hotel. It was lovely. We lounged around the room for a couple of hours and then the people who worked for the club knocked on our door and let us know what time we were having dinner and meeting all the other competition winners. We met the others and had a chinese meal in the hotel and then feeling rather drunk started our trek across London. It was really busy being the Millenium and all but we managed to make it to the club in about an hour. The club itself was a bit of a dissapointment to tell you the truth. I had heard so much about it from friends over the years on how good it was but it didn't seem that busy andthe lkayout was nothing like I imagined it to be. The night soon heated up though after we discovered that we were V.I.P. for the night which meant access to the Red Room (VIP area) and all the drinks were free all night including champagne. As the night went on the club filled up and I really started enjoying myself and I could now see what all my friends were raving on about. It turned out to be a great night and I the only bad thing was that my wallet was stolen but that was from the hotel I hasten to add. I would recomend this club to anyone but it did help being a VIP for the night and it was NYE.