It was Armageddon Weekend in London and the agent that brought about the collapse of metropolitan civilisation in Southern Britain was not Anthrax or Uranium 235: it was booze. People were ingesting alcohol in unprecedented quantities at their Christmas parties and then falling unconscious with their Santa hats on as if in some kind of mass suicide attempt. The streets were packed with police vans and barricades, so by 4am on Saturday some areas of the city actually resembled war zones. The ambulance service sent out their "Booze Bus" to collect the wounded. Luckily we were ensconced at Süd Electronic's secret seasonal techno throwdown in Dalston while most of the carnage was taking place.
Süd Electronic are two South Africans with a German name putting out minimal techno records and organising underground parties in East London. I'd never been to one of their events before but heard that they always find cool obscure locations and this one – an arts centre in a converted church – was no exception. Proper toilets, sofas, great sound and great lights are usually a luxury for these kind of "secret" parties but this venue was arranged with real care, just like in Berlin.
The crowd you get at these things are completely different to your regular London club too: natives are outnumbered by continentals for a start, and the cultural mix throws up everyone from hipsters to hippies. And if there seemed to be a trend for jeans cut off halfway down the calf, who we were to question it? Lawrence and Efdemin flew in from Germany to play sets of earnest, intricately emotional minimalism, music that only gently peaked and troughed but seemed to carry your feet on a cushion of air.
Armageddon Weekend seemed like a long way away. Until we took a taxi back through the warzone to discover that while we were inside the party, a 15-year-old boy had been fatally stabbed in a mass brawl outside a community centre just four streets away . Merry Christmas.