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Back In Time Live

  • The Date: 16th May 2001
  • The Time: 7:30pm
  • The Place: DNA Nightclub Birmingham.
  • The Event: Back In Time LIVE

Birmingham lies in the heart of the North of England, aprox 2h 30 train journey from London. Once getting into Birmingham then there is the slight problem in navigating the vast one-way system. Even on foot this isn't easy as every street looks the same. Birmingham is the 2nd largest city in England, after London ofcourse, thus meaning everything is big. Big buildings, big streets, big traffic congestion and big problems.

A couple of hours before the event I was walking from the club to the hotel with Jeff Minter and Ben Daglish, and the other team were having a drink with the composers in a Birmingham pub. Plus we'd had a great afternoon hanging round the Premier Lodge carpark and various bars around Broad Street. So I felt happy 😊 - Chris Abbott

After the rudimentary walking around the streets aimlessly with Puffy64 and Jan Lund Thomson in the vain attempt of finding something to eat. We eventually got lost! Funnily enough after 2 hours of wandering we eventually found a good place to eat. (OUTSIDE OUR HOTEL). Yes after two hours of painstakingly getting ourselves back on track, we returned to our original destination. This of course wasn't a bad thing because this gave us our chance to get to know each other before the event. During this time I promptly realised that I left my camera at home. So quickly popping into a near-by shop picked one up.

The setup started later than expected (again because of the many problems with finding the club through Birmingham's one-way system). - Chris Abbott

After refreshing we set off to The DNA Nightclub, this wasn't too difficult to find…. After all we must have walked passed it several times while we were lost. Upon entering DNA we were greeted by Chris Abbott and shortly afterwards by Kenz. Chris gave us our VIP Passes and we hastily entered the lift.

Almost everyone turned up. Tim Wright didn't come though - Chris Abbott

I was a little unhappy with the receptionist and the doorman warning people about the contents of
the night (
it's computer people)... - Chris Abbott

Entering the VIP lounge we found Ben Daglish and Jeff Minter had already arrived and were chatting to several people already. At this point I saw LMan my colleague on this site REMIX64 and his girlfriend Natascha. Fortunately Markus had brought his camera and a flash that could light the entire of Birmingham for a month with one click of the button. This was indeed very lucky because as soon as I pressed the button on my newly purchased disposable camera I found that there was no flash. Geaz was I dumb or what!

Below the VIP lounge you could see the dancefloor, which at this time was pretty empty. The reason for this is that the party itself didn't start till 9:30pm and this VIP party was for the Launch of Back In Time 3 (see our review). Brightly coloured C64 logo's adorned the right hand side of the wall and the Glass dance floor could be found at eye level directly across from the VIP lounge. This was going to be some party.

Fred Gray, Martin Galway, Tony Crowther, Rob Hubbard and David Whittaker all entered and the crowds of people leaped towards them. At one point Rob Hubbard was engulfed by SID fans to the point that one side of the room was full and the other empty. After this had clamed down sufficiently then the serious alcohol drinking began. At this point Richard Joseph entered.

I thought the event was an interesting one of a kind re-union, getting everyone back together again. - Rob Hubbard"

Great to meet so many old-timers. - David Whittaker

I'm sorry if, in my alcoholic stupor, I might have said anything to offend anyone.... It would never have been my intention. Just got a big mouth. It's quite possible I said something to offend Rob in the taxi home. Trouble is I can't remember what it was, except that it was probably meant to be aimed at David! Oops 😊 - Richard Joseph

At some point during the night Mark Cooksey arrived and Alistair Brimble who both remained low key. Many including myself weren't even aware that they had come to the event.

I warned people on the page he was going to keep a low profile. People knew he was on the guestlist. They should have asked around!! 😊 - Chris Abbott

9:30pm… Lights camera action. The Club SID mixes began to rip through DNA and the dance floor quite reservedly began to fill. Game classic footage was shown in full glory on a large screen and later Jeff Minters tremendous neon light show erupted. Although there were approx. 250 - 300 people the dancefloor never really got going. This ofcourse wasn't too surprising due to the fact that many people were meeting friends and other composers and arrangers they had respected or spoke to a great deal via the internet.

Was I happy with the turnout For the VIP event? Yes. For the main event? Not really. But the normal rules don't apply here, it seems. (1) Everyone got a good chat to someone they wanted to meet, (2) It's not necessary in this case for there to be a full dancefloor for people to have a good time. Most of the fans there were absolutely fascinated listening to the music at huge volume, watching Kenz's huge video footage, and watching Jeff's lightshow 😊 They had a great time... and there was some great dancing! - Chris Abbott

During this time BBC camera's were present and was busy filming and interviewing various personalities, and later the composers lined up for a photo-shoot which also included Chris Abbott (after loud shouting for him to be apart of the photo's)

The Highlight was being in the big photoshoot with all the composers. - Chris Abbott

It was weird, having to sign autographs - and having pictures taken. I was also interviewed, on camera, by the BBC! - David Whittaker

People were beginning to get very drunk, but the pleasant part was that everyone despite their condition remained warm and friendly. David Whittaker was no exception to this. David was indeed the most intoxicated VIP I have ever meat (Well apart from the time that I met the sadly deceased Oliver Reed, but that's a different story). Check David's radio interview that can be found on Chris Abbot's to hear a little of whittaker's amusing story. While many people were drinking themselves into a stupor Chris was always on the go making sure things were running smoothly.

As in the words of the old guy on The Fast Show...Of course, we were all very... very... drunk. :O)" - David Whittaker

Well it's true that I didn't have time to relax. There's a lot that goes on in an event like that: to some extent. It's very difficult organising such an event….Luckily I had Kenz, who was a monster star, and did the main creative work behind the event. Without him... boy...would I be dead! - Chris Abbott.

All in all it was a great night and I'm sure the memories will last for many people for many a year. Those who couldn't get to event will surely rue the missed opportunity, of what was the most memorable event since the C64's demise.

I didn't really get a chance to talk to a lot of people. It seemed that the evening went by way too quickly. I think that everyone had a great time though. - Rob Hubbard

The Dance mixes turned out Brilliantly - Chris Abbott.

I think I speak for all who attended BITLIVE when I say Thanks Chris for a great party.

Thanks guys! I'm sure you didn't regret it! How does it feel being part of C64 legend? 😊 - Chris Abbott

When asking Chris if there maybe more nights like this he replied I don't really know. If the Back in Time Live CD takes off, then yes. People will have to get used to events without VIPs though. After all, how many nightclub events have VIPs? People don't complain about that do they? They just go, dance and have a good time.

In hind-sight I would have changed the date. We already knew it clashed with E3, but it also clashed with student exams. Damn. Plus I underestimated the complexity of Birmingham's one-way system!

When I told Chris that it also clashed with the European cup final he replied.. He He - I didn't know that! - Chris Abbott

The biggest thrill for me was meeting all the guys (and ladies?!) who had played those games when they first came out, and have stayed with it ever since. I heard all sorts of fond memories- of the 'Witch's Cackle' sound, or the Wizkid tunes on the Amiga, or DOTC. Jeez, what an experience meeting those (you) guys!!! Another thrill was signing a beautiful lady's back! 😊) - Richard Joseph

The people who pre-registered and didn't turn up. The people who didn't pre-register and didn't turn up. What were you thinking? I hope you're kicking yourself! - Chris Abbott

I asked Chris whether he thought it was a success or not, Yes. TV coverage, radio coverage, great dance mixes, a once-in-a-lifetime event, dreams coming true, new history being created, a stack of new stories, and everyone having a great time. If that's not success, I don't know what is!

Report by Neil Carr.