Ewen SpencerUKG - booklaunch

Photographer Ewen Spencer has built his career around identifying and documenting youth subcultures. In ’98 Ewen started taking photographs for the Savoir Vivre section of Sleazenation. These assignments took him to clubs and parties all over London and in particular the Blue Note club on Hoxton Square – a basement garage night. It was here that the beginnings of his UKG project kicked off.

“The Blue Note is where I first started to see couples dancing together, smoking weed and sharing a bottle of Champagne. Nobody was sat around a table, no bourgeois pretence. It was stood up, in the corner, dancing, smoking in a packed basement. The main point of that evening was the music. That’s where I first heard what would become UK Garage.”

From the basement on Hoxton Square, Ewen’s Sleazenation assignments took him to the now well known club night, Twice as Nice where the air smelt of weed, the punters dressed, “like they were attending a wedding reception or going to church” and the sound system was the loudest in London. Over the next couple of years Ewen documented the UKG garage scene here and in Aiya Napa, before Craig David, drugs and violence took over.

Ewen’s latest book release, UKG is a compendium of these years when it was about dressing up and dancing, well before the Ministry of Sound compilation album – a definitive nail in the coffin for any “scene”.



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