In the wake of the news that the Arches nightclub and venue in Glasgow has gone into administration following the council's decision to cut its late night licence, CHRISTINA O'NEILL asked leading Scottish actors, comedians and musicians for their memories of the venue.


THE closure of the Arches will be felt around the world, according to comedian and restaurateur Hardeep Singh Kohli.

The former The One Show presenter, who was there for drinks recently, said it was at the forefront of the regeneration of Glasgow.

He said: "It is such an important space - when you go there you're surrounded by like-minded people, and it was always linked to the regeneration of the city.

"There are a lot of places to drink and dance, but people forget that there never were many arts spaces in Glasgow.

"People are reacting to it from India, Australia, America and New Zealand; everyone feels the loss across the world."

Jim Gellatly, the XFM DJ, said that Calvin Harris, who is now a multi-millionaire DJ, got one of his first breaks at the Arches.

He said: "Calvin Harris did Club NME, and I was DJing after his set... so I like to tell people that he supported me."

Jim said the Arches was a great arts venue and that he took his children to arts and crafts workshops but his favourite memory was was DJing at Club NME in the early 2000s.

He said: "We had The Hoosiers playing and there were about 10 people.

"Two weeks later they had their Top 10 single and their gigs were rammed."

He said the club is renowned worldwide and has given a platform to small Scottish bands like Vigo Thieves and Prides and he remembers Motherwell rock band The LaFontaines getting their break thanks to an Island Records competition in 2009.

He said: "The LaFontaines were performing in the competition. Each act had to cover a song from Island Records back catalogue.

"They chose to sample and rework Shark in the Water by VV Brown.

"They still play that to this day. It's a fans' favourite, and it all started at the Arches; that's pretty special."

It wasn't just Scots expressing their grief; BBC Radio 6 DJ and TV presenter Lauren Laverne said on Twitter: "Very sad to hear @ArchesGlasgow is going into administration. Had some amazing nights there."

Former River City actress Libby McArthur said: "There was always something radical, kind of off-the-wall about the Arches, and there were some great shows.

"I saw the best production of 12 Angry Men I have ever seen there.

"I performed in Lions of Lisbon before it was staged in the Theatre Royal.

"To be performing in a venue which was a theatre, when you had been putting your lippy on in the same toilets in the club the night felt so exciting."

Scots band Fatherson played their biggest show to date at the Arches, but frontman Ross Leighton admitted the band had humble beginnings at the iconic venue ... playing in the girls' toilets.

He said: "In 2010, when the band were called Energy! they played as part of DJ Ally McCrae's The Wee Jaunt, which would hold band sets in obscure places.

"They would put gigs in all different rooms.

"Unfortunately for me I was put in the birds' toilets.

"They didn't smell that bad though, so it turned out pretty good.

"It's a real shame, as the Arches was great - the staff, the events.

"If you're in the city for a couple of days, you want somewhere you can go and watch something weird or watch a good show."

Cora Bissett, award-winning playwright and actress, has worked regularly with the Arches since the early Nineties when she got her first acting job.

But it was a leap of faith taken by arts director Andy Arnold which propelled her to success.

He saw Cora's 'eccentric' band Swelling Meg perform at their album launch in the venue.

Seeing a spark in her, he asked her to create a show for the Arches - a nerve-wracking prospect.

However, the show - named Horses, Horses Coming In In All Directions - was an instant success, and paved the way for Cora's career in theatre.

She claims that singer Patti Smith, whose song inspired the title, still talks about it 20 years later.

Cora said: "Arches has meant everything to me. It has always been about playing, exploring and experimenting.

"There was never pressure to sell tickets, to please certain audiences.

"It's been an amazing, supportive place, a constant recurring home that I have gone to when I've wanted to try stuff.

"Every show I have ever made, large-scale productions sponsored by the National Theatre, can be traced back to the punt that was taken for me at the Arches."

Dom Geraci, marketing manager for Slam DJs, said: "We have enjoyed putting Slam nights on at the Arches for 23 years.

"Some of the biggest DJs, producers and bands on the planet have played alongside Slam, including Underworld, Daft Punk, Laurent Garnier, Loco Dice, Maya Jane Coles, Richie Hawtin, Luciano, Nina Kraviz, Len Faki and Sven Väth, helping to make the Arches and in turn, Glasgow, amongst the most highly rated centres of dance, music and clubbing in the world.

"People come from all over Scotland and often much further afield.

"It's been such a great advert for our city, attracting many tourists and has even been a factor for many students choosing the city because of the Glasgow nightlife."