Alice In Wonderland was born out of the ashes of The Groovy Cellar and The Clinic, both of which were clubs started during the UK Psychedelic revival of 1981 and was the brainchild of Christian Paris and Clive
Christian was an ex mortician and Clive Jackson was better known as The Doctor from Doctor & The Medics (who were instrumental in the 1981 psych revival).
Alice’s started life in 1983 in the dark basement of a club called Gossips in London’s Soho district that in a former life had been known as The Batcave, which was THE place to go on the Goth scene.
was held every Monday night from 10pm until 3.30am, cost £2 to get in and featured live bands and a psychedelic disco.
Alice In Wonderland, unlike The Clinic, had strong Goth ties, so it was no surprise to see The Sisterhood playing the first live set there (having just been formed from the ashes of the Sisters of Mercy).
Very quickly another psychedelic revival was underway with
other clubs such as The Crypt and The Taste Experience, although this time it was much more underground that it had been back in ‘81
and the word soon spread so that getting into Alice’s soon became ‘members only’ due to the size of the venue (small) and very quickly an Inner Circle was formed which included some well known faces from the British
music scene (The Damned, for example, were close friends of Alice’s).
The disco was often run by The Doctor and played a mixture of 60’s Freakbeat, Garage and British
and US Psych. As well as The Sisterhood many many bands played live sets at Alice’s including: The Lyres, Ring Of Roses, A Certain General, The Prisoners, The Treatment, The Surfadelics, The Herbs, Underground Zero, Webcore, Voodoo Child, Inner City Unit, Perfect Disaster and of course Doctor and The Medics.
Alice In Wonderland then came up with with the unique idea of the Magical Mystery Trip which involved buying advance tickets to an unknown and totally secret event.
On receipt of the tickets the budding Mystery Tripper was given only a time and meeting place.
On arriving at the rendezvous the gathered trippers sat and awaited further instructions, delivered by a member of the Alice In Wonderland entourage.
The first Magical Mystery Trip was on the 27th October 1984 and was billed as ‘A sensational place somewhere in England, a place you have never been to before, nor are likely to go again’. The final destination after a long wait at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, London was Chiselhurst Caves in Kent where many strange things took place culminating in a live performance by Doctor and The Medics.
The 2nd Magical Mystery Trip on the 22nd December 1984 was billed as a ‘Trip To Fairyland, a place where mere mortals have never been to before, a place where wizards have their wands recharged, where goblins sit on mushrooms and count the stars’. The destination for this event?........a disused Decca Records warehouse somewhere in South London.
Click HERE for some words on this event.
The 6th July 1985 saw the 3rd Magical Mystery Trip at ‘A cosmic ballroom very rarely visited....’ The mystery place?....A disused Butlins holiday resort in Clacton, Essex.
Click HERE for the review.
By now these events were selling out within days of the tickets going on sale as their status
became legendary, nothing like these had happened since the Trips Festivals and Freakouts of the sixties and Christian had to ensure that each event had that ‘little bit extra’ over previous events.
event was held 11 months later on June 27th 1986 and was held on the pier at Lowestoft in Norfolk, sadly marred by logistical problems involving lots of people arriving late due to the coaches getting ‘lost’ in
central London. Although rumour was that a 5th Mystery Trip was in the pipeline it never surfaced and Lowestoft sadly marked the end of an era............
Click HERE to read about this event.
Christian Paris also came up with another unique happening to satisfy the
growing psychedelic revolution, these were the Alice In Wonderland All Night Psychedelic Film Festivals that ran for several years at the Scala Cinema on Pentonville Road, London.
These multi-media events involved the all night showing of ‘cult’ movies, psychedelic discos, Lightshows and Laser shows and live bands.
The first event was on the 7th July 1984 and featured the films: