LDNER #183: HANNAH SAUNDERS
Some people say life is over when you have kids…our LDNER this week and founder of Big Fish Little Fish (BFLF) Hannah Saunders couldn’t disagree more. Not really a clubnight, more of a club-afternoon, BFLF hosts family-friendly raves across the country that both parents and children can enjoy. We spoke to Hannah about what properly getting down with the kids actually means…
Where do you live in London and what do you like about it?
Brixton. I love the history, which is still very much reflected in area. I’m close to Effra Road – where the river Effra runs and there’s an old oak tree here that supposedly grew by the river where Queen Elizabeth I alighted from her barge one time. Brixton Water Lane is so called because one of the great Victorian sewers runs under it. Now Electric Avenue (the first electrified street in Europe) has a new multi-coloured neon sign on top of the buildings opened by Eddie Grant himself and the Black Cultural Archive has opened on Windrush Square. It’s great – has a real sense of community stretching back centuries. I started coming to Brixton to party in the late 80s and it seemed like a natural place to move to when I wanted to raise a family; a fascinating place with lovely people.
How did you come up with the idea of putting on raves for families?
My own experience! I’m a clubber of several decades standing and then I had children. I loathed children’s discos but the entire family loved festivals where we were all entertained. So my children inspired me to create something that we could enjoy together – drawn from my love of club music and wanting to share that with them on a dance floor. I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere else so set about doing it myself.
Who do you think gets more excited about your gigs? The parents or the children? Any stories come to mind?
About 50/50 I’d say. I’ve had six years olds say it was the best day of their lives and 35 year olds says it’s the most fun they’ve had since having kids. We get a lot of “I never thought I’d enjoy myself again” from the grown ups along with the sheer surreal joy of dancing with your 3 year old to old skool legends like Slipmatt on the decks. EVERYONE loves drum’n’bass it turns out too.
You’ve worked at festivals, galleries and events all over the country but do you have a favourite venue to work in and why?
We did a rave in the woods in Kent (Groombridge Place) with the DJs up in a treehouse – that was pretty special. It was also an honour to play Glastonbury Festival this year, having been a regular attendee since the mid-90s. I’m a bit of a lighting geek so if I get to play a club with full lighting rig and effects I get very excited. Our new Hackney venue – The Mangle – is good for that. The Manchester crew get to play the old Factory offices, The Bristol lot have a de-consecrated church and Scotland are eyeing up an old nuclear bunker – I think it’s fair to say everyone who works on BFLF likes venues with a certain quirk to them.
Describe your perfect day in London.
Hmm – with or without kids? Most of this is but a dream with children but after a lie in with breakfast in bed with a newspaper and radio on I’d hop on a bus somewhere very London-y like by the river, Primrose Hill or Greenwich Park. Have a stroll about and then a lovely lunch with booze. In the afternoon go to an art gallery or comic shop for a mooch. Meet up with friends down the pub then dinner in Soho (I love old school London) – or a gig – , a tour round disreputable drinking dens and go to have a dance in East London or Duckie or back in Brixton. If it’s with kids then maybe a trip down the Thames in the afternoon.