Happy Birthday, Pretty Ugly! Pretty Ugly turns 10

Lynne from Pretty Ugly – Glasgow’s longest running alternative club night, which turns 10 this month – tells us about their Decade of Dancefloor Debauchery.

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Although Pretty Ugly is a Glasgow club night, it was actually born at Born To Be Wide in Edinburgh. Aarti, Lee & Pam all worked at PR firm Burt Greener and were asked to DJ at the music industry event, which inspired them to start their own night in Sloan’s. Around the same time, I’d joined an electro-pop girlband with two of my friends and we started a DJ residency at the legendary Death Disco. However after 6 years, Lee had moved to London, Pam had become a mum and The Microsluts disbanded when one of them moved to London and one of them had a baby. Figuring that this was fate, I then joined Aarti on the Pretty Ugly decks and she’s still not managed to get rid of me.

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Lynne and Aarti

There are plenty of highs and lows that come with club promoting. The lows have included last minute guest cancellations, broken bones and a bubble machine that decided to blow up. One of the saddest was probably the night that Whitney Houston died. We don’t have great phone reception in the basement of our venue The Admiral and the news broke during the club so it spread through word of mouth on the dancefloor over the course of the night. By the end of the night almost everybody had heard the news so we played ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ as our last song and it got a very tearful round of applause from the crowd.

My best ever Pretty Ugly however was in Jun 2013 when our guests on the decks were Emmy Kate Montrose & Marie Du Santiago from my favourite band of all time, Kenickie. Not only were they lovely and ensured my fan girl dreams were unshattered, they also played pretty much every song I would’ve played myself which made them the greatest DJs ever. The night was also full of other notable highlights, like when a stag do of kilted Frenchmen appeared and started Cossack dancing to ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’!

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Marie and Emmy Kate Kenickie with Pretty Ugly

Other Guest DJs over the past 10 years have included Marnie from electro poppers Ladytron, Manda Rin from Bis, and bands such as Prides, The Long Blondes and We Were Promised Jetpacks. We even had a rare live set from The Slits late singer Ari Up. All our guests get into the party spirit of the club – Aidan Moffat had so much fun during his DJ set that he busted his knuckles open after accidently air punching our very low DJ booth ceiling!

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Aidan Moffat DJ set for Pretty Ugly Feb 2015

We’ve been lucky enough to play in some of the best venues in Glasgow, which also happen to be some of the best in the UK, from the now defunct Arches, to live scene stalwarts like King Tuts and newcomers such as St Lukes. We’ve yet to tick the infamous Barrowland Ballroom off our wishlist so hopefully some band will feel sorry for us and ask us to support them! We’ve supported Blondie, Chvrches, Ladyhawke and Crystal Castles in Glasgow before so it’s not our first rodeo!

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Twilight Sad, Chvrches, Arab Strap dance off 2013

Glasgow isn’t all about the music however. The city may not be up there with Paris and Milan but we’ve still played our fair share of fashion parties for the likes of Abandon Ship Apparel, Topshop, Armani and Model Team proving that us Scots still have a touch of style. And who needs Hollywood when you’ve got top movies being made on your doorstep! We’ve DJed at wrap parties for Stonemouth, Under The Skin and Sunshine On Leith so know how to get those film stars to throw some shapes. We once DJed at a party where former Pretty Ugly guest DJ Robert Florence & his pals were tearing up the dancefloor all night before trying to steal a giant gold BAFTA mask on the way out the door!

Earlier this year, we teamed up with the guys behind Fascination (i.e. the past & present home of Girls Aloud, All Saints and Goldfrapp – we’ve considered asking them to adopt us) to bring a new night to Glasgow. We Love Pop has been running in London for the past two years but as it’s always on the same night as Pretty Ugly, we’ve never been able to go to it. So we figured, why not bring it to Scotland ourselves! We will be manning the decks on the last Fri of every month at O2 ABC2, including 27 November which will be a 00’s night with those naughty LaFontaines boys fresh from their headline Barrowland show this month.

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Inspired by an ill-fated attempt to go clubbing in the afternoon in Madrid earlier this year (the guide book didn’t state that it was an unders club!) and following requests from our ever-faithful regulars, we are also launching a series of early club nights in Glasgow. First up we’ll be taking over the basement of The Rum Shack for a post-work / pre-birthday party for those who just can’t face the night bus home. From 7pm until midnight on Friday 6 November, we will be joined by the excellent Push It DJs for a night of 90’s / 00’s RnB & Hip Hop. Then from January we will be launching our Pretty Early night at The Admiral, which is perfectly timed for clubbers to catch that last train home.

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Which brings us to the main event! We’re turning double digits this November so we’re filling the whole of The Admiral Bar with Pretty Ugly’s Greatest Hits from our past decade of dancefloor debauchery including the return of The Underskirts. Those original Pretty Ugly ladies Pam & Lee are joining Aarti back on the decks to remind us where it all began. Plus we’ll have live music from the excellent 80’s covers group Band of Gold. There will be two floors of birthday party fun until 4am on Saturday 14 November and you are all invited!

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