Posted by Kanika
Remember Samson? The dictator at the door, the keeper of Bombay weekends, the man whose number we all added to our newly acquired cell phones, with a secret smirk? He didn’t, unlike his biblical counterpart, have a full head of hair or insurmountable strength, but he did have the power to let you in to a marvelous Friday night.
Samson was the manager at Fire n Ice, a nightclub that was one of the first inhabitants of High Street Phoenix. I think of Samson now, because of the sudden Fire n Ice resurrection on Facebook – co-founders Vishal Shetty and Ketan Kadam recently created an official group – which in case you wondering, is where all those old photographs are coming from. They’re coming at us like techni-coloured ghosts from the past, back to haunt us. Most ghosts they say, revisit because they have unfinished business. The return of Fire N Ice, I can only interpret in three ways.
One, it’s back to mock the current state of Bombay’s wilting nightlife, one that features raids and rude cops and the sudden need for liquor permits with passport size photos. Fire n Ice was our Studio 54. Okay, so Andy Warhol wasn’t doing interesting things in the back (or was he?), but it was still the shiniest part of our teenage lives. The glamorous lines, the gleaming granite stage, DJ Steve, cover charge coupons, the first condom vending machine in the boys’ bathroom, famous faces and party feet. It was where we danced like mad (remember dancing?) and if we were good, Skazi would come visit. And bring cookies. On weekends, Fire n Ice stayed open until 6 am, sometimes even 8, giving Sunday’s sun a good look at what Saturday night was up to. No one hid. We were up all night and no one cared – not the cops, not the ALMs, not someone who thought that bars were bad. Because they weren’t. And they still aren’t.
The second reason for the ghosts’ return, and this could be stemming from some of my own guilt, could be to reconnect with friends who back then, we thought would always stick. Personally, it was a place where I made some of my best friends, where I celebrated my 18th birthday and where we all went to a St Xavier’s prom, making it very clear that we only there to mock. Yes, we were rebellious back then.
Last and the least romantic of all reasons is that it could be a pre-cursor to an all new Fire n Ice that will soon open in the city. A PR-fuelled buzz generator to welcome a new club by its first founders, one with no Samson and no all-night deadlines. Is this true? There’s some rustle in the trees that says it could be. More on that soon.
I remember the first night I there. It was the cause of much excitement, the night I was officially allowed to party with my older sister and her friends (I was 16 then), a bunch of 19 year-olds who seemed to make up a cool psychedelic universe. One that Fire n Ice was a big part of. I can’t however, remember the last time I was there or the day before Fire n Ice shut down. And it’s probably just as well, because it would mean hearing the sound of a thousand hearts breaking, with no din of the disco to mask it.