Tale of Two Monkeys: Documentary about Sunderland's Blue Monkey and New Monkey clubs ready for its film premiere night

A film following the rise and fall of two Sunderland dance clubs is set to be screened to its first audience.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 3:21 pm
Archive footage has been used to piece together the story of the venues.

Two Monkeys has been made by Sunderland University students Rob Kilburn, Lewis Dodds and George Christaki and charts the days of the Blue Monkey and New Monkey, which played a part in bringing Spanish rave music Makina to the North East.

Both drew in crowds from across the region and beyond, forging friendships between clubbers and the DJs, MCs and promoters who put on events.

Archive footage has been used to piece together the story of the venues.

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But the venues also courted their fair share of controversy, involving police raids, while the Blue Monkey was at the centre of a murder inquiry in January 1992 and was later burned down.

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The film recalls people's memories of their visits to the clubs, looks at the behind the scenes stories as well as the raids carried out by Northumbria Police at the Blue Monkey site in Bedford Street, which was knocked down to make way for the Empire Cinema development, and New Monkey in Pallion Road.

An ex-cop involved in investigations and former Sunderland Echo reporter Nigel Green are among those who have also been interviewed.

The scene outside the Blue Monkey as a murder inquiry got under way in January 1992.

An extended edit of the film will be screened at a premiere night at the Quayside Exchange on the evening of Friday, May 31, with hopes high the film will go on to be picked up by documentary festivals.

Rob, 25, whose previous work has included films on the region's graffiti scene, free runners and a feature on Seaburn Zoo, said: "It goes through from the beginning to the end of both clubs and there are some controversial elements over both clubs and some of the people involved

"I think there are still people out there who have wanted to talk about this for a long time, and they were at quite different times, so it looks at the scene in the early 90s to how it did in the late 90s and 2000s.

"The Makina is different as well and that was brought in from Spain, from Barcelona and also became popular at places like After Dark 2 in South Shields.

Inside the New Monkey in Pallion Road after the club had closed.

"We've spoken to DJ Scott, who helped bring Makina over and made it popular, and there was a steady steam of people who went, but then it tailed off around 2006.

"It's interesting when you don't have any alternative view on it, it's good to have a fresh perspective on the whole events and there are people who really enjoy talking about it."

People who sign up to attend the premiere will be in with a chance of getting hold of a limited edition poster, as well as join in a raffle which includes original Blue Monkey flyers among the items to win.

A scene from the documentary showing one of the club nights.

The event will also include the screening of unseen archive footage ahead of the film, with a number of those interviewed to be among the audience.

A shorter version will later be available to view online.

More about the event can be found via https://bit.ly/2LVuQeA and tickets can be found through https://bit.ly/2VyJyHT?

Outside the New Monkey in February 2013.