Stratus - memories

I went to Stratus from 1987-1989 though I'm not sure of the exact opening / closing dates. we possibly even went towards the end of 1986 though I can't recall for sure. we were in grade 12 in 1987 and one of my friends had a car so we would go there Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday nights. sometimes even Thursdays. Tuesdays we'd generally catch the train in to go to Terminus in the Valley (it was opposite the train station on Brunswick St back then). looking back now the music was quite commercial as many of the songs were also in the Australian charts in the late '80s and didn't have the dark, bassy, acid sounds that I was to hear at parties later, but it was part of my progression through the clubs and music.

The DJs I remember were Edwin Morrow and I think Adam played too. I remember seeing him in the crowd & saying hi at the Alarm and the Beat over the years too. DJ LaszloK (??tbc) posted a note on ITM mentioning Stratus too so he might have played too as there were others who's names unfortunately I don't remember. I'll have to check with Tolli about the DJs as I think she spoke to them more than me. I used to go there with Kirsten and Tolli and I remember even Carolyn and Jeanine going sometimes as I think (??) Carolyn was going out with one of the guys. (he could even have been one of the guys in the Alarm photos - Stephen or Marc?? though I'm probably confused about this - they looked familiar though). I remember Carolyn talking about the guy at school but eventually they broke up. Also the Rolf twins used to go - Tolli was good friends with Rachel - maybe they were going out with one of the guys from the Alarm photos. there was another girl not from our school - years later I'm sure I used to see her working at Fat Boys in the Valley though she never seemed to remember me so I didn't ask her - I should have though.

over the years I've forgotten many DJ names, but after speaking with some DJs for various interviews in the past I notice they remember DJ name and party details much better - I only seem to remember fragments or conversations or sounds not people's names, though I recognise some faces - I suppose they took better notice of it as they were working there and going out as well whereas I mostly went out to dance to the music. it wasn't until later that I noticed a few DJ names, eg Angus who was my favourite and never failed to guarantee a great night out when he was playing.

I remember some of the songs at Stratus. when I get home I'll look at my old cd & record collection as I remember buying music that they were playing in the club. Pseudo Echo's "Funky Town", Kylie Minogue's "The Loco-motion", Mel & Kim's Respectable, Rick Astley's "Never going to give you up" - I remember Matthew when I think of this song! he later went on to study dance and worked in Cosmo's cafe in late 1990s. lots of Pet Shop Boys and New Order - Blue Monday remixes were favourites.

I did by some records back then, even a couple of 12" but I remember preferring the cds as I didn't have to get up and change the record over - lazy! I didn't have a good record player - it was Mum's old Rank Arena and the needle wasn't very good. I tried to scratch once and it didn't work and I wrecked the record so I didn't try it again. at that time I wasn't aware of belt drive vs direct drive turntables and was too shy to ask the guys / djs if there was something special about it. I liked how they mixed but didn't really realise they were beat matching - I just knew that the songs blended together into one long single song that played for the whole night. as it was a club in the suburbs there was a mixed style of music played. I remember we did the bustop & there was another song that had dance steps to it - nutbush city limits?? - everyone added a groove to the steps (ha!) and we all thought we were great dancers. we all loved to dance and whilst we didn't have dance circles with handbags in the centre of a circle, people would have their own spot and put their bags to the side and dance most of the night. mostly we faced the dj either directly or side-on. they had a smoke machine and used to use it occasionally to add atmosphere, and there were light controllers and strobes for extra effects.

other songs I remember are Man To Man's "Male Stripper" and Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)" by Paul Lekakis. I used to think he was very good looking - I used to have (silent) crushes on lots of people back then, though not much has changed I guess ;)


"Man To Man's Male Stripper"


Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room) by Paul Lekakis


New Order - Blue Monday '88

Bros' album was popular also. and one of the DJs (who I had a crush on - Jason? perhaps - used to play John Farnham's "Age of Reason" too, after it's release in 1988. although I didn't like John Farnham and his other songs, this song was OK, as we could dance to it. I guess this is how I found out about commercial tracks and the club mixes of them. I used to like the piano sounds and the lyrics. I don't remember the film clip below, but I have the song (I think on vinyl) at home.

and I remember some of the clothes. the boys all seemed too look & dress like Bros or Rick Astley or Paul Lekakis (from Male Stripper video clip) or Run DMC with bomber jackets or leather jackets. at one stage I remember wearing 501 jeans rolled up at the bottom of the leg, white t-shirt, and a red wool-knit (!) button up jumper - I think this was my own Rick Astley look :) by mid 1989 - when I started working at Channel Seven and could save some money - I had a leather jacket, though I don't think I was going to Stratus anymore by then. in 1988 I was doing first year uni (Sciene) at QIT (now QUT) and I was going out in the city more by then - with uni friends to pubs and also to clubs like Transformers - and only back to Stratus occasionally up until late 1988 after I turned 18 or mid 1989.

I do remember that I'd always had a fake ID to get in there, as the bouncers had been told to check everyone's ID. one night they said something to me and didn't let me in and I had to go home in a taxi whilst my friends went inside. I remember being upset by this. when I finally turned 18 and had a real, valid ID I think I only used it there a few times as by then we were going into the city to Transformers. I think someone mentioned that it was my birthday or I'd recently had my birthday and the bouncer saying 'but you've been here before' and we tried to brush it off and eventually we went inside. Tolli was a year older than me as was Rachel and Kirstin's 18th birthday was earlier in the year in June so I was the last to turn 18 and legally be allowed in the club.

there was a (reunion?) party held at the Zillmere Hotel (ex-Stratus) in 1997, though I'm not sure if it was an official Stratus reunion party or who organised it. Ruth Johnson mentions on Brisbane Old Skool Facebook group photos section that this photo was taken at the party in October 1997. I didn't attend this party - I should have after all the time we spent there - but I remember some of the (younger) cameramen at work at the time telling me they were going. they'd recently started going out and I'd see them on occasion at the Tube (or whatever it was called by this time). I remember this was when I'd slowed down from going out and was only going to a few gigs, not out three times a week. in one way I wanted to see the old place again but in another I didn't - by that time so much had changed since I'd last been at Stratus - the music, me, the people, the dancing styles, even the drugs - that I thought it best to leave the original Stratus memories in tact and not cloud them with yet another rave party.