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London Club Chiefs’ Bullet Proof Vest Battles




Fabric founder Keith Reilly chatted to Vice magazine last month about the problems he faced by when drug-dealing gangsters tried to take over his East London super club in 1999 and said living legitimately was the key to surviving their threats.


“I made it very clear that I’d go to the police – which is usually something you just didn’t do with these people,” he recalled.


“It worked out alright, but it meant wearing a bullet-proof vest for the first.”


His experiences matched the troubles Ministry of Sound chief James Palumbo encountered after he decided to kick out the club’s security team over drug dealing concerns in the early 90s. Forced to wear a bulletproof vest (as well as to carry CS gas and a stun gun to work for a period), he recalled feeling ‘pretty anaesthetised and almost frozen in time and space . . . because it was so terrifying.’


“There was a business management guy at the time who used to come into the club, he was like a manager/ psycho-analyst,” James told Skrufff in an interview several years ago.


‘His job was to teach everyone the logical consequences of their actions and he said to me at one point ‘you do realise that you could be killed’,” he shuddered.


“I did realise that but I really don’t think I had any options.


“Because it was me against them. At that stage in my life I preferred to face the music than have had to live with giving up. It sounds as if I was trying to play the tough guy or taking the moralising position but it wasn’t like that.


I don’t think it had anything to do with money either, I don’t even think I was courageous, I didn’t feel physically brave, I just wasn’t going to give in to these gangsters,” he explained.












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