Let me tell you a little story. When I was 18, just turned, I went to work in a nightclub. That nightclub was on Plymouth’s infamous, world famous Union Street. It was a dream job. Even though I was working, it felt like every night was a party. Every night I would get drunk, come home with a pocket full of phone numbers ready to dial up the next day, then I’d spend the day chilling out in the pub, only for the same cycle to continue again the night afterwards.
The old Millenium Nightclub. Soon to be GOD TV’s Prayer Revival Centre.
Those were good days. Understandably, I feel a great attachment to this building, perhaps more of an attachment than I do to most other buildings in Plymouth. Some weeks I would do a 48 hour week and not think anything of it. It didn’t feel like work. It felt awesome. Pretty girls, cool guys, enough alcohol to drown a small Scottish city and big men on our side to remove people if they started behaving as if they were from said small Scottish City. The awesomeness that flowed through this building was quite frankly, indescribable.
Me in the crazier days of my youth, at Millennium Nightclub in 2003. Partying all night, chilling all day, Good times. People never took photo's of me during my teenage years. Telling that this is one of a handful of photo's from when I was 18 that has survived.
When I first started my relationship with my longest serving girlfriend, the first place I took her in Plymouth was this nightclub. Words really cannot describe it’s importance or its place in my life.
I think that when a building was such a formative part of your youth, it’s difficult to let that go. It closed. Early 2004, shortly after I moved to Nottingham, the company that owned it signalled what had been predicted for a long time, that the club would close. My heart sank. I’m a Stonehouse boy. I lived in the area of Plymouth where Union Street was from the age of 17, moved to Nottingham at 19, Returned to Plymouth at 27, and moved from there at 28. Of course in all this time I was constantly returning to visit my mother.
It was a constant thorn in my side, that everybody in Nottingham, a city two hundred miles away, was singing the praises of Union Street for a night out to my then girlfriend. She would come down to Plymouth and gradually, one by one, like dominoes, the clubs folded, closed, shut up shop and were turned into other businesses. The take-aways followed shortly after. They were followed by the taxis and Union Street became a desolate, barren, empty place, inhabited only by main stays like Jesters, Crash Manor and Twigs. When my Dad came to Plymouth in August 2013, himself a former sailor from Nottingham, we walked across Union Street at 9pm on Friday. You could hear a pin drop. Ten years ago the utter mayhem that was going on was a sight to savour.
I’ve seen other businesses fill the void but the one I view with most disdain is that of GOD TV. To see Millennium closed and boarded up was hard to take, but the one thing worse than it being boarded up is GOD TV moving in.
I am a practising Catholic. Most (in fact all) of my friends are lapsed, atheists or agnostics but have no problem with Christians. Even as a practising Catholic, I can’t stand the fact that GOD TV is moving into that building. My own moral objections are several. They monetise God. They package God up and miracles and sell them to people, providing of course that person has the money. I saw a guy on TV going to a GOD TV event. He said “I wanted to come but didn’t have the money [GOD TV were charging £25 for the event at Plymouth Pavillions] so I called the bank, and prayed and then they called me back to say they could extend my overdraft, and, here I am!” There’s something very unsettling about an organisation that charges people to garner spirituality.
The other aspect is that they are religious extremists, taking the bible literally and ignoring reason and logic. This leads to all sorts of horrible things like homophobia, criticising people who need things like blood transfusions and abortions, old, antiquated and intolerant views that are actually quite dangerous and really have no place in a progressive society.
A letter to the Herald in which a man thanks GOD TV for his recovery.
There was a letter (right) into the Plymouth Herald that is an example of this blinkered way of thinking. As a Catholic we are always taught to look for the scientific answer to the problem. A Catholic (Father Georges Le Maître) discovered the Big Bang, or at least was the first to theorise it, two years before Edwin Hubble. Augustinian Monk and Geneticist Grigor Mendel first put forward the theory of natural genetic selection. Despite the bad rap that Catholics get, they’ve actually done the most, out of any of the religions, to further science and scientific discovery. GOD TV comes along and tells this man that he was saved through prayer. This chap unfortunately suffers with Asthma, but I’d be tempted to say it was the nebuliser that helped him to breathe again, rather than the fact that GOD TV was praying for him. How on earth he was able to watch GOD TV in a hospital is anyone’s guess. Last time I was in hospital the TV’s had about 15 channels, and none of them were GOD TV.
I am really disgusted that these people exploit the naive and vulnerable for private financial gain, but I leave them to it. People have the right to choose, leave them to make this choice. It disgusts me to my core that these people are operating in my city. It horrifies me that they are opening up in the area of Plymouth I most associate with. I think it’s disgraceful that they are moving into a prime spot on Plymouth’s principle, world famous night life spot. It chills me to my core that they are opening up in the building that I spent my formative years in.
I was speaking to a friend of mine, an atheist, who I used to work at Millennium, about this. He too expressed disgust. I have since spoken to others who worked their and they too have expressed displeasure at GOD TV opening its doors at the site of the former club.
As residents of Plymouth, this building meant something to us, something deep and spiritual and religion, organised religion had nothing to do with it, but as of yet these people have been unchallenged in their actions.
This year would have been the tenth anniversary of Millennium closing down. I propose that we send a message, a very strong message, the Millennium way, as to what we think of these people opening up on Union Street. They’re opening a “Prayer Revival Centre”, and I propose we have a Millennium Revival Day.
It breaks down like this. GOD TV are a business that is involved in media. On the day they open, they are going to have a big glitzy event. I propose that at the same time, we have a loud, boozy reunion of staff members, at one of the clubs in the area, maybe Crash Manor, or Jesters, I haven’t asked yet. We basically have us getting trollied across the road, the way we used to years ago, to send a message to them that what they’re doing to our old club is unacceptable. People would be encouraged to come along, get drunk, share stories of Millennium, the club, the faces, the times and revel in what the building used to be. All would be welcome and we would remember it as the great club it used to be rather than what it is being turned into now.
If you’re a former member of staff, get in touch, it’d be great to have as many people on board as possible.
We can show these guys what we think, reminisce about the past and party all in one foul swoop!
Who’s with me?