Whether you’re a classic Whitney fan, a bit of Cyndi Lauper grabs you.. or it’s all about those Pet Shop Boys and Erasure bangers.. you need to know about Club Athena .
ATHENA has been rocking Vauxhall’s EAGLE with classic 80’s realness for FIVE WHOLE YEARS! and this Saturday it’s time to celebrate! We caught up with the man behind the shoulder pad shimmy-tastic night, Paul Joseph, to tell us all about his 80s icon, ATHENA!
Hi Paul, HAPPY 5th Birthday to Athena!! We can’t believe it’s been 5 years.!
GLL: For those who haven’t heard of Athena yet, tell us all about it ..
PJ: Athena is a monthly party at The Eagle that celebrates the best sounds and sights of the ’80s. You can hear classics plus gems you may have forgotten or never heard before. We have video footage of ’80s pop videos, movies, TV, commercials and pop culture moments. The vibe is very friendly, no attitude, and people love to dance.
GLL: How did Athena come about ?
PJ: The idea for Athena started with a single song. I came across ‘Come Back To Me’ by Aneka, an album track from 1981. It has a dancey baseline and a really emotional vocal. Aneka’s voice hits an operatic range that veers towards the ridiculous. It summed up the great thing about so much ’80s music – bold, heartfelt but brilliant pop. I felt there was a place for night that played a wide range of ’80s music without taking the piss out of it. An antidote to what I call Rubik’s Cube ’80s nights. I had DJed a few times at The Eagle and pitched the night to Mark, the owner, and he gave me the chance of a Saturday night and it all went on from there. Our tagline is “The ’80s. Seriously”. As you can see from our club visuals or posters of soap stars giving fierce stares to cameras, there is plenty of weird and wonderful content from the ’80s, all done with a straight face, which itself makes for camp fun!
GLL: Do you have a favourite Athena outfit ?
PJ: I had a great glittery tracksuit that I wore to one of our Christmas parties. It wouldn’t fit me now. The best Athena style comes from our floor hosts Hannah and Gemma, who are nicknamed The Poster Girls. Their original brief was aloof and cool ’80s chicks, all shimmy and sass – the Human League Girls or the Addicted to Love video models.
GLL: Over the last 5 years what are your Athena highlights?
PJ: So many. We’ve had epic Summer parties and ’80s hair parties with wigs, power ballads and wind machines. When Harry and Megan got married we had ‘Wedding Royale’ – a party celebrating the marriage of… Amanda Carrington and Prince Michael of Modovia in Dynasty! Of course, it was an honour to do New Year’s Eve for The Eagle recently, though I totally fucked up the countdown, sorry. Personally, it is great to give so many ’80s tunes a dancefloor airing – I’m in my happy place when the crowd is screaming along to Belinda Carlisle’s Leave a Light On at 3am.
GLL: What things do you have planned for the birthday?
PJ : This weekend is a big party at the Eagle. Phil Marriott is joining me and Gareth Hackney to do a guest DJ set. The Poster Girls will be on hand with sass and a fair few shots. I have edited an epic 2 hour montage of ’80s footage to loop on the big screens. And there will be balloons, lots of balloons. For the weekly Athena radio show, I am recording an all-request special. Our birthday month also coincides with The Eagle’s 18th Birthday celebrations so look out for lots of fun events there, including Athena’s spin-off night 80:20!
ATHENA’s 5th birthday party is this Saturday 5th February at Eagle London.