On the corner of King St, Manchester a nondescript building stands. An amalgamation of brick and metal that to the untrained eye goes unnoticed, but to some every Saturday night, this is home.
A project inspired by ex Hacienda promo man Paul Cons, South opened its doors 17 years ago. Glimpses of its creator’s club history resonate through the building as you descend onto the clubs dance floor, greeted by the industrial minimalism that the Hacienda became so famous for, and what was quintessentially the backdrop for the era. An underground club by geography and nature, South has always stuck by its ethos, building the antithesis to the mainstream clubs of the time. South doesn’t have the grandeur of the super-club, it’s dark, it’s pokey and by midnight room to move freely is at a premium. This place is wall to wall love. Love of the music and love for the city that gave it to us.
For 12 of those 17 years Clint Boon has been a resident at South. Manchester born and bred, Clint hits the decks every Saturday night, like a modern day pied piper, delivering music to the devout followers of his ‘Boon Army’.
At 54 years old, and after dedicating so many years to his craft, he could be forgiven for wanting to wind things down, but he shows no signs of doing so, or wanting to do so. Keysman for the Inspiral Carpets for 27 years, radio DJ and family man, he still willingly spends his Saturday nights a 4a King Street, and does it with the passion and enthusiasm of someone who started only yesterday.
“I love it here; it’s the best job in the world. Ask me if I’d rather do this or perform with the band, I’d probably have to say this. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being a part of the band, and performing, but every week I get to see the regulars coming back again and again, and then the new faces, the kids. And it’s because I’m playing my music, music I like. I could stand here every weekend and play Madchester tunes and the people would come, but eventually those people would get bored. The same people would stop coming so I try to keep it fresh and new. I love the old tunes but I also love so much new music about at the minute. Rudimental, Disclosure, I mean, those guys are young, really young, and the kids I see coming here every weekend could be these guys in a few years time. I do get people coming up to me complaining sometimes, asking me what the hell I am playing, but there’s got to be variety and there’s a lot of good stuff about at the minute”.
Clint is a gent who wears his heart on his sleeve, his heartfelt and honest approach to his personal life and social media has gained him an army of 40,000+ followers on Twitter, and he is no different in person. His pacifistic and democratic approach to the Twitterati have gained him respect from artists young and old, when his name his mentioned it always prompts the same response, a nod of the head in admiration, an indication of the high esteem in which he is held. Devoted father and family man, when asked about the inevitable juggling act between work, family and the odd bout of 6am DIY, it’s clear where his heart is. Clint lives at home with his wife who he affectionately refers to as ‘Mrs Boon’, and his 3 boys Cassius (3), Hector (6) and Oscar (9). “I’ve got an amazing family, I am blessed. I have 5 amazing kids, a wonderful wife, and I am privileged to be in this position. Obviously I also DJ weekdays for Xfm which I love, I DJ’d last night at another club night which I do here and there and I am just very lucky that I am able to combine doing that, doing this and being a Dad. Especially as we are now homeschooling our boys. It wasn’t a decision we made lightly but after losing our daughter last year we just decided that we wanted to spend every minute we could with them, not shove them off to school every morning to be taught what someone believes they should know. So instead we decided to do it ourselves. I did most of my learning from my Dad, and that’s how I want it to be with my boys”. Clint oozes pride as he speaks of his family, his son Hector has become famous in his own right after cutting off all his hair last year to raise money for the charity set up in memory of his little sister Luna Bliss, a charity that is ongoing and to this day has raised over £30,000 for nursing chairs, enabling the vital skin to skin contact between preterm babies and their parents known as Kangaroo Care. Clint and Hector were recently seen delivering the first batch of 10 chairs to St Marys Hospital in Manchester and with donations still rolling in, it won’t be the last. In a world where a lot of time it is difficult to find inspiration from adults, to see such consideration and empathy from someone so young really is testament to the entire Boon family.
As the doors of South open, it is a matter of minutes before the place is full. I can be listening to Black Box one minute, and The Stone Roses the next. Rozalla is played back to back with The Black Keys and there is always a healthy dose of ska and reggae to reduce the floor to a two-stepping frenzy. For every 18 year old just embarking on their musical journey, there’s a 30 year old embracing the reverie, and for every one of us there is a man, old enough to be your Dad, showing us how it really should be done.