It was going to be part of my 'lets see how things have changed in 15 years' stop-over in London. I have a sweet story from Fabric, and I am waiting for some automated tests to finish, so story time it is.
In 2002 I made a literal last minute decision, standing at the check-in line at the airport after a visit to my sister, to stay in London and see how long and how far I could make it with 100 pounds and basic English.
It took me a day to find the lusophone underground in a hostel in Kensal Green, where Portuguese nationals were more than happy to sell their IDs to recently arrived Brazilians. I got an education on how to live at the very edge of the law in the UK, specially how to get a job and a bank account.
With 5 pounds left I got a job in the kitchen of a fancy sushi restaurant in Notting Hill. There I met the Mexican underground, which had its epicenter around Earl's court.
I ended up hot bunking in a studio with 6 other Mexican dudes and a girl. Seven dudes hot bunking on 2 mattresses on the floor, while the girl got the one tiny 'bedroom'.
We were all in the service industry, from dishwashers to pub chefs. We did not like the wealthy Mexican kids who, as was in fashion at the time, would go to 'work' in London for a year, getting money from home and partying all the time. In my flat we were always working, always saving money and sending it back home.
Mario and me talked a lot. He had won a radio contest in Mexico to see U2 in concert in London and meet Bono. He did not care for U2, but he had been trying to make it to the USA for years, and this sounded like the next best thing. He did not make it to the concert, he ditched the radio contest people and walked around central London talking to anyone with a Latin American accent he could find. That is how he ended up at the house.
He tells me that he thinks he is gay, but is not sure. He talks about how although he does not believe in the church, inside him he stills feels like a sinner, and may never feel better. He never felt like he belonged in Mexico, he was hated and harassed by the police, the church, his family, his bosses. In London at least he was invisible.
Mario got me a job as a bar-back at a place in Kings Cross. We worked hard and fast, and in a couple of months we were promoted to bartenders, and we got enough shifts in other bars that I quit my sushi job and Mario quit his cleaning job. We met a ton of other people in the industry, and as is always the case when living underground, we ended up owing and being owed many favors.
Some British dudes needed help dealing with some Peruvian people, we helped move things along, and they offered free back-door access to Fabric (and to parties at I place I think was called Egg).
Here I need to explain that we lived in a cultural bubble. All Mexican, all undocumented, all homesick. We would either be working, sleeping, or getting stupid drunk with other Latinos in the same situation. We knew nothing of London's (or the UK's) culture, except where to score weed, where to find cheap hot spicy food, and how to keep out of the police's radar. To be honest, we were scared of everything. Fabric and Egg just sounded too scary.
But one day we are bored after our shift ends at 1 a.m. On the way home we meet up with a few other Mexican friends, who just scored what may or may not be proper MDMA. We remember Fabric, and decide to go check it out and try the pills.
We go there, call our contact, and we get in through the back door. We get all the free alcohol we want behind the bar, and we are having a great time. Most of us have done some serious drugs before, and are willing to take the risk with mystery pills, but Mario has a virgin mind, barely even drinks, and really really wants a pill. We give Mario, honest to God, a baby aspirin, tell him to hold it under his tongue.
Next day we have the mother of all hangovers, but Mario is super happy. He tells us how he felt so happy on 'E', how he danced and danced, and started feeling all the love in the air. And he met some French dude on the floor, and they made out, and it did NOT feel like a sin, it felt RIGHT and GOOD.
I came back to Mexico soon after to look after my mother and lost touch.
In late 2004 Mario finds me in MySpace or Friendster or whatever people used at the time . Mexico City just legalized same sex marriage, and he is getting married to the same guy he met at Fabric. In 2005 they went back to London and have been together since (what will happen to them after brexit? no idea).
So the plan was to do a 15 year reunion in 2017, and go drop some baby aspirin at fabric, if they let old people in.