The Man Who Brought House Music To Britain.
Three part documentary series (production).

A Rare Groove originator. A visionary. THE House Music pioneer who also got the UK hooked on everything from Soul to Techno – this is the story of a man you’ve never heard of, but whose tunes you’ve been dancing to for nearly forty years. 

In the early 80s, Rene Gelston was one of the top 5 hairdressers in the world. Regularly working with the likes of David Bailey, Ellen Von Unswerth and Vogue. He went on to become a legendary club and music promoter and one of the original founders of Soho’s iconic Black Market Records. Here he gives his personal account of life at the vanguard of a musical revolution that first shocked London in the early 80s, and has been rocking the whole world ever since.

Rene went from styling for the top magazines in the world to starting the Black Market club night in London’s West End’s. Hosted in the Wag Club, Black Market quickly became synonymous with a new, more inclusive social scene. These club nights also got the capital talking, dancing and partying like they never had before.

Along with DJs Barrie Sharpe and Lascelles Gordon, Rene’s Black Market nights became known for a pioneering new musical sound and style that would become known as Rare Groove. These carefully curated vinyl picks would also become the magnet for ‘crate diggers’ the world over when, in 1988, Rene and Steve Jervier threw open the doors to Londons notorious Black Market Records store for the first time.  

Opened in 1988, the influence of Black Market Records on a wide range of music scenes is unparalleled. DJ’s, producers, musicians and promoters the world over tell how Black Market was ‘the best music shop in the world’ and the foundation for their hugely successful careers.

‘The Man Who Brought House Music To Britain’ is a fascinating account of how dance music exploded from its early beginnings with northern soul and disco, out into the Rare Groove and House revolutions Rene helped found and then on to Deep House, Rave, Techno, Jungle and Drum ‘n’ Bass – all scenes that had their UK home and heart in Black Market Records. 

Rene sold his shop to Dave Piccioni and the DJ who named himself after the store, Nicky Blackmarket. Dave continued to sell house upstairs while running his Azuli record label but downstairs, in the basement of D’Arblay Street a new era began as Nicky bought in fellow Drum n Bass legend, Ray Keith, to work alongside him.

Black Market Records 1989

Supported by an illustrious cast of legendary artists that Rene helped propel to worldwide prominence – ‘The Man Who Brought House Music To Britain’ also maps the social shifts and the musical worlds he has done so much to reshape since swapping Blackpool for London in the early 70s. 

While the record shop Rene built is no more, the man himself shows no signs of slowing down. 30 years on he continues to manage the Godfather of Deep House and good friend, Larry Heard, commutes between London, Mexico City and Buenos Aires, is the creator of Fascinoma, VICE’s “best” festival actually worth going to, and champion of the new underground movement he’s convinced will keep the world dancing for the next forty years.