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Feature Right: candlelit dinners atthe Pale Blue Door in Dalston, east London Below a transvestite performer at the guerrilla restaurant ‘more ikea dinner par” says Tony. “People end up taking to each other because theyre all jammed in. They dance, they climb othe atic and siton the roof Last weeka group of 10 were allon theirchairs dancing et them get on with it” catalyst for these entrepreneurs to start up businesses in any free space: some have been macle redundant or are ‘wondering ifthey will be, others are in need ofa bit of extra money. Selfinanced by the organisers ‘but with minimal overheads, these events provide quick cash-in-hand returns. They also sive their ereatrs the chance to try theirhands, ata career they may have always toyed with the {dea of. Ifyou fancy yourselfas the next Jamie Oliver, it makes sense to have atrial run at home before actually buying a restaurant, Te organisers are all surprisingly astute at ‘nding the loopholes inthe law that enable them to operate without tackling the full egal responsibilities of being a business. By taking. “donations” rather than charging, they can call themselves "private parties” totally legal in your own home as long as guests have been “invited” and sidestep the isue of whether they are selling their services for profit. Others claim they are“works ofan”, which gives them the guise of an ‘rt installation” and buys them three months in which they are allowed to operate freely But thisis all grey-are stuff, whichis why its advantageous to all of them to stay off-radar ‘Anna Mathias, a barrister who specialises in licensing and gambling atthe London legal firm offoelson Wilson, says: "I’snot black and white ithe donation’ covers the cost of booze fd say they were breaking the licensing laws, and ifyou area fod business, you have to be registered as such. Limagine they're getting away with it ‘because they're not causing a problem. Buti these businesses were challenged in the courts, think the courts would take a dim view.” S ‘why now? The recession has been a All these events depend on the intemet and ts social-networking sites, which give far greater acess to audiences than the 1980s rave promoters ever had. The secre is out there — you Just ned to know which Facebook group to look ‘on. Without resorting to mainstream advertising, the organisers can publicise their events, leaving ‘out just enough details to obscure them from the powers that be unt the final hour tthe Pale Blue Door, Tony's frst punters were his friends ‘on Facebook. Now they'e friends of friends of {fiends of fiends on Facebook. Some organisers keep to private mailing list, so only specific people can be invited along Others issue their punters with cryptic clues as to ‘where they are hidden. Sometimes there isa mobile number to call, with directions lefton an answering message. At other times a last-minute text message gives away where to go. grown into an occasional night. But now, although they've become legally above-board, Al Insists they'l never stop being elusive. "Even the ‘most popular club nights end up getting boring” hhe says, “especially ina small town like Brighton where everyone's sick ofthe usual venues.” “The secret venue is why we came,” agrees a passing gangster with a cardboard gun. “Not ‘knowing where or what you'd get made it more exciting. We booked as a group and were all guessing where we might end up. If ike you've Joined a secret club, which plays into the whole speakeasy vibe of maybe being a bit illegal.” (Outside, a splifis being passed around. Upstairs, some sneaky poker being played. Ami the dancing inthe dusty basement a rumour starts that someone's crashed through the floor. The fact that nobody has actually seen this happen {doesn't stop the crowd keenly embellishing the SOME ORGANISERS KEEP TO PRIVATE MAILING LISTS. OTHERS ISSUE PUNTERS WITH CRYPTIC CLUES ‘AS TO WHERE THEY ARE HIDDEN In Brighton's swinging speakeasy, however, who knows how anyone ended up here? I wander around the creaking Old Music Library taken over by the prohibition sprit. Upstairs atthe bar, string of molls are dawning whisky with the boys in spats while the brass band furiously blows big beats. There’ a boy in pinstripes passed out on the floor with gies in tea dresses jiving around him. A lapper recline on a shabby chaise longue. Despite my inquires, they're al vague about how they found out about the night. Some say they heard through the grapevi ‘others were invited down by friends. “We had 5,000 flyers and decided not to use them. We wanted it tobe picked up on by word ‘ofmouth, for itto bea bit secretive and a bit differen.” explains the evening's orchestrator, ‘who calls himself Al Capone. What he started last yea, legally in an underground tunnel, has ‘myth. This isnt a den of seething iniquity yt, but the shared sense of conspiracy has taken hold. When [eave at 4am, a thousand happy fet are dancing the charleston tapping outa code like an Enigma machine. Drunk with intrigue, back home on my computer ype outa hasty plea. “Tell me your secrets” Ibey all of my friends. Surprisingly, they start to drip-feed them back. Word comes ofa hidden tearoom somewhere in London where a Texan lady bakes iced buns for gossiping gals. sculptor tells me of select gallery — invitation only in a dusty, disused peanut factory. In an old pub in east London they'te offering art lessons, with nude models posed forthe life-drawing class. Then a rumour {emerges ofa secret hairdresser’ in Camden ~ snippers buried between rows of second-hand lothes.So head up to the market ona» 29