Clubs: Back to My Roots after Home Alone Agony; Talks to Ex-Cream Man Darren Hughes

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma Johnson

DARREN Hughes was once a darling of the Liverpool club scene. Along with Cream co-promoter James Barton, he had the world at his feet.

He helped turn the former Merseyside Academy into the place to be every Saturday night but after six years at the helm, Darren jumped ship for the bright lights of London, leaving fans wondering whether the club could survive without him.

It did and now Darren is returning to the Liverpool scene after a four-year exile.

``I haven't had an invitation to come back here until now,'' he says of his absence. ``That says a lot about the ripple effect of me leaving Cream. It is a very powerful organisation and I felt I needed to get as far away from it as possible.''

Darren left at the club's peak in 1998 to spearhead the launch of the pounds 10m superclub Home in Leicester Square. It was supposed to represent the future of clubbing. In reality, it was a monumental disaster but Darren says he was right to go.

He says: ``I never had any regrets; after the whole Homesaga I realised I had not been enough of a businessman at Cream.

``I felt if I had been a tougher businessman as well as a promoter maybe I would not have let Cream become what it did; too professional, too slick, too commercial - I was part of that problem admittedly.

``Sadly, I left only to go even further down the same route. I admit Home was the wrong model of clubbing. I bought into the idea of trying to take the northern spirit into Leicester Square. It was never going to work though.

``Home will probably go down in history as a financial disaster - I can live with that.''

Home went into liquidation in 2001 after having its licence revoked. But Darren says he knew from the start that in the political environment, with constant monitoring and surveillance, the club would ultimately become something the clubbers did not want.

These days the 36-year-old lives in London with his wife Charlotte, who is expecting their first child and runs the successful We Love Ibiza's world-famous Space nightclub, one good thing to come out of the bad Home situation. …