House pioneer Joost Van Bellen revives Roxy’s time in a new book

House pioneer Joost Van Bellen revives Roxy’s time in a new book

Like-minded people found each other there, house music was just emerging, but AIDS was also spreading greatly in the gay community. Next month, it will be 25 years since a fire destroyed the Roxy on the Single River. House pioneer Joost Van Bellen, then a regular DJ at the Roxy, takes the reader back to the famous club’s era in his new semi-autobiographical book “Fenix.” This was difficult for him at times during the writing process.

“It was the strangest day of my life and I had to tell you about it,” Van Bellen said of the fire. “I never knew how to do it, because it was an incredible event. Moreover, it shaped me and I became part of the history of the city,” says the DJ in front of the former Roxy building in Single.


Roxy was a refuge for anyone who wanted to get away from the gray outside world. What started as an alternative club for artists grew in the 1990s, along with IT, into the city’s house dance palace. Something that wasn’t clear at first.

Van Bellen: “You can’t imagine that you dreamed of 100 people dancing to house music. What you will learn is that it was a very difficult time for the gay community, which had actually forgotten how many people dropped out. And how you will learn that there is a completely different language, and that People were more reckless in behavior, well, this book is full of that.

Audio recording of the last hours

In the book, Roxy rises from the ashes, hence the title of the book. Which was not always easy for Van Bellen while writing. For example, he only dared to listen to an audio tape of the club’s final hours in which the eviction could be heard for the first time last January. This way he can reconstruct exactly what music was played and what was said.

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“To bring it all back has been a celebration, because I’m bringing lost friends back to life, and very difficult, because I had to go through the misery I went through at that time. They say, ‘You have to cross that out,’ but I had to write it down. For me, I hope that I could put this book on the shelf and say: Ghost, this was your past, to the next, to the rest.

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