The Mirror has today brought the sad news of the ultimate downfall of a pioneer of 1980s Acid House raves: Tony Colston-Hayter had fallen victim to the temptation of cyber fraud, and has been sent down for five and a half years, after he was convicted in January of half-inching well over a million notes from customers of Barclays and Santander.
But the Mirror report does not mention one key player in Colston-Hayter’s past, the bloke he introduced to the Acid House scene, where so many illegal and usually open-air raves were set up at short notice, garnered huge crowds, and were often summarily broken up as soon as the rozzers got wind of what was going on. The identity of this fellow is well known to Zelo Street regulars.
Yes, step forward Paul Staines, who nowadays styles himself Guido Fawkes. As the deeply subversive Guardian has told, Colston-Hayter “hired a bullish young publicist. Paul Staines had first met Colston-Hayter a few years earlier at a national video game tournament. A libertarian Conservative at university, he went on to work for former Thatcher advisor David Hart”.
Hart was a particularly nasty piece of work whose qualities have clearly rubbed off on the thin-skinned and unpleasantly vindictive Staines. But Colston-Hayter also left his mark on The Great Guido: after he took his first E at one of the raves, he later recalled “It was pure MDMA, and I was so out of it, so in love with everybody”. The two of them launched the Freedom To Party campaign.
The Fawkes blog uses Freedom To Party as one of its tags, and also refers on occasion to Sunrise (the raves were known as Sunrise parties). So one might have thought that Staines might publicly show his support for his old sparring partner, who gave him that entree to the then illegal rave scene. But that thought would have been misplaced: the Fawkes blog hasn’t had so much as a peep about the news.
Nor has The Great Guido’s Twitter feed mentioned Colston-Hayter. What is Staines’ problem? It can’t be the association with illegality, not with Sunrise events breaking the law more or less whenever they were held, and the still illegal drugs which were, as the Mail sniffily noted, openly on sale at those parties. The Great Guido did rather well out of his association with Colston-Hayter.
So why is he so quiet today? It’s not as if Paul Staines gets ashamed of much, if anything. Or is it yet another sign that The Great Guido has sold out to the establishment he once pretended to oppose, and no longer dares to rock the boat in case his new masters in the press find adversely on his behaviour? Poor Tony Colston-Hayter – one of his oldest friends doesn’t want to even mention him.
What profit a man, that he gain the world and lose his soul? Another fine mess.