Colston-Hayter’s gambling career coincided with the birth of acid house. By the time he left the casinos each night, flush with cash, most clubs were closed so he was drawn to the legendary Shoom, one of the first clubs to bring house music to Britain. In Altered State, Matthew Collin’s account of the rise of rave culture, Shoom DJ/promoter Danny Rampling remembers Colston-Hayter coming down with an entourage and spending thousands of pounds in cash on champagne. This old-fashioned hooray-henry behaviour was antithetical to Shoom’s underground cachet and DJ Steve Proctor said Colston-Hayter was regarded as “a loud dickhead, a laughing stock”.
Snubbed by the hip crowd, Colston-Hayter envisioned a less cliquey, more democratic and more profitable version of acid house. “If you were a mod, a punk or a hippy, you lived those lifestyles, whereas this is a weekend youth culture,” he told one interviewer. “A city banker can shed his suit, put on his dungarees, dance all Saturday night away.” In August 1988, he began promoting his first events, called Apocalypse Now, and publicised them by inviting the News at Ten down to film the action. This exposure alerted the tabloids to the new world of acid house.