AN ENORMOUS charity party at the Hong Kong Aviation Club was set to be the most original dance event of the year. The 'ball' would feature marquees, lawns and a hangar area for dancing folk, all framed by the twinkling skyscape of Kai Tak. At the helm of the evening's entertainment would be one of the world's most famous DJs - Sasha - together with fellow British house master, DJ Jan Carbon. Ten per cent of all proceeds from the expected crowd of 4,000 would benefit Aids Concern. It sounded too good to be true. And it was. This week, the event was cancelled. According to promoter Simon Birch, repeated visits by the police to the venue throughout last week caused the Aviation Club to cancel the gig. 'I've been touring with Sasha for the past few weeks and every city in Asia we've been to has an amazing party scene. Every city except Hong Kong, which is meant to be the 'City of Life'. They crush any attempts for a scene here, which is really sad,' says the disappointed Birch. This is having a serious impact on the region's young people, he argues. 'The word is getting out that Hong Kong hasn't got a party scene, which is stopping people from wanting to come here.' Thankfully with so much already in place and with Aids Concern standing to lose so much, the promoters have moved the event to 'Hong Kong's most glamorous private Christmas party' being held at the Conrad hotel ballroom. I catch up with the headlining DJ, fresh from a press conference in South Korea, where he is promoting his first solo album Airdrawndagger. Its launch this summer has brought about mammoth touring. He sounds utterly exhausted. 'I've done 180 gigs this year. It's been the most intense touring I've ever done just to promote the record,' Sasha says. 'I've never done this before, I've done bursts of a month or six weeks where I've been intensively touring, but this has been nine months.' Released this summer, Airdrawn-dagger initially baffled his many fans, with a sound far more down-tempo and experimental than his pumping sets that have carved his status as 'superstar DJ'. 'I guess I tried to make something like a mix CD, but with all my own music,' he says. 'I wanted to spread my wings a bit and prove to myself that I could do it. I'd been talking about making an album for a while, but was more interested in travelling the world DJing and having fun.' It took a car accident last year for him to break away from tours and concentrate on the album. He suffered one of the worst injuries a DJ could face, a perforated ear drum. 'It could have been a lot worse, but the perforated ear drum freaked me out,' he says. 'I had to stay at home and not fly, not listen to loud music for three months. It was a blessing in disguise, it really acted as a catalyst for me to get my record done.' The 33-year-old's career began as clubber Alexander Coe on the floors of Manchester's famed Hacienda in the late 1980s. After talking his way into his first gig as a pub DJ, he started to make a name for himself with a residency at Shelly's in Stoke in the English Midlands. Howling sets that fused house music with vocals and mixes, inspired a blossoming following. Then he started the Renaissance nights in Mansfield and met fellow spinner John Digweed who was earning his own loyal audience. The pair began a legendary partnership. Playing back to back, they co-released a 2-CD set Northern Exposure which has since become one of the classic dance compilations. The pair were invited to share a residency at New York's Twilo club in 1996, a venue that was becoming the focal point of an emerging American dance scene. Their success in the club made them two of the biggest British DJ names in America, and Sasha has become just as big in the studio, recording remixes for the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Madonna. 'It's about providing people with a musical experience they're not going to find anywhere else.' firstname.lastname@example.org Sasha will play the Christmas Ball at the Conrad Hotel ballroom, Admiralty, tomorrow, 10pm-5am. Dress code: Christmas glamour. Tickets, $500, will not be available at the door. Ticket hotline: English: 9120 4019 or 9776 1446; Chinese: 9122 7666. Strictly 21 and over.