Dan’s entrepreneurial streak started early. In an Italian bar at the age of seventeen, he discovered ‘Space Invaders’, the iconic early arcade game which went on to become the highest-grossing video game of all time. Totally transfixed, Dan started importing the game to the UK, having negotiated an initial purchase of 10 units on a sale or return basis. Demand skyrocketed and within a year he was bringing in two alien-filled shipping containers a month and turning over £1.2 million annually (a sizeable sum in 1980).
A few years later in 1985, Dan diversified into the floating nightclub business, having chartered a river boat called The Pride of Bath which he kept moored on the River Avon. Inspired by classic Ealing comedy ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’, he identified a loophole which allowed the club to operate without a licence, as long as the engine was kept running and guests were shuttled to the club by speedboat. This legendary enterprise was called ’96 Nights’ and operated successfully for that length of time.
Unfortunately Dan suffered a serious car accident the following year, suffering head injuries that left him in a coma for three days. On leaving hospital he was advised to take a long period of recuperation, so he wound down his business ventures and moved to Castle Cary in South Somerset.