A few years ago I used to go to raves. Those were the days.
We’d drive over and park in a huge, grassy field. We’d join the queue to get into the venue and chat nervously with the people around us. We’d eventually get to the gates, show our tickets, get frisked by the security and enter the warehouse (or an even larger field, depending on the rave). The bang of the bass would split our ears. The piercing tones of the whistles would make them bleed. We’d go over to the little shop and get our supply of glow sticks, head over to the main area (or whichever tent if it was an outdoor rave) and dance pretty much continuously for the next 12 hours. Knackered, we’d leave at 8am the next morning, find our car and drive home, struggling to stay awake. It was all good, clean fun.
We’d all meet up at a friend’s house and do a stock take. One of the guys would have been to his dealer with the money he’d collected from the rest and pick up a bag of pills. Mostly e’s. And this was in the days when ecstasy actually contained MDMA (rather than drain cleaner and dog worming pills like today). We’d split them out and everybody would have their own method of hiding them about their person so a search wouldn’t turn them up. My personal favourite was in the lining of my jacket. We’d drive over and park in a huge, grassy field. We’d join the queue to get into the venue and chat nervously with the people around us, some might take their first pill so that by the time we got in they’d have “come up”. Everybody’s nervous in case they get a strip search and arrested for possession. We’d eventually get to the gates, show our tickets, get frisked by the security and enter the warehouse (or an even larger field, depending on the rave). We’d all be buzzing and we’d go over to the little shop and get our supply of glow sticks, then head over to a secluded spot. Those taking them would take a pill and then we’d all have a wander around to get familiar with the place and see what the layout was like. About 15 minutes later everybody would scatter and probably not see each other until the end. We’d dance pretty much continuously for the next 12 hours and leave, Knackered at 8am the next morning. There would be silence in the car as everybody would be falling asleep and suffering from a night of hard dancing and drug taking.
Looking back now I have only scattered memories of the raves I attended. I went to a New Year’s one and my only memory of the whole night is on the stroke of midnight when they played “Auld Lang Syne” over the sound system – the lights were amazing. But I had a fantastic time at the time. The atmosphere in a place where everybody – and I mean everybody – is on ecstasy is like heaven on earth. You didn’t need to take drugs to bask in how the world should be. Everybody is your best mate, everybody wants to give you a hug, everybody asks the big three (“what’s your name?”, “where are you from?” and “what are you on?”) and everybody is having the time of their lives. Of course, everyone would have eyes like saucers which served as a reminder as to why they were all so happy. You compare that to a boozy night on the town and a nightclub full of testosterone-fuelled blokes spoiling for a fight. And alcohol is the legal drug?
Of course, none of it was real. As soon as people came down they were back to their miserable selves (albeit after a few days recovery). Reality would set in and we’d be looking forward to the next one. I’d love to go back to that time and go to one again, they were fantastic. But I couldn’t do it now. I’m just too damn old! My body wouldn’t be able to take it, drugs or not. And besides, I’m just not interested in drugs any more. It was a passing phase and best left there.
But I’ll tell you something. A hell of a lot of people do take recreational drugs these days. And not just your common working class types – they’re professionals like lawyers, software developers, even footballers (allegedly). And drug use won’t go away (look at alcohol for example, it wasn’t so long ago when it was as illegal as cocaine). But I don’t think it’s a problem. If people want to take drugs and have possible long-term problems, that should be their choice, so long as it only affects themselves. I don’t need somebody to tell me what’s right and wrong (unless I’m a kid in which case I don’t know any better). But I’m 28 years of age, I can work it out for myself. If there’s one thing that pisses me off about modern life it’s a cotton wool society that is averse to any risk. I don’t smoke, but if I lived in California (where it seems like robbery is more acceptable than smoking), I’d start. I’d be a 20 a day smoker. And the hell with your rules!
P.S. The best song ever written that describes the rave culture I was a part of is “Sorted for E’s and Wizz” by Pulp. I always smile when I hear it or think of the lyrics. It says it all!
Eeeeeh, when I were a lad……
It’s all changed you know – you’re talking of days when drugs were expensive and tricky to get hold of, where the fear of being spotted taking a pill was in everyone’s mind and where cocaine was something rich people had.
Instead of 15 you used to pay for a Dove, you can get something with a Rolex, Mitsi or Euro on it for at most 4, usually 3 for a tenner and if you get more, about 2… Coke…. well some goes for
Getting hold of the things on a saturday night is as easy as asking someone if they have a light – and so long as you’re not blatant about taking them, most people just wink, offer water or ask if you have any spare!!
Clubs that ban drugs close very quickly – the number of gurning, sweaty faces in a club is paramount to it’s survival, so unless you’re out selling loads of the little round things, even bouncers turn a blind eye.
The main difference from the Dove days is the content of the things. Getting a pill with a decent amount of MDMA in these days is very rare, and if you do get one, get hold of the person who gave you it and get as many as you can afford (if you want more that is) a it may be while till the next one. Most have some wierd blend of speed, ket, acid and MDMA (and probably other nasties) that give you some energy and a loving feeling with the odd trip thrown in for good measure.
The Clubs these days have a blend of pissheads and pill-heads, and never the twain should meet. They have nothing in common other than they can hear the same music and are probably oggleing the same girls. The main reason clubs are open so late is so that the pissheads get bored and go home between 12 and 2AM leaving room for the pillheads to come up and get onto the pisshead-free dance floor and go for it, shaking hands, hugging, talking crap to and basically loving anyone who happens to be near by. The old Rave scene was much more raw, new and wild – the music was less sophisticated (cause of technology and lack of slick DJ’s remixes) and more “hands in the air” than the tribal trancey tunes we get today – but we now have a few stalwart clubs with castoffs from the late 80’s/early 90’s that keep that flag flying – still lots of people to compare nights at the Hac with, or that night it pissed down at a rave and everyone rolled around in the mud it produced.
It’s still there even in 2003, but it’s legal and indoors these days…..
Just doesn’t sound the same as when I went to the Event 2 as it was called. Outdoors, in a couple of huge tents. As I walked in from the gates I could see hands in the air, gloves and glowsticks. To then dive into the crowd and join in was magical… All in the past sadly… Now I just write software!
Sounds like Gatecrasher is today…. People cybered up and glowing all night.
Freddy and I were into the Chicago style house that you’d find in clubs like Home, Hacienda, Sankey’s Soap and the Boardwalk in Manchester.
Smoother and more chilled than the frantic hardcore scene.
Whoa – have I just stepped into Bizarro World?
Johnny, me lad, you do surprise me. :^)
I wasn’t always the boring software engineer who goes mountain biking all the time… I’ve got a past!
Oh My God. Conners is human after all. And he’s done something more illegal than I ever have. 🙂
Johnny Boy – are you fogetting I was there…that guy that had been to the dealer mmm – wonder who that could have been :-p
Been an awfy long time since we did that kinda thing but somehow, i’m glad I did it but also so very glad its past – Chill dood…
I know, I just didn’t want to name you (for legal reasons)… Those were the days, and I don’t even want to work out how many years ago it was!