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 Stories : The Craze on Raves
The Craze on Raves  by Merry Chu

Straight out of a near-future movie they come -- bearing glowsticks and blow pops. They mass by the hundreds and sometimes thousands in tripped-out warehouses, abandoned shopping malls and roller rinks. Their clothes glow beneath black lights and pulsing, electronic music drives the throng to dance as one.

They don't pay the $20 entrance fee to see anything. They go to experience the vibe -- the feeling of goodwill and acceptance the all-night gatherings generate. It's a state of peace and unity kids say they can't find in the real world. It sometimes is also a state of drug-induced euphoria that real world authorities often condemn as dangerous. It's a rave.

Just what this new youth culture so fascinating and addicting? Loud music, drugs, and the freedom of expression is the key to these generation X youths way of ventilating. You can almost see a bit of the 60's hippie LOVE fest in the open social gatherings which lasts all night.

The History of RAVE Music:

As is the case with popular music over the past forty years or more, it tends to move between continents - import/export. Rock & Roll, Punk, what have you. House music originating in Detroit and Chicago was directly influenced by European outfits such as Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode.

Also in the early days in Chicago DJ's like Frankie Knuckles would program drum rhythms and play disco records over the top of his beats in the club environment.

American House music was being played in the Gay Clubs in England for a good two years + before any sign of acceptance in the straight scene (circa 1985 - 1987) and even a few chart hits like 'Jack your Body' and 'Love Can't Turn Around'.

During the Eighties in London a warehouse party scene developed that featured soul music ie. Hip-Hop, Disco, Uptempo R&B, Rare Groove, Jazz Funk etc. This directly gave rise to Pirate Radio, notably Kiss FM - a weekend station that was listened to by over a million people. There has always been a strong underground soul scene in England ever since James Brown & Co . invented the Funk.

Sometime in 1987 a few unconnected groups of people started throwing all-night House parties. 'Schoom' and 'Phycic T.V '. Schoom was a group of South - London soccer 'fans' from the soul-side whereas Phycic T.V came from the Industrial edge. These small parties grew in size and started to attract the 'Trendies' (i.e fickle club kids). Inject a new designer drug (Ecstacy) and stir with a nice helping of media and ....... Acid House.

According to an Asian rave fanatic, "The world that we live in is far from perfect. In actuality, it's a mess! There are wars being fought over money, power, religion and other selfish disagreements. There is hatred caused by bigotry and racism. There is hunger and famine. There is crime caused by greed. There is chaos caused by confusion. There is an overall lack of communication among us fellow humans. We are slowly destroying ourselves. Somewhere along our historical chain of events, humankind took the wrong turn and kept on going. However, the youth of America today can either keep following the same old road or start leading a new path for themselves. Though not one person alone can change this world, we as a people can send a positive message from our international movement; and our movement is called RAVE."

RAVES are a spawning ground for inspiring today's youth towards building a new awareness in their individuality. An awareness that promotes inner peace, open-mindedness and free expression of one's thoughts and feelings about themselves and of others. It is a bonding ritual that promotes peace with all, love with one another, and unity for all humankind. RAVES are a celebration of life; an escapism against the reality of the world's imperfections. It is an anticipated social event where one can release their anxieties, fears and worries while at the same time gain insight that there is hope.

RAVES are a therapeutic unified gathering that can continuously help an individual learn more about their strengths and weaknesses and can also help channel their energy towards a positive direction in their life. For those RAVERS who truly understand the concept of RAVING (DJ's spinning powerful Techno/House music as the masses perform an all night tribal dancefest), the event itself becomes a spiritual and educational experience.

A great book to read on the RAVE Culture is "Altered State" by Matthew Collin

Basically the best historical/sociological book about the rave scene written so far. If you're curious how the scene came to be, its roots, etc. then this is the book for you.

Here is an excerpt from the book. "At its heart is a concerted attempt to suspend normal transmission, if only for one night. A mission to reappropriate consciousness, to invent, however briefly, a kind of utopia - what anarchist philosopher Hakim Bey describes as a "temporary autonomous zone" Such zones, says Bey, are "successful raids on consensus reality, breakthroughs into more intense and more abundant life", fleeting moments where fantasies are made real and freedom of expression rules before external reality intervenes. "Let us admit," Bey demands, "that we have attended parties where for one brief night a republic of gratified desires was attained. Shall we not confess that the politics of that night have more reality and force for us than those of, say, the US Government?"

The idea that ecstasy culture has no politics because it has no manifesto or slogans, it isn't saying something or actively opposing the social order, misunderstands its nature. The very lack of dogma is a comment on contemporary society itself, yet at the same time its constantly changing manifestations - ravers fighting police to gain access to a warehouse party, criminals shooting each other in feuds over the dance-drug trade, teenage girls baring flesh in baby-doll dresses, black-market entrepreneurs selling records from the back of vans - serve to dramatize the times we live in. Ecstasy culture offers a forum to which people can bring narratives about class, race, sex, economics or morality.

Again, its definition is subject to individual interpretation - it could be about environmental awareness, it could be about the simple bliss of dancing, it could be about race relations and class conflict, it could be about the social repercussions of the drug economy, it could be about changing gender relations, it could be about reasserting lost notions of community - all stories that say something about life in the nineties."

You Know You're a REAL Raver When....

  • You have sleeping patterns that would kill normal human beings.
  • You start coveting all of your dad's old 1977 polyester sweatsuits.
  • Almost every letter of the alphabet has an alternate meaning to you.
  • You begin to think of blow-pops as a separate food group.
  • The mere mention of a 3 digit number with a "0" in the middle of it causes you to drool uncontrollably.
  • The odometer of your car increases in big chunks over the weekend.
  • You get an evil grin every time you see commercials for "E: the entertainment network".
  • You have to fight back the urge to beat the hell out everyone who thinks raves are like the club scene in Basic Instinct.
  • You can keep a straight face when you tell people "really, not that many people are on anything....i'm serious!"
  • You are happy when there's a recession because it means more empty warehouses.
  • Food, water, air, Vick's...all are about of equal importance.
  • You can live for an entire weekend out of your bookbag.
  • You are no longer just a raver...but a promoter, vendor, DJ, etc...
  • You know about the INFORMATION POLICE.
  • You're white and have dreads.
  • You have trouble naming 5 friends who are not pierced SOMEWHERE.
  • You'll pay $20 for a ticket to an event that may very well not happen... and you'll pay $30 for a pill that may very well be aspirin...but you WILL NOT pay $1.00 for that big glass of water!
  • You can't pass an empty warehouse, church, school, big open field, barn, airplane hanger, phone booth, nuclear power plant, etc...without getting that far-off look in your eye and saying...'wow, what a great site for a...
  • When you see Capn Crunch 4 times in one week!
  • You not only notice that household appliances like washing machines can generate a funky beat, you also argue about whether it's tribal or trance.
  • and even then you're not a TRUE RAVER...because no one but myself can possibly THINK about calling themselves a TRUE RAVER!

    RESOURCES:
    * http://www.hyperreal.org/raves/spirit/intro.html
    * "Altered State" by Matthew Collin