I am, and have been for almost twenty years now, a rubbish raver. I’m a rubbish dancer, rubbish at drugs, rubbish at fashion and especially rubbish at the particular brands of pack-bonding dark sarcasm and untethered gibberish that keep the scene’s social mechanisms moving through its endless long and chaotic nights. I’ve always been destructively picky and over-analytical: as a writer, I sometimes feel voyeuristic, a betrayer of secrets, a spy in the house of love. I’m not a natural joiner, I don’t like to toe a party line, and, well, frankly I’m a bit too uptight to get involved with something that by its very nature demands cutting loose, going with the flow, letting it all hang out and all the rest of it. I also – and this is crucial – need a lot of sleep. I am, as today’s younger clubbers might put it, a ‘wasteman’.
And yet, and yet . . . throughout my adult life, I have loved dance music and all its multifarious splendours; it and the cultures that surround it have fascinated me even as they frustrated and frightened me, and they have inspired to one degree or another almost everything I have done professionally or creatively. I love that same acid sense of humour that I’m so bad at joining in with, I love the hyperactive and compulsive communication and I love the marshalling of utter chaos into something splendid and ridiculous for no reason other than that it’s fun. I’m no gorblimey back-in-the-day nostalgia bore, nor starry-eyed hippie twit blinded to the grimnesses and exploitations that go on in the name of night-time pleasure, but,
when the lines are drawn there’s a part of me that can’t help feeling a certain loyalty to club culture.Dammit, I can actually say ‘club culture’ with a straight face: a statement in itself. In a time when received media and entertainment industry wisdom says that there is no such thing as alternative lifestyles, that everything is assimilable at the spin of an iPod wheel and nothing is new, the idea of something that you belong to, that you must make the active choice and commitment to be a part of, is, I think, as important as it has ever been. So while I may be an old, inconstant, creaky and rubbish raver, I am a raver nonetheless, and proud.