ok ok this page has sweet FA to do with rave music at first glance but I think it gives a lot of people some background to the UK. Rave sprung on the scene and was picked up by a lot of people from all different backgrounds. People that in todays 'hoodie / chav / lets drink at home and watch Ant and Dec' world, probably wouldn't even make eye contact if sitting in the same dentists office.
Music and drug culture have always been Intertwined and I wanted to include a page on Rave History which looks at other musical movements and raver's of their era. This page draws on several books, numerous sources and I will give full credit to all when the page is complete.
I love music in a huge way and love history. I'm a life long learner and I've got a way to go yet! The problem with school when I were a lad (I say this while wearing a flat cap and holding pipe for effect) and the way history is taught to kids these days is that the schools and teachers don't enthuse the kids.
The kids are expected to be able to absorb facts about random events throughout history where in truth many like me were happier writing on the wooden desks and swapping garbage pail kid stickers while the teacher wasn't looking.
The way I figure, history should be taught to kids is that you should start with recent history and work backwards. Lead them back into it. I guess that's why this random page is on Rave History..... to me Rave was one of the last pure dance movements.
It felt like that for me anyway, that we were part of something. It was something we lived and not just a choice of where to go at the weekend.
This page is for all the MSN generation kids who stumble onto the site but also for the old gits like me who were part of the MDMA generation!
There has always been and always will be musical movements but nothing as carefree, unique and as fun to be a part of. As Tony Wilson of Factory said, acid house was where people didn't cheer and scream for the music.....but the DJ.
1988 changed everything.
Until 1916, there was no specific anti-drugs law in the UK. Then came the Defence of the Realm Act, which outlawed the posession of cocaine and opium without a prescription, and in 1920, the Dangerous Drugs Act. Even so, drugs both hard and soft remained a fringe problem in British, despite the occasional scare stories in the more racy Sunday newspapers. Cannabis, or hemp, was portrayed as a sense-numbing peril used by black sailors and immigrants to tempt innocent white girls. Cocaine enjoyed something of a vogue in the society circles in the Twenties and Thirties, while opium and its derivatives, morphine and herion, were associated with inscrutable Chinamen, a faint air of mysticism, and Sherlock Holmes.
As late as the 1950's, most natives of the UK still associated drugs with black people: either the new immigrants arriving from the West Indies and Africa or the artists of American jazz. Many of the top musicians, men like Charlie Parker, were hooked on heroin. Even the avuncular Louis Armstrong smoked cannabis for almost all of his adult life. Blues singers too had always had thier drug songs, reflecting the realities of life in the ghettoes of the urban United States.
The cross over into mainstream culture came paradoxically, through the counter-culture. The 'beat' movement of the 1950's and the permissive hippie scene a decade later coincided with the opening of foreign travel, an unprecedentedly wealthy population, and the exposure of many American servicemen to cannabis and heroin in the Vietnam War. Drugs became a staple of the white rock scene. The Beatles experimented with them, the Rolling Stones took them, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix died from them. While Lou Reed sang of buying heroin on a New York street corner in Waiting for the Man, England's working-class Mods had their pills and reefers. The psychedelic drugs of the California counter-culture added a new and mind-expanding horizon.
Britain's response was to set up regional drugs squads in 1967 and to introduce a new Dangerous Drugs Act banning doctors from prescribing heroin and cocaine. 'They also had to notify the Home Office of anyone known or suspected of being addicted,'according to Ron Clarke, a former police inspector who has done extensive research into drug use. 'Overnight, treatment for people with drug problems were removed. We started to get an increase in burglaries at chemists and drug stores. That led to a hue and cry by the police and drug enforcement agencies. We weren't skilled to deal with drug addicts. That lead to the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. That was when we started policing drugs in this country.'
The effect was that, almost overnight, Britain developed a heroin problem, as illicit dealers met the demand previously satisfied by prescription. The first major seizures came in 1971, mostly sourced to the Golden Triangle, a wild, mountainous region where the borders of Burma, Laos and Thailand meet.
British gangsters moved into the market in the mid 1970's. They found only a few hippies and chancers as competition. Free-wheeling charmers like Oxford- educated cannabis king Howard Marks were roughly elbowed aside as 'the headbands gave way to the headcases', in the Guardian crime reporter Duncan Campbell's phrase. I have always loved the opening monolouge from Layer Cake so I have included it as I love the film but I feel it sums up things nicely. Lets not forget that there were for a long time rumours that many of the UK's first MDMA pills were getting knocked up in a ICI factory I am not sure if it's that far from truth.
Now lets go backwards a for a moment and lets think about 1987. 87, it's the year Andy Warhol the American painter, film-maker and author, and a leading figure in the Pop Art movement passed.
Strike it Lucky is a overnight success with Michael Barrymore trading conspiratorial winks, faintly racy stories and cries of "Awright" with the motley collection of toothless grannies and emotionally unstable housewives.
Michael Jackson releases his bad album and on the TV we have Anne Robinson presenting points of view and Mike Reid is on Radio 1.
Bread is on the TV with all the scally's on the blag....I should just mention here that my friend Rob got down to the last four in auditions for the part of Joey...I do remember things mate.
In short its seems like a million years ago to me....
In September 1987 four British lads went to the Balearic island of Ibiza to celebrate one of their number's birthday. However, rather than indulge in the familiar trappings that San Antonio had to offer - the chip shop and the boozer - Paul Oakenfold, Johnny Walker, Nicky Holloway and Danny Rampling sampled the bountiful delights of the island's more exotic side.
At the island's celebrated Amnesia club, the four took a new drug called ecstasy for the first time. Its euphoric properties chimed with the playful strand of dance music that the DJ, Alfredo, was spinning. Unknown to Oakenfold and co, they had stumbled upon the ingredients that they turned into acid house, the UK's last great youth subculture and year zero musical movement.
Upon their return to the UK the four revellers were determined to keep the party going. Oakenfold introduced the new music to his club The Project in Streatham, before opening Spektrum at Heaven; Rampling meanwhile began Shoom in a fitness centre near Southwark Bridge and Holloway went onto open Trip at the Astoria. By the following summer, acid house dominated clubland.
In stark contrast to the dour music scene of the time, acid house was colourful, bold and fresh. A fascinating combination of Detroit techno, New York disco, Chicago house , European electro-pop and whatever other curious accoutrements it happened to pick up along the way, it was a complete break with what had gone before.
At its heart it had a collectivist zeal that marked it apart from the snooty London West End club scene. It had its own fashions - baggy, loose fitting clothing, perfect for dancing the night, and dawn, away, plus other key signifiers such as the iconic yellow smiley face. And in ecstasy it had its own drug. Originally used as an appetite suppressant during the First World War, ecstasy enabled people who wouldn't normally do so to hit the dancefloor with unfettered abandon.
To give some indication of how pop time has speeded up and how underground movements are seemingly born into the mainstream, acid house was afforded nearly a year away from the gaze of the media and straight society. By the October of 1988, however, it was being couched in Fleet Street's typically sensationalistic knee-jerk rhetoric of "folk devils and moral panics", a la teddy boys, mods, hippies and punks before them.
In today's media savvy days, it's doubtful anything like acid house could happen on such a scale or cause such hand wringing again. The Daily Mail might have got its knickers in a twist over emo, but everyone else shrugged their shoulders with indifference. And while the spuriously titled new rave phenomenon makes for a neat cyclical accompaniment to acid house's big bang, can you see the the Sun decrying the likes of Klaxons and New Young Pony Club in the manner it did 20 years ago? Not likely.
Please excuse me not using a dance tune on this page but I thought I'd put Johhny Cash singing the NIN tune 'Hurt' up while I'm still building it. If its not your bag just pause using control above.
The 80's has a lot to answer for in some respects but fashion crimes aside for me the 80's was a fun time and even now I can remember the girls with their frizzy haircuts held up with half a can of spray.
People weren't too much into labels well not until Sergio Tacchini tracksuits came along closely followed by Adidas Kick trainers.
Pictured: Boy George & Jeremy Healy
In the 1980's the UK seemed in many ways to follow the USA in both culture and trends. I myself can remember dancing in front of a mirror and trying to breakdance. Sadly I was never any good so by 1986 I'd grown my hair and opted to get into Bon Jovi instead. The 1980's was a time of innocence, there were no chav's and there never seemed to be much in the way of drug related violence within the UK.
It was a time when no one had a mobile phone, no one cared if you were wearing BMX socks or a Global Hypercolour T-shirt. The summers seemed to last forever and Police Academy films were still funny. You had options when it came to clubbing and nights out and many were happy with a typical Ritzy night out which in fairness were always fun and normally involved lads getting beered up and sharking the clubs for ladies.
The following video makes me laugh alot when Pete Waterman asks the girl what are you looking for in a man and she responds "One who looks like Simon Le Bon". It's funny as I myself was sporting Morten Aha curls for a time and leather wrist bands.
On the other hand you had people like me who were listening to the music been played on the pirate radio stations with a finger paused on the pause button ready to cut the adverts out. Pirate stations had a boom time in the mid to late 80's with lots of people seting up stations from tower blocks. I guess I had an interest as I had always had a CB radio and met a few CB nerds...lucky enough it was my good friend who I later learnt was making all the transmitters for the local stations.
Above: Cheese-tastic 1989 Footage
Above: Tony Wilson giving us nightowls a treat 1989
Pictured Paul Oakenfold, Lisa Lashes & friends
As featured on Dave Pearce's Dance Anthems