‘These days are not to be missed’ – 1990s Rave and Club Culture in Fiction

Nights out dancing, for all their intensity, leave few visible traces. Immersed in a multi sensory environment of noise, lights, encounters, movements, we emerge with only memories and half-memories. Of course there is a material culture of associated objects – items of clothing, flyers, vinyl – but much of it is ephemeral and on its own tells us little. Once everybody has gone home, the haunted dancehall refuses to give up its secrets.

So perhaps it is not surprising that we turn to the novel to get a sense of what it was like to be there, in different times and places. We turn to F. Scott Fitzgerald for the parties of the Jazz Age, to Colin MacInnes for 1950s London, or even to Jane Austen for the balls of regency England.

The electronic dance music scene that exploded through acid house and rave in the late 1980s and has mutated ever since now has its own library of fictional representations, much of it dating back to the period in the 1990s when the scene in the UK reached its somewhat overbloated commercial peak and publishers like everybody else were trying to get their share of the dance music pound.

The writers of such fictions may not always be reliable narrators – were they participants or voyeurs, or just chancers looking for edgy material on which to build a career? And the perspectives they offer are inevitably partial – as in many domains, male writers seem to be over-represented compared to female, and white voices more dominant than black. But these stories and novels undoubtedly tell us something even if in some cases it might only be how those in the literary world perceived what other people were getting up to at night. There is even an argument that the better writers have got closer to the reality of the experience than more conventional historical accounts. Sarah Champion, who edited the 1997 Disco Biscuits collection of short stories, asked: ‘how can you capture the madness of the last decade in facts and figures?… the true history is not about obscure white labels or DJ techniques or pop stars. It’s about personal stories of messiness, absurdity and excess – best captured in fiction’.

Places and spaces

In fact, much of the content is barely fictional at all with writers frequently referring to (then) actually existing clubs and parties – an obvious device for grounding a story in a specific context, as well as for the writer to indicate that they know what they are talking about.
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Music Makes the People

Story by Dan Hekate from Almanac for Noise & Politics 2015

An array of lights blinked across the gleaming hard black plastic of MooD’s head as slinky welcoming music box sounds came from his hidden speakers. Seth Lindstrum waved his hand in front of the sensor and the door slammed closed.
“What fuck brain ordered me a MooD.” Said the hulking figure of Seth as he strode into the middle of his own welcome home party.
“Are we gonna spend the whole night arguing over whose go it is to load a new tune or let MooD handle the whole shebang?” Said Vince who had served with Seth in the battlegrounds of the Basque country.
“I thought you boys liked toys?” Said Zanda, Seth’s petite fiancé, as she waved her hand in front of the door. MooD entered exuding an Afrobeat and strutting a slow moonwalk.
“I hate those things and now I’ve got one in my pod, it’s like Marky died for nothing.”
“Shouldn’t you be petitioning on MeMe or shining holoboards out in Westminster with the other Ludds?” Said Zanda. [Read more →]

The Bodyshop

bodyshop for datacide

Spent Nuke cartridges, expired bots and other assorted trash littered the street in section 56. Somehow Fiona and Gil had found their way down to the lower levels. Fiona had wanted to show Gil where she had grown up and then they had just started wandering, lost in the moment.

Gil complained he didn’t like going anywhere they didn’t have teleportation facilities. Fiona knew he didn’t like section 56 because it was where all the perps, half breeds, and disjunkts hung out. The fact he put on a brave face meant he cared.

‘You’ve got that look’, said Gil. ‘What is it?’

‘Nothing’. She said

‘What is it?’

‘Nothing. I’m just happy’.

Suddenly out of the doors of a particularly dilapidated and soiled sales outlet ran a man clutching his hand and shrieking at the top of his voice. Gil rushed over to see if he was all right. The man kept screeching, Gil grabbed at his wrist. The man stopped screaming, and looked down at his hand, Gil did the same thing. There was a loud bang as the hand exploded, taking the two men with it. Fiona was covered in bodily fluids and viscera. She did not scream or weep, but stared at the bloody mass that used to be the love of her life.

Two men dressed in mutated lab outfits ran out into the street, and dived into the entrails. Body parts meant creds and Barrington Spliessenhausen was under no illusion that unless they got their hands on some fresh meat he could kiss his latest upgrade goodbye. Krun was just hungry, he quickly found what he was looking for and it was not long before he was happy again, busy masticating on a testicle. A stern attractive woman was close behind her colleagues. [Read more →]

Star Spores: The Magnetic Timetable

starspores01_2WEB

I realise my life has been a training exercise for this very moment, almost as if the universe at large instantaneously arranges its particles in anticipation of future events. The future enters into us through the present’. – R-Tanz

‘Everything in life is vibration’. – Albert Einstein

The starlight travellers beam in from dimensions unseen along lines of light, celestial spaceways – This network of lines extends throughout all the dimensions of matter and beyond into advanced dimensions where space-time and quantity no longer apply – The starlight travellers adjust their frequencies to match local conditions – Inhabit incarnate bodies in the visible spectrum – Find a niche and nest in mediums on varying social strata and shared frequencies – Groups of people share frequencies, not always in immediately apparent ways – ‘Now you see me on a shared coordinate of perception we may communicate’ –

Sometimes the starlight travellers emphasise a narrow remit of available connections and concentrate on a particular planetary situation with great intensity, while at other times they take action in a wider bandwidth of possible connections extending far and wide – From small groups of people acting locally, to individuals and groups who influence and impact on many lives –

Glide down and see the atmospheric conditions from above, clouds and their shadows, an extensive whole of micro-climates and sub-divisions natural and otherwise fitting together – Cells – Forests – Swamps – Ice Ages – Tectonic pressures – Oil – Extraction – Shanty towns – Networks of exploitation and control – Arrangements of commerce, technology, protection and the market – Industrial entrepreneurs – Machinery – Inorganic reproduction manufactured repetition – The Book of Layers – The usual way is to just come to at some point and realise the full scope of possibility and limitations of an entity, its bandwidth and range of perception surroundings existence –

Tall bamboos rustle of leaves – Dusty tracks corrugated dreams rusty outposts – Bamboo huts and walkways lime trees hot air rises in waves you can see – I slip through a knot in the magnetic field around the village, a darting flash of rainbow colours strictly from white light – The blackness of the atomic structure being outside the range of perception here in this gravity well – Strange sounds of other worlds drift over our heads – Rubbing insect wings whirr of who knows what, little flickers of light changing colour that register life of unknown variety, rapid heart rate and high frequency –

Planetary population trapped in time travel always tomorrow yesterday stuck in recordings and schedules – So the interstellar travellers break the lock on the displaced present – Bring people into the moment they actually exist in cut the past off the line just a trap in language extending into predetermined futures – Reconfigure language as a tool for creation – Nothing to defend, fully alive – Doors swing open –
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Star Spores: The Computerised City

I walk through the computerised city – Streets gridded by signs instructions flicker at lulling frequencies advertisements cloak the edges of possible experience – Surveillance installed at every available intersection on all practical recording surfaces – Smooth well lubricated motions – Particular areas of the city require access codes to enter – All genetic codes have been processed at birth and can be accessed at a distance –

Drones fly overhead, scan and record using matrix space mapping and motion predictability to track and respond to deviations from preset norms that people must adhere to – Only so many ways to walk along a street without drawing attention –

Movement controlled – Authority, the apparency of authority – Business, corporate interests above all kept safe – Undermined populace years of misinformation the young grow up taking for granted limited options and blocked paths escape routes reduced to moves on a chess board – From the top down Operation ‘Short Vision Long Term’ in effect – Chaotic systems work in whose favour exactly? –

The R1 genetic sequence expresses and mutates in some individuals due to influences from the Magnetic Timetable – R1 DNA changes often, cell frequencies augmented and bolstered – Evades surveillance analysis – ‘We can elude control’ –

The R1 mission to corrupt all codes that prevent knowledge, pleasure and freedom – Enter the centre – Infiltrate local conditions –

I walk through the city the four-storey buildings crowd on all sides dimly seen through enveloping fog orange flickers powdery light torrents of undulating rain shiny road surfaces shimmer – Detritus of capital swarms across the pavement empty cartons smell of decaying matter – I pull my coat together broken zip hat just tight enough to not blow away and join the seagulls – Clothes of gray-black space material absorb light – A swift and flexible shadow –

Pared stunted trees lingering ghosts many years here extend from beneath the surface colours and textures magnified by the rain which sluices beneath the concrete and into the ground unseen rivers to the sea –
The streets empty pages waiting to be filled – Eyes shift and flicker briefly in all directions – Dream-images pour past, fluid and direct – Vegetal perception – Dilated moments – Let the messages in and out – No one in sight strong breeze wavers –

In shadows a bag of tools stashed earlier – Sit on a wall by the transit stop and wait left eye looks back along the street – Colours shift shimmer briefly and flit beyond sight – Taxis pass by – Eyes half closed rustle of packaging wind from the sea – Pattern of lights through a window – Long sequences of logic, continuous flickers of knowing, a balanced position – ‘Life does not speak. It listens and waits’ –

*** *** *** *** *** ***

Moonless night a dark alley – Leans bicycle against wall – Changes into blacks – Climbs up wall walks along its length hidden by a boundary hedge – A short leap across a gap onto a flat roof – A ladder on the side of the building leads up two more floors – Accurate long throws with bricks break the antennas of the dishes on the roof of the HQ other side of the street to the police station – Returns to bicycle – Changes clothes – Leaves the area along alleys –

Puts on gloves – Forces open the access point a cover an unguarded point a weak spot a fulcrum that can tip the balance – Cuts through and removes a section of the casing of the cables – From sealed bag takes out rags pre-soaked and places on bundle of cables – Lights rags carefully – Places cover back leaves gap for air to fan the flames – Exits the area – Burns all clothes including wrong size shoes and scrubs up – Fiberoptics Communication Power – Gone –

Dawn approaches – Early vehicles pulse along the roads, the R1 laying half-awake can pick up the sub-bass growing in volume to disappear –

*** *** *** *** *** ***

[Excerpted from STAR SPORES: THE BOOK OF LAYERS (available on request)
Copyleft, reproducible for not-for-profit purposes, contact >galactronix[at]hotmail.com<

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