Sunday, June 18, 2006

There's A Rainbow Inside My Mind

At one point on my Grand Tour through the subcultures of Britain's youth, I was a raver.

I can't say I ever *really* got into it, mind you. For one thing, I was far too self-conscious to go around sucking lollipops while wearing my hair in bunches, which seemed to be the de rigueur get-up for raver chicks in the very early 90s*. For another thing, well, it wasn't a very intellectual scene, was it? There were no deep and meaningful lyrics to analyse, or corpuses of literature that one had to read in order to 'belong', not like there was with indie and goth.

No, mostly it consisted of getting totally wasted in fields and warehouses, dancing to really mental, bleepy music, blowing whistles, sniffing Vicks inhalers and babbling on about shamanic insight and transcendental journeys to other planes. Hardly Friday night at Les Deux Magots with Jean-Paul and Simone.

So I wasn't particularly sad to hang up my whistle and glowsticks when Britpop came along, and I haven't really looked back since.

Until last September, that is, when long-term Quinquireme readers may recall that I briefly attended the Bestival festival on the Isle of Wight. Not only did I end up wearing a cowboy hat, but I also ended up dancing like a nutter, with 25,000 other people, to Soulwax's mental, bleepy set. Ooh, it was just like 1992 all over again. Fantastic!

So obviously I had to download this Soulwax remix thing that turned up on Said The Gramophone the other day. Oh boy. This is really not for the faint-hearted. The first minute and a half seem to go on forever, and sound like 10,000 old-school fax-modems that have taken it upon themselves to dial straight into your brain and deliver an incoherent message about shouting and excuses. But luckily once the beat kicks in, it just gets better and better and better, until all I want to do is pull my hair into bunches and jump around non-stop for eight hours in a West Country field**.

If there's anyone reading who has ever held aloft a glowstick like the oriflamme at Roncesvalles, this is for you:

Soulwax - NY Excuse (Justice Remix) (mp3) - courtesy of Said The Gramophone

NB I may or may not have listened to this eight times in a row on the way to Islington today. This may or may not be why I now have a terrible headache.

* I wasn't too self-conscious to go out into the world wearing silver lurex hotpants, but that's another story.

** Better not, though - I've got a meeting tomorrow.

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Billy said...

Apologies for focusing on a trivial, throwaway aspect of your post but I've never seen the point in bunches.

They creep me out. Like knee-high socks.

patroclus said...

Bunches on grown women are all wrong. I blame Bjork, myself. But then I blame Bjork for a lot of things.

cello said...

Creepy is the word, Billy. It's the faux-pre-pubescence of them.

rockmother said...

I used to go to Tribal Gathering gigs in those golden bleepy halcyon days and used to see lots of girls in bunches, knee high socks, shortie nightie dresses, sparkly angel wings and sucking lollypops. Sort of like a walking Clare's Accessories advertisement. Me, I just whirled around in my weed-cake fluffy cloud thinking I could see things - like small monkeys dancing in a jungle behind the stage. My friends were most helpful to point out that what I was actually seeing was lighting effects on army leaf netting. They still tease me about that today. Bleep.

Spinsterella said...

Where I come from, there was a massive set-in-stone indie/raver divide. You'd be as likely to change religion than to alter your allegiance.

(Oh, and silver lurex hotpants???)

Anonymous said...

Sob, there's nothing wrong with bunches!!

Interpreter Pavlov said...

O oo, oriflamme or olifant?

'Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche, empeint le ben, par gant vertut le sunet'

Sorry, this getting a bit obscure. Sounds a bit like your third paragraph, though.

But there's dim memory somewhere of someone holding up the oriflamme like a talisman WMD, with results as spectacular as if he'd help up a pair of hotpants. On a crusade, was it?

patroclus said...

Well I did go so far as to check if Charlemagne had an oriflamme as well as Roland having an olifant, but Wikipedia was mysteriously silent on the matter.

But if the oriflamme is the glowstick then the olifant is the whistle, so it all works out in the end. And as far as I remember, Roland (or his sidekick, whatever his name was) also, significantly, had a glove. A white one, no doubt, for making complex hand movements under the ultraviolet lights.

In fact the entire rave scene was obviously a post-shadowing of the Song of Roland. For is Roland not also the manufacturer of the 808 drum machine, much employed by techno artistes such as, er, 808 State?

Blimey, there's a PhD thesis if ever there was one.

Ceridwen Devi said...

I'm definitely on the indie side of the great divide.

james henry said...

"In fact the entire rave scene was obviously a post-shadowing of the Song of Roland. For is Roland not also the manufacturer of the 808 drum machine, much employed by techno artistes such as, er, 808 State? Blimey, there's a PhD thesis if ever there was one. "

Or the greatest episode of Doctor Who EVER.

patroclus said...

Steady on there James - I've already got Roland, Olivier, Charlemagne and 808 State on the bill. You can't just go throwing David Tennant and Billie Piper into the - ahem - mix as well.

(Oo, but the Tardis noise...that could work...)

Rockmother: meant to say, yes, I went to at least one of those Tribal Gathering extravaganzas as well. How could I have forgotten about the angel wings? I never had any of those, I should point out. Actually I never had any glowsticks either. I was a classy raver. Er, kind of.

Spin: The silver lurex hotpants, hmm, maybe I should do a whole post on 'Unsuitable Clothes I Have Worn'.

CD: I'm back on the indie side now, don't you worry. Apart from the odd estival aberration, like yesterday's.

Tabby Rabbit said...

>> maybe I should do a whole post on 'Unsuitable Clothes I Have Worn>>

Yeah, you should. I remember some particularly, er, distinct clothes that you used to own.

Meanwhile I could do one on 'Unsuitable Hairstyles I Have Worn'. Which includes bunches (shoot me now); afro perms and badly glued-on extensions. Hey ho.

Spinsterella said...

I was at Truck Festival last year and I lost all my friends (hammered) and after all the bands finished I wound up in a tent playing drum'n'bass and I loved it.

I've got a lot to learn.

Looking forward to the Unsuitable Clothes post immensely.

Dave again said...

Oh yes. With pictures, ideally.

'Roland having an olifant...'

... and Hannibal had an elephant.

Betty said...

Injected with a poison!

Come on, at the time there was a clear cut choice between indie (Carter USM! The Senseless Things! Ned's Atomic Dustbin! Is There No Beginning To Their Talents!) or rave music, which was a horrible noise that sounded like someone falling downstairs with the hoover on.

It had to be rave music.

POE said...

I think I had all the stuff to be a raver* when I was 18-ish but just never quite got there. Mostly 'cos the music drives me nuts.

(* glow sticks, whistles, bunches, fairy wings...)

Roland also do keyboards you know - very handy as they can make *any* noise.

And now I'm humming KLF's Dr Who song. Thanks.

Rafael said...

Sometimes I forget how much I love(d) really, really hard acid tunes. Then I remember.

I must dig out those old Jeff Mills tapes.



patroclus said...

Did you ever wave a white-gloved hand under any UV lights, Rafael? Think carefully now.

I'm off to fall down the stairs with the hoover on, in an attempt to recapture those heady days. Oh yes.

Rafael said...

No. But I did once own a whistle. Not for long, mind because I realised quickly how irritating they were.

I also had a pony tail, some foul dreadlocks and a stripy rave top.

*fires up shredder, destroys evidence*