The Jungle Diaries: Longing for the Tribe
Yesterday, in the sadness collection, I wrote about all the bruises you get from time travelling and remembering. Let me elaborate on that.
I have spent a substantial part of my life trying to write down e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that I felt and did and experienced and loved and got excited about etc. etc. This is, of course, an impossible mission, especially when one tends to get excited about a lot of things. But that hasn’t stopped me from trying. For decades.
When I turned 20, my diary writing had turned into nothing short of an obsession. And it stayed like that for years to follow.
This means two things:
1) Firstly, it has turned me into a time travelling expert. Writing is time travelling. My diary obsession, especially in my teens and 20s, was very much about trying to hold on to life, to keep it all forever. I clearly remember having this feeling, that if I could just manage to write it all down, I could keep everything that excited me forever. I could go back whenever I wanted.
2) Secondly, it means that I have a huge amount of actual proof of what went on in my mind (and around me) when I was half the age that I am now. I have a feeling that many people feel quite relieved that they don’t have all that documentation of their past lying around. But to me, it’s a time travelling treasure.
The actual, unfiltered thoughts
Rereading some really old stuff is often both heartbreaking and completely hilarious – and regularly a very surprising experience. It can be tough, but it’s wildly instructive and entertaining.
The wonderful thing is that my obsession back then means that RIGHT NOW we can all go on a communal time machine visit to the actual, unfiltered thoughts of my 20-year-old junglist self who has just moved from London to Copenhagen to study at university and struggles i-m-m-e-n-s-e-l-y with my intense longing back to the jungle scene in my ex-town.
Okay, so fasten your seatbealts once again, especially those of you who remember the VERY FIRST jungle parties in Copenhagen, and let’s jump back:
It’s late in the fall, and I’m starting to plan my first visit back to London – for New Year’s. I’m pretty sure at this point in time that I’m going to move back to London as soon as I can. When I’m done with the BA at university, at the latest:
“My heart’s in London. The speed of life there suits me perfectly. Life’s good here, but once the BA is done, I’m out of here like a bullet in a pin ball machine.
Sometimes I get really confused. Like, what have I done? Why have I moved here? Is this right? Do I NEED this? Do I need this ENOUGH to justify the amount of longing I have to feel every day? Is this healthy for me? What’s the right choice? There are so many possibilities. The more you realize how HUGE the labyrinth is, the more you think about the endless amount of possibilities of taking the wrong turn. “Wrong” meaning “not as good as the other one”. But hey, if the size of the labyrinth is endless, then there’s no in and out anyway, and therefore no better or worse place to be.
The only thing I know FOR SURE, the only thing that’s completely and utterly unavoidable, is that I WILL BE BACK IN LONDON. And in the meantime, I’ll make sure to spend my money right so that I’ll be able to come over often enough not to feel out of touch. I need jungle. Need in the deepest and strongest sense of the word.
I’m listening to jungle all the time and I can’t stop myself from trying to convert people. I can buy compilation albums imported from London in the dance [sic] shops but there are no jungle raves here (YET!). I’ve been to a couple of techno do’s with some of the pople from uni, but it does nothing for me, really.
But worrying too much just drives me crazy. I think I should just look forward to going to London for New Year’s (oh BLISS! I won’t stop dancing for a week! I’ll be the party MACHINE! Jungle will be EVERYTHING!)”.
BUT THEN!!! – the very first Danish jungle party (for me) materializes:
On the very next page of the diary, I find the infamous Jungle Fever II flyer in Street Dance Records (you can see the flyer to the left, glued onto the page of my diary, and read about the historic record shop visit right here, in The Jungle Diaries: A Junglist on a Mission from last year).
On the next pages, I write about the actual party itself. My very first jungle party in Copenhagen. This is the one BEFORE Operaen, people. Here we go.
“We jumped on the bikes at midnight. The place was through a backyard and up some stairs. On the way up, I heard the incredible sound of the drum & the bass float down towards me. The best sound I’d heard for months! It was loud, it was real, it was jungle! I FLEW up the stairs. Walked in, and it was dark and packed! Black plastic bags hung from the ceiling, lights flashed.”
I clearly wasn’t too impressed by the deco or the mixing, but on the following many pages I’m immensely enthusiastic about meeting the Danish junglists: The only dj of the night, the one and only dj Nis (his mixing certainly improved!) 😉 and Michael, with whom I have a classic junglistic bonding experience:
“Oh what a beautiful feeling it was to be able to jump about to jungle again, surrounded by people… SOOO wonderful! I danced for 9 hours non-stop, loving it. I mean, compared to London, it was, of course, outrageously primitive. But the atmosphere was wicked. It’s really underground, a small, tightly-knit group of people. They’re real junglists and I really enjoyed being with them. It was so relaxing, in a way, to be back with people who love jungle. Hearing them say things that I have said a billion times in the last couple of months to people who don’t really understand.
Michael thinks that music has reached its peak with jungle. That it can’t go any further. I agree. I mean, there are other types of brilliant music, of course. But you can’t really compare it. Jungle’s different. Jungle’s a way of life, it’s a culture. You don’t just listen to it, you live it. Jungle is SO important. It will change the world in some way! It will!
They’re all going to the Prodigy concert as well – and Nis is doing another jungle rave! – somewhere called “Operaen” – so I’ll see everybody again then. Can’t wait.
I can’t express how weird and wonderful it is to be able to listen to jungle again without having to feel sad and isolated. I was just getting so used to the fact that jungle was somewhere else, and I would just have to endure these years before finally diving back into the lasers in London. And now, all of a sudden, it’s HERE. The fun’s HERE. Weird. Confusing. Wonderful. I mean, the scene is very small and underground, and you’ve got to know people to find it – but it’s here!
It’s soooo good to have met some junglists. And they’re all CRAZY about jungle. But that’s the way it is, isn’t it. Either you don’t listen to it – or you’re obsessed. I think junglists are the best people in the world. It was so easy to talk to these blokes and get to know them. I’ll have a real laugh with them in the future, that’s for sure.”
Well, I was right about that. 🙂
We will dive back into the diaries for sure in the upcoming days, because things escalated from here, obviously. And I’m not getting less intense about how immensely important jungle is for the entire planet, let me put it that way.
In the meantime, if you want to see some very, very rare analogue pics from one of the first jungle parties at Operaen, check out last year’s December 2nd post: Super Rare Photos: Blasts from the Past.
And see you again tomorrow, freshly bruised.
Go here for the complete collection of #JUngLEkalenderen, both past and present.