As you probably remember, the 7 best things about being a raver are
1) knowing the secret locations of the best parties on the planet
2) possessing the Endless Enthusiasm Superpower
3) never giving up (a useful skill in so many ways)
4) endless supply of Magic Raver Hugs
5) stamina (especially junglists, but trancers come a close second)
6) knowing what’s REALLY important in life
7) getting “YOU RAVE” birthday cakes
(A note: If any tech-house minimal devotees feel offended about not being included in 5), thinking “hey, I danced for 48 hours straight at Ritter Butzke last summer, is that not stamina??!!” – I say no, that is not stamina, that is moving your limbs at a slow, convenient pace in one spot for 48 hours without losing your breath at any point, anyone can do that (but it’s still tons of fun, for sure)).
But, being junglists here, we need to have a look at the dark side of things, too. The problems, the trouble, the up-the-hill moments. Here we go: The 5 problems only ravers know about:
When the mainstream media knows nothing but pretends to know
Yes, we’re going back to my diary of the 90s to have a look at a classic junglist problem anno 1995:
You want the entire world to listen to this awesome music you’ve discovered. The internet didn’t have anywhere near the impact it does today, so the only way to spread the word was through your own enthusiasm, using slow communication channels like flyers, record shops and pirate radio stations.
Then, the mass media start catching on to your big, wonderful secret anyways. Just like you kinda sorta wanted.
AND THEN THEY’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG!
Here’s what I wrote about it in a letter to my brother in 1995 (it’s a printed out letter, not an email); partly enthusiastic, partly infuriated:
“Next weekend, there’s another jungle party in Copenhagen, somewhere called Backfisch. To weeks after that there’s another one at Ungdomshuset, and after that ANOTHER one at X-Ray! So things are really moving forward FAST now, like I always knew they would. There has been several features on jungle on Danish radio and articles in newspapers and magazines. All this is consistently written by journalists who have absolutely no clue about what’s going on, but at least it has created some attention around the matter. I knew it all along, and people had no idea what I was talking about. Now everyone thinks they’re cool because they “heard some of that jungle on MTV”, and they STILL don’t get it. I makes me SO FURIOUS when some superficial pop journalist goes on national radio and says that he was at a rave in London and “everyone was on crack” and he “was the only white person” and “the doormen had guns and harassed him”. SUUUUUUURE thing! WHAT a joke! How WEAK to just make up the most ridiculous stories to make yourself sound cool. Idiot. IDIOT!!
Ah yes, those troubles of the subcultures. I felt them deeply.
On to problem number 2: The Lottery. Yes, THAT lottery.
Problem number 2 is actually quite close connected to Problem number 1. And it’s very closely connected to a thing, that didn’t exist in the 90s: The social media. The thing is, when you have a musical passion, you want to share it with the world. At least to start out with. “Everyone should be dancing to this!” I wrote again and again with Endless Enthusiasm in my jungle diaries back in the 90s. But what happens when the world starts listening and comes running? There’s just not room enough for everybody. Oh, the classic subcultural snag!
Obviously, the solution to the problem (from the subcultural point of view) is to go secret. Beneath the radar. Communicate on your own channels. Avoid the media. Be unaccessable to the general public apart from the ones who REALLY REALLY want in! Subcultures do this all the time, using different strategies to make access to their treasures difficult. But the rules of that game has changed dramatically with the rise of the internet and particularly with the rise of social media. Or “social” media, as the Fusion Festival always calls them, mockingly.
With a bit of effort, you can keep your subcultural paradise away from the mass media. But the social media is everywhere now. Even on your super secret beach. Information flows and spreads. Everyone wants in on the magic. This means that a festival like Fusion, one of the best festivals in the world, has seen such an immense rise in popularity. So immense, that the people behind it had to invent a lottery for the tickets. And with the constant rise of potential visitors, the amount of Fusion regulars losing the lottery grow by the thousands every year. I have nothing but love for Fusion and will never moan the slightest bit about anything they do. The lottery is just such a prime example of The Troubles of the Subcultures in the era of Social Media. Social Media gives you the possibility to communicate with your fellow tribesmen on a global scale which makes it easier than ever for any subculture to thrive. But it certainly makes it hard, too, to keep your magical secret to yourself. And sometimes, you really want to.
On to Problem number 3:
You get confetti aaaaaaall over your decks. A Pirate Party Pack moment in Copenhagen, caught by jonask.dk.
And in your face. Yes, I know we’ve seen this picture of two very masculine confetti faces before, but it deserves a repost. Awesome t-shirt, too, Bateman! And hello, Chaca!
On to problem number 4: The Fear of Missing Out
If you think FOMO primarily has to do with something about checking the social media too often in case you missed something, you’re so incredibly mainstream that I’m not sure you should even be reading this, really. No no no. The REAAAAL Fear of Missing Out belongs to the raver. Why? Because every raver knows that yes, you ARE in fact missing out, big time, right now, if you don’t go to that once in a lifetime morning party on the boat at sunrise even though you’re really tired because you’ve been dancing to the Rum’n’Bass party on Stengade all night.
So you go anyways, and oh joy, are you glad you did, because you get to see wonderful and heartwarming morning moments like this, and they stay with you forever. Result? More FOMO! And like that, the evil raver wheel keeps turning. This is my favourite shot from the Pirate Party Pack session on the boat, June 2006. Check out the dance moves, the very junglistic (and heavy) record bags and all the confetti. And dj Lab’s Black Sabbath-t-shirt. Everything is awesome.
FOMO Helpline: Just so you know, all you ravers with a hard case of FOMO out there: It does get better. I’ve got my FOMO completely under control now. Apart from when it comes to Fusion. 🙂 Big up jonask.dk for the pic.
And this leads us to Problem Number 5: Crashing
What is this. Someone lost their head? No: This is the potential downside to never ever ever giving up: You risk crashing in the middle of everything. Oh well. Just do it with style and grace. Someone’s sleepy moment at the Pirate Party Pack morning session caught by jonask.dk.
And with those words, I find it more than appropriate to end this list with one more of my photos from Fusion, where people crash in the middle of everything with the style and grace of fairytale pixies.
As you can probably see after reading this list, all of the “problems” that only ravers know about are really just interesting challenges. Whohooo.