18 August 2011

in medias res

Roughly defined, in ‘genre’ terms, the, ahem, ‘havin’ it’, party is explosive enjoyment, an unbridled exposition of ecstasy, and full on, go for it, piston pumping, sweat inducing, exhausting 48 hours of a dance marathon. Just like it was, or should have been, in that mythical land called ‘back in the day’ or ‘you should have been there’.
Some parties, indeed virtually all parties, actually exist outside this particular area and timescale and do not involve massive crowds, Vicks, whistles, glow sticks, fights with the police, ‘having it turbo nutters’ fuelled by wheelbarrows full of psychedelics or the presence of ‘banging psy-trance’ through a 40K rig for days on end. Just like most of punk history took place outside of Punks Ground Zero, the ‘Pistols at the 100 Club’. Still, people carry these myths around like they were really true or something.
Not so my weekend. Mine was a weekend journey that begun and ended in medias res. The term 'anti-party' was used for a short while in my underpants, for a brief moment in 1993, to describe parties that seemed to reject or even despise the conventions of the, by now mainstream interpretation, of dance culture; though for much of the dance parties history many promoters have been doing precisely that in the name of historical and psychological realism. Upturning or downscaling the stereotype of the weekend clubber – don’t you just despise with a scary, body shaking loathing the term ‘raver’? The reality in fact was, and is, the types of parties we put on and attend week in and week out beared more connection to the reality of partying than the tired old media sterotype ever did. The real parties we called them. Our parties are not ‘hardcore’ but still we enliven, illuminate and add to a genre that once dominated the UK nightscape and still holds a considerable grip on our imagination.

Our parties now are in medias res; in that what we do is neither the beginning of it all nor the end of it but the middle of everything; subtly observed, memorable and appear on the face of it to go nowhere in particular. They are gaunt, mysterious and superbly calibrated. The party itself shimmers on the brink of some kind of mass hallucination. The balance of power of mind over matter shifting subtly and inexorably as we trudge ever onward into an existential unknown; or Sunday morning, whichever comes first.

First up on Friday, behold, the great BJ and Lauren joint birthday party. Taking place on our favourite beach in Whitstable ’twas an affair of much love, gentle appreciation and easy friendships renewed and added to in a way most positive and fortuitous to those who attended. Food, fire and music provided diversions for the senses and some visitors from afar, well London, added a neat spice to the curry.

Luck fell on our side as ‘The Green Machine’, a hideous brain, soul and sap sucking venue of egrarious, blatent exploitation and violence not 200 metres up the beach was fortuitously closed for the night. No ‘Electrosexual’ night (sorry James), no ‘MashUp’ night, no sad sack ‘ladies free b4 10’ flyers littering the beach, no desperate promoters trying to fill a venue everyone in Whitstable with ears (pun intended) avoids like the plague. No under aged teens high on vodka and bloodlust. No ‘electoclash’, no best shirts and loafers, no white rings round nostrils. Indeed the site of all our beach parties for 20 years, now the venue, strangely, eerily silent. Peace at last. Only our old chums Delicious shining a torch of hope into the darkness created by their own mia culpa.

The beach hut served as our base of operations for the evening’s proclivities which included a well stocked BBQ, some serious sunset and sunrise watching and plenty of oohs and aahs for the glorious colours in our Turner-esque skys. With the ZedHeads starting the night and Oz and Mike SU ending the night and beckoned in the sunrise with some cool deep and weird sounds, natch. it was only after the sun had risen that the heavens decided to open and the rain came down. Perfect.

After the dousing it was back to tVC HQ for another 4 hours of Traktor led chilling on tea and conversation; I say conversation but it mainly consisted of winding our old trance chum Dr Ed up in a gentle and friendly way of course ;-)

Saturday was the regular tvcabbaged at the Smack night. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have reviewed this night but suffice to say our guest Mark ‘Masterbreaks’ Croucher served up a Serato laden dish of cool breaks with sprinkles of madness to the usual deep house crowd who, I think, appreciated the change, and gave him a hearty welcome into the tVC bosom.

After the crowded sweatbox of the Smack it was up to Leigh and Lee’s welcoming arms for her, ahem, 21st birthday party in the sumptuous grounds of their vast acreage. It was here that Oz and Mike SU, again, getting to become a bit of a habit this one, entertained the peace loving people and overspill from Delicious’s third birthday party taking place elsewhere in the town that very night (I wonder where?). Thank god for the old tVC after parties or no-one would ever have anything to do. Ever. Surprise guest Derrick Patterson, for it was he, slipped us a couple of quick vinyl sets of sumptuousness before the CDDJ’s evident disappointment that there was no CD decks there at all. I, of course, pointed out that we vinyl junkies always carried around two massive decks everywhere we went so that we could play whenever we like and asked why CDDJ’s never did the same?

I left around 4am, abolutely cream crackered from two solid nights of DJing, but rumour has it that the festivities continued well into the early morning of Tuesday. I shit ye not.