In the 80’s, England was an unhappy place. Unemployment was hitting over 3million people and gang violence/football hooligans was undoubtedly effecting even more than that. Race violent was rife. The English youth were struggling to find an icon it can subscribe to, as identities were lost due to a failing music system in what is described as a post punk era.
Soon to be DJ and one of the founders of Rave culture, Nicky Halloway went for a holiday in Ibiza. The year was 1987. Trying to leave the “stiff upper lip” society (Chemical Generation) Halloway travelled around Ibiza to settle in San Rafael, where he found “the weirdest people from every continent”.
These people, fuelled on ecstasy, were dancing and most important “freeing inhibitions” (Chemical Generation) and soon Halloway felt compelled to take this new vibe back to Englan – which he called Balearic Sound.
DJ Nick Holloway opened a club called Trip in June 1988, “The ecstasy and the music came together. It was all part of the package. People who hadn’t done ecstasy didn’t really get it…and as soon as they did an “e”they got it” (Chemical Generation)
Mimicking the Hippie subculture, the rave culture started to encourage ‘ravers’ to feel the love and spread the happiness. Gary, an x-gang member who was interviews in Chemical Generation said “ecstasy was a pacifier” claiming soon all the gang and hooligan violence vanished.
Gary also claimed there was massive progress in race relations too, sighting that races, nationalities, football club allegiance and social classes were all seen dancing in clubs, enjoying it.
As the popularity grew so did need to hold larger raves, and now they were moved to various fields across the M25, thus causing a game of cat and mouse with ravers and cops. These ravers, most of which were guided to the location via a phone messaging service, were causing both noise and traffic issues in their quest to ‘rave’. This angered local police who started to break up these raves.
Extending the cat and mouse game rave promoters started to hire lawyers to attend the raves and agrue with the police – many times winning and earning the polices permission to continue with their party.
Coupled with these wide eyed members of society, who were only acting on Thatchers instructions of “go get it” in a bit to promote entrepreneurship – there also came the dark side and thus drug dealing became linked to raving.
John White, an ex-drug dealer claimed during his time prior to the rave culture nobody showed him “love” or ever offered him a job – so drug dealing became a natural progression. Sighting every time he answered the phone he would earn £50.
To combat this drug dealing The Criminal Justice Act was introduced. This act gave police wide ranging powers to outlaw illegal raves but the police were also given increased powers under the Entertainment Bill. This included fines for holding unlicensed raves were increased to £20,000 and six months imprisonment
But, for every new law and bill introduced the ravers found a new method to hold their events. Ministry of sound was granted an all night licence and thus became the hotspot to attend – birthing the new trend of super clubs.
Although the masses were only looking for sweet harmony… It is not easy to say who is right here, the law forbids the use of illegal substances – just like LSD in the 50’s, but as Boy George states at the start of Chemical Generation “it allowed an entire generation to free their inhibitions” and now these people are working as “designs, graphic artists even polititions”
There has been a ‘huge wave of creativity”, openness to gay people, openness to different races – can all this be stemmed from people dancing together fuelled by the “currency of the clubland”?