Not Stark Raving Mad about Raves

Spiked's Emily Hill hangs out with British ravers and muses on the public discourse about drugs:

Drug-taking is never interesting to those not taking drugs unless they can whip up a paranoia about it, because otherwise it's just a load of people dancing in a field not doing anyone else any harm, and not really doing themselves much harm either. What's interesting is not the objective high, but the subjective possibilities of the ‘dark side' that commentators think they can trace in the high. They try to invest meaning in a phenomenon that means absolutely nothing. It's called ‘raving' for a reason. It's not ‘dancing' or ‘listening' or ‘doing something constructive with your freetime', its ‘raving': meaningless drug-taking in a variety of uncomfortable scenarios.

It's not actually the drugs themselves that rivet the Daily Mail and the Guardian in equal measure, but rather the social connotations of Fear and Loathing that they think they can trace in the derelict warehouses and secluded beaches where raves take place across the land.

More here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Ok. So the clothes were awful, and the music was mostly bad. But GodDamn(!) that was some of the most fun I have ever had. Being a teenager in the mid 90's, in LA was definitely memorable. Too bad I'm dead now.

    ...get your hands off me, damned dirty drugs!

  • Fluffy||

    Raves feed neatly into anti-drug paranoia because the secret core of suburbanite hatred of drugs has always been the fear that female teenagers and young adults under the influence of drugs would decide to have sex.

    Since raves are pretty much an excuse to get drugs and young people into the same place so that hookups can occur, it's like "drugs squared" as far as suburban parent sexual paranoia goes.

  • Rhywun||

    Y'know, I did a LOT of partying in my youth in the 90s... lots of drugs, lots of drinking, lots of "goth" clubs and some raves; and I NEVER behaved like the hooligans mentioned in this story. None of my friends did either.

  • ||

    I don't know how much sex goes on at raves, fluffy. It's more backrubs and head massages.

    If there was a lot of hookups going on I missed out LOL

  • Mike Laursen||

    Maybe in your experience, Fluffy. What I see is a pretty non-secret parental fear that one's kids are going to be hurt while under the influence (a superset of worrying about them getting knocked up), or waste their lives on drug use.

    And it happens sometimes. I have a young relative who is turning into a world-class druggee fuckup. (Don't take this as support for the Drug War, by the way. I don't see how having the government involved would do anything but make a sad situtation worse.)

  • ||

    "It's more backrubs and head massages."

    The one rave I went to had awful music.

    But there were two leather-clad hotties making out.

  • ||

    andy:

    I think in the context of that sentence it was "drug hookups"- i.e., contacts for selling and distributing drugs- not "hooking up".

    Yeah, I've been to a lot of clubs and raves- seen a lot more of the first than the last. Though I must say I prefer the last.

  • ||

    And it happens sometimes. I have a young relative who is turning into a world-class druggee fuckup. (Don't take this as support for the Drug War, by the way. I don't see how having the government involved would do anything but make a sad situtation worse.)

    What the government is trying to do is prevent as many people from becoming like that as possible.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Really?! The government wants to take on my young relative's history of immaturity and emotional instability that has manifested itself as escaping into drug use to avoid his insecurities, a trait we suspect may be generic because others in his family have exhibited similar behavior? Thanks, government!

  • Paul||

    Y'know, I did a LOT of partying in my youth in the 90s... lots of drugs, lots of drinking, lots of "goth" clubs and some raves; and I NEVER behaved like the hooligans mentioned in this story. None of my friends did either.

    Word. I mean, when I was a kid doing drugs and staying out all night, we had respect, damnit! Kids these days? They got no respect.

  • Paul||

    But there were two leather-clad hotties making out.

    mediageek:

    I think I saw those guys. Ralph and Doug were their names, no?

    You couldn't really see much 'cause of all the facial hair.

  • Rhywun||

    Kids these days? They got no respect.

    Yeah, and I had to trudge through six feet of snow to go out clubbing. Well, it was Buffalo. But seriously... hooligans are hooligans on or off drugs. I'm tired of propaganda claiming that drugs and alcohol turn people into Mr. Hyde or something.

  • ||

    I read the article and I didn't notice very much loutish behaviour described. Lots of drunken stupidity, but where was the hooliganism?

    As for sex at raves, there is plenty of it at these goofy organized "holiday camp" type parties; less at normal squat parties. The only time I ever got lucky at a squat party we realized after that there was a pile of human shit on the floor about three feet away from us. That gets a person up and dressed pretty quickly. I knew a girl who wore a party dress made out of car upholstery vinyl so she could sit down anywhere with no worries. Lordy, I miss living in London.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement